Friday, June 19, 2020

Wee-Sources with All My Heart

Welcome dear weader! I am starting today's post with a quote from Confucius (have you ever noticed how close his name is to 'confusion'? Now you have a sense of my constant state of mind, but I digress...)
Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
Come on a journey with me, with all your heart.

First stop, my bookshelf...
Pardon my mess...













...in order to share with you a Book Wee-View!

I just finished, It is What it is...Now What?!: A Guide for Getting From Where You are to WHO You Want to be by Kathleen Pickrel, LMSW.

A book I loved with all my heart!


















This is not a writing book per se, but if you have a goal to become a writer (or anything else!) then the concepts and activities contained in this book will get you there. Kathleen Pickrel, LMSW is a life coach working with people who are ready to make a positive change in their lives and want additional support in making that change. Her encouraging writing style and accessible content really will change your life...but you have to do the work. I must confess that I've read my fair share of self-help books and I usually come away feeling worse about myself because I can never quite implement what is described. What makes It is What it is... Now What? different are the "Action Sheets". These worksheets help align your thinking into an accessible actionable steps that will literally change your life. It is heartening to know that the author is walking the walk of the talk she talks - she transformed her life using the techniques outlined in this book. I also love that each chapter includes inspirational quotes that support the concepts. One of my favorite quotes in relation to the discomfort we all feel about change is:
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. - Neale Donald Walsh

To find out more about Kathleen Pickrel and the life coaching services she offers, visit her website at ChooseCongruency.com. Her book and coaching services have helped me in immeasurable ways - even from abroad!

The next stop on our journey is a heart-full forest walk in central Switzerland:
Smidgey is our flower girl.



















Like many of you, I seek out nature to keep me grounded sane. My favorite way to recalibrate myself is to take a walk in the forest. Until arriving in Switzerland, I had always fancied myself a water person - backyard pool, lake or ocean. I don't have access to a backyard pool or ocean here, but Lake Zug is walking distance from our house. But the lake is not where I gravitate to day after day, it is the forest that is up the hill from us. The density of the trees, the lushness of the green, the cacophony of bird and frog sounds settle my brain and lift my spirits. In fact, that is where I spent last Wednesday afternoon celebrating my 31st wedding anniversary with my one true love (not Smidgey, Joe!). Out of this stroll came this tiny poem:

nature officiates
our continuous
walk down the aisle
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Finally, speaking of tiny words, I whole heartily subscribe to the idea 
of using tiny words (hence, my wee words blog name) to make 
sense of life. 
And as luck would have it, I have found a Wee-Source for a FREE international, daily magazine of haiku and micropoetry called tinywords.
The editors say this about their journal: "Our goal is to publish excellent poetry whose ambitions and effects far outstrip its small size."
The poems arrive every weekday in my inbox, sometimes just 8 or 9 words long, and they never fail to either make me pause and think or smile.
They accept submissions only during February and August. If you subscribe now you can study their micro brilliance and possibly submit come August.

Today Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup. Please check out the poetry goodness.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Wee-Sources: Ways to Cope

The world has a lot going on. (Understatement much?)
















How are you coping?  The primary feeling that bubbles up within me is a percolating state of emotional exhaustion. In recent years, months, weeks, days, hours I have been on the lookout for methods and strategies that help me calm my inner tumult.

Today I am sharing some of the coping Wee-Sources I have recently relied on. Maybe they will offer you some support, distraction, and/or comfort?

(Note: If you have any coping Wee-Sources you'd like to share, shoot me an email or leave them in the comments and I'll add them to this post to help others.)

My first Wee-Source has helped me with my feelings of overwhelm when it come to the news. I try to stay informed about my local Swiss community, national Swiss news stories, and US news stories on a daily basis. This requires a certain amount of time, effort, and translation to get all the information. Oh, and I choose not to be on social media so my information gathering is focused on direct news outlets. (Full transparency, I am in the process of creating a LinkedIn page, but does that count as social media?) Suffice it to say, the seeking out and consumption of daily news takes a bit out of me. One Wee-Source that I have found to help me process the US news in a historical context is my free subscription to Heather Cox Richardson's: Letters from an American - A newsletter about the history behind today's politics. One of my sisters (shout out to She!) told me about this newsletter and it has changed the way I view the US news of the day because a historian is synthesizing the content and allowing me to process it more efficiently. HCR is an American historian and Professor of History at Boston College. She also has a YouTube channel and some paid content, but I really like and appreciate her free daily newsletters to help me cope.

The second Wee-Source I want to highlight comes from writer Suleika Jaouad. For the last several months she has spearheaded an amazing free 100-day global creative project called The Isolation Journals: One Creative Act a Day Alone. Together. She describes it this way: "The goal of this is not to write the next King Lear or to churn out publishable masterpieces. It’s an opportunity to pause, take a few moments to exhale and reflect, and to expand our creativity as a community during these extremely challenging times."

