THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE MIDSUMMER JUNE JULY EDITION

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE MIDSUMMER JUNE JULY EDITION

The cover is illustrated with thick black lines and vibrant colors. A yellow sunflower with layers of pointed petals in the foreground, over the usual image of blue sky, green grass, and clusters of purple grapes hanging from twisted vines. The sunflower has a thick green stem and a brown center which is speckled with various shades of brown and yellow. Over this image, the title “The Writer’s Grapevine” is written in a mix of white type and scripted fonts. At the top of the image, black text reads “June July Edition - Midsummer - 2022”.

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE MIDSUMMER JUNE JULY EDITION

BY PATTY L. FLETCHER

A PUBLICATION OF TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD MARKETING

 

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GREETINGS…

Hello everyone, and welcome to another incredible edition of the Writer’s Grapevine.

How do I know it’s incredible? Because it’s filled with “incredible” contributors. But the proof is, as they say, “in the pudding.” Or, in this case, on the page. So grab your favorite drink, snuggle down into your most comfortable reading nest, and ready yourself for some great discoveries.

This month we have new releases, great articles, and reports of things to come. So without further ado, here’s the Writer’s Grapevine just for you.

Of course, as always, you’re invited to share. Just make sure to send out the entire magazine. If you choose to share specific items, please copy each one in its completion, thus giving the author or business full credit.

My special thanks to Mara Reitsma of COVERED BY THE ROSE for the magazine cover. Contractor for Plaisted Publishing House Author Consultant at http://www.plaistedpublishinghouse.com. And Colleen and Dawn from Two Pentacles Publishing at http://www.twopentacles.com for assistance with editing and photo descriptions, as well as the seasonal design additions to this month’s themed cover.

SPONSORS…

Too busy to take on a full-time promotion package and all the work that entails? How about becoming a sponsor? Little work. Lots of results.

Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist) is now seeking sponsors to keep our prices reasonable, so those who cannot afford the high cost of advertising will have a place to turn for part of their marketing needs.

Here at Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, we marry social media marketing with more traditional approaches. We strive to assist clients with promoting their books, blogs, and small businesses.

What will you, as a sponsor of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, receive?

If you become a sponsor of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, you will receive:

An ad or ads up to 500 words in length on the sponsor page of my blog will remain until you either request them removed or ask to update in some way

A spot in my monthly online magazine, the Writer’s Grapevine, and:

A spot in the annual Writer’s Grapevine Holiday Extravaganza.

Your ads will also be used in Facebook events held on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/tellittotheworld, and in articles and essays found on my blog.

The price for becoming a sponsor is $30.00 every 90 days or is free with a one-year full package.

We take payment via PayPal at: https://paypal.me/tellittotheworld?locale.x=en_US

We have many sponsors, and the actual sponsor page, which is found on my blog, is quite long. To put up their ads in full would take an enormous portion of this magazine. Rather than put up pages of ads, I’m going to list their names and how to find them. You can, of course, visit the sponsor page on my blog and see all their ads in full, including photos. Keep in mind the sponsor page is a work in progress and is always being updated, so be sure to check back often.

That having been said, you may occasionally note that there are some new additions here that haven’t yet made it onto the blog. So, in the meantime, here are all this month’s sponsors.

COLONIAL HEIGHTS ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Website:
http://www.colonialheightsvet.com

AUTHOR JO E. PINTO
New Release 2020
Apples of Gold

 

TIMELY ADVICE WHEN THE WORLD DOESN’T SEEM LOVELY
By Jo Elizabeth Pinto
Author Website:
https://www.brightsideauthor.com

MEREDITH LEIGH BURTON: THE CHOCOLATE DOG
Author Website:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GC3HNYB/

EZ2SEEPRODUCTS
Learn all about the totally unique, 8.5” x 11” EZ2See®Weekly Planner/Calendar, Specialty Visually Challenged Friendly Sticky Notepads and Markers at Website:
http://www.EZ2SeeProducts.com

PLAISTED PUBLISHING HOUSE LTD
Author Consultant Website:
http://www.plaistedpublishinghouse.com

AUTHOR AND ARTIST LYNDA MCKINNEY LAMBERT
Lynda McKinney Lambert announces
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems now available on Audible
Author Website:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Lynda+McKinney+Lambert&i=audible&

CASEY MATHEWS OF WEBFRIENDLYHELP
Virtual Tech Advisor and Research Assistant
Website:
https://webfriendlyhelp.com

AUTHORS TASHA AND STEPHEN HALPERT
Shop for Stephen and Tasha’s books, Abacadabra Moonshine & Other Stories by Stephen Halpert, Up to My Neck in Lemons, and other books by Tasha Halpert
Author Website:
https://smile.amazon.com/

AUTHOR ANNE COPELAND
Pumpkin, Pumpkin
Folklore, History, Planting Care, and Good Eating
by Anne Copeland (C 2019)
Author Website:
https://www.amazon.com/Pumpkin-Folklore-History-Planting-Eating/dp/1719980985/

AUTHOR AND BLIND PHOTOGRAPHER PRAANAV LAL
Author Website:
https://pranavwrites.com/

 

JOHN CRAWFORD’S SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Website:
https://johncrawfordschoolofmusic.wordpress.com

MARLENE MESOT
Author of The Purging Fire and Other Titles
Author Website:
http://www.marlsmenagerie.com

AUTHOR BUTTERFLY THOMAS
In My Feelings: A Book of Poetry
Author Website:
https://www.dldbooks.com/bthomas/

TWO PENTACLES PUBLISHING SERVICES
Website:
http://www.twopentacles.com

ANTHONY CANDELA
Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy and
Vision Dreams: A Parable
Author Website:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Anthony+Candela&i=stripbooks

WHAT’S UP…

Hi everyone, and welcome to the What’s Up column!

Before we begin with all the fantastic contributions, I’d just like to say that the feedback I’m getting about this column is quite impressive. It turns out our readers seriously love knowing about what our writers, business owners, and nonprofit workers are up to. Please, contributors, keep those letters about all your goings-on coming.

It’s been some time since we were all together so let’s dive right in to see what everyone’s been up to.

Kicking off this month’s column, we’ve Edward Cohen with Cats, Parades, Braille and Business.

#34 The May 2022 EZ2See® News

By Edward Cohen of

EZ2See® Products LLC

First the Personal Stuff:

That Darn Cat Snickers

Long term readers will remember one of the grandson’s cats, for whom we occasionally cat sit. This winter he avoided being a cat sickle. One afternoon this month we were leaving the daughter’s house and Snickers was sitting out front. As we headed home, he started to follow. By follow, I mean he walked in front of us. When we veered off the sidewalk to take the alley, he quickly caught up and continued to lead the way.

Once we all arrived at our home, he darted inside and went straight to the kitchen. I think he knew no food awaited, but maybe hope springs eternal for cats as well as people. We gave him a couple of cat treats we keep when he and his sister are our guests. A few moments after chomping them down, he vanished. A short time later he let us know he was at the side door and ready to go. Out he scooted without the slightest thank you or see you later. But we are still fond of him.

More on My Learning Braille Journey

All I’ve been able to work on this month has been to occasionally sit down with my Perkins Brailler. There, for 10 or 15 minutes, I practice writing and reading what I write. I still struggle to read side-by-side letters with more than 3 raised dots. The space dividing letters is just so small. If I put a space between them, I’m fine. I’m told this is common and to keep at it.

Progress with the Low-vision Support Group

We meet twice a month, two weeks apart. In the first one, we gather at 10:00 AM at a popular restaurant/bar. This month, we enjoyed good coffee, creative breakfasts and smoothies in a different area of where we’ve met the last few times. This time, we reserved their private room. It isn’t that we are antisocial, it is because more than half who join us have hearing challenges. Away from other customers’ conversation and with the music from the overhead speakers turned off, all agreed we’d found a good spot.

This month we’ve also shared news of our group with one of Mayo’s retina specialists. He expressed great support for our effort and gladly accepted our flier saying he’d make copies and share. All we can do is keep reaching out.

And Now for the Business News:

A Blog Page Addition

Last month, I stumbled upon four unfinished Blog Posts and got to work finishing one of them. I titled it, “An Unusual Day.” It took place in the summer of 2019 but since we all know how the Covid virus has impacted our nation, you would have figured out this particular day happened during the Before Times.

In it I described a large event in our near-by park and a parade of 100+ floats, bands and noisy vehicles. I biked on my three-wheel bike in the parade which wound right through our neighborhood.

My Relationship with Facebook

I am not a Facebook person, but I hire someone to maintain my business presence there and on some other social media platforms. When I get an email saying some nice person liked my EZ2See® page, I marvel that they did so, but was unaware of the importance of getting “likes.” If you are a Facebook person and have not liked my page yet, please consider doing so. Also, if you have bought my calendar, please leave a review.

Another Testimonial

Yes, another kind person wrote with such a heart-felt email that I asked and received her permission to add it. I certainly don’t expect you to read them, but as someone interested in how my little business is doing, I thought you’d want to know.

 

They are flooding in at the tremendous rate of about 1 a month. Grin. I know, that is nothing to brag about, but it is a small thrill to know people choose to tell me that they appreciate my efforts. I’m sure you can understand that.

Sales of 2022 Calendars Just Keep Going

April and May still saw 100+ sales each, mostly on Amazon. I know, I too am amazed at how far into the year people still buy them. I guess that when people stumble upon something that will help them or a loved one, it doesn’t matter that almost half the year has passed. But, we’re down to the last few boxes of 20, so the Sold-Out sign will soon be posted on the website.

Update on The EZ2See® Address Book and More

I looked back at the April news to see what I wrote; everything sounded so positive. Having given the printer the job in the middle of the month, surely I’d have the test books in hand by month’s end. Well, I didn’t and here’s why.

The print shop recommended to me was a two-person shop. It was run by the older owner and the young, enthusiastic designer. After 2 weeks of checking only to either be told it would be another week or my calls going to voicemail and emails not returned, I ran out of patience.

By the end of April, we drove by and got the full story. It seems the younger guy blew up at the older guy and just walked out. The single copy we provided of what each section should look like could not be found. We wished the harried owner well and left. That afternoon, I called some other local print shops and chose a slightly larger operation to go with.

Because I had only one sample, which I no longer had, we spent the weekend creating another. While it was an amateur version, it wasn’t that bad if you ignored that the front and back of each page was held together with double-stick tape.

Monday morning, we walked into the new place and met the production manager. I again presented the sample and described the job. I appreciated that he didn’t laugh at my sample. Grin.

He quickly understood this somewhat unusual job which he would not bind, but instead just provide the various parts wrapped separately for me to bind. He asked if I could wait about 5 days for it to be done. I’m sure he didn’t know why I chuckled when I said we could wait that long.

Anyway, six days after dropping it off and one week before the end of the month, we picked up their work product which met my expectations. Finally, we can punch and insert the discs to assemble and bind the books.

I’ve completed preparing the orientation and the survey questions about the books. This coming week they, along with the test books, will be mailed to the eight testers of various ages, genders and levels of vision that I’ve lined up. As they email back their completed surveys, I’ll be closely reviewing and considering their responses alongside those I’ll be getting as I meet with several local testers. So, with all of that to do, on top of everything else already scheduled, you can look forward to an action-packed end of June news.

I hope you aren’t as tired reading this month’s news, as I was living it. Grin.

Thanks, as always, for your support and interest,

Edward

Here is where to find my newest blog post

Here is where to find my latest testimonial

Here is where to find my Facebook page

Check out the elderly fall, slip and skin protection products

made by Prevent Products Inc who also licensed and now sells my products.

Edward is a low vision senior living in southeast Minnesota. He is the founder and owner of EZ2See® Products LLC. Visit his website if you or someone you care about is looking for innovative organizing products for those living with vision loss or other challenges.

To receive this monthly news or to connect with Edward, email info@EZ2SeeProducts.com

Next up, Annie Chiappetta is here with news to share.

Annie Shares News Volume 2 Issue 6 June 2022

June greetings! Wacky weather patterns continue in the lower Hudson valley, a roller coaster of rain, storms, and heat, then rinse and repeat. The repairs resulting from hurricane Ida in 2021 are now upon the residents of our apartment building. What took so long? Insurance. Don’t sweat the small stuff and go with the flow of life. So far, we are trying to remember the important things like health and family. Living on the ground floor has its perks and its drawbacks, one advantage is we are always looking up.

🌇 🌆

Poet Carol Farnsworth has released her first poetry collection, Leaf Memories. It’s a beautifully written gathering of her life and family. You can find it on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats and from Smashwords.

If you want to hear more about the inner workings of a first novel, listen to the radio interview I did on Disability and Progress with KFAI Minnesota and host Sam Jasmine promoting my novel, Hope For the Tarnished. Apologies for the poor sound quality, never use a new set-up unless it is tested first. Here is the link.

Until next month, be well and be yourself!

