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Open Letter to Kevin,

Your beautiful book just arrived. I cannot wait to read and share it. You took an idea from beginning to book in all the right ways.

You included me in getting involved so that I have followed all the ways you used the media so effectively. Who knew that you would use Kickstarter and get the money needed to publish the book? And will we see more from your publishing company?

It has been my pleasure to meet you through wordpress.com. I wish you further success. It did not pass my keen eye that you included a handwritten note. Thanks to you!

Bettye

Re: The Vineyard We Knew, A Recollection of Summers on Martha’s Vineyard, by Kevin Parham (Pria Press, Plymouth, MA)

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A sculpture done by the citizens of NAshvilla

A sculpture done by the citizens of NAshvilla

This year has been one continuous  reflection on: the 50 year`ago March on Washington, 50 years since the Kennedy Assasination.  And the 50 year anniversary of the birth of my youngest child.

She was in high school when she could not remember where she was when Kennedy was killed. I remember where I was. It was eleven days before her birth. I was walking my four year old, a routine we enjoyed. We stopped at the strange store just around the corner. We always stopped to look at the linens and small gifts in the windows. Suddenly a small woman ran out the door and dragged us inside. The elderly couple who owned the store were huddled around a small radio.

I was a little frightened because we had never been inside this store. The first lady, a helper, was trying to tell me that the President was in Dallas, that he had been shot and that  they were looking for ‘a Black man’. As she talked, voice rising and dropping to a near whisper, the radio announcers were trying to clarify and update events. Soon they said he had died.

We all were silent, frightened and sad. I needed to be with friends and walked to the home of lifelong friends. Our boys were the same age and soon drifted off to boys’ games. (Today I remembered that our televisions were black and white. It seemed fitting for such glum news.)

After awhile two children appeared at the back door. My children! I had lost all thought of them. The school had dismissed them to a deserted house. In a crisis, people either come closer or close inward. It was such a strange Friday and continued into the weekend of murder and grief. I doubt our children had any prior experience of grief. And learning the news in ther separate classrooms gave them no avenue to deal with their feelings.

Now the cable stations, for almost ten days, have covered all of the events, questioned who accepts the Warren Report conclusions, used old and new film footage. Non-stop. The level of emotional distress is heightened and hard to dispel. The young announcers who were not born, show their struggle to understand. They try to compare it to September 11. But were probably too young for that also.

Who knew?

My youngest, at age 4, suddenly jumped up off the floor, jumping up and down, screaming “I thought that man (Kissinger) said the war was over.”  It was the first time that we realized she was aware of the news when she colored in front of the television. We cannot know how our children internalize things going on around them.

What long-term ways are we and our children unable to process our emotions when confronted repeatedly with critical information? I am really glad that Caroline Kennedy was out of the country, starting a new phase of her life.

Chief WritingWolf(wordpress.com)reminds us that another man, a good man died on that same day. All I could do was to turn inward and cut the television off.

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Nell Irvin Painter

Nell Irvin Painter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women of Ideas

Shout out to bloggers I have learned from on WordPress and other sites.

Sue Healy is an accomplished writer who shares her successes and disapointments. Recently she wrote about ideas that come from news items. It made me think about the sources of inspiration that remain on my List(s) Of Things To Do. Those ideas get moved from list to list. Lists serve as reminders and guilty feelings.

Sue suggests ways to alter news information to make it your own. Visual artists can use photographs etc. as source material.  Always respect copyrights, real or implied. Make your own vision and style.

This post made me think that ideas are just a start. The writer who does not write produces thoughts. He or she (me) must do the work to bring thoughts to life. You may not wish to fail. But who will know your vision? I tell myself, “Don’t count yourself out.” Publishing, exhibiting or sales are not the only judgements of worth. It is the doing that should satisfy.

A woman blogger, booksbyjudith, is working many angles to produce and share her talent. She writes books in series. This trend is based on an idea that if you read one, you are likely to read others. Like television series: you make time for the characters if you like them.

What nuggets started me on various Women Series? The large women started using square canvases. The idea: What poses do women use in their work? Can you fill the canvas with the image.

The Women Who helped Desegregate Transportation came from Sojourner, by Nell Painter. In it she describes scenes of conflict Sojourner Truth had on trolleys in D.C. I was reminded of similar experiences.

The current series Women Who Dressed as Men may never be completed. Each month research suggests more interesting subjects. The idea began when online searches turned up Deborah Sampson as a subject to paint. In 10 years in MA, I had never heard of her!

Try not to get lost in idea-farming if you want to write, paint, photograph etc. Balance thought with completed works. When you have done your best, date, sign and share. Start a new project knowing that you are continuing to learn. In time your body of work will stand on its own, and may inspire others.

Who knew?

The greatest compliment may be, “My child can do better than that.”

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These posts started my day

One of several versions of the painting "...

