Extra Life – Benefiting Children at Riley

Each year, my boyfriend dedicates 24 hours of a weekend to play video games to help raise money for children at Riley Hospital. Except this year, on November 2nd, it’s 25 hours! The charity is called Extra Life, and they are amazing! If you can, please donate. If you need a better reason than helping kids in need… it’s tax-deductible!

Donations are set at $1/hour, and please don’t feel obligated to donate more than you can. I recommend donating $25 for the 25 hours he will be playing video games. Any donation amount is helpful, though. If you can’t donate, we completely understand. These kids will really appreciate and benefit from it. Oh, did I mention that this tax-deductible?

Click HERE to learn more and watch a video about the cause. Help us help the kids at Riley!

I can speak on a personal level about this, too – my best friend’s nephew was in Riley hospital for the first 5-6 months of his life, and since he has been home (he just turned 3 this past August and his family is exploring communication devices so he can finally show the world just how smart he really is), he has flourished! Without the help of Riley in those first few months, his parents and family would not have had the training to take care of him on their own.

Thanks in advance for your support. If you’re in the Indy area on November 2, we invite you stop by our place. We’ll have food and games going all day! Kids are more than welcome too, as we have many interactive video games to play, like Kinect Adventures and various Wii U games that kids would love!

Feel free to share this post with anyone who may be interested in either stopping by to play games and/or donate to the cause. Thanks again, and I love you all! :)

<3

A Long Poem: Ekphrastic Poetry

For this week’s Writer Wednesday, I want to share with you an ekphrastic poem I composed a few months ago that I have recently refined.

First, let’s define ekphrastic poetry.

Definition of ekphrasis: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art.

ekphrasis  [Gk ‘description’]: a literary work of art that seeks to describe or recreate in language a visual work of art (painting, photograph, architecture, sculpture, blown glass, etc.)

The visual arts serve as great inspiration for poets. For the following poem, I derived my inspiration from the famous Norman Rockwell piece, The Love Song, which is on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

rockwell_love_song26
The Love Song, by Norman Rockwell.
Oil on Canvas, 1926.

The Love Song (after Norman Rockwell)

Mr. Jameson and his friend
were about to rehearse –
my favorite part
of the morning.

Tick… tick…

The metronome counts.
Nineteen minutes
past nine –

right on time.

I had eleven
minutes to fantasize,
and I intended
to use each one
before the coo of the clock
brought me back to my broom
and the sink full of dishes.

Even though the house
was never clean
enough for the missus,
and I was behind schedule,
I welcomed the break.

The charming notes
fashioned by the flute
and clarinet
carried me across
the room, sashaying my body
to the window, where I could
I rest my head against
the cool, plaster-covered
stone wall.

The men and their music, they
drenched me in a melody
strangely familiar, but I don’t mind.
I adore their eager, genuine effort
to compose their notes like
they worked parallel to the Gershwins.

Every Thursday morning,
at nineteen minutes past nine,
the jazz takes me
back to that moment…

I clutched my broom
tight to my heart,
and slipped
into my usual reverie.

We were sitting on the edge
of the granite fountain
in the middle
of the park, when he first
asked me to dance.

He held me tight
against his chest,
cheek to cheek, and
invited me to trace
his steps, so delicately,
as we swayed…

he whispered
the love song he wrote for me
into my ear. For that brief moment,
I was his…

until the decrescendo
of the flute and
the clarinet’s swelling rest
allowed the little wooden bird’s
final coo to rush
me back to my broom.

Writer Wednesday: Favorite Poetry

This week for Writer Wednesday, I’m taking the easy way out: sharing three of my favorite poems instead of posting one penned by yours truly.

Listed in no particular order, these three have always given me inspiration. Jim Morrison is my favorite American poet (his eccentric and completely warped mind has always intrigued me); I also love the works of Shel Silverstein (reminds me of my childhood obsession with his famous poetry books I would check out of the school library for weeks on end) and Maya Angelou (so inspirational).

Without further ado… enjoy!

POWER  (Jim Morrison)

I can make the earth stop in
its tracks. I made the
blue cars go away.

I can make myself invisible or small.
I can become gigantic & reach the
farthest things. I can change
the course of nature.
I can place myself anywhere in
space or time.
I can summon the dead.
I can perceive events on other worlds,
in my deepest inner mind,
& in the minds of others.

I can

I am

————-

Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein)

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

The Autumnal Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox

Autumn has finally arrived!

This is my favorite time of year, by far. The air is crisp, the leaves are beginning to change colors and fall, pumpkin patches are going to be thriving in no time. It’s time to celebrate! It’s time for bonfires with friends, curling up with your favorite book by the fire, and saying farewell to the warmer months.