Though it is in its waning days (today is Day 73) there is still time to sign up to receive a free new creative prompt delivered to your inbox every day through the first week of July. Click here to sign up. And for the prompts you've missed so far, you can check out @suleikajaouad on social media.

I haven't completed every prompt sent to me, but I have done a few. A particularly fun one landed in my inbox on May 4th: Day 34 - Ode to Mutts:
"Write a scene from an imaginary biography of a pet. It can be yours or, like Virginia Woolf, a take on the secret life of someone else’s pet. Extra points for parody, or if it’s written from the pet’s perspective."

Nothing like channeling your dog's thoughts to help you cope with all that is happening in the world. And being the overachiever that I am, I wrote my journal entry from Smidgey's perspective:

Smidgey here. She of the nine lives. At least that’s what my people tell me. They say this because of my propensity to have near-death experiences. I don’t intentionally set out to almost die; stuff just seems to happen to a wee little pup like myself.

My first brush with death came when I was wandering the Wisconsin countryside in the middle of winter. I was a little over 6 months old and weighed about 13 lbs, but I had already had a litter of puppies. The people at the Humane Society said that I had run away from a puppy-mill. I didn’t want to leave my pups, but what was I supposed to do? I was in the Humane Society “system” for about 6 weeks when my unsuspecting loving people came in looking for a new dog after the passing of their first dog, Smarty. Have you ever heard of such a silly name for a dog? Don’t you be looking at me like that. I wear the Smidgey moniker with pride! But I digress. Anyway, after a few prancing moments and a couple of lap sits, I had my people in the palm of my paw. It’s been like that ever since.

It took just a year and a cross country move until I had my next brush with death. It happened at my pit bull cousin’s house. Cuz had a taste for sausage shaped smaller dogs apparently. That wasn’t fun. A year later I hung out with a different pit bull cousin who had the same culinary preferences. That wasn’t fun either. And wouldn’t you know it, the pit bulls in Switzerland like  sausage shaped smaller dogs as well. I think they might me mistaking me for some wurst! I showed that last pit bull who’s worst! His ears are probably still ringing. Take it from me, pit bulls have bad breath. But come to think of it, their breath is not nearly as bad as a coyote’s. Talk about rancid! Thank goodness one of my person-sisters interrupted the coyote’s attempted pup-napping. Not sure why anyone would call that ‘napping’ because I was definitely NOT sleeping in that nasty coyote’s mouth.

Snakes are a whole other kettle of fish, uh, I mean reptiles. Once I waltzed right over the top of a girthy, 5ft long rattlesnake. How was I supposed to know it was lounging just under the surface of the sand?  When it popped up, coiled into a spiral with its mouth open and tail rattling, I was a few inches past its head. I suppose it could have still lunged and bit me, but I think it was as surprised as I was. Speaking of surprises, that rattlesnake that slithered under our backdoor into the living room was a bit of a surprise. It was headed right for my pillow when dad almost stepped on it! A few bad words later, mom had me tethered to the other end of a leash and headed out the front door. Not sure what dad did with our uninvited guest, but from the look on my people’s faces, I don’t think I want to know.

In addition to reptiles, a particular amphibian, the Sonoran Desert Toad, AKA the Colorado River Toad, tried to do me in once, too. Okay, more accurately, I almost did myself in by trying to “play” with one of these guys. Apparently, they are poisonous to dogs. Who knew? Actually, dad knew and got me away from the green ball of death. Phew.

By my count it seems I have used eight of these so called nine lives. But now that I think about it, don’t nine lives refer to cats? Hold on a second, am I a cat? This requires further exploration…
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

My final Wee-Source for the today builds on Smidgey's question and hopefully will give you a smile to help you cope.
Below is Episode 1: Me-ow? in my Smidgey's Identity Crisis Poetry Series.

Please, have a watch. Do you think I may have a problem because I keep channeling Smidgey's inner thoughts? I guess it is one way of coping...



This week's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by amazing Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.
She is inviting participants to share a post in honor of Nikki Grimes and her body of work. Several weeks ago, for Poem in Your Pocket Day, I shared a Golden Shovel poem using a strike line from Nikki's poem, Pigeon, from her collection A POCKETFUL OF POEMS.  I'm sharing it again today.

At first, I treated staying home like

a vacation. Time to write some

poems or binge watch that wild

show, “Tiger King” on Netflix. The thing

is though, this is a pandemic. I am anxious.

People are dying. I want to

help people, see my family back home, go

to the movies. Will life ever again truly be free?

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Wee-Sources: Hope, Opportunity, and Pep Up Poetry

Hello dear Weaders,





Recent events in my home country of the United States have saddened me in profound ways. Now more than ever I have found myself overcome with a need to find bright spots filled with hope, opportunity, and poetry. It is my goal to make Wee Words for Wee Ones a place filled with those things for you all as well.

Here are this week's Wee-Sources:










I'm all for the use of four-letter words. Depending on the time and place, nothing can convey how I feel quite like a well-chosen four-letter word. In this particular time and place, the four-letter word I am choosing over and over is HOPE.

