A little “tech info” for Brighter Light teams!

Hi Everyone,

If you’re in one of Brighter Light January challenge teams, I thought I’d pass a little info on to you about how our Notice Board works, so those of us (and I include myself here – I’m totally winging this) who are less tech-savvy can navigate the board easily.

1) I’ve started a thread for each team. A “thread” is just a fancy way of saying that it’s a discussion or set of posts with a particular theme. In this case, your thread is the place where you can post your finalized poems and where others can go to read your poems and cheer you on!

2) To post a poem, just reply to the first post in the thread (the one I put up; its subject is “Brighter Light: [your team name] “. You can leave the subject as is, or you can change it to the title of your poem, or what prompt you’re referring to; please make sure though that it’s in reply to your team’s first post so that Andrea can know whose team wrote it!

3) To post a comment on someone else’s poem (we all like to cheer one another on, I know!), you can hit the reply button on the posted poem so it will indicate which poem you’re commenting on.

4) If you’re joining us late (I know some people are and we can’t wait to have you come on in!), just drop me an email or comment with your team title and so on, so we can get you started!

If you have a technical issue while we’re going through all this please just drop me a comment or a note through the Contact Us page. I should mention that I’m actually typing this while “under medical care” (read: don’t even ask) – I’m FINE but I’m moving a bit slowly and getting interrupted a lot, so it might take me a bit to get back to you; I apologize for any delays
Have fun, everyone! And VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Prompt Number One!

Happy New Year!

I can hardly wait and hopefully the teams are ready.

Firstly a bit of help, maybe:

I have a virtual tool box when I head for writing poetry. It might help you so here it is:

The poetry archive website has kind of dictionaries to the right so if for instance you need to know what “a sonnet” is then just press “s” and then “a sonnet” will be there and you can read the description of sonnets – and don’t worry, there will be no specific forms requested here.

If you didn’t read through the wonderful comments and links on https://inourbooks.com/2012/12/17/the-brighter-light-a-kid-adult-poeming-month-january-2013/#comments please do it. Look up the links and learn about all those places where we come from.
I, Andrea, created prompts inspired by the links – but I only went out there and took what inspired me and what inspired me was a foundation for a good team work doing poetry. So here we go.
And who are we?
We are:

“The Seasons”
“Sunshine Elves”
“The Yellow Ninja”
“The Brothers Dragonosaurus”
“The Erie Dearies”
“The Sparkly Snowflakes”
“The Chain Letters”
“The Vikings”
“The Awesome Earworms”
“The Alabama Tar Heels”

– and maybe some 2 or 3 more.

Now to our first prompt:

Prompt Number One!

What are we looking at?
Steven Bay in California caught a great moment here. H.C. Andersen caught some in The Ugly Duckling.
“The Seasons” were out here, too.
What poem does this picture inspire you to write?

Don’t forget: Sign up for the Brighter Light poeming challenge!

Cibiel courtHello, Dear Readers,

Andrea has created a wonderful challenge for us in the new year – find your favorite kid and sign up through the blog post at this link for our Brighter Light poeming month. A great chance to get a young person involved with writing, creative expression and poetry and to develop your relationship in a new way.
Johann Georg Trautmann (attr) Alte Frau mit Knaben bei Kerzenlicht
We hope you’ll join us for a wonderful month of creating poems and community and adding light to the winter days ~ ina

Monday coffee: In which I celebrate many things

My family celebrates a lot of winter holidays.We’re pretty muchPopof in celebratory mode from November 1st until January 2nd. After which, I spend the next few weeks putting away candles, sweeping up the confetti and  trying to remember where I’ve put the spare keys.

We celebrate the U.S. Thanksgiving, Diwali, Chanukah,Christmas and the New Year. I used to celebrate both Kwanzaa and Yule, but the loved ones for whom these were special holidays now live far away so I can’t celebrate with them except in thought.

Today I have something new to celebrate. Remember the Burning the Midnight Oil contest which Andrea helped so many of us enter? While people were submitting their poems, Andrea showed me a poem she’d written and was thinking about submitting. I cried a little when I read it – poems about the realities of war always make me sad and this poem is vivid, short, and ends with – well, a short line that just tried to tear my heart right out of my chest.

I am so delighted that her poem “The Grass is Green” won*.

This also delights me: the top 10 poems and the hon. mentions included a lot of people who hang out with us at this blog, including (but not limited to, and please forgive me if I missed your name) Linda Hofke, Sara McNulty, SE Ingraham, and Mariya Koleva.

