Pond and Wheelbarrow–Student Poems


This past week in my sophomore English class, the students read poems by Amy Lowell and William Carlos Williams.  I gave them the assignment to write about either a pond or a wheelbarrow.  At first, they thought I had lost my mind.  However, several decided they would like their poems published on this blog.  The following are three poems the students asked me to publish:

The Pond

The frogs croak

quietly in the night

waiting for food

to come by.

 

The water shimmers

in the moonlight

like a lighthouse

to the ocean.

 

When you think of

the pond,

think of the beautiful

creatures that live

in it.

Author:  Ali Matthews

 

 

Pond

Sittin in a pond,

watching the frogs jump by,

the fish sing

bloop!  bloop!!  bloop!!

Author:  Skylee Isham

 

 

The Wheelbarrow

Behind my fence

sits a green wheel barrow.

 

It has been used many times,

but still looks brand new.

 

The wheelbarrow has sat through

all sorts of weather, and it

still works like a charm.

Author:  Taylor Shugart

 

Advertisements

September 1, on the Rim of Wonder


Sunrise

Dappled clouds

Owl hooting

Wren climbing

IMG_3489

IMG_3486

IMG_3487

Later, I graded papers and watched part of John McCain’s funeral, some of which almost brought me to tears.  I often disagreed with him but never did I question his passionate love of country, his courage, his willingness to buck the norm, to defy convention when he thought it was the right thing to do.  I think he and I shared certain values on which this country is based even if the country as a whole rarely lives up to them.  These include the conviction that all people are equal, that everyone deserves justice, and each person carries the right to find his or her own share of happiness without judgment and condemnation from others who may think differently.

Later, while working on the latest book I am writing, I found handwritten recipes written by my grandmother, my mother’s mother, Nellie Narcissus Duke (Kaiser),whose father came here from Switzerland as a child.  One, for dumplings, remains readable.  The other written in pencil on the front and back of thin paper is fragile.  It is for Strawberry Shortcake.  If Grandmother Duke ever made dumplings, I do not remember it.  Mother did–chicken and dumplings.  I wonder if she used this recipe.  I do remember conversations about the shortcake because Dad did not like strawberry shortcake even though he liked strawberries.  I took photos of these two recipes written decades ago in my grandmother’s handwriting.

IMG_3492IMG_3493

IMG_3494

 

Own Everything


Checked my Facebook today and this quote showed up–posted by a fellow friend and author. It is from Ann Lamont:

“You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

 

 

Note:  In spite of a few men having referred to me as a scandalous woman after reading my book, “On the Rim of Wonder”, I still have not been sued for slander.  It has been a few years.  I think I am safe.  Always tell your truth.  Be open to adventure.  Live your life.  Be the best you that you can be.

 

IMG_2801

 

 

Storytellers Telling Stories podcast


For those of you who enjoy different types of stories and their authors, here is a weekly Podcast to explore.

Samuel Snoek-Brown

I am profoundly excited to announce that I’ll be joining a new podcast series, hosted by author Jude Brewer, called Storytellers Telling Stories. The series will consist of writers sharing their work and their craft in a new version of the oldest tradition: oral storytelling.

21246316_10213146534685437_7215545624481597062_o

You can check out the teaser trailer online now.

I’d be excited to join this series anyway, especially since I’m a fan of Jude’s work in general and am honored he invited me to come aboard. But the lineup he has in place for season one includes some of my favorite writers and dearest friends: Jason Arias, David Ciminello, Sean Davis, Daniel Elder, Zach Ellis, Jenny Forrester, DeAngelo Gillispie, Kate Gray, Rios de la Luz, Gina Ochsner, Kate Ristau, Domi J Shoemaker, Davis Slater, and Reema Zaman.

My own…

View original post 51 more words

Cheating, Stealing


The story that follows keeps running through my mind, disturbing my inner peace.  It occurred several weeks ago while I worked.  As a teacher I take plagiarism seriously.  Repeatedly, I explain that it is cheating and ultimately a form of stealing.  Yes, stealing.  When students cheat, copy another’s work whether from some famous author or from the student by them, they are stealing from that person, and in reality cheating themselves, cheating themselves from learning what may have proven to be valuable information or a needed skill later in life.

Several weeks ago, a former, talented student asked to observe my classes as part of his assignment from a college class.  He sat in on a couple of classes, many of the students already knew him, and I explained his purpose in being there.  At the end of the day, while we chatted about the past and his excellent grades when he attended my English class, he informed me that he frequently writes not only his own papers but also the papers for another student, who was also a former student and perfectly able to write decent papers himself.  He told me that the student for whom he writes these papers pays him either with money or beer.  Too astonished to adequately respond, I kept silent.   However, this continues to haunt me, not only because my opinion of the student plummeted but also because he plans to be a coach and teacher himself.  Will he later realize the unacceptability of his behavior, how unethical and immoral?  Will he change when he becomes a teacher himself?