Subscribe to Annie Shares News at: anniesharesnews+subscribe@groups.io

Words

By Ann Chiappetta

Originally appeared in Plum Tree Tavern

https://theplumtreetavern.blogspot.com/

The slough

The stew

The rings of the tree

The trinity

 

Majesty

Taking a knee

Apathy falls into

the tarred fangs

of night.

Book cover for Words of Life: Poems and Essays. Stacked stones with the words of the title and a pattern of concentric circles etched in the sand beside them

Now we’ve poet Joan Myles with her Happy Happenings.

*Editor’s Note*

Read to the end of Joan’s piece for a special announcement

On One Foot – Brief Tidbits About Me and the Ones I Love

By Joan Myles

June 2022

Springtime here in Oregon has opened the air, has opened the clouds, has opened the throats of every bird in my little garden. And I have opened myself to receive it all with gratitude and joy!

Improved weather means more time out of doors. And since my official mobility training ended sometime ago in February, walks around my neighborhood are becoming more frequent. And what a treat to feel the shifts in temperature and moisture in the air, to hear the return of birds and their increased activity, to acknowledge the continual renewal and growth of the natural world around me!

And I’m keeping myself ready for the big day. Yes, I have applied and been accepted for training once more, this time at The Seeing Eye, in Morristown New Jersey.  Please keep your fingers crossed and your sweet thoughts coming! My class date is not likely to take place this summer, but hopefully in the fall I will be paired with another amazing canine teammate!

And speaking of dogs, another has joined our extended family. So in addition to Monty and Leo who are Chihuahua and Dachshund mixes respectively; Bucky, who is 90 pounds of mystery to me; there is Roy, a pit bull-heeler mix who will grow to about 50 pounds. Oh what a happy day it will be when I can add my own Dog Guide to the mix!

In the meantime, I am studying various poetic forms, writing and critiquing with fellow poets, and stretching myself regularly during Yoga sessions with CC.

And isn’t that what Life is about anyway? Learning and stretching and creating something beautiful, something genuine and true and worthwhile in response?

Until next time, I wish you wonder and sweetness on your journey!

Joan Myles has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair.

Joan earned a B.A. in Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a Rehabilitation Teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over 15 years.

Her first book of poetry, One With Willows, vividly expresses Joan’s child-like joy. She considers her poems to be a kind of footpath for readers, an opening into Wonder and Awe as a means to reclaim their own sense of spiritual playfulness.

Joan’s words also reveal the invisible link between one human being and another, between humans and Nature, between the physical realm and the Spiritual. The idea of the Oneness of Creation flows through her work, the understanding of living in the world as a journey of discovery, of stepping into and between the various layers and levels of existence. The poems in One Glittering Wing represent this kind of journey, specifically through Joan’s yearlong passage from the deep pain of her mother’s death toward reconciliation with Life.

And of course, One Goes to the Sea is her way of asking, “What can we learn from imagination as we dream our days and nights away? And can these lessons help awaken us to Love?”

Joan currently lives in Oregon with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.

Find her work and contact her at: http://www.jewniquelymyself.com

*FYI*

Note from Patty…

 

Hi, today is June 21, 2022. And as I insert this message into Joan’s article, she is experiencing her first full day of training at The Seeing Eye. Joan will be back in about a month with what are sure to be awesome updates. So be sure to follow her blog for all the latest details.

 

Trish Hubschman, author of the Tracy Gayle Mystery Series has been working toward improving her communication skills. It also appears she’s been doing a little summer traveling.

Here’s Trish to tell us more.

Such is Life

By Trish Hubschman
June 2022

Life has been super busy now that the pandemic has been officially declared over. This is good!

We want to start living and enjoying our new home of Pennsylvania. I’m trying to get the ball rolling with the Blind Bureau. That hasn’t been an easy task. The mobility instructor assigned to work with me pretty much closed the case before doing anything. My social worker was changed. Okay, I see that I’m on my own here.

I am connected with an agency called Sights for Hope and have a woman who’s come to my house a few times to fill out applications for various things, such as the I Can Connect program, which is equipment distribution for the deafblind and for training in Braille with her agency. I signed up for the National Blind Library and they’re going to send me some children’s books in Braille, so I can practice on my own.

I am also going to contact a state SSP program to see if I can get someone to teach me sign language.

And then there’s the part about having some fun in the keystone state. We recently went to Gettysburg National Park, where the Civil War battle was fought, and national cemetery, where Lincoln made the Gettysburg Address. It was a wonderful, eye-opening experience.

Where does writing fit in? That’s going to be the hard part. I will have to write about what’s up as things happen. So don’t worry, I’ll keep everyone informed.

Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game and Uneasy Tides. Tracy is hired by rock musician, Danny Tide, to find out who set fire to his band’s summer tour bus. In doing this, more diabolical things arise, mysteries, murders, romance.

Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Kevin Hubschman, and their dog, Henry.

Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor has come from her corner of the world to share all her goings on with us. Let’s see what she’s got to say.

News from Abbie’s Corner Summer, 2022

By Abbie Johnson Taylor

As I write this at 11 a.m. on Sunday, the 29th of May, here in Sheridan, Wyoming, we’re under a winter storm warning through Tuesday. But the sun is shining in a blue, cloudless sky. No snow is on the ground. The temperature is currently 63 degrees, and that’s the expected high for today. Although we need the moisture, I’m glad it’s not snowing.

So far, this year has been pretty busy. In January, I was interviewed on the In Perspective podcast, where hosts Bob Branco and Peter Altschul talk to writers and other persons of interest on Zoom in front of an audience. After Bob and Peter talked to me about my work, the floor was opened for questions, and we had a fun discussion.

In February, Behind Our Eyes, a writers’ organization to which I belong, held a book launch for me. Fellow author Carol Farnsworth interviewed me about my work and other things in front of another audience on Zoom. Afterward, there was more lively discussion.

At the end of February, I performed at the First Congregational Church here in Sheridan as part of a monthly music series they call Last Friday at First. Accompanying myself on the piano, I sang for about 20 minutes. At the end of March, my singing group, Just Harmony, also performed there.

In April, I participated in a variety of events to commemorate National Poetry Month on Zoom through Behind Our Eyes and other organizations. At the end of the month, I attended the WyoPoets annual workshop, which was held this year in Douglas, Wyoming, about a six-hour drive south of Sheridan. As always, I renewed acquaintances with other poets across the state, made new friends, and wrote a poem.

In May, I started taking an online class in memoir writing that will run through June 21st. The class meets on Zoom and is taught by Glenda Beall, a fellow blogger I’ve known for years. I took a similar class last fall and enjoyed writing short creative nonfiction pieces that have been published. This class is no different, and I’m enjoying it.

By the time you read this, I will, no doubt, have attended the Wyoming Writers Conference June 3rd, 4th, and 5th, which, to my delight, will be held this year here in Sheridan at the local college. So, I don’t have to pay extra for gas or lodging, which is always a plus. Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series, who lives in Ucross, Wyoming, about twenty miles east of Sheridan, will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday night banquet. He’ll also do a question and answer session earlier that day. Although I’m not a fan of his books, I always enjoy hearing from local authors.

Also in June, Just Harmony will sing at a memorial service for Lou, one of our members who passed away last year after a lengthy battle with cancer. We’re joining forces with Patchwork, another local group to which many of us belonged and from which we separated to form our own group. There were bad feelings between people in both groups, but now, we’re all putting aside our differences to give Lou the best send-off we possibly can.

Well, as they say, “That’s all she wrote.” I hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer.

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Besides The Writer’s Grapevine, her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, and other publications. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. Please visit her website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

ADVERTS AND NEWS NUGGETS…

AD: Wild with Life A Collection of Mother Earth Poetry
A lush green forest of bamboo trees features a clear pathway that veers off further into the forest. On the path is a man wearing a loose shirt and a hat, walking away into the trees. He is weary but goes on. The title of the book is in red italicized text at the top of this picture. The text at the bottom of the image reads "Poetry by Charles Portolano" in orange letters.

Wild with Life
A collection of Mother Earth poetry

by Charles Portolano
Editor of The Avocet, a Journal of Nature Poetry

Knowing I am wild with life
but once
on this gift we have been given,
this precious gift that we have
been given guardianship of…

“These poems are written by a seasoned poet who has reached the pinnacle of his art with a recognizable and moving voice. The sections of the book invited me instantly in to share their secrets: WHERE TREES RUN WILD, WILD WAYS OF WATER. THE WILD AMONG US, OUR WILDEST TERRAINS, LOVING THE WILD, and SAVING WHAT’S WILD. The underlying driving force is of course the notion of wildness and all that we have lost by destroying it.

Charles edits the highly-successful nature journal, THE AVOCET, a must for nature loving poets and writers.”- Christine Swanberg, Poet Laureate of Rockford, Il.

“In Wild with Life, Charles Portolano has deepened his engagement with the natural world he began so movingly in his earlier works. It is a noble, ambitious, and moving work.”- Joel Savishinsky – Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus in the Social Sciences, Ithaca College

Just $15.00, which includes postage, for 90 pages of pure love for our Mother Earth.

Please make out your check to The Avocet and send to:

The Avocet
P. O. Box 19186
Fountain Hills, AZ 85269

To contact us: cportolano@hotmail.com

 

AD: Songs for the Pilgrimage

The front cover of this book features a gorgeous photo of Venice, Italy, taken at sunset. Six blue and black gondolas are at rest on the water in the foreground, and a blue and white cathedral and several additional buildings are in the background, on the far shore. The top and bottom cover bands are a deep reddish brown, echoing the color of the buildings to the right of the cathedral. The lettering for the title and the author’s name is very pale gray, almost white. On the back cover are the synopsis, a short poem, and a photo of the author. A larger version of that same photo is in the book.

By Lynda McKinney Lambert
Website

NEW!

I am proud to share my newest book publication!

From the Prologue and Epilogue of Songs for the Pilgrimage:

The word pilgrimage refers to a religious journey. Individuals commit to traveling to reach a predetermined destination, such as a shrine or holy place. The excursion is a trek from one location to another. Pilgrimage has been an abiding theme in my writing for several decades.

My first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press, 2002, now out of print), was inspired by my annual journeys to Salzburg, Austria, where I taught a month-long drawing and writing course. I worked during 2020 and 2021 to revise and expand that previous collection of stories, poems, historical notes, and journal entries for this new book. Songs for the Pilgrimage features writings, drawings, and photographs I created over four decades.

I conclude with an artist’s prayer:

My studio is yours, Lord. Be my welcome guest today. Your goodness and unfailing kindness have been with me all my life. I have tried to make your glory visible in the works of art I have created. Someday I will close the door of my studio for the final time, but I will not be alone. Together, we will go to your home, where we will continue to collaborate on glorious projects throughout eternity. Amen.

May I Serve You?
Here are the stacks of paintings
for you to look at tonight.
I carefully brought them out
of storage closets
arranged them here
in the kitchen—
where my children used to play
games around a square oak table.
Once, food to nourish the body
was prepared here, by my hands.
Tonight, there is an
abundance of food
for your soul.
Come into my kitchen and
taste the world,
prepared by my hands.

© 1997 © 2021 by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Visit her website.

AD: New Release: The Chocolate Dog
By Meredith Leigh Burton
Website

The front cover of "The Chocolate Dog" depicts swirled watercolor painting of blues and purples. The silhouette of a girl and a dog wearing a working harness and handle is on the right side. The girl is wearing a skirt with a jagged, asymmetrical hemline, and has curly hair. She looks down at the dog with a hand raised to pet his face, which is looking up at her. 
The title is in playful black text above the author's name.

Patricia loves going to the ice cream shop with her mother. Every Saturday, a chocolate dog is waiting at the shop, and Patricia wants to pet him. However, she is afraid. What if the owner does not like her? Why is a dog allowed inside an ice cream shop, anyway.

When Patricia’s mother is in the hospital, Patricia worries that she will not be able to go for ice cream. Aunt Agatha, though, might have a plan to solve everything.

The Chocolate Dog is a book about unexpected surprises and the meaning of friendship. Those who enjoy stories of family love and new friends will find something to cheer about in this fun picture book from author Meredith Leigh Burton.

About Meredith Leigh Burton:

Meredith Leigh Burton is a teacher, motivational speaker and author. Some of her titles include Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption and Rebekah’s Refuge. She loves writing stories about brave heroines who go on dangerous journeys. The Chocolate Dog is her first picture book for children. Meredith lives in Lynchburg, Tennessee with her family and a menagerie of cats.

AD: Outside the Circle: A Collection of Songs and Poems
By Kevin Hubschman

The front cover of "Outside the Circle: A collection of songs and poems". The title text is centered at the top of the image in large, red letters. Below, a red, stenciled drawing of a snake forms a circle around the subtitle, its pointed tail disappearing into it's open, fanged mouth. In the bottom left corner sits the silhouetted figure of a rodent, with the author's name in the opposite corner.

