cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

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Adieu, Adieu Sweet Month of Muse


national-poetry-month

I agree with Juliet, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” April is a busy, busy month with its heralding of spring, removal of snow tires, paying of taxes, celebrating Billy Bard’s birthday, prepping for AP exams, and musing upon poems. I started loading my April blog calendar back in December as I discovered poems and poets I would pre-schedule them and now the days are spent and I am a bit bereft as I head into May. Whatever shall I fill my May days with?  It is ever so nice to have a theme for a month, like poetry for April. May will probably become my mish-mash month. I have several posties that I’ve been saving that don’t relate to anything except that I like them–sorta serendipity finds.

As I bid adieu to April I shall reflect:

  • Gathering poets for most of the year is akin to Saturday yard sale mornings as I scout for treasures to stuff in my bag
  • I appreciate poetry more and more as I become more and more involved with the reading of it
  • Having Billy Bard’s 450th birthday in the middle of National Poetry Month was absolute icing on the loveliest of cakes
  • Passing out poems to my students on April 24 for National Poem in Your Pocket Day is a blast–reactions range from excited anticipation of reading their poem to leaving them on the floor–which is about par for poetry (love it or leave it)
  • My school superintendent emailed me that I encouraged him to read a sonnet in my postscript to enjoy Shakespeare’s birthday
  • I decorated my hallway in recognition of Shakespeare’s birthday and convinced the journalism department to put it in the school’s daily video. Well, it’s not everyday a person is 450 years old…

 

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I look forward to May. School is winding down, weather is heating up, and the countdown to summer break begins.  Here is to May and all its blooming good days

24112-teacher_at_desk

Waiting out the days of May to slip into June

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Monkeying Around


I usually don’t follow the trend, yet those monkeys got me smiling with their extra effort this year. Plus I wanted to do some shout outs to the main commenters throughout the year: LazyCoffees, Literary Tiger, Stehothej, Letizia, and Eagle-Eyed Editor. Thanks guys!
A couple of reflections–I had no idea concrete poetry was such a popular search item! Perhaps it’s time to boost ratings with another round. Also, Sparky Sweets continues to get hits. Hmmm, respark another post?
So, the tts are a bit of a report card. I’m not much for checking my stats, although I do get a kick from how those little monkeys put together the end of the year prez.
Off to another year–gee it would be grand to get Freshly Pressed this year (wee hint).
Happy New Year, One and All!
m

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,200 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Book Boostering


I haven’t Book Boostered for a while, and our newest add on, Munchinwrites, prompted me to remind folk to sign up if they haven’t.  And to also remind me if I promised to add you and haven’t done so. *Ahem, my apologies, with additional lame excuses attachments*

justinbowers.com heart

What is Book Boosters?

Here’s the pitch from my Book Boosters page conveniently placed in my banner

Do you love books?

Do you have favorites you read, recommend, and even re-read?

Are you a frequent flyer at the local library?

Are you an on-line regular of book sites, be they promoting to buy, review, or boast books?

Perchance you operate on a need to read basis–you have to have a book in hand, by the bed, stashed in the car, or have one nestled in the backpack.

You then, my friend, are a Book Booster. And you are in good company. Add your name to the list and welcome to the shelf of those who appreciate and advance the cause of books.

Wondering who is on the roster or if you are? Take a scroll, and by all means, do enjoy checking out the various sites (of course, some sites may not be up and running anymore–such is the state of blogdom):

1. www.BookWrites.wordpress.com

2. www.eatsleeptelevision.wordpress.com (adambellotto)

3. www.homeschoolhappymess.com

4. www.carolinareti.wordpress.com

5. www.opinionatedmama.wordpress.com

6. www.jessileapringle.wordpress.com

7. www.wcs53.wordpress.com

8. www.spookymrsgreen.wordpress.com

9. www.cecileswriters.wordpress.com (Samir)

10. www.HannahBurke.wordpress.com

11. www.thecoevas.wordpress.com

12. www.Jayati.wordpress.com

13. www.collecthemomentsonebyone.wordpress.com

14. http://scriptorwrites.wordpress.com (scriptor obscura)

15. http://jinnyus.wordpress.com/

16. http://1000novelsandme.wordpress.com/

17. http://literarytiger.wordpress.com/

18. http://chicandpetite.wordpress.com/ (Bella)

19. http://booksandbowelmovements.com/ (Cassie)

20. http://bookrave.wordpress.com/

21. http://fromagoraphobiatozen.wordpress.com/ (Marilyn Mendoza)