One of several versions of the painting “The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

greekgirl777  adds a Scream a Day along with her thoughts. The Scream on a Bumpy Road gel pen drawing (inspired by the painting seen here)describes where we often find ourselves. The figure is separate from the road. Presented in a  forward position, you know the screamer is dealing with her/his situation.

The road leads to an upward, more hopeful place.  Greekgirl777 comments about experiencing these issues in an inspirational manner. Her closing “Enjoy the day ” is a nice way to start one’s day!

Roberto Alborghetti is featured in the Cover section of Flipboard! His work, reconstructing torn paper posters found in many countries, is original, historic and beautiful art. His marketing is a model for anyone developing and maintaining an audience. He obviously has a huge amount of time invested in his work. Yet he makes time to collaborate with those working in other disciplines. He also responds to those of us who follow him on WordPress

The Daily Racewood is reposting his comments on self-publishing his first book. This writer is a young man who sets goals and accomplishes them. Reading his posts inspires the reader to make the best use of the time given us each day.

Maze a Day is a blog I have followed since I first started. He has made lemonade out of lemons. His latest efforts are paying off in dramatic ways and I wish him continued success.

Pete Denton – Writer has a guest, Kasia James, who writes about her nine year gestation of her first novel now on Amazon. They say the success is in the doing, but having a published sci-fi novel isn’t small potatoes. Congratulations.

Who knew?

I do not read all of the posts I like each day because I would not get anything else done. But I am encouraged and made happier by those I do read. It is easy to wonder about the lives of the bloggers and to feel friendship at a distance.

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A Day's Outing

End of Summer

Now that the nights are cool and the mornings are foggy, it is time to put away the signs of summer. It seemed the heat would never end.

Who knew?

Cleaning out of a drawer had a hidden treasure – my

handwritten poems Narcissus, Hibiscus and Mandrake. With them are the research notes on the relationship of the flowers and trees used as the theme. And, as if that was not enough, notes from the Writers’ Conference my daughter and I attended.

I flew on People’s Express from Nashville to the hub in Newark. The daughter was in graduate school at Rutgers. Such convenience. We flew from Newark to Michigan for the conference.

Cesar Chavez & Audre Lord at Plaza 16 Public g...

Cesar Chavez & Audre Lord at Plaza 16 Public gallery at 16th St BART (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

Audre Lord, the outstanding poet, was one of those featured. Manuscript in hand we absorbed as much as we could and returned home the route we came by. Just ending a long marriage, I felt such a euphoria of independence (which had been lacking).

Read poems at

http://narcissushibiscusmandrake.wordpress.com

And Now

Just recently there was news that an unknown novel written by a Harlem Renaissance writer had been authenticated. It was found by a graduate student looking through some unopened boxes. Will my manuscript and notes have the same fate and be written about in the New York Times?

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First Year BloggingSeptember, 2011 – 2012

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...

English: The logo of the blogging software WordPress. Deutsch: WordPress Logo 中文: WordPress Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My blogging tutor, the eldest daughter, had no idea the Pandora’s Box she opened. Reviewing the past year, I am so appreciative of her guidance and all of you who write and follow. Who knew there were so many talented and caring people online!
What has this meant to me?

1 – New personal relationships with creative thinkers worldwide. Amazing sharing keeps me coming up with fresh ideas to write about.
2 – Taking time to reflect on expanding subjects. Just reading the posts in my inbox takes my mind in important directions. My reading and research have been expanded.
3 – My contributions beyond posting includes bringing new bloggers to WordPress and artists into other groups I have joined online. I have been able to share my art with all of you.
4 – Learning is, I believe, a lifelong task. This journey has sometimes made me feel like there is too much to take in. Writing is a way to organize my thoughts. The posts are small teachable moments to share. There is still so much to learn to improve the blog.
5 – The challenge is to continue to stay involved in this growing community even when personal issues press. My followers have been caring and concerned as if we meet regularly. What a club we have joined!

Many Thanks and Welcome to Year Two.

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English: iPad picture

English: iPad picture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An article was on FlipBoard, an iPad app told about the explosion of eBook sales. The ‘hesitant’ would-be publishers (present company) should take that first step.

What can you lose? There are free options. It could be a learning experience. You may find you are good at it. Success!

There are things I find I cannot learn. Maybe they just do not interest me enough to put in the time. Maybe it takes away from what I really love doing. Publishing may not meet the goal for money? The turn around time may not be fast enough. Why put yourself out for all to see and comment on your creativity. Bloggng gives you a chance to build an audience. Or not.

My blog, narcissus,hibiscus,mandrake started out with my complete unpublished book, one poem a day.  I decided it was better to give it free. It might build a poetry reading audience. The stats look like a mouthful of teeth and many, many spaces

Who knew?

My poetry did not draw as strong a following as this blog. The followers were faithful and interested. But were there enough to support an eBook? Evaluating these stats may help in making a publishing decision. Have I  taken advantage of free or low cost pre-publishing tutorials?

Do I have the best material?  Have I edited the manuscript with a fine red pen?

Can I drive interest toward my work? Does it fill a niche of interest? Timing is paramount.

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