On the links once more

Pebble Beach Golf Links, hole 7I think it says something about me as a writer (or as a person) that I find it more interesting to read about other writers than to write about my life or the writing process. I’m once again in possession of articles about writing that I feel much more obligated to share with other writers than whatever is going on in my own life, writing or otherwise.

I used to read a poem at the end of each biology section when I was a TA. Part of me thought I was crazy, but another part of my recognized the way that good poems work, with parts that each contribute to a larger whole, rather like a human body. And when you have a classroom full of premedical students, well, that just seems like an obvious audience. Glad to say that if I was crazy, I was also not alone: Maybe poetry and science aren’t so far apart after all

Cadena de barco para anclado

Kepayo, cc 3 license

I love Billy Collins – he’s not my fave poet laureate (that honor still goes to Ted Kooser) but I do like his lightness of touch and his ability to speak to basic human conditions. There’s a lovely little interview with him in the Washington Post. What I happened to love best were his thoughts on memorizing poetry; my mother made me memorize many, many poems (a lot of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems, which I’m afraid have been permanently embedded in my brain, leaving less room for what I’ve done with my car keys or whether I checked out 6 or 7 library books), and I think he’s right about what a gift that is.

An interview with the poetry coordinator of the Geraldine Dodge Foundation, Michele Russo, caught my eye for a couple of reasons. She calls herself more of a hobbyist poet but I recognize many of the signs of having a worthwhile job while still writing some, including joining workshops just to get oneself writing. If you don’t know about the Foundation and/or want to read a charming interview, this is a lovely read for you.

Broad chain closeup

Kepayo, cc 2 license

And last but definitely not least, we move away from poetry. This blog is followed by several people who are “self-published” or “indie published.” A letter by Roger Sutton (editor in chief at The Horn Book) about why he doesn’t review self-published books has been making the rounds on FB and twitter, and I’m curious…what do you all think about his reasons for not reviewing these books? (Here’s what Ron Charles of the WaPo thinks). He says that this is not nearly as much of a problem in other genres of self-published books as it is in children’s lit – do you think that’s right? Do you think we’re missing things by these books not being reviewed, and if so, what?

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Monday coffee: Writing “happy”

Mahlzeit für einen Binturong

By 4028mdk09 CC-BY-SA-3.0

This silly looking beast is a Southeast Asian Bear-Cat. Otherwise known as a binturong.

Binturongs are distant relatives of civets. They walk low to the ground, have prehensile tails and are the size of a very large dog. They waddle like raccoons, except when they leap straight up in the air (all four paws off the ground) to jump on ducks. No, not kidding. I had the pleasure of meeting one at the San Diego Zoo – he was one of their “Animal Ambassadors.” He did, as binturongs are reputed to do, smell exactly like Fritos.

20130311-150354.jpgI often hope that Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) got to meet a binturong. With their funny tufty ears, their habit of hanging upside down from tree branches to sleep, and their spray of whiskers, they are as close to a Dr. Seuss animal come to life as anything on Earth.

Our friend, Linda, is having a terrific contest in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The contest ends on the 16th of March. If you haven’t joined in yet, please do – even if you’re not “a real poet.” Dr. Seuss is for everyone.

I haven’t, myself, written a poem for the contest yet. My six year old has, but I haven’t been able to. Why? Partly because I’ve been overworked, but mostly because I’ve been a bit blue – a delayed effect of a lot of kind of yucky stuff from the past couple of months finally sitting down on my head.

Young pet bear cat in Taman Negara Malaysia

By Bart Van den Bosch CC-BY-SA-2.5

Until today, I have been waiting to “feel happier” before trying to write my Seussian poem. Which is why I ended up looking up pictures of binturongs. And it was when I found this little guy that I realized that…as a writer, you can’t always wait to be happy before you write. Because sometimes it’s the act of writing, the being at one with your creative nature, that is happiness. I’m happy when I’m writing – even when I’m grumpy about what I’m writing or even just bored. So instead of waiting to write until I am happy, or trying to jolly myself into happiness, I’m going to write myself happy. In fact, I’m going to do it now. This post is just by way of thank you to Linda H., and all the other writers I know (at PA friends, and HMPDYWT, and Posted Asides), for reminding me, however indirectly, that to be happy, writers…we write.