Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lighting a Fire for Change


Breaking Dawn by B. Gilmour

dawn chill—
the rooster
lights a fire


               © Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
                   Frogpond 40:3, Autumn 2017

Pardon my crowing. I'm just so excited to have my first haiku published in Frogpond Journal! I haven't seen it yet, but Jone MacCulloch assures me it's there. (Thanks, Jone!)

Why does this small acceptance mean so much? Because writing haiku is one of several new activities I've explored in 2017, my year of saying yes to Change. (Read Robyn Hood Black's recap of the Haiku Society of America workshop I attended last April.) I lit a fire under myself to try new things this yearto take risks, listen to my intuition, and trust that I won't get burned. On a smaller scale, it's a bit like searching the internet for photos for my blog posts. Although I never can be sure the right image is out there, or that I will find it, or that I will have permission to use it, I trust that it is (and I will), and then it appears. Every time.


Such is the nature of change, don't you think? 

Andrew Tinmouth

You can't fight it.

Sure, you can kick, splash, and make waves, but wouldn't it be better to go with the flow? Become a partner with change and see what happens? I'm not saying you should become someone you're not, I'm not even saying that you have to like the change (at least not at first). What I'm saying is that you should probably introduce yourself and get to know change. Show it respect and let it become your ally, not your enemy.


I know, easier said than done.

Embracing (and bracing for) Change.
When I chose Change as my one little word for 2017, it came with some trepidation and skepticism. Yet six months in, I noted the positive effects of opening myself up to possibilities, and now, as the year draws to a close, I'm not sure I want to give that one little word up. Change has accompanied me through several new undertakings, haiku being just one of them.

Most noteworthy are probably the poetry workshops I've presented this year. Although teaching poetry has been something I've wanted to do more of for some time, this is the year that made that desire a reality. I've discovered just how much I love sharing poetry with young people who haven't yet been exposed to the "right kind" of poem—the kind that meets them where they live and knocks their socks off. The summer workshops were great, but it was working with juvenile offenders that was truly transformative—for them and for me. I'd love to do more of that. I'd also love to share more about my teaching experiences on the blog.

But there's something else that I owe myself even more—attention to my own writing. This year I've had two acceptances in journals ("dawn chill" in Frogpond and "Look for the Helpers" in the Journal of Children's Literature), "Look for the Helpers" also appeared in HERE WE GO: A POETRY FRIDAY POWER BOOK (Pomelo Books) last January, THE BEST OF TODAY'S LITTLE DITTY 2016 is now available, and I have three or four publication credits in the works for next year. It's a respectable list for someone who can count her 2017 submissions on one hand, but it reflects the life of a productive blogger, not a productive writer.

My Summer with the Old Man
It's time to change the rules again—to go back for the Poet Toad who's been patiently waiting for a helping hand to cross the road.

Don't worry. Today's Little Ditty and the DMC aren't going anywhere! My plan is to have fewer formal interviews and introduce monthly challenges in a fun and interactive way. I've already got some ideas simmering, but by all means leave me a comment or email me at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com if you have ideas of your own.

Anthony
Today's Little Ditty will be taking a break for the holidays, but I'm leaving the light on. Feel free to stop by anytime. You can access an alphabetical list of all TLD's spotlight interviews HERE and an alphabetical list of all the DMC challenges HERE.


And speaking of DMC challenges—

Last month was amazing. Carol Hinz inspired us to find beauty in so many surprising and wonderful places. We had 46 poems in all, at least 10 of which arrived after the wrap-up celebration was first posted! Please do yourself a favor and take another look. You won't be disappointed.

Random.org determined that the winner of THE SUN PLAYED HIDE-AND-SEEK: A PERSONIFICATION STORY by Brian P. Cleary and illustrated by Carol Crimmins (Millbrook Press, 2017) is . . .

CINDY BREEDLOVE 
Congratulations, Cindy!


Wishing you blessings of the season, my friends. See you in 2018.

Sunset by Tanja Rott


Mary Lee Hahn shares her own haiku at this week's Poetry Friday roundup. Find her at A Year of Reading.
Hooray! The second volume of The Best of Today's Little Ditty (2016) is now available at Amazon.com. (Click HERE to purchase.) I'm so proud of this collection of 75 poems by 50 poets. In addition to some great work, including contributions by Jane Yolen, David L. Harrison, and a whole bunch of folks you'll recognize from Poetry Friday, the book has an extra section on using poetry in the classroom. At only $9.95, it makes a great holiday gift for teachers, or anyone who enjoys readng and/or writing poetry!




39 comments:

  1. I'm cheering! I'm crowing for you! Dancy-dancy-jig-jig! How wonderful to read highlights of some of the new adventures you took yourself on this year. (Some of which I recall in the discussion phases, and look where it's all ended up?) I know you have been and will continue to be a blessing to young people who might not have the opportunities our kids have had. And, of course, we all need your writing, so I'm happy that will be front and center. Happy Holiday Season, My Friend. Proud to know you. XO

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    1. Aw, thank you, Robyn! Proud to know you, too. Thanks for being there when I was ready to say yes to haiku. xo

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  2. Congratulations on your publishing credits Michelle! The teaching sounds like it's offered you more gifts in return, and I look forward to hearing more about your experiences with the juvenile offenders. Having and carving out more writing time sounds like a real treat–I wish you lots of productivity with it. Thanks for all you give to all of us. Happy Holidays and New year to you and your family, Cheers, xo.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season too. See you next year! xo

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  3. Oh, how WONDERFUL! So happy for your growth not only that it's happened but also the way you experience and share it in such a positive way with our world. I really look forward to how you are changing up TLD. I love your challenges and enjoy my growth from participating. Happiest of holidays, Michelle. I will certainly stop by from time to time. Thanks for keeping the light on. Hugs to you and yours.