I also remain unhappy with myself for not saying something to him immediately.  My shock really is not an excuse.  I now promise myself that if I do see him again soon, I will definitely explain my dismay and sadness with his story.  I also wonder why he told me?  Regardless, I worry for the future if this is the type of person who will replace current teachers.  I also wonder how many current teachers find this sort of behavior normal, acceptable.

A Week of Gratitude (cont.)


Each day I made a list of things for which I feel grateful, sometimes more, sometimes less.  Tuesday’s list includes:

-Endless sunsets streaked with orange, vermillion, purple, lavender and colors with no name.

-An ability to sing the world’s greatest chorale music with a group of experienced singers who even occasionally sings with the symphony.

Wednesday’s list includes:

-Books I love.  My favorite is “Storyteller” by Leslie Marmon Silko.  I must have read her story “Yellow Woman” at least 50 times.

-The ability to write myself.  I entered a flash memoir contest on Wednesday.

Today’s list includes:

-A short but fun experience with my grandson whom I picked up at school.  He told me all about what he is learning in science class–he is in seventh grade.  We discussed genetics and Punnett Squares.  I recently explained them to some high school biology students.

-Driving my tractor, grading the steep drive down to my cliffside house.  I grew up on a farm and love driving the tractor.

-Cooking dinner.  Here’s the recipe:

Fillet of salmon–keta

4-5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 poblano pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/2 medium beetroot, thinly sliced and then diced

Bebere to taste or other spice if you do not have this

Several bunches kale, spine removed, and coarsely chopped.  I used two kinds–one green and one purple.

Saute the garlic and beetroot in olive oil until nearly cooked.  Add the poblano pepper and salmon.  Sprinkle a coating of bebere to cover the salmon.  Saute until salmon is nearly done and pepper is cooked but still bright green.  Add kale, occasionally stir, and saute until kale is slightly wilted. Serve over rice.  I used basmati from Pakistan.

Note:  bebere is a spice from Ethiopia.  I use homemade from my Ethiopian friends who have it special made.  Her blend is complex but not very hot.  Some commercial blends are mostly hot.

img_2505

Commit Random Acts


This speaks for itself.

I am one voice,
but I will not be complicit,
compliant,
quiet.

For every word of hate,
I’ll speak LOVE

For every swastika,
I’ll sign PEACE

raw-heart-purple

For every belief outlawed,
every book burned,
every person
mocked,
marginalized,
belittled,
bullied…

I’ll commit
random acts of
WRITING and ART,
shout
COMPASSION
and KINDNESS
from rooftops!

Poem + Artwork ©2016, Jen Payne

raw-carbumperwp

“Commit Random Acts of Writing + Art” bumper sticker. Measures 4″ x 8″ with gloss UV lamination. Printed in the USA. Price includes shipping. BE PART OF THE CREATIVE MOVEMENT!  Click here to order now!

View original post

Calling on the Muse: A Meditation for Creative Spirits by Mary Sharratt


For my writer friends out there. I have blogged about her books before.

mary sharrattThe world at large might view artists and writers as free spirits rocking la vie bohème, but creative people know that it’s much more complicated than that, especially if we’re striving to earn even a modest living from our work. As a writer, I often fall into the trap of measuring my success or failure on factors completely beyond my control, such as the ups and downs of a fickle book buying market.

I know that I’ve often wrestled with the feeling that I’ll never be enough. Never be big enough, never be a bestseller. Sometimes it’s hard not to succumb to a flailing sense of helplessness—why are any of us doing all this? Worst of all is my fear of creative dryness—that my inspiration will turn to dust and I’ll never write—let alone publish—another book.

woman_writing

View original post 722 more words

Women Writers and the Story Circle Network


More than twenty years ago, I coauthored a book with an attorney.  Not only did it get published, it was also translated into Spanish.  The topic, the momentum for its topic, seems basically gone now.  Some technical and business magazines published a few articles I wrote.  I wrote some safety manuals, other technical stuff, rather boring, uninspiring.  Then I discovered the Story Circle Network.

The Story Circle Network inspired me to write creatively again–once upon a time in high school my poetry was published.  Then I quit writing for years.  When I started again, it was technical or business writing.  If you want to write your stories, read other women’s stories, just explore fiction, poetry, travel writing, you name it, join this organization.  It changed not only my writing life, but my life in a broader sense.  Through it I met not only other writers, I also became a board member, made new friends who write and share. This inspiring organization not only provides classes, publishes, but also hosts various writing contests and a biannual conference.  In the middle of April, I will head to Austin for the conference.  The keynote speaker is no other than Brooke Warner, the woman who founded She Writes Press.  Go to http://www.storycircle.org to learn more about the conference and the just announced winners of the Sarton Women’s Literary Awards, become inspired, create, publish, grow.  Without this organization, I seriously doubt I would have written my book of poetry, published by Uno Mundo Press in April 2014.

10285598_10201564553698114_927164360_o

Because of comments from readers of this book, inspiration from friends, and personal interests, I am now working on another book.

I offer thanks to the Story Circle Network for renewing my writing life.