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Since I am not finished with a poem today, I will share some other poetry resources from the Interwebs. I am counting this as the list post which was “assigned” Day 2 of the Build a Better Blog Challenge. [Obviously, I am not stressing myself to do that every day too, but I am learning some good hints and tips, just by reading the posts.] OK- in no particular order:

Shadow Poetry

This site has just about everything you could ask for to satisfy your poetic needs, including chapbook publishing. Some of the items are closed except to members, but the Reference pages [terms, poets, handbook, etc], Message boards and slightly addictive Magnet Poetry are free to use. If you are interested in having a chapbook published, check out their service. There are also a bookstore and two magazines available by subscription. They do accept submissions from non-members and you can submit directly through the site.

Winning Writers

This site is the home of the Poetry Contest Insider, which is a thorough database-for-a-fee. They also offer a good list of Free Poetry Contests when you sign up for their e-newsletter. Additionally, they have their own contests running throughout the year, including the Margaret Reid Traditional Verse Poetry Contest [taking entries now] and the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest [enter in August].  Also worth checking out is their page on Poetry Contests to Avoid which lists scams and questionable sites and organizations.

This is the official site from the Academy of American Poets, so I guess  it is kind of obvious. If you are looking for a favorite old poem or information on any American poet, go here. They also are the main source for National Poetry Month [April, btw, in case you missed that], since they started it about 13 years ago. There are resources for educators and readers, event listings and contests. You can also sign up to get a poem in your email daily for the rest of the month. An interesting addition this year is the Free Verse group through Flickr which has readers’ favorite poetry incorporated into photography. Some of the interpretations and images are fantastic. It is definitely fun to browse.

Waiting for My Life

Originally uploaded by MtGQ

Poet’s Haven

This site is for indy poets to share their work with the web. It is open to anyone, which means that the poems cover just about every topic, style and angst-ridden memory imaginable. You can share your poetry, discuss poetry in general on the forums, get and give critiques, and there are also other articles, reviews, etc. The highlite for me is the Saturday Night with The Poet’s Haven podcast which features readings from live open-mic nights [mostly in Ohio, where they are based]. You can submit a reading to the podcast too here. I actually have a couple old poems floating around on there from a few years ago. I may have to track them down… [BTW: they do protect your copyright- you reserve all rights.]

Giggle Poetry

This is a poetry site for kids, and it is published by Meadowbrook Press, so yes, they push their work, but there are some hilarious poems here. Teachers, and parents can find resources for teaching creative poetry writing to children and kids can read and rate poems, enter contests and play poetry games. The “Smoker’s Epitaph” fill-in-the-blank is a bit creepy, but sure to raise giggles in the youth and young-at-heart [assuming you do not smoke 😉 ]

I know there are many other worthwhile sites out there, and I purposefully did not include blogs, but I would love to learn about any you find particularly helpful or inspiring. Now, I must return to my journal, because I am way behind in the PAD Challenge. Is anyone else posting over there at all? Please share if you are! BTW: They are asking folks to post the favorite selection of their own poems done for the challenge so far. I cannot decide which one of mine I would pick. Any votes?

button designed by Elizabeth Dulemba

Share a Story - Shape a Future

I just learned about this blog, just in time to share before the festivities begin. This week, Mar 9-13 there is a blog tour  happening which concentrates on children’s literature and literacy. Anyone interested in kid lit, whether as a writer, teacher or reader, will find a plethora of information there. Each day is hosted by a different blog and covers a different theme/topic. I got the heads up through The Reading Tub whose blog is hosting the first day. There will be related downloads and giveaways too. As a mom, I look forward to gaining some insight into teaching the skill and love of literature to my own kiddos. As a writer, I think we can probably gain some insight into what children’s literature encompasses and how to write for young audiences. Either way, encouraging literacy in the new generation is beneficial to our culture, future and anyone who loves books.

Yes, I am cramming them in, so this is a nice, easy one to choose. I actually did mention it when I first started the challenge in December, so it’s only a little slack of me. Besides it allows me to make another public service announcement.