22.http://bibliophiliacs.wordpress.com/

23. http://thoughtsonmybookshelf.wordpress.com/

24. http://shelovesreading.wordpress.com/

25. http://ajjenner.com/

26. http://artsandyouthlove.wordpress.com/

27. http://readingreviewingrambling.wordpress.com/

28. http://365amazingbooks.wordpress.com/

29. http://beckysblogs.wordpress.com/

30. http://bookpolygamist.wordpress.com/

31. http://aliciadevoursbooks.wordpress.com/

32. http://readinginterrupted.com/

33. http://bundleofbooks.org/

34. http://bitsnbooks.wordpress.com/

35. http://justonemonkeytyping.wordpress.com/

36. http://alwayscouponing.wordpress.com/about/ (Book Nerd)

37. http://merlinspielen.com/

38. http://valerierlawson.wordpress.com/

39. http://the-room-mom.com/

40. http://gongjumonica.wordpress.com/

41. http://thewritecaravan.wordpress.com/

42. http://bookmust.wordpress.com/

43. http://opinionatedandcuriouskins.wordpress.com/

44. http://theoldbookjunkie.com/

45. http://slawriter89.wordpress.com/

46. http://inatwitter.wordpress.com/

47. http://lifelibertyandthepursuitofacademia.wordpress.com/

48. http://arlenshah.wordpress.com/

49. http://redpeffer.me/

50.http://pambustin.com/

51. http://lostandfoundbooks.wordpress.com/

52.http://lazycoffees.wordpress.com/

53http://thousandmonkeys.wordpress.com/

54. http://thehouseilivein.me/

55. http://joanngrasso.wordpress.com/

56. http://plottingbunnies.wordpress.com/ (munchinwrites)

 

Consider this your invite.  I look forward to adding you to our list.  No dues, but I am working on a secret handshake.

The Lowdown on the Upside of NPM


Whew!

Whew! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Where did April go? Wasn’t it Sprink Break just a blink ago?  And now I’m making plans for Memorial Day Weekend and soon after school’s out.  Time doesn’t fly these days–it hyperlinks!

 

Among other celebratory events residing in April, Library Week being one such, I choose to go the whole tamale and celebrated National Poetry Month every single day. Planning a daily post involved some careful coordination and creativity.  Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the scheduling feature of WordPress? Couldn’t have done the super stretch of 30 posts without it.

 

I’m in a reflecting kind of mood here, so please bare (bear?) with me for a nanosecond or two. As I get ready to go back to my regularly scheduled program mode I’m not sure I shall.  I learned some things whilst committing to a month of poetry.  Here is my lowdown on the upside of celebrating National Poetry Month:

 

  • a lot of people like poetry–which gives me hope my students will one day grow out of the lip curl mode when immersed in that required unit
  • I gained about 20 new followers–that’s darn right pleasing
  • WordPress makes it easy to batch post–that schedule feature (again)
  • there are a lot of people who want to tell me all about their marketing ideas–thanks, but no thanks, I really do like my day job
  • I had fun selecting various themes and posts–it wasn’t as difficult as I thought to come up with a variety of post material
  • And I got an award!

 

liebster-award_zps3c945071

 

Thanks JenniferK! New blogging follow and a fellow writer.  I think this is the spiffiest award yet–I like the razzle dazzle bling.

 

I will have to come back and name the three or so new blogs to pass on the award.  I really haven’t had time to sift through all the new blogs I’ve come across this month, but hope to set aside this weekend to do so.

 

Last bit of reflection (you’ve been so wonderfully forbearing–here, have a cookie…)

 

 

I’ve decided with May’s arrival, which coincides with Spring–renewal, and all that new growth stuff, I shall try a new direction with the posties.  Something old, something new, and something cool.  The ideas are percolating.

 

Until next post,

 

Blue Skies
CM

 

 

 

 

Take Your Next Poem to Lunch


poetry

Silently mulling over the words, she reflected in her repose as she drank deeply of the healing verse before her….