While I’m sad to see summer go, I’m happy to welcome fall with open arms. It’s time for the Earth to begin her slumber for the winter months… and the process is absolutely breathtaking. I love to take drives through the all-American neighborhoods in my area and witness first-hand the change of the seasons. From the leaves falling gracefully to the ground below to the fresh chill in the air, the autumn months are easily my favorite time of year.

Here are some of the reasons why I’m a big fan of autumn:

– Mother Nature is at her finest.

The leaves changing colors at my dad’s place, “Little Pine.”

One of my favorite things about fall is taking a trip to my dad’s and taking photos of his property. He has a gorgeous place, and while summer there is beautiful, fall is absolutely breathtaking. The photo above is from a few years ago, early in the morning.

– It’s time for fall fashion!

Scarves. A girl can never have enough to get her through the days of fall!

I am so not fashionable, but I love a good ‘scarf and warm boots’ combo! I cannot get enough of earth tones – maybe that’s the hippie-boho chick inside me, but there’s something extra special about fall fashion. Scarves are my favorite fall accessory, but when the weather gets a little colder, I love to break out the mittens and hats and enjoy the crisp weather. I also enjoy curling up beside the fire with my sweetie or a good book.

– Having my favorite fall drink.

Hot cider or chai to warm your bones on those chilly nights.

Whatever your beverage of choice may be, you have to appreciate something warm, sweet, and spicy. I’m a Starbucks addict, and if you are too… you should try a Spiced Apple Cider with a splash of chai tea. It’s perfect for a nice fall evening!

– Visiting the pumpkin patch.

Strolling through the local pumpkin patch.

Going to the pumpkin patch is a ritual all children should experience. Hell, I’m almost 30, and fall is not quite the same unless I take a walk through one. The air, the colors, the pumpkins… this is an essential trip to take during the fall months.

What does fall mean to you, and what are your favorite things about the season? Please share in the comments below!

(Featured Image photo found on http://tumblr.com.
Other photo credits: thegloss.com, Google image searches for Fall)

Revision & Poetry

Revision & Poetry

Well, this is embarrassing. I haven’t been updating like I should. I have let things get in the way of writing for me again. That changes today. For those who know me, I’m somewhat a perfectionist when it comes to sharing my writing. I need to work on being more candid on my blog, because that’s what it’s for, right? So, here we go again. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. :)

I am in a poetry course this semester, studying under the Indiana Poet Laureate. Thus far, this class has helped me change the way I view writing poetry. I’m becoming unafraid to share my works-in-progress, and learning to better embrace critical feedback. Last night, we were discussing readings about revision. A few things grabbed my attention, but especially the notion that we have to stop being nice and sweet throughout our poems. This is me, completely. My poems are generally whimsical and fluffy and nice, leaving me with either a longing or a warm, fuzzy feeling. But sometimes we need that harsh reality to shine through. That darkness is everywhere in our lives, and we shouldn’t sugarcoat it when we share our experiences with others by way of writing. We have to stop letting our good manners get in the way of being raw and rude. Our poems can mean so much more if they have that bite or sting. That means it’s real. If it provokes emotion, then we’re on our way to a good poem.

Revising is something I’ve talked a lot about on here in the past.
TL;DR:
I revise as I go and that’s kinda bad for my writing.

I need to learn “first vision, then revision” (wise words by Lynn Emanuel in her piece “In Praise of Malice: Thoughts on Revision”). The idea of getting it out on the page without trying to revise immediately is key. I’m beginning to learn that I need to put a piece of writing away for some time before revising it, because the person I was when I wrote that poem is not who I am now, in this moment… or even five minutes from now. Something new will come along, either through education or experience, and I can apply that to an editing/revising session down the road. In fact, I pulled out a poem I wrote 12-13 years ago for our “X-Treme Revision” process in my class. I read through it and like the thought of it… but my age shows in my writing. I look forward to sharing it later after I complete this process with my class.

There is another poem I am working on for our packet project – this basically is an assignment that will track our revision process. As a class, we all took an oath to revise this one piece of work over the course of a week for a minimum of one hour each day. I will be tracking my progress and will probably scan my revisions so I have them saved electronically – I will be glad to share with you. I always enjoy seeing how others revise or get from one point to the next with their writing, so I hope you will find something useful out of my experience. Also… I urge you to give me feedback – I want to know what you think of my work. Tell if if it sucks, tell me what I need to work on, tell me what you’d change if you were the author… I don’t like hearing “this is great, don’t change a thing!” (See my earlier post on peer response sessions.) Side/end note: one thing I struggle with when it comes to poetry is knowing when it is done. When do you stop revising a poem? When do you call it done? I don’t have an answer for this yet, but I hope to get closer as my poetry improves.

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