As far as children’s literature, it is hard to argue with Dr. Seuss’ prominence in our culture. He, Theodore Geisel, contributed more than just a Cat or a Grinch; he pretty much revolutionized the way we teach our children to read. This Monday, March 2 is Read Across America Day, which just happens to be Dr. Seuss Day too [it’s his birthday!]. In honor of the great man of words, parents and teachers (and anyone with 15 minutes to spare), are encouraged to read to children. The National Education Association through is even offering four free e-book downloads of classic Dr. Seuss books, including Horton’s own tale. So celebrate everyone’s favorite rhymer and make a kid’s day. You could even make a day of it with Horton in book form and his full-length animated film. If you want to eat green eggs and ham too, that’s entirely up to you.


Personally, I was glad to hear that Horton was going to get his chance at a revival. These days a film version is a guarantee of related merchandise and what better gift to get than a book, I ask you? His story, seriously now,  is such a good one for children of all ages. If you think about it, the Cat and the Grinch really are scoundrels. Horton the elephant, however, is a good guy, who speaks out for what he believes in and for people who cannot speak for themselves. To summarize: Horton discovers another world within his own larger world, a subculture if you will. He defends their rights to exist, despite resistance and attacks from others in his community, including a couple of rude kangaroos. In the long run, he helps the little Whos find their own voices and he teaches the others a lesson in equality and tolerance: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Of course the film has its own script to follow, and it is probably not too surprising to learn that they changed the story more than a bit. They did have to try to stretch it out to the standard 90 minutes. So, the Mayor of Whoville gets a wife and many kids, there is some added drama and even a dose of social satire. The main plot is maintained, but sometimes it is hard to tell. In this case, though, I say “So what?” It is silly enough for kids and parents will enjoy some of comedy’s biggest names as the voices of Horton (Jim Carrey), the Mayor (Steve Carell) and the Kangaroo (Carol Burnett). The cast is full of other great comic voices too. The animating team, which also worked on Ice Age, has done a wonderful job of creating modern Whos and also maintaining the classic Seuss look.

I have to admit that there have been problems with Seuss adaptations in the past. I was not impressed at all with The Cat in the Hat starring Mike Myers, and though it has become a holiday standard and I have found the kids watching it in July, The Grinch version which Carrey did is way over the top, and at times grates the nerves to a fine point. I like both actors, but they both seem to have forgotten that one of  Dr. Seuss’ universal appeals is that it is clean fun. Kids really do not need to add extra potty-humor to their lives. Maybe Horton is saved by being animated instead. Not only does it mean we are not seeing Carrey in an elephant costume, but it also maintains a little more of the Seuss whimsy.  Though it could definitely use a few more rhymes.

I was asked to consider this statement and what it means to me. It did not take me long to come to the very simple conclusion that Africa represents the beginning of human history and therefore, our very existence is connected to Africa. That is my deep answer. I am sure that there are some folks out there who may dispute that fact [you betcha 😉 ] but science, anthropology, history and yes, theology generally lead back to the same area. I also concluded that if the birth of mankind began in the African continent then it is not too hard of a stretch to believe that our world-wide rebirth can also be centered there. In contributing to the renewal and growth of African nations and people, we can ensure the growth of our international community and culture. As Africa goes, so, too, do we. It’s the basic Ripple effect.

It is easy, for some, to pretend that the other half of the world is somehow behind us or backwards. Those folks tend to walk through life with blinders on, but those of us with open eyes and open minds are already noticing that it really is a small world, after all [sorry, still my fave Disney song 🙂 ]…not to sound facetious, because seriously, the world is shrinking as far as communications, commerce, politics and science go. If we have learned nothing else from our war, we should realize by now that what happens on the other side of the world does effect us, too.

For many of us westerners, our perception of Africa, [which is a continent, btw, consisting of 53 separate nations] is based on the pictures we see of refugees and famine. It is hard not to associate the entire continent with such images, but that is equivalent to associating all of the USA with the 90210  zip code. It is time that we learn more about this large part of our world culture. The organizers of are organizing a networking action site which will link our own education with an opportunity to help and contribute to African, and therefore, world culture. The basic idea is centered around my favorite bevarage, the mocha. If we java junkies can live without 2 extra mochas [or lattes or red bulls, what’s your poison?] a month and we send that $7 towards a project we choose to support, then we can contribute more to world growth [and maybe sleep a bit better]. They go a step further and offer groups, organizations and even celebs personal pages so we can network and watch the progression together.