Stop–cut–

Really, poetry doesn’t have to be all artsy, angsty to be enjoyed. The reflective part is okay, but honestly, poetry can be much more rewarding as an outward expression through sharing. During Poetry Month try some of these verse interactivities:

1.  Randomly leave a poem around the office or break room.

2.  Pack poems in your lunch for at least a week–you know, a read ’em and eat kind of thing

3. Sign off your signature with a line from a favorite poem

4. Use a poem for a bookmark

5. Memorize a poem–one you don’t know (Robert Frost won’t mind this time)

6. Read up about a poet–most have led amazing lives

7.Watch a movie with poems–I suggest Dead Poets Society

8. Chalk poems on the sidewalk

9. Attach a poem to a balloon and release it

10. Revisit a poem–has it changed in meaning for you?

Loving, Living, and Liebstering


I am always glad to turn the calendar page to February for several reasons.  First all, once January is past I begin to rally and anticipate spring, which, of course is next month, and spring leads into summer.  Secondly, there’s Valentine’s Day, and although I’m not real keen on a forced holiday I do like that it’s about love, appreciation, and chocolate.  Plus, it’s fun to see all those cute red and pink heart decorations when shopping (and there are no annoying overdone Christmas songs blasting all over).

So with my happy dance getting underway it was pleasant to open my blog notification up to see http://artsandyouthlove.wordpress.com/ had nominated me for the Liebster Award.  Lovely!  Thank you!!

The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows :

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs)

4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog

Questions Answered:

  1. Do you like answering random questions? If given time to think about the answer, I’m okay with it.
  2. If you could meet anyone, who would it be? Living? Meryl Streep or Bobby McFarrin Past? Helen Keller
  3. If you could change your talent for another talent, what would it be? Hmm, I really like writing, and as much I would like to become a world-renowned juggler I will stick to writing, thanks anyway for the wish wand
  4. Do you listen to more than one genre of music? Absolutely!  I’m open to pretty much everything that doesnt’ involve screaming lyrics or screaming guitars. Not too fond of opera or country music though.
  5. What’s your favorite junk food? Is dark chocolate junk food?
  6. Do you watch tv? Blech!!!!!
  7. How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Hallmark induced sentimentality.  Everyday is a day to express love and appreciation to people.
  8. What is your favorite movie genre? Old black and white comedies, especially Katherine Hepburns, Gary Coopers, Cary Grants.  Don’t mind a good old John Wayne western now and then.
  9. What is your favorite season? Summer 🙂
  10. Do you find it hard to create and answer random questions? Not really, but is this really a question?
  11. How’s your week going? It’s Friday.  Nice….

Elevensies for the next batch of nominees:

1.  It’s 2pm on a sunny Saturday–where are you and what are you doing?

2.  Given the choice of reading a classic novel or the latest bestseller which do you prefer?

3.  Could you work in a job without a window?

4. How do you celebrate the first day of vacation?

5.  Who is your favorite poet?

6.  Do you think technology is affecting they way we converse with one another?

7.  Here’s the magic wand–what’s your wish?

8.  What country would you visit if you won the sweepstakes?

9.  Which pet do you prefer–traditional (dog) or exotic (hedgehog)?

10.  How many blogs do you read during the week?

11.  What do you think of blog awards?

Here are my nominees (and if you are over 200 followers because I couldn’t find your follower indicator, you are still wonderfully worthy of Liebster Blogging Kudos) and I went with reading/writing-themed blogs this time:

1.http://angelagodbout.wordpress.com/

2. http://wetinkpresspublishing.com/

3.http://alibilibrary.com/

4. http://joanngrasso.wordpress.com/

5. http://lazycoffees.wordpress.com/

6. http://runnerwithwords.wordpress.com/

7. http://redpeffer.me/

8. http://literaryman.com/

9. http://ctwesting.com/

10. http://jenniferkblog.wordpress.com/

11. http://befferkins.wordpress.com/

As for the stuff about me…eh, I’ll pass for now. The sun is out after a long absence and it’s time to walk around the block for a dose of vitamin D.

Happy Pages!

Inspire me or Alice don’t believe everything you read (or eat)


free speech 2

free speech 2 (Photo credit: dogwelder)

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

Well, that was certainly unexpected.  Have you tried out the “Inspire me” Wordpress widget?  Click “new post” and among the various menu options there is a tantalizing bright blue Alice link.  I say Alice because when she stared at the “eat me” tag, how could she resist?  Naturally I succumbed and clicked and the above prompt is what I received.

In terms of nervousness here is an interesting paradox to consider.  I’m a teacher, right?  I face anywhere from 70 to 90 teenagers a day.  Mostly I know my lesson plan and what I plan to say, yet I am not nervous.  Nope, not at all.  Talking in front of people is what I do. This is why I sometimes am faced with a request to speak at a conference or at a retreat or at an event.

“You’re a natural.”

“I laughed so hard the last time you gave the book talk.”