C 2021 / 107 pages in print.

In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.

For cover image, free text sample, direct buying links, and author contact information, please visit the author’s website.

About the Book

Outside the Circle is a collection of songs and poems I’ve written and composed through the decades. It’s mostly dark, but for those willing to look beyond my personal demons, there can hopefully be found both flashes of resilience and rays of hope.

The book is dedicated first and foremost to my wife, Trish, who is a fantastic author in her own “write.” Secondly, it is dedicated to everyone who feels bullied, feels different, feels alone, feels friendless, feels hopeless, and feels “outside the circle.” The words “don’t judge a book by its cover” spring to mind as apropos.

“Outside the Circle”

Outside the circle I can’t see the sun

Outside the circle I don’t know anyone

Outside the circle time is on the run

Outside the circle is not much fun

Inside the circle is a white–noise crowd

Inside the circle is fashionably loud

Inside the circle there are people with guns

Inside the circle is a lot of fun

About Kevin Hubschman:

Kevin Hubschman lives in Eastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Trish, and their dog, Henry.

He is retired and currently working on a novel loosely based on his life. He would love to connect with people who could help transform some of the pieces found in this publication into polished songs.

Website and contact information.

AD: In My Feelings: A Book of Poetry
By Butterfly Thomas

The cover of "In My Feelings: A book of poetry" pictures a photo of a solitary tree. The tree is surrounded entirely by water and is reflected in the rippled surface. In the distance is a low, sloping line of blue hills. The sky is a pinkish amber near the horizon, fading to a navy blue, and is reflected in the water. The title is written in white text at the top of the image, while the author's name is in white text near the bottom.

C 2020 / 117 pages in print.

In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.

Visit the author’s website for full details (cover, buying links, author bio, and more).

About the book:

Love and passion. Conflict and regret. Pride and defiance. Rage at equality denied. Deep compassion for friends and boundless love for one’s children. These are just a few of the subjects touched upon by these 49 brief, powerful poems.

Some will fill you with shared sorrow. Many of them express anger at racial injustice and the exploitation of the disabled. Still others delight the reader with their images of strength and beauty or their clever arrangement of words.

Never pretentious or deliberately opaque, all of them are sure to make you think.

About Butterfly Thomas:

Butterfly Thomas was born in Germany but was raised in Virginia, where she still lives.

She is the author of the novel Head Held High (2018), an urban thriller.

AD: Uneasy Tides
By Trish Hubschman

The photo shows a foreboding seascape, with a cloudy sky, rocky beach, and rushing tide. The colors are gray, blue-gray, black, white, and dark brown. The title letters, at the top, are in red. Below the main title, the subtitle letters are in white. The author’s name is at the bottom of the cover, also in white. To the lower left, superimposed on the seascape, is a red and black electric guitar. It symbolizes Danny Tide and his band, Tidalwave.

C 2021 / Number four in the Tracy Gayle mystery series

$3.99 in e-book / $8.50 in paperback / 149 pages in print

Cover image, synopsis, author bio, direct buying links, and information about Trish’s previous three books can be found here.

Synopsis:

Blair wants Danny to get her an interview with his first wife’s present husband, Robert Taylor. He’s the CEO of a major computer software company. Danny reluctantly says he’ll see what he can do. He and Tracy go to the Taylor residence for a Christmas party. Danny hasn’t seen his first wife, Deb, in over 30 years. She sucks up to him.

At the party, Deb is drunk and disappears with her husband’s business partner. Her son from her second marriage, Darren, isn’t present. Her daughter Lily is flirting with a young man. Becca, Deb’s daughter with her third husband, a musician, is sincerely excited about Danny’s presence.

Danny and Tracy feel out of sorts and by midnight are ready to leave, but they have to find Deb to say good night. It’s then that mayhem breaks out. Becca summons them down to the pool area. Her mother is passed out on the cement, bruises on her face and arms. Two men are pulling Robert Taylor’s body out of the pool.

Deb is the most likely suspect, but she insists she didn’t do it. Danny’s older brother, Derek, a prominent attorney, takes her case. If Deb didn’t kill her husband, who did? There were so many possible suspects at the party.

About Trish Hubschman:

Trish Hubschman lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, author of the poetry and song collection Outside the Circle, and their dog, Henry. She holds a B.A. degree in English with a writing emphasis. For a longer bio and details about her previous Tracy Gayle books, please visit the website linked to above.

AD: Finally, a Calendar You Can See!
The company founder, a thin man with white hair, is wearing a white collared shirt with grey pinstripes and is smiling. He is holding a large spiral-bound calendar. The dates on the calendar are printed with large, black, bold text.

Finally, a Weekly Planner You Can See!

Did you know that there is a weekly planner style calendar designed specifically for those dealing with declining eyesight? Well, there is! If that sounds interesting, read on.

Since 2015, thousands of the EZ2See® weekly planners have been sold nationwide. People buy it for themselves or give it as a thoughtful gift. Users are often those experiencing such things as:

• Vision decline

• Memory challenges

• Unsteady hands

• Cognitive impairment

• A need to manage schedules for children or parents, or

• The need to record daily events

Customers say they love it because all the features they need are included. That happened because a legally blind senior created it for himself and then was urged to share his unique design with others.

Those features, most not found in any other such product, include:

• Printed on heavy weight 8.5” x 11″ paper

• Uses only high contrast, black ink

• Numbers and letters are more than ten times larger than newsprint

• Each uncluttered, daily cell is nearly the size of two, 3 x 5 cards

• Page edges have a thick black border to prevent “writing off the paper”

• Runs from December 2021 into January 2023

• Spiral bound so it folds in half and lays flat

• Bold lined pages at the end for your own notes, and

• It’s only as thick as a wooden pencil

Limited quantities of 2022 remain. For complete information or to order, visit: EZ2SeeProducts.com or place phone orders at: 800-234-8291. You will also find it at these retail locations and on Amazon.com and on Amazon.Ca.

Visit Edward on his Facebook page.

AD: Join Freedom to Be Me

A photo of Patty's left profile as she sits comfortably in a chair. She's illuminated by a lamp on the table beside her. Patty has dark hair and is wearing a white t-shirt.

Freedom to Be Me is a group where wonderfully happy and loving people talk about Books, Books, and More.

What’s the More?

  • All things books.
  • Blogs
  • Reviews
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Newsletters and Online Magazines
  • All things Tech
  • Spiritual (No preaching or pushing All Faiths Welcome)
  • And general BS.

In other words, if you keep it polite and decently clean, all are welcome. Freedom to Be Me Is a discussion group, and though it’s not terribly active, participation is wanted.

If you’d like to join us, you may Subscribe at: FreedomToBeMe+subscribe@groups.io

AD: Heidi Lambert McClure Sassafras Hill Studio

Oblong red and black earrings on a white lace tablecloth.

Are you looking for that special birthday or holiday gift? Need a specific kind of greeting card? Love the feel of homemade soap?

If you love handmade jewelry, candles, greeting cards, and more, this ad is for you.

Handmade jewelry by Heidi McClure Available for purchase on Etsy.

AD: John Crawford School of Music
John Crawford , a dark-haired man in a navy blue collared shirt, sitting at a piano.

Offering private music instruction both in-person and via video chat. Video chat is through Facebook Messenger, FaceTime (Inside the United States), and Zoom worldwide.

I offer instruction in the guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, violin, viola, dulcimer, ukulele, banjo, drums, and piano. Due to COVID-19 concerns, voice instruction is not currently being offered.

Prices: $15/30 min.
$30/hour

Contact: please send all inquiries to Blindsensei@gmail.com
Website

AD: A Quest Called Motherhood – War Wounds and Diva Tantrums
T C Creare
Illustrated by Mara Reitsma

A busy drawing with portions of the title appearing painted on a sign in front of a window, open on a computer screen, and propped up on a keyboard beside a cup of coffee.

“We all know that children can go from, Oh, that is so sweet, too, are you freaking kidding me? In five seconds flat…” I don’t know about you guys, but as a parent of three, there are moments that make me proud of the little army that I have created and others that make me want to pull out my hair, shaking my head as I try not to cry. Parenting is tough, and despite what some think, you can’t control everything. S#!? Happens, and chances are you’re not going to be prepared for it. Well, guess what? You’re NOT alone, and the stories inside will prove it. This book is for all those coffee-nuking, dinner-making, cupcake-baking, laundry-folding, yard-guarding, lunch-packing, fight-halting, show-finding, toy-fixing parents out there who really need a cape; and perhaps a glass of wine, or two!

BUY LINK

AD: BOOKS BY PRAANAV R LAL

AUTHOR AND BLIND PHOTOGRAPHER PRANAV LAL (PRAANAV R. LAL)

NONFICTION (SELF-HELP)

Outsmart Blog Hijackers
Keep away those pesky hackers!

A person stands in the shadows, illuminated only by the faint glow of neon lights. "Outsmart Blog Hijackers" is written in glowing letters across a black background.

Dear author, blogger, and website owner, did you know that 4 out of 5 sites today are set up such that they are ripe for theft?

Think about it, your carefully crafted copy is replaced by ads selling everything from sunglasses to Viagra.

Your users could be infected by malware when they visit your site and your hard-earned trust dissolved within hours.

The Care and Feeding of Digital Certificates build customer trust before they reach your homepage.

How to build trust with your customer even before your homepage loads!
How do you ensure your customer stays on your website and not run screaming from the homepage?
How do you establish instant legitimacy?
What happens if you lose the trust of your buyers?

FICTION…

The Telekinesis Trilogy
Two street children with special powers find a home and solve crimes

Telekinesis – book 1
Can two street children work together and find a home while saving a village?

Led Weight- book 2
Bright toys with a dose of Led

The Cult- book 3
George and Jane go up against a cult

Bakasura an audio comic
Has the demon of legend, Bakasura come to life? George and Jane must find out and rescue the villagers from him.

In case of Emergency
A stranger in her apartment leads Preeti to love, though not with him

Julia
A robot of the future goes up against a common Indian soldier.

Venture Capital
A failed entrepreneur moves towards redemption

Scrambled eggs
Ordinary Joe wins back his super cook wife by “trying once” and some fancy food presentation.

About Pranav Lal in his own words:

My name is Pranav Lal, better known in my writing world as Praanav R Lal

I write non-fiction and short stories which are hard to classify but tend towards fantasy and science fiction.
I do not give my characters any breathers and enjoy keeping the action sharp and continuous.
I use a visual prosthesis, thanks to which I am a photographer.
I enjoy technology, particularly cybersecurity which is what pays the bills.
I love interacting, so feel free to comment or say hello.

WEBSITE

AD: NEW RELEASE
ETTA’S FISHING GROUND
by Eva Pasco
Website

A beautiful young woman with long, curly, blonde hair rests her head on her hand. In and around her hair are leaves, twigs, and berries, making her seem wild. Above her head the text is in a burnt orange/red color that reads "Eva Pasco." Underneath that is "A Compelling Contemporary" typed in a pale yellow font. Underneath the woman's head the burnt orange/red text reads "Etta's Fishing Ground."

Just as a whirlwind courtship derailed Momma’s beat-poet dream of hightailing it to North Beach in the Fifties, a badass drifter veers Etta away from seeking haven in the artists’ hub of Greenwich Village during the Seventies.

Etta makes the best of circumstances staying put in the rural enclave of Foster, Rhode Island, sketching the likes of its historic landmarks and scenic overlooks on her fishing ground.

However, deviant twists of fate with deaths resulting, arise from wild speculations and unwarranted suspicions when things aren’t what they seem:

*Chance encounters predispose a besotted admirer to figure things all wrong.

*False impressions taunt Etta’s husband, Keith, with uncertainty until his dying day.

*Acting on a hunch, Etta’s best friend shows up at her door to peddle Keith’s infidelity, unbeknownst to either, in sync with his drowning while fishing.

Blaze a trail to the point of no return where love and friendship shift ground to withstand the vagaries of life.

About Eva Pasco:

Multi-award winning author, Eva Pasco, a lifelong native Rhode Islander, integrates local settings in her lit with grit. Weaving historic events, geographic landmarks, and regional culture into the fabric of her storytelling, she blurs the lines of demarcation between fact and fiction.

Tapping into significant issues impacting the lives of women, Eva’s novels emphasize character-driven plots propelled by flawed and feisty females over forty.

All of the author’s published works are available in eBook and paperback at Amazon.

 

AD: NEW RELEASE
One Goes to the Sea
By Joan Myles
Website

One Goes to the Sea's cover is textured charcoal-colored canvas. The title and author's name appear in golden yellow, lowercase letters.

What is it about poetry that so readily connects readers with their Spiritual selves? And is it possible to focus these expanded faculties of perception beyond the page–intentionally, inward?

One Goes to the Sea is a collection of the poet’s waking and sleeping flights of fancy, her dream journal sketched poetically and visually illustrated by her daughter.