After participating in the Blog Action Day project and really enjoying being part of such a powerful movement, I was pleased to be approached for a similar project. First of all, the power of the Internet and bloggers in particular, to contribute to the world dialogue and activist culture is in a trite word, awesome. {The word itself is not trite if you consider the original meaning, but of course has since been trivialized by over- and mis-use. I’m taking it back.} Secondly, and the organizers are smart on this one, they were apparently reaching out to bloggers participating in National Blog Posting Month, many of whom, by now may be scratching their heads or other parts trying to think of what to blog about. Of course, I always have that other thing happening this month, but those posts are getting somewhat repetitive and redundant. So if you are a BloPoer or PoMoer, or just have your own thoughts on this statement or the action, here is a topic for today’s post…or heck, any day is good. Please feel free to share your thoughts on what that statement means to you, here, too.

Of course, I did my research before agreeing to share with my readers and suggest you do the same. They plan to open the official site December 1st, and I will have more information then but you can already get information there and start to sign up for a project which utilizes personal activism, international organization and social networking. Groups and individuals can use their own soc net pages and bloggers can use their sites too. So anyone who is looking for a project to contribute to or participate in may be interested.

Personally, I know I want to use my writing to contribute to the greater good and improve the world [if not just my own karma points] As I proceed in my blogging experience, I hope to find more ways to use my blog for good. I still consider this blog primarily a “writer’s blog” but do not want to continually indulge my tendency to block myself and go into anxiety overload.

And yes, I can link this whole thing to NaNo because, I kid you not, I quoted this song in my story and it actually contributes to a character. I will end with this Utube selection because I invite you to check out the lyrics and because Simba is so darn cute.

I know that I must do what’s right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure whats deep inside, frightened of this thing that Ive become

Last year I participated in this action [theme:GoGreen] and I still think it is the best thing I have done as a blogger. If I am going to write a blog, it may as well contribute some positive energy to the universe. So I am very happy to be here again [especially considering my self-imposed hiatus this year]. Anyone else interested in participating today or next year check it out here.

UN poverty stats


This topic is, as far as I am concerned, THE biggest problem the world has and is related to any other cause in which you may be involved or care about. Most of us do not understand what true poverty is, especially if we are fortunate enough to live in one of the industrialized western world nations. The difference between being poor in the United States is far different than being poor in, say, Somalia. The large discrepancies between the wealthy class and the poverty class, however, exist everywhere and I do not mean to imply that being poor in the USA is OK. In fact, I think it is a national shame. We have no excuses for allowing children in our country to go hungry or for having any homeless person die on our streets. We brag about being the richest nation in the world, capable of policing other nations, yet poverty still exists and it is getting worse, not better!

If you have been awake in the last month or so, you may have heard about the “economic crisis” occurring here which is reverberating around the world. I heard one economist or expert-type compare it this way: If we ‘sneeze’ economically, the rest of the world gets the flu. Well, our nose is running and we need to wipe up our mess. There is no reason why any executive should earn a millions-of-dollars severance package while his investors are losing their shirts. Or their homes. Likewise, I do not believe there is any excuse for actors and athletes to make millions per game or movie or show while their fans rely on food stamps and prayer. Yes, many of these individuals contribute to their communities or charity-of-the-month, but the problem is not going away.

Beyond our own doorsteps, and I firmly believe that we are an international community now, we must look at the facts around the world. UNICEF figures estimate that between 26,500-30,000 children under age 5 die every day due to poverty. Think about that again: Today, October 15, 2008, nearly THIRTY THOUSAND children will die just because they live in poor circumstances which could be changed. Not because of war, natural disasters or abuse, but because they do not have food, or clean water or warm clothes. That stat does not even factor in the older children and adults who are dying beside them. Most of these children are in remote villages which have few resources, being ignored by their governments and most of the world, but a few are also in our own communities. No one has been able to explain to me why we freely spend billions of dollars on wars, oil and liposuction while children are allowed to die.

I am not an economist, or investor type, and have bad flashbacks of my college Microeconomics course, but I do understand the simple concept of Supply and Demand. The problem as I see it is we have the wrong supplies for the growing demands.  Basic human needs [food, shelter, clothing] are not being distributed fairly, while luxuries and random useless Stuff are taking over the planet. I cannot tell you how upset I get when I see new, high-dollar planned communities being built, while empty homes rot into the earth. Or how disturbing it is to see dumpsters full of food when people are starving down the street. Of course, doing something about it may take some radical overhauling of our own lifestyles and the corporate world which controls that supply. Or it may not.