“We really need someone who is comfortable being in front of people.”

All these comments trap me with their fluttering flattery.  I say “yes” and wither a bit each day until the appointed time.  Why?  I have to face a hostile crowd three times a day (okay, not hostile– how about reluctant?) as I teach high school English.  However, knowing I will be speaking and people will be watching and anticipating information or entertainment revs up the flutterbys to flim flamming around as they ride the nervous elevator up and down until my heart freezes after it’s flip flopped about like the caught trout on the bottom of the boat.  I an hooked, lined, and sinkered waiting until I trod up to the podium. But you know what’s really weird?  Once I’m there it’s okay.  I do much better at spontaneous delivery. Epiphany: It’s that countdown that does me in.

Secondary epiphany: Maybe it’s speaking in front of adults that’s so daunting.  Considering they are more polite than teenagers as an audience I should be thrilled at the aspect of having such a nice captive crowd.  This could be a problem should my all-American novel get published and I have to go on a coast-to-coast speaking tour.

Anyone else get nervous about presentations?

On to business, get off the rabbit trail. A couple of days ago Mary of MaryMeddlemore nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and now it’s time to pass it on to other blogs that I find inspiring:
1.  http://mustardseedbudget.wordpress.com/ Speaking out about things of faith and importance

2. http://sethsnap.com/about/ Fabulous photography

3. http://bookpolygamist.wordpress.com Caters to my weakness for words

4. http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/a-glimpse-onto-my-real-life-with-instagram/ She is a rock star among bloggers–great blog, great success and to think she stops by and visits my posts now and then *wow*

5. http://thebettermanprojects.com/2012/12/21/day-369-my-life/ A most amazing motivational blog

6. http://mikeallegra.com/a-bit-of-bio/ Recently published his first children’s book and that is very inspiring to me

7. http://makesomethingmondays.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/ How does she come up with all those ideas?

 

Usually I don’t bend the rules (I’ve earned quite the reputation for being quite the policy stickler, in fact), yet I’ve got this Agatha Christie I’m needing to finish so I can go on to my next book in th bag. So instead of 15 blogs I’ve shouted out 7 which means instead of 7 facts I’ve done 3 (they are hidden in this paragraph.

Enjoy your holidays one and all!

Blue Skies,

CricketMuse

A Wee Bit of Housekeeping


WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Blogging is tough to keep up with when the paperload of grading bogs my time down.  I’ve managed to swim up from an arduous week of poetry notebooks and grammar packets and hope to dust off the edges of my postie.

First of all, as summer plunges into the recesses of seasonal change, as darkness and rainy days force former sunny afternoons of backyard bliss to fade away into autumnal dreariness, I can’t  help but reflect how quickly time passes.  One day I’m relaxing out in the backyard with book in hand after a long day of prepping freshmen of the harsh realities of high schoolness and the next moment I’m hunkering over my laptop planning second semester lesson forays into To Kill a Mockingbird and The Odyssey.

This is when I am glad to retreat into blogdom.

I have scant energy to work on my manuscripts once school starts again.  I don’t even have energy to skim through my writing magazines, let alone attend my critique group.  Teacherness garners every grain of my attention.  Then again, what else would I want to do for a career.? Oh, yeah, be a world-famous recluse writer.  Aah, there’s time for that when I do actually retire.

For now, blogging is my version of knitting as a means of unwinding and filling my hands with busyness and allowing my brain to channel some sort of creativity.  I may not churn out scarves and mittens, but I do enjoy tweaking out a post or two.

This is why I so appreciate getting a bit of recognition now and then.  Those fun reader awards count for hurrah applause (“yes! someone is reading my stuff! yay!!) This time I have Samirto thank for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I appreciate Samir’s comments and he has great insights on writing (and life) at his own blog.  Be sure to check out his blog if you haven’t already.  Now, as to the award regs:

1.  Thanks, Samir, for the lovely blog nom

2. Seven things about me…

  • Not a banana fan unless they are in my smoothie or come in chips
  • Prefer doing sports rather than watching them
  • I detest crinkly sounds, especially at the movies
  • Would love to live in a Bradburian neighborhood with a front porch and visit with neighbors who pop up for conversation and lemonade as we ease back in our porch swings
  • I used to adore cats, but not so much anymore (I owned seven at one time)
  • Wonder if I will ever be able to play the piano–I have the piano, just no musical ability
  • Can’t drink carbonated beverages without getting explosive, bodacious hiccups (very embarrassing)

3. Fifteen blogs I think are Lovely

ahem, well…I think a lot of blogs are lovely and so not too offend anyone I do follow, have followed, and intend on following more closely, here are a handful of new-to-me blogs.  I especially like how random these bloggers think, react, and respond to the world around them.  They are sound bites of this big blue marble we call home:

And just in case you are interested, as I was dusting and futzing about the blog I discovered a few stats lying about.  Not knowing what else to do with them I thought I would air them out.  Stats do like a turn  about now and then.

