Independent Book Store Day, April 24, 2021, is billed as “One Day. Hundreds Of Bookstores. Fifty States. Join The Celebration!” My two favorite Indie bookstores are The Book House and Words. Both have great selections, calm, welcoming atmospheres, special events, and the personal touch and help that you can only get at small stores.
I hope to one day, very soon (fingers crossed, wish on a dandelion, Flying Wish Paper and more), enter one or both of these stores as a Kidlit author, not just a customer.
Hon, what’s your favorite Indie book store?
The Book House in Millburn, NJ
Words in Maplewood, NJ
Image c/o the bookstores’ websites.
Poems enter my mind in words and phrases, begging me to concentrate on how to make language sing. April is National Poetry Month. Hon, hope you enjoy the history behind it and a “Spring song.”
National Poetry Month
Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives. In 2021, the Academy of American Poets looks forward to celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of this annual celebration!
I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.
Hon, just like my manuscripts, some ceramics pieces were practice, some were thrown away, and some will be polished and glazed another time. But, I’m happy with these small vases and bowls. I especially like the carving on the vases and the throwing lines on one of the bowls.
Wishing me and you places to go in our minds, practice and work where creativity keeps us in the moment and allows anxiety and self-doubt to disappear into the background.
Our magnolia tree isn’t blooming yet, but in another month it will bloom pretty and pink.
Green stem emerges
Brown ground softens
Soft moss absorbs
Crystal snow melts
Warm air humidifies
Scented wind whisps
and scatters dandelion strands of hope
up and away
into the Spring sky.
STORYSTORM is the brain child of Tara Lazar, a children’s book author and mentor whose blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) is a source of information and showcase of personality. In Tara’s words:
The Storystorm challenge is to create 30 story ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.
You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas. Your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass. Eventually, you will have a list of ideas to flesh out into concepts, premises and manuscripts in the coming year.
On this blog, daily posts by authors, illustrators, editors and other publishing professionals will help inspire you. By the end of the month, you’ll have a fat file of ideas to spark new stories.Tara Lazar
This year, STORYSTORM inspired me to start a new journal in which I’m collecting ideas. Some may turn into stories and some may not, but one of the takeaways from this year’s authors and illustrators is to see where your creativity takes you. I’m up for the challenge!
I create with clay, yarn, fabric and, of course, ingredients. I imagine worlds with words.
Hon, where does creativity take you?
Did you know February 14-20, 2021 was Random Acts of Kindness Week?
I was the lucky and happy recipient of a recent act of kindness!
On a recent drive from New Jersey to Maryland, Hubby used his own set of keys to drive my car. It’s habit for me to grab my keys when leaving the house, so there I was with an extra set “just in case.” We don’t usually bring our dog Lucy, but decided she’d join us on this adventure.
We stopped at a rest stop in NJ where Hubby and I took turns escorting Lucy to “do her business.” Habit again–approaching my car, I took my keys out, but then stuck them in my coat pocket when I remembered they weren’t needed. Lucy didn’t love the hand-off, and practically pulled me off my feet trying to follow Hubby inside the rest stop. I bet you can guess where this is going.
It wasn’t until we reached Maryland that I realized my keys were missing! We re-traced steps and searched the car to no avail. I called the only place we’d stopped on the road and–guess what?--my keys were at the rest stop! The manager had them in his possession and would be working the next day at the same time we’d be driving back to NJ.
A woman had found them in the parking lot and turned them in! An act of kindness for sure! We surmised that when Lucy anxiously tried following Hubby, my keys fell out of my coat pocket. The woman left her contact info because she had the foresight to remove one of the car key fobs. Her intention was to turn that car key into a dealer who would then locate the car’s owner–us! Wasn’t that above and beyond?
On our return trip home, two things happened. The first is that we retrieved my keys. Whew! The second is that we found out the name of the thoughtful woman and–hon, get this--her last name is same last name as my oldest childhood friend and one of my dearest friends in New Jersey! Isn’t that an interesting coincidence?
So, shout out to good karma, random acts of kindness and thoughtful people!
And SHOUT OUT to Stephanie Brenner for stopping at the rest stop, finding my keys, turning them in, and mailing me the other car key fob! THANK YOU!
Hon, have you been been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Have you been the kind person? I’d love to hear about it.
This is the last of the “Sorbet for the Soul Series,” at least for now. I hope to get back to the MOMA, the MET or any other place where creativity, inspiration and peace of mind resides. Shout out to Lyn Sirota who shared a September 13, 2019 program on TED Radio Hour NPR called “How Art Changes Us.”
Marc Chagall, The Lovers, Oil on canvas.
Gustav Klimt, Hope II, Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas.
Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, Oil, sand, and paper on canvas.
One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done was volunteer to teach Art Appreciation in my children’s elementary school. Before I entered kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, I thoroughly researched artists. I learned so much about Modern Art, and came to appreciate work I hadn’t understood before. The students and I discussed artists, examined paintings and sculptures, and worked on related projects. Fun? Being called “The Art Lady.” Fantastic? Getting a call from a mom who said that when her family visited a Chicago museum, her son remembered learning about Rene Magritte from an Art Appreciation class.
Stanley Whitney, Fly the Wild, Oil on linen canvas
Helen Frankenthaler, Western Dream, Oil on canvas
Piet Mondrian, Composition, Oil on canvas