Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Unfall?

I wish I could Unfall...

Previously I've written here about my ongoing journey with German language acquisition. Well, this week German provided me with the most confusing word for when my journey hits a bump in the road...or in this case, a bush.

You see, the German word for accident is Unfall.



















Which is the exact opposite of what I did. I had a fall.

Off my bike.*

On to the ground.

After hitting a bush.

And I broke my (left) arm. Just below the elbow.

This is my first broken bone in 53 years and I can honestly say, 'OMG,  it really hurts!'

For the time being I am muddling along with the tasks of life using only one arm.

Today I had my first hair wash since my Unfall...

(shower kit for my cast)












...which yielded these results:



















(I'm selfie-challenged under the best of circumstances, so my apologies for the wonky angle...)

Despite my Unfall, my spirit cannot be broken!

Today's poem is explains how it all happened...

peddle
peddle
look
peddle
bush!
A-I-R
arm
tush
helmet
cush
*disbelief*
sidewalk
brief
pride
thief
cast
relief
no peddle
peddle
today

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.


*it was NOT an e-bike.

A HUGE thank you to all of you who expressed an interest in the
Poetry Across the World Critique Group!
Not sure what I'm talking about? You can find out all the details here.


And since the group isn't getting started until September, you have the whole month of August to let me know if you want to be involved. All abilities of poets are welcome. No entry requirements, just world building, poetry connecting kindness. Just leave a comment below expressing your interest or email me direct at:
bridget(at)bridgetmagee(dot)com.



Join the Poetry Friday party at Reading to the Core where Catherine is our consummate host. I'll be over in the corner with my arm propped on some pillows...come say hi!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Wee-Source: 'Floating' a Poetry Across the World Idea

This week's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Jan at Bookseedstudio. She has invited us to engage with the theme "Float".









Last week I shared Wee-Sources about writing in community. Thank you to the weaders who shared their writing resources as well!

This week I float the idea of a Wee-Source of writing in a KIND community.

















I got an email this week that has made me 'float' inside...

Over the last few years I've made four 10 Steps to Writing...Poetry Videos. (see the side bar here →)

In these videos I walk viewers through a 10 Step process for writing a particular poetry form. At the end of each video I invite viewers to send me their poems. Occasionally I hear from budding poets, usually kids, sharing their poems. It is always a delight.

This week I heard from R.B. (a complete stranger) who shared his limerick after watching my 10 Steps to Writing Limericks.

Based on the subject matter of his limerick, I'm guessing R.B. is an adult:





















 R.B. indicates that this is his 2nd Limerick, but I have no recollection or record of receiving his first. Either way, R.B.'s random email made my week!

The other part of R.B.'s sharing that makes me so happy is that he is on a journey with poetry. His limerick is not perfect, but he tried a new form and shared it with another person, me!

I, too, am on a journey with my writing. And as I have shared, writing in community is always better than writing alone. Receiving R.B.'s email got me thinking about writing groups. A few years ago I was in search of a community in the form of a poetry critique group. I was invited (or I asked - I can't remember which) to join an online poetry critique group made up of "a supportive community of people who write verse for children" (their words).

Upon reading their introductory email I thought to myself, "This will be so great! I've found MY people!"








After outlining the general membership participation requirements, I was asked to complete TEN (🚩!) questions about my education/publication/dedication to children's poetry, including samples.

But as I did so, I thought to myself, "This will be so great! I've found MY people!"







 
I was then told that my application would be reviewed by the "Membership Committee". (Really? A membership committee for a supportive community of people who write verse for children? Ok.)

After a month, I got an email saying, "I'm sorry to report you didn't make it in."







 
Upon reading my rejection, I thought to myself, "This is so not great. I feel terrible. But, I will keep writing and looking for MY people..."







 

A year or so later, I got another email from this group saying that a slot had opened and I could apply again.

I thought to myself, "This still might be great. I might have found MY people...maybe?"

Cautiously optimistic, I again completed the TEN (🚩!) questions and included my sample poetry so, again, they could be reviewed by the "Membership Committee".

A month later, I again got an email saying, "I'm sorry to report you didn't make it in." AGAIN!







 

Upon reading my SECOND rejection from this group - with no clear indication of WHY I was not good enough - I thought to myself, "I SUCK! I want to quit writing poetry for children! I want to quit writing poetry for anybody! I want to quit writing!"











 Mind you this group is not part of a publication or an educational institution. They are a critique group. An exclusive critique group that employs a nameless/faceless "Membership Committee" to deem writers (me!) not good enough with zero feedback to as to WHY my answers/poetry samples didn't make the cut.

I never want anyone to feel how this group made me feel.

Eventually I dried my eyes, took a deep breath, and continued to write.









And since that time I am happy to report that I have published my poetry - lots of times! I've gone on to have success without this group.









