Find Your Tribe!

A friend of mine recently observed that this has been the year for me of finding my tribe. It’s true, and it’s a very important thing to do, for everyone, but I’m thinking specifically for artists and writers and other creative types. At the SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Summer Conference in Los Angeles last weekend, YA author Laurie Halse Anderson referred to us as the Island of Misfit Toys. Remember that place from the old animated Rudolph flick they showed on TV every year? I laughed because I’ve often thought of myself as one of those misfit toys. Since junior high school,  when all that insecurity begins. Creatives tend to be the oddballs. The weirdies. The ones who think differently, feel awkward...

Weekend Workout: Making the Daily Matter

This isn’t my regular kind of weekend workout. This one is about getting refocused for the New Year. (now that you’ve let go of all the junk that was holding you back) I’ve been thinking about why I have been “dragging myself” into this new year. Part of it seems to be a feeling of having lost my way. I find myself asking questions like, “Am I on purpose? Am I following my bliss? Where did all the passion go?” Eleven years ago I moved to Eastern Europe and traveled around for the better part of a year. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I was full of every kind of emotion, vulnerable and open, writing massive amounts of poetry and doing a lot of, dare I say it, “soul-searching.” Everything...

The Best Year of My Life… Seriously?!?

If someone told you that you could have the best year of your life, would you a) fold your arms across your chest and go, “oh yeah? okay, give me the best year of my life.” OR b) jump up and down excitedly and shout, “awesome! what do I need to do? Tell me and I’ll do it!” If you answered A, then this post isn’t for you. Well, actually it is for you, but you’re not ready. So, bugger off. Go on. Okay, now that those A people are gone… I think most people tend to want the outside world to make them happy. If only THIS would happen, then I’d be happy. I learned a long time ago that it’s the other way around. I have to get happy first. A friend of mine desperately wants to find a partner. She’s even said to me,...

Start the Year with Kindness

Several years ago I had the privilege of working for Puget Sound Community School in Seattle, WA. At that time, the school was only a few years old and had no fixed address. Classes were held in different places on each day of the week (from a retirement home to a community centre to a church to a frat house). Mondays we had field trips and/or community service and on Fridays students had mentorships in the community. There were no grades. Discipline happened democratically. The kids were amazing. I was having so much fun I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to work for them. The founder and director, Andy Smallman, is a visionary educator, although I don’t know if his down-to-earth nature would call it anything other than passion. And his passion is...

Pick a Challenge, any Challenge

August is a fine time to work your creative mojo. Everyone’s doing it! And they’re doing it in the form of challenges and experiments. Below are a few that I recommend. Please let me know if there are any more out there in the coming month/s and I’ll add them to the list. The 3:15 Experiment Anyone who follows my blog with any regularity knows that I participate in the annual 3:15 Experiment every year. Basically, a shifting menagerie of poets (and prose writers, actually) wakes up at 3:15 AM EACH morning during the month of August and writes. Our goal is to write while riding a 1/2 dream state. Magic happens. We have a Facebook Group now. Join us. August Postcard Poetry Fest Started by Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers, the Postcard Poetry Fest...

Hello Mister Moon

The other day I saw an excited little girl run out of a furniture store and look up into the sky. “Mister Moon says hello!” she declared to her mother. “Hello, Mister Moon!” the little girl cried and waved at the moon. Ah, to hear the moon…