Friday, June 1, 2012

Poetry Friday, a Giveaway, a Writing Exercise and a Quote From California's Poet Laureate--how lucky can you get?!?

Howdy, Campers!

Yes, it really is National Flip A Coin Day! says:

This tradition dates back to Julius Caesar...[who] would take a coin and flip it to make decisions...The correct answer was "heads", which of course carried his image on the coin...Use this method of decision making...for everything you do today.

Today is also my day to share an inspirational quote that inspires my writing.  But which one--which ONE?!?  Oh, that's right...toss a coin! 

Actually, no.  No coin.  Because there are a gazillion quotes I love--my Quotations file is overflowing!  So here are two I want to share with you today because I love you deeply.  (Also, because I just had coffee.  The two feelings are related.)

This quote is from an interview with Caldecott winning illustrator and author, Marla Frazee:

"I set All the World in a place I love – the central coast region of Southern California – and populated it with people and things that I love. I stopped worrying that I wasn’t representing every place, every person, every possible experience. And I hoped that through this personal expression of mine, others would find their own personal meanings as well. I do believe this to be the over-arching philosophy behind most of the books I’ve fallen in love with over the years. The more personal and heartfelt the story is for the author and/or illustrator of the book, the more universal the emotion that can be gleaned from it. We see this again and again. But it’s hard to remember. It is so easy to go to a place of, “Well, that’s just about me. No one will care about that.” But actually, if it comes from a true place and is spoken from the heart, people do care. A lot."

Take a deep breath.  What a relief...right?

This next quote helped me after I emerged from my office and told my husband that I love-love-love slaving over (this is...writing) my daily poem...but then, what's the point?  Who cares?

I'm a native Californian, and poet Juan Felipe Herrera  (whose lyrical Calling the Doves/El Canto de Las Palomas changed my writing life and inspired me to write my first novel in poems) is our new Poet Laureate.  His quote in a recent Los Angeles Times article, helps me keep writing a poem a day:

"Amazing things can happen when you are just going for the poem, when it’s just pure.  You may be living on saltines, but you are giving all your life to this, and great things can happen."

(p.s: I like saltines)


1) Write a poem about a coin toss.  Or write on a topic that's been niggling at you, asking for your full attention.

2) Think about what Marla said.  Make it yours--from a true place, from the heart.

2) Think about what Juan said.  Give your life to this and great things will happen.

*     *     *

And hark! There's still time to enter our picture book giveaway!  Don't miss your chance to win an autographed copy of Natalie Ziarnik's debut picture book, Madeline's Light (Boyd's Mills Press). See Esther's Student Success Story Interview with Natalie for details. 

Poetry Friday is at Carol's Corner today...thank you, Carol!


Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for sharing not only one, but TWO, terrific posts, April! I especially like this line from Marla's:
>>The more personal and heartfelt the story is for the author and/or illustrator of the book, the more universal the emotion that can be gleaned from it. <<
I know I've found it to be true in my own writing, though sometimes I forget.

Linda B said...

How wonderful is this, April. I know what you said, and quoted, is true, but still deny it much of the time. The posts where I receive the most comments are those I feel most passionate about. Others are just information. Herrera rightly called it universal emotion & I see that is so right--my word is connectedness. When I write from the heart, the connections are created. Thanks for sharing about your inspiration.

Carol said...

Think I would have to flip a coin to decide which of these quotes I like better. Both perfectly true! Thank you for sharing them today!

Tabatha said...

I like any post that has "hark" in it! Great quotes, April. I agree with Carol.

Ruth said...

Wonderful quotes. I dismiss idea after idea because I think it is too particular to me and my life.

Richard Moore said...

Coin Toss

I knew while it was turning,
Flipping in the air,
I didn't need to see it land
I had no need for fair.

I caught it without looking
And put the coin away;
I turned this new direction
And moved toward my new day.

It was the risk of choosing
That made me realize
I knew from the beginning
Where my true future lies.

And now we've been together
For ten amazing years
The coin still in my pocket,
I smile, thank God you're here.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela, Linda, Carol, Linda, Tabatha, Ruth--thank you for your comments. I'm glad these two quotes resonated as much for you as they have for me.

And Richard--thanks for adding your from-the-heart poem to add richness to this conversation!

Unknown said...

I love Marla Frazee's comment. What a wonderful way to look at books. Of course the one's that appeal to me to, have their own story. I will strive to do the same. Thanks!

Amy Goldman Koss said...

Very nice! Thanks!