But I'd like to have success WITH a group.
A DIFFERENT group.
A KIND group.
An INCLUSIVE group.
A group for ANYONE on their writing journey, from any location, with any experience.  
I want to lift other writers up and root for their success while they do the same for me.

That is why I am 'floating' the creation of a
Poetry Across the World Critique Group.
There is no membership committee, just kind and welcoming participants who want to give and get feedback on their poetry.


















And by critique I mean read and respond using the OREO method* to other's poetry. It is a minimum once a month commitment to submit one poem and write a response to one poem via email. If you'd like to write and respond to more in any given month, you will be able to. But at a minimum, it is 1 for 1, once a month. No judgement. No mean comments. Just a global cheerleading squad for you and your poetry writing.

*the OREO method:
 Chocolate wafer: tell poet something you really like about their poem - what's unique? which image or word(s)/phrase(s) work well? 
Stuff in middle: tell poet something to improve in their poem - what doesn't make sense? suggestion of something to leave out or add in? Said KINDLY.
Chocolate wafer: tell poet something else positive about their poem - what else will encourage and empower the poet to move forward and improve?

If you are interested in joining and/or want more information, please email me at
bridget(at)bridgetmagee(dot)com by 31 August. I will coordinate the participants, distribute the email list and get the ball rolling for a September start.

Will you walk through the door of community and opportunity to join me? I hope so!
Smidgey hopes so too...












Today's poem is a reworked version of a poem I shared a few years ago about sowing the seeds of love:
Seeds sown

among poets,

soon-to-be poets,

and poetry friends

are cultivated in 
honesty,
love,

and kindness

allowing skills,
confidence,
and a poetry community

to flourish

and blossom
across the world.
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Wee-Sources: Writer's Retreats!

Or as I say here in my Wee Words World:
Writer's Wee-Treats!

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis








Writing IS hard, but not TOO hard if you do it in community.

You won't understand the unabashed power of a community until you are a part of one.
~Unknown 

Community has more meaning now than ever before. And being a world away from my family and friends, I appreciate any community I can connect with. Bonus points, when it aligns with my passion for writing!

πŸ’– Enter, Poetry Friday!








Poetry Friday is a free weekly online gathering of poetry writers, readers, educators, anybody! Poet extraordinaire, Renee LaTulippe at No Water River, gives the best explanation of what Poetry Friday is and who can participate (everyone!) and how.

This week's Poetry Friday hostess is Ruth at There is no such thing as a God for-saken town.

This week's Wee-Source post is a curated list of 'writing in community' opportunities to keep your writing mojo rolling through the summer and beyond...

(All of the following Wee-Sources involve some kind of fee to participate, but I am receiving NO compensation for featuring them here. I just found them interesting and wanted to share. Sign up at your own risk.)

πŸ’– Many of us are teachers and ALL of us are dealing with Covid restrictions so the good peeps at Teach Write, LLC have got you covered on how you can keep going with your writing at a safe distance with their Teach Write Academy.








There are multiple workshop opportunities there, but the one that interested me the most was the monthly Time to Write!: An Online Writing Workshop for Teacher-Writers. Their motto is "Together We Write Better". For a small fee you join a weekly session over the course of a month that will give you community and accountability in a safe (on multiple levels) on-line environment with other teacher writers. There are multiple times to choose from so as to fit your individual schedule. The times are a little tricky for me here in Switzerland, but I think I might try to join an August session. Will you join me?

πŸ’– A name that is synonymous with children's writing AND community is Highlights Foundation.








Nestled in glorious northeastern Pennsylvania, Highlights is an amazing Wee-Source for children's writing retreats. I participated in a Highlights Poetry workshop back in 2012 where I was awestruck by met many Poetry Friday peeps. It was a life changing experience.

Right now Highlights is offering multiple workshops on a variety of children's writing subjects. And let me tell you, October is the month for children's poetry! Right now they are advertising on-site offerings. But as the Covid world evolves, that may change.

For those of us who can't travel to Highlights, they just announced another online treat:  Meditations for Writers & Illustrators: An On Demand Course that will be starting next week. A whole list of online offerings are here. The awesomeness never ends!

Poet/author extraordinaire, Laura Shovan, reminded me that Highlights also recently reopened for Unworkshops where you can use their gorgeous facility and dining services as an unstructured writing retreat getaway. All the information on Unworkshops is HERE.

πŸ’– Another name synonymous with the best of the best of children's writing is the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI for short.








In the age of Covid, SCBWI has made the decision to hold all of their programs exclusively online. That means, no matter where you are in the world, you can participate in an SCBWI event! No planes, no hotels, no time off work! You just need to pay a participation fee, wear your best pajamas/sweats, and drink your steaming cup of tea while you learn from the masters! Speaking of masters, Linda Sue Park is the keynote speaker for the Indiana region's conference: Diversity Day: Writing Outside Your Lane on Saturday 12 September.  There is a price difference between member and non-member, but either way, SCBWI events are an incredible value. And, many make available a recording of the event for registered participants after the event is over. Perfect if you are in another timezone! Check out all the Regional Webinars here.