Since February when I began Musing via WordPress:

  • 103 posts
  • 595 comments
  • 5, 665 hits
  • 109 followers
  • Akimet is protecting me against 888 spam comments–this one fascinates me. How do they know what constitutes a threat versus a sincere inquiry? What if it is a legimate blogadite tapping at my door?
  • March 17 was my busiest day when I had 86 hits.  I wrote about browsing through other people’s bookcases.  Weird how some topics light a fire, huh?

Anyway, I’m worn out from dusting and futzing.  I need to get back to slumming and read my gothic romance.  The heroine is just about to become the governess to the spoiled daughter of the married man who has wretched, but attractive wife.  It should be a fast read.  Tomorrow we continue with Cyrano de Bergerac in AP English.

Happy Pages,
CricketMuse

Cyrano

Cyrano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Openers and Closers (and a bit in between)


As I was site flicking the other night I came upon Style (UK version) and their collection of “100 best” concerning books.  Couldn’t resist browsing and came back with a shopping bag full of great book lines.  Here are the picks of best openers, middlers, and closers from books (well, in my opinion, of course):

Awesome Openers:

“Call me Ishmael.” Moby-Dick, Herman Melville

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”
The Princess Bride, William Goldman

image: wikipedia.org

It was a pleasure to burn.” Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Middle Memorables

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me” Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“Your hair wants cutting.” Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.” Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

“I could get you strung up in a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.”
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

“Fool: Cry you mercy, I took you for a join-stool” King Lear by William Shakespeare

Catchy Closers:

“He loved Big Brother.” 1984 George Orwell

“It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” A  Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

“Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this.” Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

“‘From the Land of Oz,’ said Dorothy gravely. ‘And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I’m so glad to be at home again!'” The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

“He was soon borne away 
by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.”
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

“And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.” Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

“He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.” To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

What are you favorite lines?

Aah–a little bit of Sunshine


“I got sunshine on a cloudy day”

“Sunshine, on my shoulders, makes me happy”

“The sun is very happy fellow”

When Maribeth let me know she had nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award all kinds of sunshine lyrics started dancing in my head.  Ooh, ooh and oh my, do I like sunshine.  I am one blue Cricket once winter commences and “there ain’t no sunshine when (s)he’s gone.” Sunshine in this case being summer.  I am definitely a summer girl.  Me no likee winter cold and snow.  So, thanks Maribeth for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  That makes two awards in one week–it must be my week, as she pointed out.  

Questions to answer:

  1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
    Oddly, enough it’s the first Narnia movie.  All that winter and Father
    Christmas and good triumphing over badness makes it all work for me.

  2. What is your favorite flower?
    I adore so many!  Faves include pansies and lavender
  3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?
    Can’t resist a perfect cup of cocoa
  4.  What is your passion?
    Life!  I embrace all life has to offer: family, friends, dragonflies, hummingbirds, rainbows, dark chocolate–it’s all in one excellent package
  5. What is your favorite time of year?The ending of summer as it drifts into fall.  Indian Summer (hmm, is that politically correct these days?) It’s the loveliest combination of sunshine during the day and crisp evening air
  6. What is your favorite time of day?
    Morning, morning, morning–I’ve even been accused of being chirpy (aren’t Crickets supposed to me chirpy?)
  7. What is your favorite physical activity?
    Walking, badminton, kite flying, building sand castles–I like to moveit, moveit
  8. What is your favorite vacation?
    Any vacation that involves fun and family.

Nominees–now this will be tough since I just nominated a list for the recent Inspiration Award.  Here are a couple of bloggers among the many out there who definitely add a bit of sunshine to the world of blogging through constant promotion of books and reading.

1.  http://shelovesreading.wordpress.com/

2.  http://literarytiger.wordpress.com/

Wait…How can I list ten when there are dozens upon dozens out there who love reading like I do.  MAJOR CHEAT: If you are a Book Booster consider yourself  nominated for all you do to get books in the hands and minds of others!

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image: buyolympia.com

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