You can order your copy on Amazon and Smashwords today!

Independently published with assistance from Two Pentacles Publishing Services, LLC.

About Joan Myles:

Joan Myles has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair.

Joan earned a B.A. in Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a Rehabilitation Teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over 15 years.

Her first book of poetry, One With Willows, vividly expresses Joan’s child-like joy. She considers her poems to be a kind of footpath for readers, an opening into that place of delight, an invitation to awaken childlike wonder for themselves.

Joan’s words also reveal the invisible link between one human being and another, between humans and Nature, between the physical realm and the Spiritual. The idea of the Oneness of Creation flows through her work, the understanding of living in the world as a journey of discovery, of stepping into and between the various layers and levels of existence. Joan’s second collection, One Glittering Wing, represents this kind of journey, specifically through her year-long passage from the deep pain of her mother’s death toward reconciliation with Life.

Joan currently lives in Oregon with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.

AD: NEW RELEASE
Poems and Prayers
By Tasha Halpert
Website

The Poems and Prayers book cover features a tree's branches, full of leaves. The entire cover is tinted green, including the shapes of the hills in the background. The title and author's name are in white, rounded text.

Poems and Prayers by Tasha Halpert is a poignant tribute to her late son Robin Greenough Lorenz and his brief, yet meaningful, life. Written over the years since his passing, the book is evocative of his spirit and of the love they shared. Readers may feel echoes of their own experiences with the loss of life of a loved one, and may feel comforted by the shared feelings. Tasha Halpert’s poetry has been published in The Unicorn and other publications.

Poems and Prayers is available to purchase on Amazon today.

About Tasha Halpert:

Practical mystic, poet and writer Tasha Halpert lives in a small central Massachusetts town where she writes a weekly column for the local newspaper and a weekly inspirational Internet column. She is staff poet and storyteller for The Unicorn. Mother, grandmother and great grandmother, she and her husband Stephen, a writer and collage artist do what they can to make the world a happier, healthier place.

 

AD: Two Pentacles Publishing Services

The Two Pentacles Publishing logo: two encircled five pointed stars side-by-side, with their top most points angled towards each other playfully; the stars sit above the words "two pentacles" in lowercase type. The logo is white with a dark purple background.

Two Pentacles Publishing Services

At Two Pentacles, our goal is to create an experience that promotes inclusivity and creativity at a competitive rate.

We work with clients at all levels of experience and ability.

We also specialize in adaptive communication, descriptive visual services, and flexible content sharing. We happily accommodate screen readers, large text requirements, and Braille printing.

Contact us to let us know how we can best provide you with a customized experience!

By phone: 971-599-7495

By email: info@twopentacles.com

Visit our website for more information!

Listen to our interview with Patty L. Fletcher of Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing here.

AD: Victoria Zigler

A smiling woman with shoulder-length brown hair and bangs wears a white t-shirt with a cartoon, red dragon and green background on it.

A blind Welsh vegan, Victoria Zigler writes poetry and stories for children and the young at heart, many of them containing animal characters based on her own pets, as well as a series of books based on her own adjustments after sight loss, which are specifically designed to give people a glimpse into what life is like for a visually impaired person. She makes her books available in a wide variety of formats, including eBook, paperback, and audio, from several different online retailers worldwide. Grab your copies of her books from your favorite retailer today, and remember to check out her website.

NEWS NUGGETS: Message Crafters a Division of Toast Masters International Now Seeking Members

Not long ago, due to my doing nothing more than liking, following, and sharing a page on Facebook, I was approached by Gina Lovick of the Message Crafters club. She invited me to a meeting, my curiosity was aroused, I attended and found a wonderful place to further my writing and speaking abilities.

Now, I’d like to pass on the good fortune to anyone who would but take a chance and join us for a meeting.

Here’s my friend and mentor Gina to tell you more.

Message Crafters is a niche Toastmasters club for individuals who want to engage in Storytelling Leadership.

Our Vision:

We believe big visions need big stories to match.
Storytelling is at the root of all transformation: personal, cultural, and corporate.
At a time when every facet of life has been redefined, as changemakers, we have the opportunity to define our future path.

Our Mission:

To help you build the future through the power of Storytelling!

Learn to communicate with flexibility, impact, and authenticity to connect with anyone. Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. We will help you craft the stories you want to tell.

Message Crafters Offers:

Online Interactive Training: 11 self-paced programs, available when and where you are ready. Whether you’re starting a career, moving up or leading your family, church, or community, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Self-Paced Program: Develop your storytelling craft at your own pace. Interactive materials are available online 24/7. When you are ready you will present your learning projects at our meetings.

Mentoring Guidance: Each protégé is paired with a seasoned storyteller. Mentors provide guidance throughout the process and work with you to craft your stories.

Practice & Feedback: Practice delivering your stories in our upbeat, supportive format and receive feedback designed to help you perfect the presentation of your message.

What We Do:

We are Toastmasters and a communication specialists team devoted to training changemakers to develop & deliver compelling messages.

Why We Do It:

Message Crafters believes that igniting the joint power of marketers, communicators, fundraisers, journalists, and executives leads to great results and better prospects for the future.

How We Do It:

We pair you with one of our Award-Winning storyteller mentors to guide you while you participate in the Toastmasters’ education program. Training is self-paced. In addition to the core competencies of your chosen curriculum, you will select elective projects to align and expand your storytelling expertise.

Who We Help:

Our protégés are message crafters of all types, especially current and aspiring marketers, communicators, fundraisers, corporate presenters, and job seekers.

Problems We Help You Solve:

Through storytelling your audience’s reluctance to invest in your vision or strategy will melt away as they come to understand the story of who you are, what you do, where you are going and why it matters.

In the face of societal uncertainty, we help you inspire and motivate your audience to take action, sell the future, to demystify and humanize what are often complex, technical business solutions, and increase perceived value.

Our Results:

You will know how to create powerful stories that:

  • Inspire action
  • Spur donations
  • Mobilize supporters
  • Increase sales
  • Unify purpose among team members

You can weave your organization’s consumer-facing narrative which will:

  • Elicit strong emotions
  • Transform your brand’s image
  • Drive consumer action

You will have the opportunity to create a compelling portfolio that:

  • Develops emotional connections with your audiences
  • Creates support for your message and cause
  • Enables you to change the future

Message Crafters is currently offering assistance thanks to the generosity of some of their alumni.

Scholarship Information:

Each Enrollment Application is Submitted for Scholarship Consideration.

Some of our Alumni have decided to pay forward their Message Crafters experience and sponsor new Message Crafters by providing them with fully paid memberships in Message Crafters through September 2022.

Terms and conditions apply. *

*Terms and Conditions:

  1. Sponsorships are limited to fees assessed for membership by Toastmasters International.
  2. Qualifying applicants must meet and agree to the following provisions:
    1. Qualification for membership in Toastmasters International.
    2. Submit a completed application for membership in Message Crafters.
    3. Sponsored applicants are responsible for payment of any Message Crafters dues as recorded with Toastmasters International.
    4. Any Message Crafters dues must accompany the initial membership application and again be paid prior to subsequent sponsored Toastmasters International membership renewal payments made in September 2021 and March 2022.
    5. Failure to meet, agree and execute these terms and conditions by a scholarship recipient will immediately relieve the corresponding sponsoring alumni from their commitment of support.
  3. The decision to sponsor a new Message Crafters member is solely made by the sponsoring alumni.
  4. To protect the privacy and security of sponsors, Message Crafters has agreed to keep alumni identities confidential.

Message Crafters is the only Toastmasters club which meets twice a week. Members aren’t required to attend both meetings. This schedule is provided as a matter of convenience for our members. You can attend one or the other or both meetings in a week. Your choice, your convenience.

Our Tuesday meetings are only 1 hour long, as they are designed to fit within someone’s lunch hour. Our Friday meetings are a bit longer: an hour and 15 minutes, up to an hour and 30 minutes. Infrequently we run an hour and 30 minutes depending on how much club business we might have to attend to after the conclusion of all the speaking.

Overall, more people attend on Fridays, but some are over-achievers and attend twice a week.

Please feel free to attend as it best fits your lifestyle and commitments.

Guests are welcome. If you’d like to attend, please let me know.

There are different links for Tuesdays and Fridays:

Every Tuesday 12-1pm EST (UTC-4)
Zoom link
Meeting ID: 548 613 041
Passcode: 976148

Every Friday 5:30-7pm EST (UTC-4)
Zoom link
Meeting ID: 270 409 149
Passcode: 292848

Author website

NEWS NUGGETS: A String of Stories from the Heart to the Future
By Ann Chiappetta

Hi Audible book subscribers and story lovers — Check out this new release, A String of Stories From the Heart to the Future © by Ann Chiappetta.
Author website

The book cover features a 6-pointed buck in a field of weeds and grass. His ears are alert, as is his gaze. The sun is shining on the right side of his body. The title of the book is centered on the top and the author's name is centered on the bottom.

Also available In e-book and print (182 pages) from Amazon and other online sellers.

About A String of Stories:

A demon deer and a ghost cat. Sibling rivalry and sexual awakening. Self-image and self-confidence. The chance for an off-worlder to breathe free at last on a new planet. Those are just some of the diverse themes of these notable stories. Once you step inside the author’s world, you cannot emerge unmoved.

News Nuggets: NEW RELEASE: The Author’s Edge

By Marlene Mesot
Forward by Lynda McKinney Lambert
Performed by Timothy G. Little

Author Website

This collection of 80 poems is meant to bring encouragement and inspiration to anyone who has ever thought, or dreamed, of writing, whether personally or professionally. Writing takes many forms, whether it’s a letter, diary, blog, article, story, play, poem or novel. I will confess my writing leans in favor of fiction.

These poems are also meant for readers because we cannot have one without the other. The goal of any author is to have universal appeal. Thank you for considering the work of this author.

“Poetry is music in words.”

Marlene Mesot
Forward by award-winning artist/author Lynda McKinney Lambert.
Jacket Review

Readers will connect with her newest collection of forty poems from the opening Quatrain of her first poem. Craftsmanship in the arts is a recurring theme. It feels like she is conscientiously continuing to weave her way along the path she established from the inception of this book.
-Lynda McKinney Lambert, author of Songs for the Pilgrimage, Star Signs, First Snow, Walking by inner Vision.

COMING SOON:

The Spirit of One Audiobook
By Marlene Mesot
Performed by Timothy G. Little

“The Spirit of One” by Marlene Mesot. The title is written in thin, blue, italicized letters in the center of the image, above the author’s name and “Performed by Timothy G. Little” which is written in gold lettering. In the upper right corner is a gleaming golden cross. The background of the image is a dark sky, illuminated by a spiderwebbed bolt of amber lightening, which brightens the black sky around it to a deep purple.

This is a gathering of four short stories which were separately published in print only in different collections of various Christian authors published by Christian Book Marketing.

One Door…Knocking – Sheltering in a dark, creepy run-down house, seeking light…
One Man’s Destiny – Spiritual warfare…
One Man’s Quest: Seeking the Unpardonable Sin – A quest for answers with a mysterious Book…
One Weekend…in the Woods – A struggle to survive…

Learn more at https://www.marlsmenagerie.com

Contact Marlene at Marl.Mesot@gmail.com

News Nuggets: New from Abbie Johnson Taylor
Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

By Abbie Johnson Taylor
Copyright 2021
Independently published with the help of DLD Books

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

“I hated walking with my mom and sister down that long, bright hallway in the nursing home where my grandma lived. The white tile floor and the ceiling covered with fluorescent lights reminded me of school. The only difference was that there were handrails on either side that old people could hold onto while they walked, so they wouldn’t fall.

The blare of television sets from just about every room we passed, laughter and chatter from the nurses’ station, and announcements over the PA system made me wonder why Dad called this place a rest home. The sharp aroma of disinfectant reminded me of the monthly trips I’d made to the dentist years before to have my braces adjusted. I nearly gagged as I remembered the goop they put in my mouth so they could take impressions of my teeth before the braces were put on.”

Get your copy here. Please feel free to email me at: abbietaylor945@gmail.com

News Nuggets: Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse

by Jo Elizabeth PintoThe front cover of Dancing with the Seasons by Jo Elizabeth Pinto. The cover features a photo of ash trees, viewed from base of the trunk, looking up at the boughs directly overhead. The leaves are almond shaped and hanging in odd numbered clusters. The leaves are all shades of yellow and obscure most of the clear blue sky.

The title and author name are in white text in the center of the image, with the title being twice as large and above the author name. The font emulates handwriting, and looks to be written in marker. The letters are almost entirely printed, though the writing flows so that each letter is connected to the next.

New! From author Jo Elizabeth Pinto, with publishing assistance by Two Pentacles Publishing Services, LLC.

The fifty-two short poems in “Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse” are easy to understand, yet rich with emotional and sensory details. Celebrate the vivid, ever-changing beauty of nature in rhythm and rhyme.

