|Breaking Dawn by B. Gilmour|
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 year—to 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?
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.|
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|
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.
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 . . .
Wishing you blessings of the season, my friends. See you in 2018.
|Sunset by Tanja Rott|
A Year of Reading.
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!