Take a Break from Something You Love

Sometimes it's good to take a break, even from the things we love. I've always loved to read. Books have always felt like friends to me. They took me places I never imagined possible while at the same time teaching me how to live life differently.
I wanted to share the wonder I found reading books with others, so I started reviewing books. Initially I loved writing reviews. I got excited about reviewing books written by authors I loved and one's I met through myriad author events. At first I wrote reviews when I finished a book and didn't worry about keeping a schedule. It worked okay but wasn't a good way to keep viewers. So I started reading multiple books at a time, so I could have a weekly regular post. At first this was exhilarating. Reading with the purpose to review books made reading feel more purposeful.
Then something happened. Somewhere along the way writing reviews started to feel like more like a chore than a pleasure. The feeling crept up on me in a way …

Poetry Plays with Perception

Poets play with perception when they write poetry making reading poetry another play in perception. When we read poetry we bring our own life experiences into play affecting our perception of the world around us.

Poetry can shine a light on the world we inhabit in language that is sometimes more palatable than either fiction or nonfiction. Poetry can tease our hearts and minds with possible meanings and interpretations. Poetry can use imagery and emotion to effectively push readers to think about life from a different perspective.

Many people have told me they don't read poetry because they don't understand poetry. I struggled to understand this until I started reading some of the "classic" poetry I'd avoided since college. Then I remembered how I used to think poetry was something I couldn't understand, and I got it. It changed the way I engaged with people who don't like poetry.

I'm not saying anyone has to like poetry. We all have our own tastes. That…

Nonfiction Expands Knowledge and Connection

I'm always incredulous when someone tells me they don't read books. I don't understand how one exists in the world without reading books - nonfiction, fiction, poetry, etc. - but particularly nonfiction.

Nonfiction gives us glimpses into history. It explains scientific research. It helps us better understand medical research. Nonfiction shows us the stories of the people who have changed the world. Nonfiction provides the knowledge to solve problems and navigate the world in which we all live. Nonfiction provokes thought while reminding us there are human beings attached to the events happening in the world currently as well as historical events. 

Nonfiction can teach cooking, sewing, crocheting, golfing, programming, marketing, trading, and myriad other things.

Nonfiction explores all aspects of life and provides readers with a way to expand their knowledge base. People might think they never read nonfiction, but we all do in one way or another. Any time we try to learn some…

Fiction Opens Hearts and Minds

Let me tell you a story...

Let me paint you a whole new world to immerse yourself in for just a little while. A world where justice prevails and conflict is resolved. A world where people live happily ever after.

We know these stories aren't real, but they allow us to immerse ourselves in dreams of the world we wish we lived in. They also allow us to experience things we will never experience in real life.

I discovered the power of fiction as a child, and fell in love with the stories that changed my life. Fiction gave me the opportunity to envision a future beyond the farm where I grew up. Fiction showed me a world beyond the small farming community where I never quite felt like I fit in. Fiction even gave me my first glimpse into cultures and people across time and space.

I devoured the stories I read. Looking back I realize I was searching for my place in the world. I was searching for a place where I would fit in because I never felt like I really fit in anywhere. I searched for a…

Expanding Light, Expanding Love

Sometimes I find it impossible to quiet my mind. Today has been one of those days. As I've tried to work through the things I needed to do, my mind has felt chaotic. Even meditation didn't help much. Even yoga didn't help much.
Today's post was scheduled to be about reading fiction, but instead I'm stuck on how difficult it can be to quiet one's mind even with all the tools that usually work. Sometimes we have to let ourselves feel the chaos in our minds in order to quiet it and move on.
My meditation this morning focused on expanding one's light out into the world. As I meditated, my thoughts settled on my decision several years ago to make a concerted effort to live from a foundation of love. As I meditated, I imagined the light emanating from me as that foundation of love.
The more I make a concerted effort to live from a place of love, the stronger I feel. Living from a place of love isn't about allowing people to walk all over me or about denying the …

Inspiring Excitement About Poetry

Several of my teacher friends and others who work with youth have asked me if I have any ideas about how to get young people excited about poetry. I'm always a little surprised by the question. I write poetry. I don't teach poetry. Still, I find the question thought provoking. So I started thinking about what first got me excited about poetry... But, I can't remember. It seems to be poetry was always bubbling inside me. That said, I didn't always enjoy studying poetry, and there are times when I still don't understand the hubbub about one poet or another when I study their work. It happens. It's okay.

The more I thought about it the more I came back to one single thing. Find the poetry in your audience's, aka your class's, life. Show them the poetry in songs, in commercials, in the nursery rhymes of their youth. Show them poetry by contemporary poets before asking them to dissect poems filled with language that feels foreign to them.

While I don't rem…

Every Single Time: Golf and Life

Let's talk about golf...

I first attempted to learn to play golf many years ago. It didn't go well. Every time I went I left feeling more frustrated than the last time. I compared myself to everyone else and worried about what everyone else was thinking about my attempts. It wasn't fun. In fact, I hated every minute of it yet something about it also intrigued me.

Several years later, I was writing a character who played golf in a book as yet unfinished. I went to write a scene and realized I didn't know enough about the game to write it, so I signed up for golf lessons. I blogged about those lessons on a different version of this blog.

The lessons were empowering and invigorating. I decided I enjoyed hitting the ball. That was something, right?

Eventually, I took those lessons onto a golf course, starting with a 3 par course and playing it until it started to feel too easy. Then I started playing on a 4 par course. That feels about right. It still challenges me but do…