Simplicity works. We can all change one small thing in our life which can have a huge impact in the grander scheme of things. Eat leftovers [yum, my favorite lunch!]; Donate clothes, food, money, time-whatever you have to share; STOP THROWING THINGS AWAY! Last year’s sweater can still keep someone warm! [including yourself] If you do invest, find companies who are contributing to a solution not the problem; Educate yourself and others: READ, write and STAND UP! Use your voice if you have nothing else to give and speak out. There are a myriad of opportunities on the web and in your community. Yes, I have worked at soup kitchens [and eaten at them, too], shared food with strangers and given what I can to spangers. A one-time donation is good for your karma; even Free is an action which we can complete while surfing instead of looking up the latest celebrity gossip or techno gadgets.

The United Nations has identified eradicating world poverty as its #1 Millenium Goal. By the year 2015, poverty should not exist on such global levels. There is a lot more info available at that link as well as opportunities to help. This weekend, Stand Up Against Poverty is occurring around the world, including here in cyberspace. Please take a few minutes to check out their vid. Consider it your action of the day. And, once again, I will promote, which is one of my favorite sites on the web and offers everyone a chance to do something about poverty or any other cause you choose.

OK, I admit it seems like I have been slacking here. It’s been so long, WordPress has all sorts of new things happening now that I have to catch up on learning. Really though, I have been working hard and finally earned the right to fly the Grammatika widget you may all now admire at the bottom of my blogroll. I know I have been negligent of this blog, which totally defies the whole Resolution thing (see entry below), but I dedicated the winter months to “Work” and completed my very first online course. Now that I have decided to concentrate my language skills on editing other people’s writing, it appears I have been ignoring my own writing. But, I’m back. Honestly, studying proofreading (especially the tome known as ‘Chicago’) has inspired me and probably greatly improved my writing skills. I am far less likely to overuse my friend the ellipses…though it’s still likely to make too many appearances when I get on a roll…or want to make a point.

I am excited about entering this new profession, especially as I have been an amateur proofreader for most of my life. It seems like a natural progression. Now I just have to sit back and wait for all of the jobs to start rolling in. Yes, that was a joke. Frankly, this is where my real hurdles begin. I have the language skills, all of the resources I can find, and a natural-born proofer’s eye, but as far as marketing myself, I am a novice…actually, “coward” may be a better word choice. I can’t exactly sell myself, and aggressive is not a word used to describe me. Ever. But “dedicated” may work, so I will focus on that, for now.

Meanwhile, I have new sites to share and add to the roll. I have had a lot of fun discovering the world of words on this web. Of course, there are a myriad of sites for writers which I have explored for the last year or so. The web definitely is the best source for freelance writers and wordsmiths, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to find so many sites dedicated to language arts, specifically grammar, like Grammar Girl, which also is a podcast, and Word Nerds Unite! [my inspiration for this entry’s title as well as my “alumni” blog from].

I guess I am naive [because I should know by now that there really is a site for anything on the www] but I didn’t really think there was such a huge subculture of grammarians in the larger American culture. I mean, outside of Sigma Tau Delta and NPR, where do word nerds go for a good time? Yes, I went to a liberal arts school, but when you grow up with friends who are artists, musicians and athletes and your special skill is spelling, well, it just never seemed that cool. So, let me tell you, I reveled in the camaraderie I found on the course’s forum. And I gladly accept the title Word Nerd. Maybe next time I roll around here, I can add “professional” to the list.

120_240_vertical.jpgI found a fun and worthy site to share so I shall spread the word wherever I can. This site is called

If you play a simple vocab game you can also get sponsors to donate more food to the UN World Food Program, plus you may learn something new, whether it’s a vocabulary word or that millions of people are starving and consider a bowl of rice delicious gourmet dining…not to be facetious [one i got wrong, bad me].


OK I am participating in Blog Action Day ’07…..

As usual, I’m late to the party, so I just registered this weekend, on the official website, which says takes 48 hrs to approve… so this may not be an approved blog [i feel so illicit]… but the point is the action, right? And the action is to get thousands of web loggers to speak, teach and preach about being green… it ain’t easy, it never has been but how wonderful that we green people are finally coming out and being accepted by the media and society at large! I love to laugh at the way the environmental scene is described as new and how some certain news sources seem to think they are reporting on something novel.

