Thursday, August 28, 2014

Small Towns, Big Opportunities

by Deb Donahue


One of my concerns about moving back to small town Midwest from the big city was thinking that I would not be able to find many like-minded writers and promotional opportunities.  When I first lived here, I had been able to form my own writers group by placing an ad in the local paper, and that had served me well since we were all basically beginners at that time and were able to grow and learn together.

As a professional, published author, however, I knew I would find fewer writers nearby with enough experience and success to help me stretch and test my skills to improve them.  The internet age has made it easier for me to keep in touch with members of my old writers circle and to meet new authors as well. It isn’t quite the same, though, and doesn’t really provide local promotional opportunities.   

I was expecting a long, lonely road.
Luckily, I’ve found a few surprises that tell me I was perhaps wrong to worry so much.  Since moving back a little over a year ago, I have participated in as many local author events as I did in five years living in Seattle.  In addition to doing readings and talks at a local library, my proximity to larger towns like Chicago and Rockford have enabled me to join two very active writer’s organizations.

The Chicago Writer’sAssociation has a large contingent of members that participate in monthly meetings and sponsor several events, plus produces a newsletter that does book reviews.  While distance has prevented me from taking advantage of the interesting speakers they have at their meetings, I was able to attend  Chicago’s Printers Row Lit Fest thanks to my membership, and had a review published in their newsletter.

Affiliated with the CWA is InPrint, a group based in Rockford, which is quite a bit closer to me. They hosted an all-day author fair at the DeKalb public library that I was able to attend, and will be hosting a unique event September 5 called Word of Art.  Authors were invited to submit short poems or prose and then artists were invited to choose a piece as the inspiration for a work of art.

A sneak peek of the final artwork inspired by An Autumn Afternoon
My story, An Autumn Afternoon, was selected by artist Kathy Baker, and they posted a teaser of the complete canvas on the Word or Art Facebook page that makes me intrigued to see the whole picture.  On September 5, I will be able to see the completed artwork, read my story to attendees, and sign copies of the book they are compiling that includes stories and art side by side.

InPrint also has monthly meetings, with guest speakers, and will host a book fair in October where I will have a chance to sell my books and meet readers and fellow writers alike.  Attending those will provide more coverage and more contacts in just a few months than being a member of the Pacific Writer’s Association in Seattle did in five years.

Meaning I now have to eat my words about there being fewer opportunities in small town Midwest.  Opportunities are anywhere you look for them.  Have you found Midwest resources that surprise or delight you?  I would love to hear about them.



 ______________________________________
Deb Donahue can also be found at WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Amazon.
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Getting Ready for Bed… 
By Robin J. Steinweg


Katnap


Comb your whiskers


Wash your paws


Clean your teeth and


Trim your claws

 

Pull up the covers


Eyes shut tight


Go to sleep


Till the morning light

 

 

Bitsy-Bat:

Fold your wings,

Relax your ears. The

Sun is rising;

Day is near.

 

Upside down, now

Hold on tight.

Go to sleep

Until the night.

 

 

Young-You:

Sip your water,

Blow your nose.

Fluff your pillow,

Count your toes.

 

Pull down the covers,

Squeeze Mommy tight.

Hug Daddy and

Turn out the light.

 

Listen to a story,

Sing a song.

Sleep so sweetly

All night long!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Flower Season

This midwestern girl packed her bag and went hiking this summer . . . at Mt. Ranier in Washington. Wow. What a hike. My thighs are still burning, and so are the memories. Just had to share these fantastic flower pictures. Make sure to save this page so you can pull it up in January and remember what summer looks like. Enjoy!









Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cloudscape

What a great summer this has been to watch clouds.
Lounging on a chaise or a blanket in the grass is the best way.
Having a child near often prompts a better view.
Take some time to look at clouds even if there's no one
but Jesus and you.

 
 Here's a crab scuttling across the sky.
 This dog is about to bite his bone.

  

 I see winged pigs flying. What do you see?



A fluffy white rabbit 

decides to Snoopy-dance.


I don't have to visit Easter Island to see a Stone Head.

I experienced one disappointing moment this summer when I looked into the sky and saw only clouds. Gratefully it was only the one time. Clouds are beautiful as they are, but may the child inside always see more than just clouds.

Until next month

                                                  Mary Allen

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Widow's Flowerbeds




The Widow's Flowerbeds

Her investment
in beauty
earns dividends
she may never realize 
in this lifetime

by Lori Lipsky





Find more of Lori's poetry at Poetry Patio

Related poems you may enjoy:





Friday, August 22, 2014

College Bound

August.

Corn's finally, finally ready to be et. Zucchini is starting to peter out. And the tomatoes just aren't worth talking about this year.

And something like a bazillion kids are enroute to dorms, apartments, and frat houses. It's the annual migration. The Big Move.

Child #2 packed a change of underwear into his brand new used Dodge Stratus and pointed it toward points north. He is now a freshman at Saginaw Valley State University. Home of the Cardinals!


Anyone outside of Michigan would never hear of SVSU, or Grand Valley State Lakers, or even the Lake Superior State Lakers.

Don't get me wrong, we're proud of the University of Michigan and Michigan State, but we absolutely love all the unknown colleges that most of you will never hear of. 

From the Adrian Bulldogs to the Central Michigan Chippewas, we've got small colleges in corners of the state where we'd otherwise never tread. They're our hidden jewels. Colleges with bigger cafeterias than football stadiums. 


So while you're watching the Big 10 football games this year and cheering on your favorite team, give a shout out to all the colleges whose teams will never show up on ESPN, if they have a team at all. And, as long as I'm at it, let's hear it for my own alma mater. 

 Go Blue Devils!

Thanks to all those who found an empty plot of land in an unused corner of Detroit, the far western mountains of the Upper Peninsula, or a cornfield in Midland, and said, "Let's build us a college!" Our Midwest wouldn't be the same without them.





Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Midwestern Majesty

In the morning, I have to be up early for classes, and I catch some beautiful sunrises.

As the sun rose one morning, I saw the dew drops on the clover, and couldn't resist taking some pictures of the furry little things.

 Before supper one day, I took a walk out by the cornfield, and this is one of the pictures that I got. I loved how the corn seemed to be pointing to the sky, raising their 'arms' in worship to their creator.

The sunsets are amazing. Every time I get off work in time to see one, I'm reminded how great God is, and I feel like a little tiny ant looking at the beauty.

Sometimes even a dead looking tree can be beautiful...you just have to look at it right.

When the sun goes down, the bonfires start up. I can spend hours looking at the flames and seeing the shapes they form as they leap and dance among the logs.

Seeing the fire burn this log, I couldn't help but think about when God spoke to Moses in the burning bush. We see fire eat everything in it's path, yet that particular fire burned and burned, but didn't consume the bush.

Isn't God amazing? He shows His majesty to us in so many little things, from a sunrise and dew on a clover leaf to corn growing over seven foot tall to sunsets and flames dancing in a fire. It's astounding how much beauty He put on the earth, just for us to enjoy while we're here. And I don't know about you guys, but I have some really beautiful country around me! It makes me feel really special, but at the same time, really, really small, knowing God made everything, and still cares about me enough to create simple little things for me to enjoy if I take the time to look for them.

What are some of the beautiful little things you see?

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