πŸ’– And if you want to be a part of the most amazing writing community on the planet, look into the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) program at Hamline University. 






I am proud to be an alumna and even prouder to be presenting my webinar: Poetic License: Road Tested Methods for Adding Poetry to Your WIP for High-Octane Reader Benefit to my fellow alumni this weekend! Utilizing my Language Learning education and experience, my webinar is about how to infuse poetic elements into your writing for not only reader enjoyment/engagement, but also for huge language learning benefits. I gave a different version of this talk back in April through SCBWI-Switzerland. I'm happy to say I got to know some wonderfully supportive and talented writers from all over the world through that experience - a shout out to Elisabeth in Switzerland and Kathy in California!
Contact me if you'd like me to share my webinar with your organization.

As more 'writing in community' Wee-Sources come through my inbox, I will share them with you, dear Weaders. Please contact me direct (bridgetatbridgetmageedotcom) if you know of or are involved in an opportunity you'd like to share. I'd be happy to feature you/it on my blog!

πŸ’– THANK YOU to Tabatha who shared the following additional writing retreat Wee-Sources:



I have the BEST Weaders. πŸ’“


Enjoy today's acrostic poem and its central message...(see what I did there?)

                at the centeR
                 of my desirE to
                              wriTe better
                        is the uRge to
                                   flEe
                               for A
                                     wriTer's...
©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Fun With Languages Wee-Sources

GrΓΌezi mitenand!  
(In Swiss German that translates to "Hello everyone!") 












Since arriving in Switzerland just about 3 years ago we have been on a relentless journey toward German language acquisition. We live in central Switzerland where Swiss German is primarily spoken. (Actually Swiss German is a spoken dialect - think Cajun English - but High German is the written form.) Switzerland is unique in that they have four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Notice how English is not one of those? Yeah, the Swiss generally are fluent in English as a second (or third or fourth!) language, but you would be hard pressed to find a Swiss person who will initiate an interaction in English - especially if they assume you are Swiss. 

In the spirit of learning a new language at I remember what it was like to not be able to take the phone into the bathroom years-old, today I share with you Fun With Languages Wee-Sources

Even before leaving Arizona, we started taking German classes. (Shout out to the UofA grad student from Germany, Patrick, who could not believe we knew absolutely no German yet were moving to Switzerland.) And since the first month we arrived, we have been taking nonstop German classes with varying degrees of success. I can honestly say that my speaking and listening skills are at the level of a toddler, and my reading and writing skills are about at a grade 1 level. I am beyond proud of that last statement. πŸ˜ƒ

One Wee-Source I use daily is the Duolingo app on my phone.












In fact, I am up to 462 days in a row!
Some of the sentences I learn on Duolingo are helpful, like:

















 Because you know, pants. In our present world reality wearing pants represents a bit of achievement some days...

But then some sentences are not so helpful:


















But I have to say NOTHING is more satisfying than that melodic *ding* when you get a correct answer! I'm obviously motivated by positive reinforcement.

Duolingo is great for learning lots of languages, not just German. In fact, they offer 23 languages. There is a free version and a paid subscription "Plus" version. Basically, the only difference is the Plus version is ad free. 

You may wonder, can I achieve fluency using Duolingo? Short answer, no. But, it does help with vocabulary and sentence structure that has benefited me in my in-person classes. 

Deepl is another invaluable Wee-Source that has helped us survive thrive living in a country where 90% of the signs and packages are written in a language we don't know and 95% of the people speak any other language besides English. Google Translate used to be our go-to translating resource until we discovered Deepl. I love that I can write a paragraph in English and then with a click of my mouse, have the whole thing translated ready to be cut and pasted into an email to, say, my doctor. (It can be scary to have to conduct important business - health care! - in another language.) One of the best parts of using Deepl is that it gives alternative ways of saying the same sentence. Plus, when used on the computer you can highlight a section of text, hit control C twice, then a window will pop up with Deepl's translation! SO helpful when we receive an email in German.

As a sad aside, we were supposed to be in Ireland last week for a Green Day concert. (It was an early birthday present for Maureen.) Our flights and concert tickets have been postponed until the end of June 2021...covid willing! 
Anyway, in the spirit of translation and missing seeing Green Day live here is my final Wee-Source for today, a Google Translate version of Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

If you found this humorous and want to see if there is a Google Translate song of a favorite artist, google it. Let me know in the comments if you found one you want to share.

I end with a poem because that is the form of English I love best. It sums up my addiction to Duolingo.

each correct answer
brings me closer
to understan...*ding*

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

This week Linda at A Word Edgewise is hosting the Poetry Friday festivities! Join us!