To celebrate the gift of others’ voices is something I find myself wanting to do more and more often. I wonder if, as one writes more and more, one appreciates the good writing (the good reading!)  of others more. Regardless, congratulations to Andrea and to the others in the contest : what a  lovely way to head toward a new year ~ ina
Cone and holly

*I am waiting to hear if Andrea’s poem will be posted at Write Helper. If not, I will certainly ask her if i can share it here.

The Brighter Light, A Kid-Adult Poeming Month, January 2013

The days feel short in Denmark during winter. In the morning it’s dark outside and when you come home, it’s dark too.

Luckily, December is fun. So much happens and most of us feel we meet merry challenges every day but when the holiday presents are exchanged, we need to face January.

ChildAdultSunThat’s why I wanted a bit of fun to happen and hopefully you’ll want to come along. We’re out here to explore the world together and let our children get near our computers, our keys, and share some good times.

Now, just read the rules and follow Ina’s example when she and her son join in.

How to enter The Brighter Light:

  1. You must have an agreement with a child to write 16 poems for January 2013. You, being the poet, and this other someone, a kid (aged 18 or younger), must in a joint effort create the poems according to the prompts that I will provide on the blog during January. I assume the adult will listen to the child and create a poem according to this conversation, but the child might write the poem and listen to you. Either say is fine as long as teammates agree.
  2. You need to create a team name – “The Rocking Tigers” or something like that.
  3. When you come up with a name for your team, please submit it to us along with a short description about yourselves in the comment field for this blog post. Please let us know by December 28th 2012 so we can get your team’s page ready for you!
  4. In your comment, please also include a link to a web-site describing either your surroundings, your nation, or your area; make sure there are some inspiring pictures there which can form inspiring conversations.
  5. When your team name appears on our notice board, you will then have your own team page and you’re ready to go.

The Poeming Month

  1. The initial team entry in the comments below and your team’s poems must be in English.
  2. You can only post one poem per prompt. On your team page on the Notice Board, you can edit and delete so you’re sure that you have entered the poem you want to be there.
  3. The lengths of your poems should be one poem per single-spaced page.
  4. The prompts will relate to the teams’ links to places. If there’re not enough submissions, I will create the prompts and add a link. Hopefully we’ll cover a lot of places around the Earth.
  5. There will be 4 prompts a week. Each team can write 16 poems altogether.
  6. Inourbooks.com will be ready with awards in February 2013. There’ll be an award for the best poem and one for the best collection of 16 poems.

Benjamin West - The Artist and His Son Raphael - Google Art ProjectQuestions and answers:

Q: Can grandparents form teams with their grandchildren?

A: Yes, they can. Uncle and  nephew, mentor and student, any adult and child pair who would enjoy working together, please join us.

Q: Does one of the team members need to be a poet?

A: No, you just write the best poems you can.

Q: Do we need to write all the 16 poems?

A: No, you don’t, but see the rules above.

We look forward to your joining us!

[one extra FAQ from ina] Your child team member doesn’t have to write poetry, or even write at all! You can make this a full-on collaboration, you can follow your baby around and listen to them name objects and use their words as their prompt, you can do what I used to do and pick out their choicest sentences and make found poetry from them – it’s up to you! Many of us have kids in our lives who will be active collaborators, but a wide variety of options is available to your team – just choose how your team would like to work, or vary it from day to day!

Connecting Over Monday Coffee: “The Next Big Thing”

Wilhelm Schreuer Kaffeekränzchen In our previous post, we mentioned that we were invited to participate in a blog chain called My Next Big Thing.  This blog chain isn’t a chain letter but a chance for writers to connect with with one another over the blogosphere – and isn’t connecting what writing is all about? I want to say “thank you” again to our lovely friend Dr. Pearl Ketover Prilik for this chance to share what one of us is up to these days. Please check out Pearl’s Next Big Thing at this link. And after you’ve read Andrea’s description of this *amazing* project she’s working on, please stop in and say hello to the talented people with whom we’re next sharing this chain! – Ina

The Camino near Burgos

The Camino, near Burgos

Andrea’s Next Big Thing

What is the working title of your book or project?

AH: The Tartan Pillow Lead

What sparked the project/book/work off?

AH:I walked the Camino in Spain in 2006 – and why did I? I needed to explain to myself why I did it but after I did it, I most of all wanted to preserve a beautiful picture of the wonderful people I met on the road, The Camino.

The Camino! The Way! People from all over the world walk the Camino every year, and we are following a trail of hundreds of kilometers up north in Spain. There are around 25 kilometers in between the towns and the beds where you can sleep, so for many people the options make it possible. A lot of men wrote about their external sufferings and inner revelations walking these hundreds of kilometers, and I don’t understand this because the majority of people I met on the Camino back in 2006 were women. Women from all over the world losing weight.