About Jo Elizabeth Pinto:

Jo Elizabeth Pinto was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970’s. In 1992, she received a degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching students how to use adaptive technology, she earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Management. These days, she freelances as an editor and a braille proofreader.

As an author, Pinto entertains her readers while giving them food for thought. In her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she draws on personal experience to illustrate that hope is always an action away.

Pinto lives in Colorado with her husband, her teenage daughter, her guide dog Spreckles, and an aging family cat named Sam-I-Am.

Author website

Tips…

There are a ton of potluck dinners happening this time of year. Here is a tip for becoming the star of the dessert table at the next dinner you attend.

Delectable but Not Dieting Apple Dumplings – Crockpot Recipe

By Patty L. Fletcher
06/06/2022

On a bright, late, spring Saturday afternoon, I wrote of how I was Blessed with Bounty Beyond Measure.

I wrote of all the wonderful fruits, vegetables, and other goodies I would be working with over that wonderful weekend.

Today, I’m back to share with you what I believe is the best apple dumpling recipe I’ve ever made in all my life. To be quite honest, I’ve never made apple dumplings all on my own before, but on a sublime Sunday afternoon, I peeled away my fear of “what if they don’t turn out right,” took the plunge, and the following is the result.

Recipe

Ingredients

8 to 10 small to medium sized apples

¾ stick of real unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup (real not flavored)

Cinnamon to taste. I do not measure, I shake.

¾ cup water

One can applesauce

One can large biscuits (I used Pillsbury grands)

OK. Let’s cook…

After peeling, coring, and thinly slicing your apples, place them into your crockpot, cover them with ¾ cup of water, put in the stick of real unsalted butter, and using a wooden spoon stir to make sure all the apple slices are covered with the water then place the lid on the crockpot, turn onto high and leave for 1 hour or until apples, water and butter are bubbling nicely.

Remove the lid, stir well, add in the cup of sugar and cinnamon, stir until all is dissolved, replace the lid and leave for another 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove the lid, stir well, and add in the tablespoon of maple syrup and can of applesauce. Stir well, replace the lid, and leave to cook for another hour and a half.

After an hour and a half, remove the lid, and stir the mixture well. It should be a bubbly, syrupy mix.

Take the canned biscuit dough and pinch it into small pieces. Drop them into the apple mixture, stir well, replace the lid, and let cook for another hour and half.

After another hour and a half, remove the lid, stir well, making sure to separate the dumpling pieces so they do not all clump together.

The dough will have floated to the surface of the pot so be careful it doesn’t run over while you’re stirring because the mixture will be hot and sticky and could burn the skin quite badly.

If the dumplings are starting to become firm, turn your crockpot to low and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so to keep the dumplings from clumping together.

If the dumplings are still quite doughy, leave for another 30 minutes before turning the pot down.

I turned mine down to warm after the last 2 and a half hours and left it all night and didn’t touch them again until morning.

Please note I’m not talking about a slow cooker. I’m talking about a crockpot. There is a difference.

About Patty L. Fletcher

Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport, Tennessee where she works full time as a writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

CONTACT:
Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com
Visit: https://pattysworlds.com/

Health World…

Since this column began, the main focus has been on the body’s physical wellbeing.

While this is extremely important, we must not forget our mental wellbeing.

This month, Kelly Hithe, also known as Kelly Singing Rain, leads us through a meditation process sure to assist us in a positive way.

This is written from the female point of view, but I’m certain if you open your minds, you guys can follow in a way which will work just as well for you.

Quantum Jump Reality Shifting Guided Meditation

By Kelly Hithe
May 25th, 2022

Take a few slow, deep breaths, breathing in positive energy and love, breathing out all limiting beliefs that no longer serve you. Feel yourself as a tree standing in a forest, your roots deep in the soil and one with Mother Earth. Feel your leaves and branches rising up to the Moon and the Stars and the Sun, becoming one with the Sky.

Now, feel yourself walking through the forest of trees until you emerge into a field of soft grass and wildflowers of every color. Notice the birds singing and the soft breeze blowing through your hair. Soon, you are a few steps from a beautiful clear lake. You jump into the water joyfully and without any hesitation. As you swim in the cool refreshing water, you suddenly notice a doorway in front of you, made out of water and energy. You swim closer and peer through this door. You hear a voice and see a glimpse of a figure on the other side of the door. She is animated and excited, speaking and gesturing as if she is beckoning you. You touch the doorknob, and slowly slide the door open and walk through. The figure says your name, exclaiming and embracing you. At last, when you both step apart to gaze into each other’s eyes and clasp hands, you realize that this figure is actually YOU! She confirms this for you. She tells you that she is the version of you who is living your dream life. She says, “I am one of many versions of you. Think of me as your ideal self. I know you have dreams, wishes, desires and goals that you wish to manifest. You have been led to me by all of these things, because what you are seeking is seeking you. I have manifested all these things, and I am so excited that I get to help you bring this wonderful dream life into your physical reality!”

You walk along the shore of the lake together. You can hear the water lapping at the shore close by, and feel the long grass of the shore tickling your feet and caressing your skin with her cool refreshing tendrils of green. As you walk along, Ideal Self asks, “Now, tell me about something really special to you, that you want to manifest in your reality right now.” You share this desire with her, out loud and telepathically. She says, “Follow me!” She puts her back to the shore and starts jogging up a small hill, and though you wonder what’s going on, you still can’t help but smile as you jog along, following her.

At last, she stops and you find yourself in the front yard of a beautiful house. There are shrubs and trees, and planters on the porch with flowers and herbs growing in them. Ideal Self pulls a set of keys out of her pocket and opens a door made of a wooden frame and lovely stained glass. She pushes the door open and gestures, saying, “Come on in!” You walk through the door, and suddenly you find yourself somewhere familiar, yet magickal. You notice there are other people walking around, talking in small groups, eating and drinking. They are throwing a party for you! Ideal Self points at you and says, “She’s here now!” and everybody claps and cheers. Everywhere you see streamers and signs saying “Congratulations!” There is a decadent cake of your favorite flavor, which also says, “Congratulations! Well done!” Someone walks up to you, perhaps a dear friend or loved one, or maybe it’s someone new in your life. This person says, “I’m so happy for you that your dream has come true! How does that feel?”

You answer this person as you feel a flood of happy emotions and excitement experiencing the joy of having this wish fulfilled. Whether your wish is a material object or something less tangible, you can see that object, or a picture or sculpture representing your wish fulfilled sitting close to the cake. Perhaps along with, or instead of, this picture or sculpture, there is a boombox playing a song or a whole playlist of songs, that you associate with having your dream come true. Take a few minutes to feel yourself dancing and singing, talking with everyone, drinking and eating as much of this decadent, delicious cake as you want to, and just enjoying yourself.

At last, your Ideal Self says it’s time to leave, but you can come back to this party, or to talk with her anytime you need to. She says, “I am always here for you!” You walk together out of the house, and make your way back to the lakeshore. There, she leads you to the most comfortable chaise longue you’ve ever sat in, or reclined in. She sits close to you and touches your shoulder, then gives you the warmest hug. As you relax in her embrace, you feel this strange shift, and you realize that Ideal Self is melting into you. You feel her inside you, flowing through you like water, like your own blood. In your mind, you hear her say, “I am you, and I am one with you now. Your dream has already come true. Your manifestation is already yours. When we are back in your physical reality, you will know this is all true.”

Lie back on your chaise longue now, resting in this new and powerful truth that is inside you. Take a few slow, deep breaths, breathing in the essence of you with your desired reality, your wishes fulfilled, your dreams actualized. As you breathe, feel yourself coming back into your body, becoming aware of the chair you’re sitting in. Wiggle your toes and let yourself stretch, breathing in the wonder of your experience and the physical world coming alive around you now.

And so it is done, and so mote it be! You are complete.

You may also chant the following words, before beginning or after ending this meditation:

The Earth, the Air, the water, the fire!

Bring to me what I desire!

Alternatively, you may chant these words instead:

The Earth, The Air, The Water, The Fire,

Bring me now my sweet desire.

I chant these words three times minimum, and sometimes nine times.

BIO:

Kelly Hithe, also known as Kelly Singing Rain, has always been writing and singing just for the fun of it. She is an Inclusive Dianic Witch, and since she was a baby, she has had a form of synesthesia where she feels musical notes in hair when she touches it. Those notes beep and pulse for her, and they each have their own unique meanings and personality characteristics. Kelly offers hair readings based on those musical notes and their meanings. Kelly has been doing hair readings for people as a hobby for years, and she often does this for friends for the fun of it. She now offers her hair readings as part of her healing modality, where she connects people with their higher selves to manifest the best version of themselves they can be. For more information, please email Kelly at kellysingingrain@gmail.com and check out her YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIBp7QS-HcBsIMpk2jcigtA

Author’s Corner…

This month in the Author’s Corner, we’ve some grand tales to share.

So, without further ado, here are all our totally talented authors to entertain you.

The Little Pyromaniac (Memoir)

By Abbie Johnson Taylor

I remember the day my five-year-old brother Andy was arrested for arson. On a warm Wyoming spring afternoon in 1974, when I was twelve years old, my parents and I were in the garden behind our house. While Mother and Dad prepared the soil for planting, I studied seed packets of peas, corn, and tomatoes. Even with my limited vision, I could read the labels and make out the pictures. I imagined how they would look and taste on our dinner plates.

My food reverie was interrupted by the distant sound of sirens. “I’ll bet those are fire engines,” Dad remarked.

A little while later, I heard the phone ringing in the house. “I’ll get it,” I offered, dropping the seed packets and hurrying toward the back door.

In the kitchen, breathless, I picked up the receiver. “Hello.”

A brusque male voice said, “Could I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Johnson?”

Alarmed, I said, “Yeah, just a minute.”

I dropped the phone and hurried outside. “Mother, Dad, there’s a guy on the phone who wants to talk to one of you.”

“I’ll take it,” Mother said, putting down her shovel and wiping her hands on her slacks.

Curious, I followed her into the house and waited to see what I could find out. Of course, I couldn’t glean much from her end of the conversation.

“Hello. Oh, my God! We’ll be right there.” She slammed down the receiver and rushed past me out the back door.

I hurried after her and heard her say to Dad, “Ed, we need to pick up Andy at the police station. He was playing with matches near that abandoned shack at the bottom of the hill when it caught fire.”

After they left, I wandered aimlessly through the house, letting my imagination get the better of me. Although my little brother was a pain in the anatomy, I loved him and hated the idea of him being handcuffed and tossed into a jail cell. What if they locked up my parents and came after me?

A knock sounded at the front door. My heart pounding, I hurried to answer, fearing the worst. But it was only Carrie and Shelley from next door, who were close to my age. Andy and I often played with them.

After I invited them in and explained the situation, Carrie, the older of the two, said, “Maybe you should call the police and find out what’s going on.”

“Yeah,” Shelley agreed.

Call the police? That was the last thing I wanted to do. “But I don’t have the number,” I said, hoping that would be a good enough excuse.

“Call the operator, and she’ll connect you,” Carrie suggested.

“They can’t arrest you for calling them,” Shelley assured me. “You’re not committing a crime.”

That made sense. Although their presence comforted me, I still felt trepidation, as I made my way into my parents’ bedroom and picked up the receiver on Mother’s side of the bed. They stood eagerly in the doorway while I made the call.

The same brusque voice answered. “Sheridan Police Department.”

I was tempted to hang up but managed to babble, “Hi. I’m looking for Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. They should be there with Andy Johnson.”

“Oh, yes, they’re here,” he said. “They’re filling out paperwork. Who’s this?”

“I’m Miss Johnson. Thanks.” It was all I could think to say, and I hung up.

When I relayed our conversation, Carrie said, “See? There’s nothing to worry about.”

“Yeah,” Shelley chimed in. “They’ll be home soon.”

A little while later, we were in my room, drinking Coke and listening to music when I heard the station wagon pull into the driveway. I hurried outside, Carrie and Shelley at my heels. To my relief, Andy climbed out of the station wagon, and I hugged him. “I love you. Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he answered with a grin. “They put me in a jail cell.”

“Oh, no!” I cried.

“Weren’t you scared?” Shelley asked.

“No, I found a rotten peanut butter sandwich.”

“Ugg!” I said. I’d always hated peanut butter and never cared for peanuts.

“Did you eat it?” Carrie asked.

He shook his head.

Dad, removing Andy’s bike from the trunk, said, “Now, you’re going to stay off this for a week, do you hear?”

Andy’s face fell. “Yeah.”

That wasn’t the only time he committed arson. Once, with the help of another neighbor girl his age, he set fire to his basement bedroom. Fortunately, Mother put it out before it could do much damage.

Another time, when Andy and I were in his room, he picked up a lighter, held it to my face, and flicked it. It hissed, but that was all. “It’s empty,” he cried, as I hurried away, screaming.

