Friday Surprise: Here We Are!

Here we are!

The 1st of February.

Sunshine and moon

An overwhelming number of wonderful poems and in my case also several new words. Sharon taught me, Andrea, all about a Lazy Boy, so now I know precisely what a Lazy Boy is.

And it explains a lot because years ago someone called themselves Lazyboy and displayed a video with someone who kind of view the life from a Lazy Boy and it’s called the Facts of Life. Lazyboy continued though and sent out this impressive something in around 2004 and it has been one of my favorites ever since. I’d call this poetry – only I’m not quite sure who’d agree. Only this is what I thought of when Sharon writes Lazy Boy:

Lazy Boy!

About Our Brighter Light Challenge – yes, the light is so much brighter now. Ina and I already said that there will be prizes for the best poem and the best collection. Well, in fact the best number one, number two and number three single poems and one prize for the best collection.

During this week-end I’ll go through all the poems and I will likely post something more on Sunday.


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. 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.

Friday Surprise

Hana just told me – Andrea – on FB that she entered the Midnight Oil poetry contest and that’s just great.
Some time ago, back in October, Amy who holds the contest, wrote to me because only so few poets had sent poems to her for her contest – only I didn’t have any poems that Amy hadn’t seen so I couldn’t submit any.
Instead I paid for some possible entries so I could offer free entries to poets who sent poems to our blog including one very special poet who once wrote an incredible poem on Poetic Asides.
And the poets sent their poems to Amy, she extended her deadline, she got some more poems and Amy was happy.
That was when I realized that I had two poems written here in November that Amy hadn’t seen.
I submitted them yesterday.
So here we go!

Monday Coffee with cream and definitely stirred.

James Bond and Barrack Obama are all over the Danish television at the moment but mind you, we’re writing poems and some of us are even writing NaNoWriMo as well. No time for a lot of blog reading in November for sure.

Cup of Coffee with Whipped CreamOnly we launched a notice board here on InOurBooks last week and we’re so glad that Amanda from Brisbane, Australia, used it to promote her blog. Amanda is a member of the Scandinavian club there and she also reads a lot of books and so do so many other members of this extraordinary club. I’m not sure whether they read that much poetry but here I’ll let Amanda correct me if I’m wrong. Still, there is this club where people can meet and have new friends, having delicious meals and having so much fun with their children.

I’m a teacher at the local island school – today   was “a theme day” and the theme was English.I asked Marilyn Braendeholm or MiskMask for a good recipe for a “four o’clock tea” last week and she sent me two recipes of how to create the best sandwiches the English like. I also studied websites about how to tie a tie.

So today it was. The students appeared wearing ties and were pretty excited. An English day? In the first lesson we studied the recipes in English but we also learned how to use Google Translate and in the second lesson we studied how to tie a double Windsor knot and this work went on, off and on. And that was great because I was to fetch 3 packets of black Tiger prawns and other ingredients which were scheduled to come by the ferry at around 9.00 and yes, everything was there.

And the sandwiches? Marilyn, here I was among people who love “fuldskaver” which is a Sejer Island specialty I can’t explain, but something completely different compared with these sophisticated English sandwiches.
They loved them, Marilyn, and they also loved the tea, and we did heat the milk. We were supposed to speak English, only English, for almost four hours and we did the first two of them but when we created that delicious “four o’clock tea” experiment, the words switched to Danish all the time. Now here I sit and smile thinking about all these good things that come out of poetry.
And poetry! Poetic Asides! I have so much trouble posting at Poetic Asides. It says I’m posting too quickly and I don’t understand. I went through lots of trial and errors but whatever I do it says that I’m posting too quickly. Too quickly? I live on one of the slowest internet connection places in the entire Denmark.

So I began posting my poems on our notice board and what a wonderful surprise!
Claudette responded. Linda Hofke responded. Janet Martin responded. Ina. And there I sat. “Thank you” written all over my face. And here I am to say thank you. You make me so glad.

The worst part is that I’m not sure I know how to reply directly on our notice board yet – I only figured out how to paste so far but I will find out, hopefully. And now Vivienne Blake. Thank you and especially for your expression: “He would flip his lid.”

Now, let’s enjoy our Monday coffee, only mind you, I might suggest some real English tea some day with heated milk – shaken, not stirred.

A Wednesday poem

Here’s a Wednesday poem. It’s inspired by Marie Elena and Walt over at Poetic Bloomings. They have a prompt there, and writing 50 lines like this is just a lovely challenge for me. Please enjoy my attempt. Hopefully it works.

Zero on Life

Why Wednesday
Why not Day Zero
Zero being the nothing
Zero all around me
me on top of all
me only not today
today rings no bells
today’s hardly here
Here’s no sun
here’s only dirty dishes
Dishes everywhere in magazines
Dishes screaming
Screaming silently
screaming endlessly together
Together with cups
cups used of course
cups emptied
Emptied Monday coffee
emptied dreams of days
Days lined up in memory
days of no surrender
Surrender’s no key word
surrender goes with wars
wars killing people
wars on religion
religion being the omen
religion say God
God in various names
God bless them all
All Gods are God
all people is people
People everywhere
people loving
loving love
loving peace
Peace on our doorstep
Peace in our hearts
Hearts of gold
hearts of fire
Fire in colorful flames
fire of deadly destruction
destruction of time
destruction of vast areas
areas covering nations
areas of flowers
Flowers in my hands
flowers providing life
Life of Wednesday
life’s wonderful

Monday Coffee

Do you take the blue cup or the red cup of coffee at 7-Eleven?
You might need a Danish to go along, I’d say – especially because “blue” means “right wing” and “red” means “left wing” here in Denmark so I would be pretty confused if I needed a cup of coffee in a 7-Eleven in the US for the time being.

Well, in fact I’d feel pretty odd to order a Danish.

Only for the time being we’re thinking of Sandy and we follow this huge giant, to be honest no one thinks of politics today here. We might drink our coffee, sort of color blind, and we don’t write any poems and we think of Pearl and all the other 400,000 people who had to be evacuated. In fact we think of all the millions of people who are right there.

For the next six hours we hold our breath and wish that people from the New York area (and the rest of the North and East Coast) can drink all the coffees they want, blue or red, tomorrow and have them enjoying all the good wishes from all around the world.

Sunday Surprise

My good old virtual friend Jacqueline Cardenas is suddenly here.
She posted such a wonderful comment on Poetic Bloomings

(“Poetry is a way to unite“)

and I replied this:

“Jacque, do you remember your poems on Poetic Asides back in 2009? Your poem with a couple who spend their honeymoon in Spain, in a hotel room, in a bed and this husband’s beard grows and grows – and the woman suddenly wonders: “I never knew I married Taliban?”
That is my favorite poem from Poetic Asides 2009.
Sharing humor means the world for me and your way of thinking opens up my mind again and again.”
Now Jacque, I also posted a free submission to you for so now, Jacque, you run along with all the other great poets!