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    1. Not sure how all the changes are going to pan out yet, but it feels like the right direction anyway. Happy holidays and hugs backatcha, Linda!

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  4. I can confirm what Jone told you. It's in print! And right in the front of the book! Congratulations my friend!

    I support you in whatever changes you choose to make. Happy holidays!

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  5. I love the rooster haiku with its vivid imagery. Hooray for you and your jumping into challenges! Thank you for lighting the fire that got me playing with poetry again!

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    1. That last bit makes me so happy to hear, JoAnn! I'm cheering you just like you're cheering the little caterpillar in your poem.

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  6. How absolutely wonderful news from you, Michelle. Congratulations for the haiku in Frogpond, and for the other acceptances. You are an inspiration. Wishing you a warm and lovely Christmas with your family. And thanks for all you've done for us and for poetry this year! "Change" is good!

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    1. Thanks so much, Linda. :) Wishing you warm and lovely holidays as well, and looking forward to writing together in 2018!

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  7. Congrats on all your accomplishments this year!! And thank you for another wonderful, inspiring, uplifting, informative, and entertaining year of posts here at TLD. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and good things in 2018. :)

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    1. Wonderful, inspiring, uplifting, informative, and entertaining... that's exactly how I feel about your poetry kitchen, Jama. There's nothing like a bowl of Alphabet Soup to warm my heart. Happy holidays!

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  8. I'm pretty change-averse, but you've presented a convincing argument, Michelle! Congratulations on your successes, and happy holidays! I'd be very interested in learning more about your work with juvenile offenders -- looking forward to your 2018 posts.

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    1. To be honest, Jesse, I'm pretty change-averse too. But I guess you could say that's something I'm trying to change about myself! ;)

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  9. I love your haiku, Michelle! And I'm so happy for all you've accomplished this year, for setting goals and reaching them. You know how much I love taking this poetry journey with you and sharing our ups and downs. Here's to 2018 and an even more productive writing year! Smooches! <3

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    1. Looking forward to another year of upping and downing with you, Renée! Cheers to a fresh start. <3

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  10. Congrats, M.!! Proud of you and happy for you.
    I pondered what you said about "change," and I think I am more drawn to "new." Same basic idea, don't know why I like "new" better :-)!

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    1. Thank you, T! I think I understand what you're saying about new. It implies beginning... a fresh start. Maybe the word seems more positive to you, while change could go either way...? In any case, it looks like you may have found yourself a OLW for 2018!

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  11. So proud and happy for you, Michelle. a great year of change. I am really sad that I missed out on the chance to go to the haiku workshop that you and Robyn were at. I am reading Write like Issa now My goal is to submit more haiku this coming year. Enjoy your break.

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    1. Thank you, Jone. You write such beautiful haiku! I hope you do submit more in 2018.

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  12. I'm so happy to hear that you are attending to your own poetry and not just giving us a space for ours. Love the fiery rooster haiku.

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    1. Thanks, Margaret. It's easy to fall back on what's become so comfortable and familiar, but I do think I owe it to myself to try.

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  13. The risk you took seems to have produced great results, Michelle! Good for you, being brave, entering new terrain. Hope you have lots of fun & good food & family over the holidays. See you in 2018!

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    1. Thank you, Julie. Bravery is not something that comes naturally to me, but I do subscribe to the philosophy of fake it till you make it! Happy holidays to you, too!

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  14. You had me scared for a minute. I thought you were disappearing! I love your poem! It is gorgeous. I appreciate all you do here and, especially, that you put out the anthology each year. It’s lovely. Here is a haiku for you.
    Michelle, she’s our belle
    bringing poems ev’ry day
    a light in darkness

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    1. How sweet are you, Rosi?! No one's ever written a haiku for me before. Now you've gone and made me blush. Thank you. <3

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  15. Congratulations! I love the haiku--even more because it has chickens! I can't wait to see what the new year brings you with your new focus.

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    1. Let's hear it for chickens! I'm not the only one who posted about our feathered friends this week either. There must me something in the feed... I mean air. :)

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  16. Love the haiku, Michelle--and am glad you'll be focusing on your writer self. Your implementation of your word has been inspirational to me.

    Happy Christmas!

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    1. I'm so glad, Rebekah. You inspire me with your poetry. :)

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  17. It takes change to grow. Be assured that we are cheering you on as you make the moves necessary to become the writer you were meant to be!

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    1. Thank you, Mary Lee. I'll take all the cheering I can get! I'm not sure *what* I was meant to be, but I do know it's not someone who lives with regrets for not trying.

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  18. Congrats on your Frogpond publication. I'm basking in the warmth of your change, Michelle. More good things to come, I'm sure of it. =)

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    1. From your lips to the powers that be, Bridget! If there's anyone who's become an expert on change this year, that would be you. Thinking of you in your Swiss winter wonderland and sending warm wishes for the holidays, my friend.

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  19. Congrats on your haiku -- it's lovely. Change is good. My best to you as you tack into the wind, letting the sea spray wash the past away.

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  20. Hi Michelle on Holiday Sabbatical. Appreciations for this lovely 2017 wrap.
    I can predict your 2018 year of more writing-writing will be transformative.
    You'll be living in one way or another the 2017 OLW, Change.
    Sending hugs.

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  21. I'm coming back late to congratulate you on your wonderful rooster haiku and publication in Frog Pond. Way to go, Michelle!

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