I don’t know what turned him around, but Andy eventually outgrew his fire fetish. However, in elementary school, he exhibited some behavioral problems. Through the years, he had other brushes with the law, most of them alcohol-related.

But he now has a P.H.D. in physics and lives in Jupiter, Florida, with his own family, where he teaches at a private high school. Perhaps he ignites, in his students, a spark of scientific interest.

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Besides The Writer’s Grapevine, her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, and other publications. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. Please visit her website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

The Ringing Phone

By Trish Hubschman
May 2022

It was 1975. I was 11 years old. A children’s neurologist wanted to put me in the hospital for testing. His theory was that a brain tumor was causing my vision, hearing and walking issues. We decided on March 17th for me to go into New York University Hospital in Manhattan.

I didn’t want to go. I was scared. I don’t think I’d ever been in a hospital before, not even to visit someone. My two grandmothers refused to set foot in a hospital. Something had to be bad about them, was my way of thinking. I didn’t like shots. I also didn’t want to miss a week of school. I was in fifth grade and doing very well. I liked school. I also just made a new best friend. If I disappeared for a week, what was going to happen to all that? My teacher gave me a week’s worth of homework to do while I was in the hospital. I fully intended to do it, but I never got around to it.

Mom and Dad took me to the hospital in the city. Mom was going to stay with me, yippee! Dad came to see me every day and brought treats for me and the nurses: pizza, roast beef sandwiches from Arby’s, cookies, and ice cream. I made friends with the girl in the next bed, Deanna. She had a tumor taken out of her leg. They wouldn’t let me see it. They said it might scare me. Honestly, that was okay by me. I turned away in my bed when they showed the two mothers, hers and mine, the crater in her leg. I made friends with the nurses. I had my favorite nurse; Lisa. She was so nice and hung around me a lot more than the others. I didn’t have to get dressed in the morning and could wear my nightgown all day. And when I wasn’t having a test, which was most of the time, I went downstairs in an elevator and did arts and crafts.

Then came the tests. During check-in, a black nurse came to my room and wanted to take blood. It was taken from the finger back then. I protested and curled my fingers up, so she couldn’t stick me with the needle. She told me if I didn’t let her do it, my mom would let her spank me. I didn’t have a choice, but I wasn’t going to like it, and boy, did it hurt. I had a CAT scan. They were a new thing at the time. When I was lying on the table in front of this massive Jaws thing, they told me they had to stick a needle in my arm. It was dye for contrast. I had no idea what that meant, except the part about sticking a needle in my arm. I screamed and screamed until I was hoarse.

The worst test was the spinal tap. I lay on my side and someone stuck a needle in my back to draw fluid out. I held Nurse Lisa’s hand. She assured me that it would be over quickly. It wasn’t. They couldn’t find fluid in my back and kept moving the needle around. It really hurt! I thought I was going to pee. I was sweating and squeezing Nurse Lisa’s hand. Finally, they finished and I was taken back to my room. Nurse Lisa told me to stay in bed and rest.  If I got up too fast, I might get dizzy and fall.

I didn’t want to lie down anymore. My back hurt. What if I had to go to the bathroom and where was my mom? Lisa told me to push the buzzer on the rail of my bed in case of the first and she would come and help me. My mom was down the hall with the other moms. She left me then and I tried to go to sleep.

That’s when the telephone on the nightstand beside my bed began to ring and ring and ring. I tried to press the buzzer to signal for nurse Lisa, but I couldn’t do it. I had no choice. What if the caller was Daddy or something really important? I slid to the bottom of my bed and jumped out. I raced down the hall looking for Mom. When I found her, I breathlessly told her about the phone ringing in my room and to come quickly. She followed me back, but by then, it had stopped ringing. I suddenly felt dizzy and grabbed onto the bed rail. Mom asked if I was okay. I said I was and to please not tell Nurse Lisa I got out of bed. I had a terrible headache and I didn’t want her to be mad at me for not doing what she told me to do.

Mom helped me back into bed and I tried again to fall asleep, but my head was throbbing. A little while later Nurse Lisa came into my room. Mom’s hand was on my forehead. I was holding her wrist. Lisa asked if I needed anything before she went home for the day. I squeezed mom’s hand to remind her not to say anything. Mom moved her hand away. When the bright light hit my eyes, I cried out. Nurse Lisa was immediately alert. That’s when I broke down and told her what I did and that I had a bad headache now and was afraid she would be mad at me.

She wasn’t. She was very sympathetic. She got me some aspirin and water and stayed with me for a while after I took it.

Note: I didn’t have a brain tumor. The neurologist was going to do a biopsy but decided not to. He told my parents that at that point in time, they didn’t have the know-how to correctly diagnose my condition.

I’ve been to many different neurologists over the nearly fifty years that have passed and still no one has given a name for this condition.

Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game and Uneasy Tides. Tracy is hired by rock musician, Danny Tide, to find out who set fire to his band’s summer tour bus. In doing this, more diabolical things arise, mysteries, murders, romance.

Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Kevin Hubschman, and their dog, henry.

Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/

 

Friends of the Heart

By Tasha Halpert

Because I have lived such a long life, I have had many friendships of different kinds. I have certainly experienced the truth of the saying “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” I’m glad for any kind of friend, whichever she or he has been. I even have special friend that I have never and may never meet face to face, but know through my computer. But lifelong friends are the most special. I have a couple of the lifetime sort that go back close to 50 years! Sometimes the connection has taken place at a distance, sometimes large chunks of time have passed between contacts, but the friendship endures.

There is a very special paperweight on my coffee table. Upon it is written, “The loveliest flowers in the garden of my life are my friends.” The one who gave it to us is now dancing with angels, and I know this because she was such a special person, not just to me but to many others. I miss her, and Stephen does too. Once upon a time our phone would ring at nine o’clock every morning except Sundays. I’d pick it up and hear the cheerful voice of our friend. She and I would chat briefly about our lives and doings before hanging up and getting on with our day.

My friend suffered from pains in her legs, and many evenings I would visit her in her apartment. She lived downstairs from us in the same building. I would sing to her and do healing work for her pain, and she always said she felt better afterward. It was my joy to do what I could for her. We spent time in one another’s company, chatting or just visiting. She was very clever with her hands and made me some sweet dolls I cherish and keep close.

A good friend of mine, also a writer, recently wrote this: My mother used to say, “Friendships are like flowers, if you don’t give them regular water and sunshine, they die.” When I read this, I realized the way my late friend and I had nurtured our friendship. My mother, too, provided me with a good example of friendship nurturing. She and her friends used to meet twice a month at each other’s homes for lunch. They’d bring their mending or whatever handwork they might be working on and sit together, in friendly conversation, after lunch.

In today’s world with its many distractions and complications, friends are more likely to meet at the gym or other exercise facility after work. But the intent is the same, the nurturing of friendship. You never know when someone will fall ill and leave the earth, and there need be no regrets if the friendship has been well tended. My friends are very important to me. I maintain a large email correspondence, occasionally telephone to chat or perhaps text a friend to see how she or he is doing. Watering and tending my garden of friends is vitally important to me.

Tasha Halpert is a poet, writer and devoted wife of Stephen Halpert, living in Central MA. Her published writings are listed on Amazon. She writes a weekly newspaper column.

“Full Siren”

By Lynda McKinney Lambert

Journal entry: August 28, 2017

In the late afternoon, Bob drove our car to our local mechanic’s garage. I saw this as an opportunity to go outside and do some yard work. I decided to volunteer to cut down some trees and plants that were overgrown. The wild vegetation is out of control, I thought. I was on a mission to get this done before Bob arrived home.

 

Those weeds irritate me every time I walk around the house. In addition, random trees that we don’t want will become huge. The longer they were allowed to grow, the bigger the problem would be in a few years.

I started with the few random, unwanted trees inside the weather-worn plank fence. A few snips with the garden tool, and that area is finished. Then, I saw some new victims, and I moved on to take out the tall trees growing beside the patio.

Suddenly, I felt a thin needle thrust into my skin. Immediately, I remembered we had a hole that was home to yellow jackets. Once that first sting hit me, I was surrounded by an assault squad of angry yellow jackets.

I ran towards the house. The vicious soldiers kept flying out of that hole in the ground. I realized there must be a battle cry, and the bee-soldiers were coming in the dozens. I ran towards the house, but I realized soon that there were too many of them, and more kept coming. Dozens were now flying around me and stinging me repeatedly. I reached the porch. I kept swatting and screaming. No one was there to hear me.

“Please. Someone help me,” I cried.

Nobody is coming. Nobody knows what is happening to me. This is not going to stop the bees. The pain felt like I was being electrocuted.

 

I remembered the can of Raid House and Garden Spray in the kitchen. I opened the kitchen door and ran from the porch into the kitchen. The bees kept stinging me. My intuition told me to get the can of Raid House and Garden spray from the cupboard. Even though I was covered with bees and surrounded by bees, I squatted down to reach the back of the cabinet under the sink, where I kept the insect spray.

I believed that once I had this spray in my hand and started spraying myself all over from head to toe, it would end my assault. But unfortunately, the toxic shower didn’t stop the bees for a second. And I kept screaming out to God for help. Finally, I sprayed myself so much I could barely breathe from the fumes. The spray was all over my skin, face, hair, hands, and feet.

The more they stung me, the more I shouted out to the Lord to rescue me, and I kept praying as loud as I could.

Eventually, the stinging stopped, and no more bees were on me. I kept shouting as I stripped down right in the kitchen. I peeled off my shorts. Slipped down my underpants, with bees dropping all over the floor. Bees were dripping from my underwear and my bra, and they were still wiggling on the floor around me. My hands were numb and swollen from the bee stings. I could not bend my fingers – my hands were rigid.

I wanted to be sure that no more bees were inside my clothing. I pulled my tank top up over my head. Slid down my bra and stepped out of it. My body was stinging all over.

Still shouting, I ran upstairs and turned on the cold water in the bathtub. Maybe, I thought, icy-cold water would bring relief from the smarting injuries that covered my entire torso, arms, hands, legs, and feet.

I carefully slid into the antique porcelain-clad cast iron bathtub. But soon began to have irregular breathing, and I stuttered with each shouted prayer. I became afraid I was going to pass out in the bathtub. Only the dogs and cats hear my cry for help. Finally, I got up and dressed. I knew I needed to get calm and figure out what to do.

I called our daughter, Heidi. “Call 911,” Heidi said, “and I will be on my way there immediately.”

Instead, I went into the living room to wait for Heidi to arrive. I only waited about ten minutes because I thought it would be ok once she came to take me to the hospital. But things were getting worse. I was dizzy, and my left ear seemed like it had quit working. My voice sounded like I was in a metal drum – my voice vibrated, and everything in the room looked so far away. I thought that that could not be me shouting because I could barely hear myself.

I sat on the sofa with my head down to my knees. There was such a rush of venom into my brain that I took both hands and scratched my scalp as hard as I could. The severe itch was unrelenting, and the poison was pulsing like a heartbeat inside my head. I wanted to tear my hair out of my head. This is maddening! I think I will die before I can get help.

I do need to call 911, I realized. But unfortunately, I might not make it until Heidi gets here because it’s getting worse. I had difficulty breathing. My breath came in uneven gasps for air.

I could not stand up. My voice was weak, my breathing labored. My throat felt like a lump was in it. I needed help right now, and I knew it.

I called 911, and the ambulance was on the way. Heidi arrived just before the rescue team. The team began working on me immediately, and in a few more minutes, I was assisted by the two men and put on a stretcher. I thought that this was my first time being in an ambulance. But I kept my eyes closed most of the time. I was aware of bright lighting coming from the ceiling and the attendant sitting to my left. He gave me shots and monitored my vital signs before the ambulance finally pulled out of the driveway.

Before the ambulance left, my husband arrived home, and Heidi filled him in on what had happened to me. Then, she got into her car and drove to the emergency room.

“If I am ever picked up by an ambulance, I want a full siren!”

I have said this to my friends and family for years. It was a joke. I thought about it and decided not to joke around with the paramedic.

I felt like I could not open my eyes. I bantered back and forth with the two ambulance attendants. I told them about taking the cold bath and assured them I was nice and clean and had fresh underpants on – not to worry about me stinking. I told them I was a professor of English. The man working on me told me his wife is also an English professor. “Oh, that’s great,” I responded. “Now, we have something in common.” I seemed to float in and out of consciousness. I thought that my husband was now home and standing beside my daughter Heidi. That felt comforting.

Finally, the ambulance began to leave the driveway after the attendants were certain I was stable. My visit to the emergency room was about two hours long, with more shots and tests.

As I begin to feel a little better, I keep joking.

“You win the prize this year. You have more bee stings than anyone else that came into the ER,” the nurse said. I didn’t feel fortunate. I like winning but not this way, I thought.

Finally, after 7 pm, I went home. I will start taking the steroid pills tomorrow, and tonight I’ll take the Benadryl tablets every 4 hours.