I never intended to walk the Camino, but a friend of mine wanted to go there. She had breast cancer, and in a hospital bed without breasts, she cried, “Now I can never walk the Camino.”

And I said, “Of course you can.”

And she said, “Will you bring me?”

And I said, “I’ll carry you all the way if necessary.”

My friend recovered, and every now and then she reminded me of my promise, so one day we were there. “Hello 500 kilometers ahead of you,” I thought one day in Burgos in Spain. It turned out to be a painful nightmare for the first couple of days because I did not know anything else than walking these 500 kilometers (approximately 300 miles) to reach the airport in Santiago to get safely home to Denmark. How would I ever succeed?

I got lost from my Danish friend after two days. Only I met a lot of other people. People from all over the world. People from Holland, Germany, England, Ireland, Canada, America, Australia and yes, all over the world.

I walked all those hundreds of kilometers mostly with three Australians, but I met my Danish friend after 19 days in Santiago. When sitting in a restaurant with my Australian friends, whom I walked with for what felt like a lifetime, my Danish friend asked me, “Andrea, why do you speak in English?”

And what did I say? Likely that it was important for me that everybody around the table understood what I said – only the fact was that I felt more or less Australian. I become “a mate.”

When I returned to Denmark, I started writing about all the experiences with all those hundreds of people that I’d met. I wrote in English, and after three months I ended up with a book manuscript of 72,000 words, now wondering:

Who doesn’t need to follow a long-haired, American anorexic pilgrim walking out there with her plastic bags?

“Being a Franciscan believer doesn’t allow me to own anything,” she said. Only I for one would have loved to buy a rucksack for her. Listening to her endless packing and unpacking of her noisy Spanish plastic bags at 5 o’clock in the morning was hell.

“Sorry, but I need to arrange all my stuff right,” she said.

Or the polite British pilgrim who wore his trekking trousers inside out, explaining to me that the trousers belonged to his dead friend who had wanted to walk the Camino.  He promised this dead friend’s wife that he would wear these trousers along the entire journey, and there he was, “saving” these trousers for Santiago where he would put them on right.

“What an odd promise,” I said.

“Yes, you might say so,” he said, “but that’s how she wanted it, and I do it because she promised me his old car when I return to England.”

How would you describe your project/book/piece of work?

AH: I guess my problem is that I don’t know how to describe it. When you just write like a mad for 3 months and then polish, polish and polish – then you end up wondering what you wrote.

Only basically the genre is non-fiction. I describe poignant incidents but most of all I hope that I meet my fellow pilgrim, Susan, who said: “On my first Camino, I cried – on my second Camino, I laughed.” And I met Susan on her second Camino, luckily, and it should be impossible to be mistaken about cathedrals, towns, roads – but we went lost all the time – in fact we found a cathedral which turned out to be a flamingo dance hall.

And why did we get lost all the time? Because we were two middle aged women who had long lives behind us and needed to tell each other all about them so we missed towns, cathedrals and the arrows on the road because we were so engaged in our conversation. We didn’t see a thing until it was kind of dark or the road, the trail, suddenly stopped.

Only wherever we went, we always were rescued. We, I, were part of a team and we followed Susan who had a tartan pillow so when we saw that pillow in the hostels, we knew that we found the right place, so we booked and stayed there together.

How long did it take you to find your own style and voice?

AH: I love a short and fresh style and I love when I can break it when I need something poignant to be added. And how did I find it? I guess it’s just me like I’m born with this style of mine.

In what ways do you think ‘writer you’ differs from or has similarities to the everyday you?

AH: These are two different characters, sort of. Being a writer, I’m a lot of things but most of all, I’m sharp. In my everyday life, I’m not. Once I wanted to be but life taught me that I’m just a very ordinary kind of quiet person but when I’m writing, well, I’m normally nice but I can be horrible. You see when writing, I am completely honest.

 Who or What makes you pick up that pen or start typing at the keyboard?

AH: I guess that you, the reader, make me want to write. When I was twelve I wrote an ongoing story for a school magazine and when my fellow students protested when the editor wanted me to stop my ongoing story, I felt fine.

I don’t know, really. I’m not much of a speaker, so I guess that writing is a way for me to express myself and when I created something, I always feel fine.

Imagine someone waved a magic wand and you were only able to write one book in your lifetime and you knew it would be perfect and say exactly what you intended and be understood and appreciated by everyone; what would you write about?

AH: I always wanted to create the perfect love story. I’d say “The Tartan Pillow Lead” is a kind of love story so maybe I already wrote it.

So yes, a love story.
Photograph of Coffee Break at National Archives and Records Service (NARS) Conference in the Late 1970s

And  with that perfect ending, here are InOurBooks’ pings for the My Next Big Thing blogger chain:

  • Regina Swint, author of The Other Side of 30
  • Amy Harke-Moore author of poetry, short stories, and non-fiction and editor at The Write Helper [click her link for more info]

Wednesday Connections of a Different Kind

People are so kind.