Ecology and environmentalism have been evolving, well, really, as long as we have been, but as a “movement” or “action” it’s definitely been part of this country’s history for at least the past 2 centuries. Remember H.D. Thoreau, Rachel Carson or the Sierra Club ?[pic of founder John Muir on left] Heard of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century? Well, there were plenty of people freaking out then about what those carbon-spewing, unnatural monsters would do to our health, our land and our souls. But business must go on, natch, so a whole lot of laws and lobbyists and press reports were used to make green people seem like outsiders, freaks and geeks.  Of course, we cannot erase history now, [and who wants to?! it’s too much fun!] what we must do is evolve: learn and grow. When we say things like “I don’t know what I can do!” or “We can’t possibly be causing destructive global warming because the Earth always goes through climate changes!” we are denying our place in this universe. We are all a part of the system, eco-  not just social, and we all, animal, vegetable and mineral, rely on each other to function. Nobody can do it all, but everyone can do something! Apathy, meaning not caring at all, is not how any of our systems have grown or thrived.

YAY !! We have a figurehead! 

While I enthusiastically applaud Gore’s decisive victory, I mean the latest one, the Nobel of course, not the Emmy, I wish the media would stop asking him if this means he’ll run again [ “RUN, FOR US, RUN!”]  When are they going to figure out what he has learned!?! This is so much bigger than US; like he has said, and many before him, this is a human issue, a moral issue, not a political issue. He and his peers, AND WE, can do so much more good if not playing puppet to the big business forces behind-the-scenes, pulling the strings. Al has changed his tie color, to green, and embraced his roots, [hahaha], the motivating force that originally inspired him to enter public office: Green energy, and I do not mean money. There really are a lot of us out there, and generally, we look like everyone else. Naturally, some of us may be hairier or tanner or thinner, but we are everywhere, and we are not afraid to say “I’m Green!”

I realized I was green, despite having two rather white thumbs, in the late 80’s, as a budding teenager celebrating her Earth Day/birthday. My b-day is not April 22nd but since the official celebrations at the mall and local venues are generally relegated to the nearest weekend, some years it is, and as far as I was concerned the big eco-party was a great way to celebrate my own growth. I knew then that I was only joining a coalition that was far older than I [and Greenpeace and Earth Day and even the USA] I just wanted to figure out my part in it all, and learn as much as I could. I have worked with environmental groups, supported the movement through education, communication and finances, renewed, reused and recycled for all of my adult life, but I still know that I have not done enough. Sometimes I feel like I am not green enough, as the insult goes, even though I know in my heart that I do know, think and do more than a whole lot of other folks, about the green culture.

Yet, now in the 21st century, because of so many years of ignorance [as in ignoring the facts] and backlash against greens [yes, i have hugged trees, wanna make something of it?] there is a urgency amongst us that is causing internal strife. Better-than-thou Greens are fighting each other, debating on which element of our cause is more important [climate change vs. land preservation? solar vs. windpower? paper vs. plastic?] When will they realize that it is all connected? This is one culture with many facets and members. We cannot fight against ourselves, it will destroy us all. As in any peacefully functioning society, tolerance of individuals and differences must be maintained.  I recently read a debate about vegetarians being the only true environmentalists. Boy, that was heated, let me tell you. I can understand both points of view; what I cannot comprehend is why people think arguing about these matters is progress.

There are more resources and groups and information available than ever, but do they all matter to the movement? I try to keep updated by hip sites like Grist and Treehugger, and get the e-newsletters from Orion and E Magazine. Sometimes there are great stories and important news; sometimes its schlock. I am beginning to doubt my own greenness because I don’t buy new cars, and seldom new clothes, so I have not invested in a hybrid SUV or organic jeans [which are on my wishlist btw]. And of course I love those book things which trees have to die for [as my mother constantly reminded me when I folded pages down as a bookmark]. So am I not green enough if I buy magazines or ever get a book printed? Think about the thousands of books that never sell and sit in piles in warehouses or the bargain bins. I think about them and shudder. And when I saw a set of encyclopedias thrown in the communal dumpster I almost cried. I know it was outdated, and the Internet is greener, but the thought of books being delegated to the landfills haunts me. I want to find a home for them. But I can’t save them all. I can do what I can, so I do, and I look for ways that I can do more or produce less or recycle things I already have instead of buying more that I don’t need.

Like, I said, it’s not easy being green. I have to battle my own self-doubts, the greener people with stars on thars, the Powers That Are and the naysayers. I have to prove my qualifications to be green, right? I have to get off the comp and go outside and play. Breathe in the not-so-fresh air and enjoy it while I can.

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