I’ll wait and have my full siren experience another time — not today.

_

Unpublished.

Bio: Lynda, a retired professor, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays. Lynda has 2 dogs and 6 cats, all rescued. Lynda’s predilection is nature, fine arts and humanities.

http://www.lyndalambert.com

Paws on the Street Part 28 – Food Refusal – Obedience Training – Navigation and Routine

By Patty L. Fletcher
06/17/2022

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten lots of feedback on what I’ve written about Blue and me. I’m over the moon that so many people read and engage in conversation. I love that readers, whether on social media, my blogs, through email or messenger and text, are letting me know their thoughts on all we do each day.

That having been said, I want to try and answer some of the things which are asked of me. Sometimes due to time constraints I can only hit the like buttons or send a quick reply. So, today, I’m going to try to do a better job of answering what some of you have commented on.

I think the biggest responses I’ve gotten of late are about Blue’s behavior concerning food and the ways in which we navigate within our apartment complex. So, I’ll tackle those first.

Let’s start with his behaviors concerning food and routine. Not long ago, I wrote a funny post on Facebook where I talked about sneaking quietly around my apartment, getting coffee and being on the computer.

In that post, I shared some funny things which happened concerning my headphones, but a reader commented about the fact that Blue was still in bed instead of bouncing around asking to be fed.

The answer is this:

While training at The Seeing Eye®, I began establishing a routine designed to simulate what I do at home. Each morning, I set my alarm a good hour and half before I needed to be out to relieve Blue. I did this so I could prepare myself for the day ahead.

While Blue slept peacefully in his crate, I would slip down to the lounge on my floor a few feet away from my room, grab a cup of coffee, slip back in, shower, dress and sit reading email while waiting for the announcement for students to come to the relief area to be made.

If Blue grumbled about my not interacting with him, I would state in a quiet firm voice, “Blue, quiet.” Making sure to use a tone of voice which brooked no argument and then I’d go back to whatever I was doing.

Once we returned home, even though Blue’s boundaries had been firmly established and he was beginning to gain his freedom which included snoozing on the foot of my bed at night, I continued making sure he knew he didn’t need to leap up the moment my feet hit the floor.

I did this so I could enjoy a bit of peace and quiet before I needed to tend my dog.

Sometimes, I oversleep and must leap out of bed, grab up clothes and get him outside because I’ve gone past the window of time I’ve set for his morning relief and feed time, but even on those occasions, he stays put until I call him to me.

Some have said I’m a rigid handler. Some have called me militant. To those I always smile and say, “Thank you for the compliment.”

Now, concerning food in general.

First, you’ll see as you continue reading, no dog, not even my big, Blue Dog is going to be 100 percent perfect at this. However, The Seeing Eye® works extremely hard with its dogs and then dog handler teams on food refusal. During training there are times when you may be going along minding your own business, when suddenly you come upon a piece of a sandwich, pile of chips or some other enticing tidbit on the floor or ground and if your dog goes for it, you’re expected to very firmly “Correct your dog!”

Not long ago, I’d ordered hotdogs and onion rings from one of my favorite eateries and when I sat down, I briefly lost my grip on the plate, it tilted, and onion rings fell onto my lap. I picked them up, put them back onto my plate and began devouring my food.

All through dinner, Blue lay quietly in his place as commanded before I sat down.

When I was through eating and my plate and other detritus from the meal had been disposed of, I released Blue from rest and said he could get down to play, etc.

Later, as I was straightening up before bed, I happened across an onion ring which had fallen into the floor and though I knew of Blue’s strict training, which I continue enforcing each day, I found myself quite amazed and proud.

He had not so much as chewed on it. The onion ring was complete with no bite out of it at all.

I threw the thing away and called my dog to me. I knelt, put my arms around him and gave him lots of praise for it was apparent to me that all the strict training we’d done and continue doing had paid off.

But wait! It is said, “You can put the guide in the dog, but you cannot take the dog out of the guide.” If ever I have been given a reminder of this, it was today.

Earlier this very morning, after I’d begun writing this offering for you, I took my big Blue Dog out for his first relief time of the day and though I was a bit later than normal for our first walk, I foresaw no problems. But as we were making our way around the apartment complex, a neighbor called hello, we walked over to visit and before I knew what was happening, the lady sitting next to the one who had called hello leaned forward as if to pet. I didn’t pull Blue away and before I could so much as twitch an eyelash, Blue was gobbling something from the woman’s hand.

“Blue! Pfui!” I said.

“Oh! It’s OK.” The woman crooned. “I just gave him some ice cream on a stick. I always let dogs lick the ice cream.”

I stood for a moment counting and taking slow deep breaths so as not to leave the reservation. Then, I stated in a soft firm voice, “It is most certainly not OK. First, I do not allow Blue to eat such things and secondly, I’d appreciate your not giving him anything at all without asking me first and last but not at all least, you should never give a dog ice cream because they’re lactose intolerant.”

The two ladies seemed to shrink away from me and one asked, “You mean you don’t give him ice cream?”

“No ma’am, not at all. I don’t even give those nasty Frosty Paws things. Blue is a working dog. He must always maintain a certain weight and health. He must maintain specific behaviors and taking food from someone’s hand without my permission is not among them.”

With that, I turned, gave a tight smile I hoped looked friendly rather than as if I’d like to snap off their heads, wished them a good day and walked away.

Each day, to keep his skills sharp and ready for anything at a moment’s notice, I do three rounds of obedience with Blue on a leash in the house, off leash in the house, and on leash outside both in and out of the harness.

I make sure to set him up for distractions, traffic checks and other necessary evils to keep his skill sharp.

Sometimes, I must get creative as we don’t always go anywhere but it can be done.

As to how we navigate here in our community, well, that’s easy.

When we first moved in, we went nowhere without Blue’s being in harness. On the advice of my Seeing Eye® trainer, I carried my cane with me so I could get a good picture of my surroundings because we were learning our way and as you know, Blue is only as good as my directional commands.

After some time had passed, and we’d learned our way well and gotten the residents used to us being out, we began to enjoy early morning and late evening sniff fests with Blue heeling politely only on leash and me using my cane.

This is honestly easier than using the harness when relieving because I don’t have to remove the harness and then put it back when he is done.

However, during the day, when it’s busy here with people going to and from with walkers, canes, scooters, and wheelchairs as well as traffic going in and out of the complex, Blue works in harness no matter what we’re doing.

I hope this better explains how we get along together so well.

To learn about The Seeing Eye® and all it has to offer those wishing for a more independent lifestyle visit: https://seeingeye.org/

About Patty L. Fletcher

Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

To learn more visit: https://pattysworlds.com/

Reading With the Authors…

I don’t know about you but for me, after a long day on the computer I’m ready to kick back and enjoy someone else’s writing. This means I’m always looking for a great read.

With that thought in mind, here are a couple great book reviews from authors Lynda McKinney Lambert and Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Thanks, ladies, for your book suggestions.

Reflection on Reading Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 94)

By Lynda McKinney Lambert

Author’s Note: This essay is a revised version of the Prologue in my newest book, Songs for the Pilgrimage. DLD Books, November 2021.

 

Landscape – Journal – Mythology – Memory – Passage of Time

 

Here, I present the dominant themes for my writing.

 

My poems and personal essays often begin as a notation in a journal.

 

My favorite collection of writings from a travel journal is a little book I received many years ago as a gift from a long-time friend who was an artist and writer.

The Narrow Road to the Interior, by Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō (1644-94), as translated by Sam Hamill. Matsuo Bashō wrote of his discoveries and reflections in the late 17th century as he made an epic journey on foot through a dangerous landscape in Japan.

 

He struggled to read the inscription upon discovering an antique, 6-ft. tall, moss-covered monument. He wrote:

 

“The past remains hidden in clouds of memory. Still, it returned us to memories from a thousand years before. Such a moment is a reason for a pilgrimage; infirmities forgotten, the ancients remembered, joyous tears trembled in my eyes.”

 

I was inspired to follow in his footsteps and trace my life journey like many others. In one of its most memorable passages, Bashō suggests:

 

“Every day is a journey and the journey itself, home.”

 

From Matsuo Bashō, I learned to pay attention each day to the journey as my Pilgrimage.

 

Pilgrimage refers to a religious journey where individuals commit to traveling together to reach a predetermined destination, such as a religious shrine or a sacred, holy place. The excursion is a trek from one location to another. Pilgrimage has been an abiding theme in my writing for several decades. The thesis shows up in my visual art and writing life.

 

My first book, Concerti: Psalm for the Pilgrimage, was inspired by my annual journeys to Salzburg, Austria, where I taught a month-long drawing and writing course.

 

The summer of 1991 is when I took my first trip to Europe. One afternoon as I sat with friends at the Baroque pilgrimage Basilica at Maria Plain, near Salzburg, I witnessed something I had never seen before. With a startling flourish of trumpets, shouting, and a car horn blowing, we saw a group of pilgrims coming up the hill. They marched around and behind a wildly decorated car. The pilgrims walked and shouted with happiness, for they reached their final destination – the Cathedral of Maria Plain. Again, I’ve never witnessed this before or since.

 

It is significant that for over a decade during my teaching life at Geneva College, I taught The Canterbury Tales, written between 1387 and 1400 (in Middle English) by Geoffrey Chaucer. This text is a collection of 24 stories told by 24 different travelers on the journey as they walked about 60 miles from London to the shrine at Canterbury Cathedral. Each story is unique and individual and shows the personalities of the storyteller. This story was required reading in our Humanities program as part of our core curriculum.

 

After I witnessed the arrival of pilgrims at Maria Plain in July 1991, I envisioned the joyful revelry of the individuals in Chaucer’s Tales as I read their stories in the years afterward. And, I thought about what I would say in telling my own stories on a pilgrimage. The idea of writing this book, from journal entries I made when traveling, developed as I considered what I would do for my tenure project nearly a decade later.

 

I kept a journal and wrote poems and stories as I traveled. Also, I had a studio in the village of Grödig and created art. However, I focused on what I found in my daily travels in the writings and art. This type of spontaneously gathered random and unexpected materials is known as “found objects.” This was my primary goal each day as I searched the streets, fields, and cities for found objects that would become part of the artwork or the focus of a poem or essay. I highly value randomness and chance in my artistic process. I feel like I am searching for a treasure – and, in truth, I am.

 

-A small pink stone I picked up on a rainy day in my village

-Colorful paper fragments of fruit labels in Venice,

– A round piece of metal discovered along a village road

– Glossy advertisements gleaned from the street in front of a store in Salzburg

-The scent of candles burning in a dark chapel

-The chill I felt on a boat crossing an Alpine lake

-The fragrance of a rose garden in twilight at Mirabell Palace

-The movements and shouts of folk dancers dressed in trachten

 

I merged individual sensual experiences into my art and writings. Thus, I transformed each element into something new.

 

When I published my first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, I also organized a coordinating traveling art exhibition with the collection of artworks I made during many journeys over the years. Visitors to my museum and gallery shows could see the artworks on display and purchase the new book of poetry. At the opening receptions, I did poetry readings from the book.

 

In the Prologue of The Canterbury Tales), the narrator is the author, Chaucer, who joined the pilgrims when he met them at a tavern where they gathered individually. Each pilgrim had set out on the journey alone, and by chance, they all met up at an inn. Our narrator provides the reader with the time of year when this occurred. He says that  

 

“The birds are beginning to sing and the flowers are beginning to show shoots, which makes people restless. It’s a time when individuals start thinking of taking a trip after the long, cold days of winter.” 

 

As I begin to work on revising this book, it is nearly spring. Red-breasted robins are singing in the early morning sunshine outside my office window. I do feel restless but hopeful. This revised book is a journey similar to how the pilgrims of Chaucer’s Tales began on that distant April morning. With the revision of the book, I changed the title to Songs for the Pilgrimage. In addition, I’ve added new writing to the reader. I, too, am still on a Pilgrimage.

 

I desire that this updated revision provides readers with a clear path on our collective life journey. However, my original intention remains the same. Listen to the voices telling their story here on the pages of Songs for the Pilgrimage.

 

I stepped into the first stage of my journey one day while studying the painting Et in Arcadia Ego by Nicholas Poussin. I was mesmerized by this scene that pointed back to Classical Greek mythological literary themes. I wrote the poem A Memory Within a Memory. Later, when I organized the shape of my book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, I used lines from the poem to create a structure for the book. The lines gave me the parts which I used for each section of the book.

 

Another critical aspect of creating my first book is that I was reading, The Shape of Time by George Kubler. The combination of Kubler’s thoughts about time and reality, combined with my poem, gave me the concept I needed for the road map I followed in Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press, 2003.

Bio: Lynda, a retired professor, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays. Lynda has 2 dogs and 6 cats, all rescued. Lynda’s predilection is nature, fine arts and humanities.