There is a line in the poem, "Blessing of Hope" by Jan Richardson from her book The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief that goes like this:

hope is not made
of wishes
but of substance

Isn't that beautiful to think about? That hope is not just a wish, but has substance? What substance is your hope made of?

For me as a writer, my hope is found in the creating: putting words together to find coherence, putting sentences together to find cohesion, putting paragraphs together to find meaning. When I go from nothing to something, I find hope. A blank mind to an idea, I find hope. A blank page to a poem, I find hope. A blank computer screen to a blog post, I find hope.

The substance of my hope cannot change policy or history, but maybe it will give a child (and their parent) moments of joy and diversion that can uplift their spirit. And to do this my words need to be published. In that spirit I am sharing with you a couple of submission opportunities that I found at a blog called, Publishing...and Other Forms of Insanity. These Cricket Media opportunities are for their youngest markets for which I am most interested, but the blog has a variety of other publishing opportunities as well. I have pitched to the Cricket Media group periodically over the years without success, and once again, I am going to embrace hope and submit again. Will you join me?







Ladybug: Making Make Believe (ages 3 - 6). Genre: Short stories, poetry, rebus stories, and songs to fuel the young child’s imagination. "We’re interested in work with an imaginative or magical twist, whether it’s a contemporary story of children at play, a gentle fantasy, a retelling of a folk or fairy tale, or an exaggerated story told by a narrator who might not be entirely reliable. LADYBUG accepts fiction up to 800 words (shorter work is fine) and poetry up to 20 lines. For our young audience, we are looking for lively writing that begs to be read aloud, as well as playfulness, humor, and lyricism." Payment: Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word. Deadline: June 15, 2020.

Ladybug: My Family (ages 3 - 6). Genre: Short stories, nonfiction, poetry, rebus stories, and songs about family life. "Send us stories about the personal or cultural traditions that make each family special: celebrating holidays, passing down jokes and stories, annual scavenger hunts, favorite trips, and more. Whether funny or heartfelt, we’re interested in stories about the routines and rhythms that give young children a sense of belonging. LADYBUG accepts fiction up to 800 words, nonfiction up to 400 words, and poetry up to 20 lines." Payment: Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word.  Deadline: June 15, 2020.

Babybug: Beep-Beep, Vroom-Vroom! (for babies and toddlers). Genre: Poetry, action rhymes, finger plays, and simple stories about all kinds of vehicles. "For inspiration, you might think of little ones who are fascinated with construction sites or sailboat-filled harbors, or those who love watching bicycles, trains, buses, and garbage trucks. Please keep manuscripts short; poems can be up to eight lines and stories up to six sentences. When we read submissions, we are especially interested in rhythmic writing that babies and toddlers will want to hear again and again." Payment: Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word. Deadline: June 15, 2020.

Babybug: Breezy Summer. (for babies and toddlers). Genre: Poetry, action rhymes, finger plays, and very short stories that celebrate summertime. "Your work might explore sunny outings to the park or beach, the season’s special games, sights, and sounds, or some other interesting aspect of summer. We’re looking for playful writing that the very young will want to hear again and again. Please be concise; poems can be up to eight lines and stories up to six sentences." Payment: Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word. Deadline: June 15, 2020.











 Last week I told you about Kathryn Apel's Poetry Pep Up. I have completed the daily prompts and wow, my poetry has definitely pepped up thanks to Kat! Take a look:

Day One: The challenge was to create a Zentangle Poem:
    Below is my zentangle. I used a random page from Turtles All the Way Down by John Green:

    the silence between us
    wanted to know
    what is 
    a reward
    you give 
    to forget
    being vulnerable
    ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

    Day Two: The challenge was to create an epigram and/or a solage. I chose to do both.

    My attempt at an epigram is actually a revision of a poem I wrote previously:

    as I open wide the lesson in oral hygiene is drilled in
    ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

    And here is my attempt at a solage:

    fire ant bites
    my toe ignites
    inflamed
    ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

    Day Three: The challenge was to write a Tetractys poem. 
    This is my tetractys:


    cow
    chews cud
    cocks her head
    to eye my pup
    she lows, "don't come near my calf" as we pass
    ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

    Day Four: The challenge was write a poem based on a photo.


    My picture poem is reflective of the collective spirit in my household right now:

    Day Five: The challenge was to write a Golden Shovel poem.

    My strike line is the above line from the poem "Blessing of Hope" by Jan Richardson.

    In my privileged bubble, my hope
    usually selfishly centers around nothing of consequence. Is
    it my fault I don't realize what is happening to those not
    like me? YES! My reality is made
    of opportunities afforded me by the oppression of 
    those deemed "other". People whose wishes
    are just as filled with hope but
    their odds of achievement are based on the color of
    their skin, not their substance.
    ©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

    Please meander over to Reflections on the Teche where Margaret has a Golden Shovel poem of her own as she host Poetry Friday this week.