Every once in a while – usually when I’m driving on Black Friday – I forget that and get very grumpy with all of Homo sapiens. I think about running off to some jungle and eating fruit with the apes. Then I remember that I don’t like mosquitoes, I can’t eat fruit, and my insulin pump depends on my occasionally being near civilization. So I sit and sulk.

Until someone reminds me that, yeah, as a group H. sapiens is pretty amazing, and I should try to live up to my species.

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award11One heaping cupful of kindness comes from the lovely Dr. Pearl Ketover Pritik, who has nominated me for a blogging award (the  Sisterhood of the World Blogger’s Award) and added us to a blogging chain called “The Next Big Thing.” Thank you, Pearl, for nominating me and check out her answers for the Next Big Thing! Big hug!

But wait! There’s more: Andrea has been awarded a Leibster award – from lovely Sara McNulty, she of the purple pen of Portland.

Because this blog is a joint effort, I am going to answer the questions for The Sisterhood award and Andrea post her answers for the Next Big Thing chain and announce the Leibster.

The Sisterhood award wants me to tell you 7 totally random things about me. So this is about as random as it gets:

  1. My brother and I are not twins, but we have identical birthmarks on our necks
  2. There are three states I haven’t lived in: Montana, Hawaii, and Alaska
  3. I have reverse SAD. I’m a completely different person when it’s foggy or raining – perky, cheerful, giggly.
  4. I don’t have a bucket list. I have an anti-bucket list : things that I will never get to do before I kick the bucket (e.g. have an affair with Heath Ledger/Louis Armstrong /Gene Kelly – I’m married and he’s dead).
  5. I was named after a friend of my mother’s who disappeared shortly after I was born
  6. I find plants and fungi eerie- and the more I learn about them, the weirder I find them.
  7. I modeled for some national magazines. In one of them, I’m wearing electrodes on my scalp.

And now, 7 nominations for bloggers for the Sisterhood:

There were a number of other people I would have loved to have named but some of you are guys (sorry guys!) and many of you have been nominated by others…please know that we were thinking of you!

Monday Twinings Tea

Sitting somewhere and enjoying a proper cup of tea? Coffee? Well, whatever you have and wherever you are, we’re here, and just now, I’m here, Andrea speaking.

William paxton2
No New York here, no cafés, no places to hang out, no corner for me to sit building up audiences of casual guests looking at me and thinking that I am something special. But oh, I’d love it – sitting somewhere being special – I could drink lots of coffees, I’m sure, but as it is, I like to admit that I also drink tea.

I sit in my kitchen, looking straight into my microwave oven, that is if I look up, and cafés: there is the grocer’s which is DagliBrugsen where I live. And just now, it’s tea and you out there. How I love to be connected.

So here I sit in my quiet kitchen and see Ina got something published somewhere. My fellow blogger or to be honest, the head blogger here, made it through!

Poem at Right Hand Pointing

Ina writes about breast cancer and this wonderful medical development that makes it so true to use a metaphor with koi and a frog.

But I sit a little quiet, thinking about my friend, Neser, who didn’t make it. And thinking about Neser, I always end up laughing, though now it is so many years ago. I also know that she likely would have loved Ina’s poem.

I put in another lump of sugar in my tea. It’s cold outside – please see Sidse’s picture from today:


I feel so lucky that the internet is working today which means Amanda down in Brisbane can announce her recipes for me and for the citizens of Sejer Island.

Amanda, we’re ready. We can’t wait for the lamingtons because they look so good on the pictures. I hope I can squeeze in some more details here though I know that these details might not be in our books – only this blog kind of taught me that maybe they should.

But what is our blog post for today?

Ina and I are running a blog about writing. And we want to introduce a poetry challenge for you:

An Adult-Kid poeming month in January 2013.

  1. You must have an agreement with someone on writing 16 poems for January 2013. You, being the poet, and this other someone, a kid, must create a poem according to the prompts that Ina and I will put here on the blog during January.
  2. You must enter a name – “the rocking tigers” or something like it. You must come up with a name for your team and you must submit this to us along with a short description of who you are.
  3. And I’m sorry but the poems must be in English.
  4. Ina and I will be ready with awards.

Tea tins in kitchen, mostly TwiningsThe prompts will be about describing the world. So we’ll just say, for instance, “England.” Then you will have to come up with a poem about England and then we might say “Bulgaria” and so on.

So here with my Monday tea, I hope I have inspired you all to set off
for yet another challenge.

Please tell us what you think.