Visit her at: http://www.lyndalambert.com

COMEDIAN SHARES LIFE THROUGH LAUGHTER

REVIEW OF IF YOU ASK ME: (AND OF COURSE YOU WON’T) BY BETTY WHITE

BY ABBIE JOHNSON TAYLOR

Could you use some good laughs, especially during these unprecedented times? If so, look no further than Audible, where you can download a recording of this book, narrated by Betty White herself, may she rest in peace. I couldn’t help laughing when I saw her on television as the scatter-brained Rose in The Golden Girls. She was also on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but I was a little young when that was running. My mother watched that as religiously as I watched The Golden Girls.

According to her biography on her IMDB page, Betty White was born on January 17th, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois. Her mother was a homemaker, and her father was a lighting company executive. Her family moved to Los Angeles when Betty was two. She attended Horace Mann Elementary and Beverly Hills High School. Hoping to be a writer, she became more interested in acting after writing and playing the lead role in a graduation play at Horace Mann.

Her television career began in 1939 when she and a former high school classmate sang songs from The Merry Widow on an experimental Los Angeles channel. She also worked in radio and movies. Best known for her roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970) and The Golden Girls (1985), she performed in a variety of other television shows including Life with Elizabeth, Date with the Angels, The Betty White Show, The Golden Palace, Hot in Cleveland, and Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. After Rue McClanahan’s death in 2010, Betty White was the only living golden girl until she passed on December 31st, 2021 at the age of 99. She won seven Emmy awards and received 20 Emmy nominations. She was the first woman to receive an Emmy award for game show hosting Just Men and is the only person to have an Emmy award in all female comedic performing categories. In May of 2010, she was the oldest person to guest host Saturday Night Live and won a Primetime Emmy Award for this. As of 2012, she was the oldest Emmy nominee.

In If You Ask Me, Betty White combines her ideas on such topics as friendship, technology, and aging with anecdotes from her childhood, career, and work with animals.

Humorous quips about exercise and hair color, and her rumored crush on Robert Redford are delivered in classic Betty White style. She shares what happens backstage at awards ceremonies and how her role as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show changed her career.

She talks about developing a friendship with a guerilla, meeting two whales, and adopting a dog rejected by Guide Dogs for the Blind. I can relate when she says how frustrating it is not to recognize a face, especially when the face belongs to a celebrity she meets at a party and thinks she should know. Being visually impaired, I have the same problem but don’t run into celebrities at parties. In any case, I recommend this book to anyone needing some good laughs.

Author’s Note: you can purchase Betty White’s book from Audible at: https://tinyurl.com/2p9efjm8 To learn more about Betty White, visit her IMDB page at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0924508/ The above review was published in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders, which can be read at : http://www.magnetsandladders.org Please feel free to contact me at: abbietaylor945@gmail.com

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Besides The Writer’s Grapevine, her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, and other publications. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. Please visit her website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Poetry Place…

There’s nothing more soothing or thought provoking than a good poem and in this edition, our poets have some grand poetry for your enjoyment.

“An Ode to Access”

By Lynda McKinney Lambert

I have this problem

for some reason

I cannot comment on what happened.

I’ve lost my password.

I cannot access my g-mail account

when I try

to leave a comment.

G-mail is not my friend.

My account says that I am signed-in,

but I cannot get access.

I have reset the password many times

but can never get in afterward.

G-mail is not user-friendly.

I just wanted to say

I read your post on pronouns.

After reading it,

I need to make some coffee.

This problem is undoubtedly 

a challenge to deal with

and I deserve a blue ribbon.

Published: Mingled Voices 6, Proverse Poetry Prize Anthology. 2022.

Authors Comment:

In 2021, I began writing a series of “found poems.” I glean material for the poems from

e-mails, letters, advertisements, conversations and other texts. I call this series, “Thinking of You.”

Bio: Lynda, a retired professor, authored 5 published books that focus on spare poems and thoughtful personal essays. Lynda has 2 dogs and 6 cats, all rescued. Lynda’s predilection is nature, fine arts and humanities.

Visit her at: http://www.lyndalambert.com

A Poetic Apostrophe

By Joan Myles, Annie Chiappetta and Winslow Parker

Good poetry is the expression of an open heart and a creative spirit. The ability to fashion these qualities into moving and meaningful word images develops with practice, of course. Practice rooted in honest self-reflection.  And sometimes, the honest mirror of self-reflection resides in another poet.

 

Several months ago, Annie, Win and Joan started coming together to be that mirror for one another. In weekly sessions they alternate between reading and analyzing famous poetry and creating their own. They use the craft of such notables as Robert Bly, Amy Lowell, and Wallace Stevens as tutors and springboards for experimentation with word choice, rhythm and style.  The three are dedicated to the process of learning as they write, grounding their exchanged feedback in honesty– for the sake of the poem only.

 

When the trio found Edgar Allen Poe’s piece, A Valentine, less than pleasing, they used Billy Collins’s poem, Workshop, as inspiration to devise a suitable response. While each response relates to a specific element in the poem, all of them acknowledge Poe’s use of the apostrophe.

 

The apostrophe isn’t only a punctuation mark used in writing. It’s also a form or style of poetry. The Poetry Foundation defines an apostrophe poem as, “An address to a dead or absent person, or personification as if he or she were present. An apostrophe may provide a structure or reason for the poem. It can also provide tonal and figurative effects such as giving the poem an intimate or ironic tone.”

 

The literary apostrophe is a tonal element of Poe’s poem, to be sure. But the essence of the piece feels more like a riddle. You see, A Valentine is an acrostic wherein the letters of the poet’s love interest are to be discovered.

 

Now for the Poe poem the trio studied

A Valentine

Edgar Allan Poe – 1809-1849

For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,

Brightly expressive as the twins of Loeda,

Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies

Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.

Search narrowly the lines! —they hold a treasure

Divine—a talisman—an amulet

That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure—

The words—the syllables! Do not forget

The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!

And yet there is in this no Gordian knot

Which one might not undo without a sabre,

If one could merely comprehend the plot.

Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering

Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus

Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing

Of poets, by poets—as the name is a poet’s, too.

Its letters, although naturally lying

Like the knight Pinto—Mendez Ferdinando—

Still form a synonym for Truth—Cease trying!

You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.

This poem is in the public domain.

And below are the individual apostrophe poems written in response:

A Raven’s Dark Valentine

By Ann Chiappetta

There is only one poem I like, the
One with chilled somberness and a raven
This one, though, bores me
Taunts and jabs my intelligence
like the ebon beak
of the more Popular poem.

When I think of you
The sitcom comes to mind, you know
The one, with the altered family
Who lives on Mockingbird Lane.
And I snicker, recalling
the family’s clock that should have
held a black forest cuckoo.

I only wish what was once thought clever
Will never be more.

The Tell Tale Valentine
by Joan Myles

right off the rhythm grabs me line by line
a beating heart of sorts this valentine
but just as quick a mystery you pose
the name of your beloved to disclose

Greek allusions bleak confusions play
as I attempt the task and lose my way
I must confess I find it all a bore
your raven spoke with wisdom” Never More”

Poe’s Poem Poem
By Winslow Parker

So, Mr. Poe,
Acknowledged mournful poet and macabre storyteller,
You wrote a love poem to Miss Frances,
Who died young,
Just like your tragic heroines.

You hid her name,
In the heart of your poem,
A clever way of declaring your love.

But then you spoiled it all with:
“You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do,”

Did you think so little of her intellect,
Her knot untying skills,
That you could not resist the impulse to make her feel small
In the presence of your mighty wit?

Is that love?

4/26/22
©2022 Winslow E. Parker All Rights Reserved

Annie, Win, and Joan encourage you to read poems wherever you may find them. Take your time to linger over the poet’s choice of words and images, to delight in shifting rhythms and rhymes, to let your mind and spirit play. And if you should find your thoughts stirred by an unexpected turn of phrase, or bedazzled by a sudden insight, a simple smile will do. For that’s the poet’s gift to you!

About the poets

Winslow is retired and lives with his wife of over half a century in Portland, Oregon. Together, they have two adult children and three growing grandchildren. He has, during his work years, been a hospital chaplain, schoolteacher (which taught him more than he taught), associate pastor, mental-health tech, social worker, and finally, an adaptive technology instructor at the Oregon Commission for the Blind. He flunked Freshman Comp the first time around and did not begin to write seriously until 2007. Since then, he has self-published several books, including Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, a book of short stories, and Hitler’s Hell, a book of iconoclastic Christian theology. He wrote his first poem “tears,” in 2019. He always delights in word manipulation and loves to sharpen his quill alongside other authors.

Joan Myles has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of twelve, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair.

Joan earned a B.A. in Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a Rehabilitation Teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over 15 years.

Her first book of poetry, One With Willows, vividly expresses Joan’s child-like joy. The idea of the Oneness of Creation flows through her work, the understanding of living in the world as a journey of discovery, of stepping into and between the various layers and levels of existence. The poems in One Glittering Wing represent this kind of journey, specifically through Joan’s yearlong passage from the deep pain of her mother’s death toward reconciliation with Life. And of course One Goes to the Sea is her way of asking, “What can we learn from imagination as we dream our days and nights away? And can these lessons help awaken us to Love?”

Joan currently lives in Oregon with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.

You can contact her at

http://www.jewniquelymyself.com

Ann Chiappetta

Ann is an artist and often refers to her love of words as a natural compensation after losing her vision in 1993. Once a designer of acrylic displays and furniture, Ann trained her creative senses to flow over from the visual to the literary arts. Years later, she has become a poet and author, honing her talent in various mediums, including web content for nonprofits, regular bylines for online literary publications, poetry, anthologies and guest editing in online literary journals, and much more.

The author of five independently published books, Ann possesses a Master of Science degree in Marriage and family therapy from Iona College. A consultant and guest presenter, Ann visits schools promoting awareness and equality for people with disabilities. She is the 2015 recipient of the WDOM Spirit of Independence award and the 2019 recipient of the GDUI Leiberg-Metz award for writing.

Find everything Annie on the web: www.annchiappetta.com

Resources

Workshop Poem by billy Collins

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46704/workshop#mainContent

Even Now

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Ten years after his death,

I remember his soft, gentle voice,

tall physique, gray hair, sunglasses,

the blue jeans and t-shirts he wore,

his cologne’s musky scent.

I long to see him, smell him, hear him,

my husband of seven years.

The idea that he’s in a better place comforts me.

After suffering two paralyzing strokes,

he can now walk and see better than before.

Maybe someday, we’ll be together and happy forever.

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Besides The Writer’s Grapevine, her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, and other publications. She lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. Please visit her website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Favorite Links…

Each month I scroll through a lot of internet content, trying to find interesting blog posts, articles or other neat things to share with you.

I’ve also been encouraging others to submit links to posts they find interesting as well.

The following is what’s come my way.

Can A Writer Quote Song Lyrics in a Memoir or Novel? – by Anne R Allen…

One early morning, whilst having my cuppa and scrolling through blog posts as I’m known to do, I ran across this tip and thought I’d pass it forward to you.

Check it out here.

Thanks to The Story Reading Ape for pointing me toward this helpful hint.

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Natural Cheese v Processed Cheese…

Read It Here

Dark Flame from Butterfly Thomas

Listen and Enjoy Here

From ACB Voices

Learn All About It

Notes from Patty, Readers and Her Editors…

Hi, Everyone.

Over the past few months, I’ve asked for and received some feedback on possible changes geared toward the improvement of this magazine.

If you’ve any suggestions, please send them our way.

There’s no guarantee we’ll use them all but we’d love to know what you’ve to say.

Next, due to more demands on my time, I’m looking for some volunteer proofreaders for who would be willing to accept and proofread direct submissions for the magazine.

So far, I’ve had two possible volunteers but I feel we could use one more.

If you’re interested, please shoot me an email with Proofreading the GV in the subject line.

Thanks in advance.

And now, a note from our incredible editors Dawn and Colleen.

Hello from Two Pentacles Publishing!

We are very excited and grateful to be a part of the Writer’s Grapevine team and experience what each of you has to offer! Many of our writers are featured in this magazine and we are so fortunate to be able to continue to be a part of this community.

Thanks to Patty for allowing us to be a part of her amazing team and introducing us to an amazing group of writers and creators!

We have been engrossed in the beautiful stories and prose that our clients have shared with us, and have been lucky to be included in several upcoming projects from many of you! We are excited to see what you have in store for us.

To check our availability, please visit our website and contact us anytime! Though we may be juggling several projects at once, we will work with you to ensure your publishing dreams come true!

The Two Pentacles team,

Dawn and Colleen

Closing…

This ends this edition of The Writer’s Grapevine Magazine. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together.

If all goes to plan our next edition will be out during the holiday season.

Thanks for reading. May Harmony find You and Blessid Be.

4 Comments

    1. Thanks for the sharing of the magazine.

  1. […] today. This piece was published in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be read here. […]

    1. Thanks for including this in your post.

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