Taking on the Challenge

Write NowI just completed the Writer’s Digest 30-day Poem-a-Day challenge. I posted a poem every day – based on a prompt provided by Robert Lee Brewer – and loved every minute of it. This isn’t the first year I’ve done this challenge, but sometimes I’m playing catch up from the get-go or rushing madly to get all the poems done by April 30. I found doing them day by day so much better and way more satisfying.

So, why can’t I write poems every day the rest of the year? Why do I need a prompt kick in the pants to sit down and compose poetry? It’s not a lack of inspiration. I often convert my spiritual practice of writing devotionals into poetry based on Bible verses. Life generally is full of poetic fodder. With that in mind, I plan to continue the exercise of writing a poem a day until April 30, 2022.

Let it be said, my hand hovered over the delete button as soon as I typed that last sentence, but I stopped myself.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve neglected my writing in recent months. The poem-a-day challenge ignited the flickering embers of banked creativity into a flame. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, but it’s for external projects; not the kind of writing that feeds the author within.

In the comments, let me know what you think of the poetry posted below, three among the thirty I wrote in April, AND if you have a prompt you would like to see a poem about, leave it in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Just a reminder, the Las Vegas Literary Salon is publishing a book of short fiction, essays, and poetry. Read more about it here. And now for some Vander Meer poetry.

The Day 4 prompt was to write an active poem. How do you think I did?

POETRY ACTIVE
Why is my brain
a runaway train?
I write my thought,
will it come to naught?

I dither and stir,
mind in a whir.
Words flow out,
like a garish shout!
I want to sleep,
but will they keep?
These words, I pray,
will be good, another day.

The Day 7 prompt was to write a villain poem. I rather enjoyed writing this one, and if you don’t know who Natalie Goldberg is, you might want to check her out. She is a writing guru!

VILLAINS
The thieves of creativity
chew me up and spit me out.
Self-created villains,
gremlins of doubt, fear, anxiety,
chip away at my confidence,
and then, I Natalie Goldberg them,
and write anyway, as though someday,
someone will read my words
and smile… or not.

Day 11 had to be a prime number poem, which of course, begged the question, what the hell is a prime number? Math is NOT my strong suit. As it turns out, 3 is a prime number. So here’s my Haiku in tribute to the prompt.

THREE LINES
Two wings and a beak
tiny talons grip a fence
merry spring arrives.

If you’re a writer, happy writing. I hope this post is an inspiration. If you’re a reader, THANK YOU! Please follow this website, like this post, comment, and if you’re moved to do so, share.


Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. Your likes, shares, and comments are welcomed. Click the BOOKS tab to find out more about my work and to order my books. Follow me at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. I may be reached by email at fsvandermeer@gmail.com.

 

Day by day

Golden Lily

The doing of a thing
shapes who we become
making each life ring and sing.

Do a thing today
that makes you smile
or helps another along life’s way.

Make your story chime
rich and vibrant,
splashed with colors sublime.

Sometimes the thing
is a softly spoken word
like the gentle brush of an angel’s wing.

Sometimes it is creating
art, or music, or a tale
so beautiful it’s breath-taking.

Sometimes it’s praying,
knowing God is listening
to what you are saying.

The things we do and say
define our stories
and shape our lives day-by-day.


One day at a time

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13 NIV

Peace

Not there yet in your journey?
Fallen off your horse a time or two along the way?
That’s the past.
Today and tomorrow are waiting for you.
Show up. Listen.
Be ready to come off the blocks in service to the Lord
through service to others.
Don’t put stock in mistakes of yesterday,
except to carry its lessons into what happens next.
Avoid poor choices and self-serving addictions.
Look for ways to be successful.
The reward of service is getting something back
you never imagined would or could come your way.
Peace. Joy. Renewal.
Embrace possibility.
God has a plan.
Be ready for it.



Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.


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The Creative Spirit Freed

Joy

You have made art in some magical form.
The thing you made is ready to sell.
Excitement pounds! Gallops, if you will,
stirring the heart and mind
to unnamed and unnameable possibilities.
Think of the thrill, the accolades, the glory!

But, wait! What if your brilliant creation
falls flat, has no resilience, gains no traction,
ends up on the scrap heap, a dud, a flop, a bomb?
Snickers and derision scrape like thorns
across your naked heart leaving you only slightly alive,
hope buried under insecurity, a shuddering fear of failure.

Stop. Right. There.
Doubt never lit a fire under anyone.
Fear frustrates flights of fancy,
stabs the brain with “I can’t! I Can’t! I CAN’T!”
That kind of thinking mocks the creative spirit,
binding her with thorny creepers.

You are ART. You are WRITER. You are CRAFT.
Believe in your work. Everything begins
and ends with your confidence in what you
have made, through your sweat and tears,
laughter and fears, worries and joys.
Believe in your WORK or no one else will.

Let excitement pound!
Thrill at the galloping hooves of hope!
You are an innovative life force.
Put it all out there and trust your gift –
whatever that gift may be.
Leave a mark. Inspire laughter. Arouse passion.

You cannot know what your work
will do to, or for someone else.
And does it matter?
What your work has already done
is made a difference in you.
You have done something no one else can do.

Ply your craft with dedication
and single-minded focus.
Create to your heart’s content.
Let excitement permeate the sweating artistic process,
believe and be proud. You produced something unique.
Put it out there with courage and not an ounce of doubt.

Color Graphic

Lines, Poetry in Notion

Lines, Poetry in Notion ($7.50 plus tax and shipping)

Lines, Poetry in Notion

Think of how you feel about getting up in the morning to splashes of glorious color in the sky, or how you feel about your faith, your partner sleeping beside you, or the quirks of life that make you smile… or cry. That is the essence of Lines, Poetry in Notion. Poetry is for everyone. Yes, even you. It tells a story from beginning to end, in many verses or in one. It speaks to the heart and stirs the mind to contemplation or tears, or anger, or love, or any one of a dozen other reactions that invite you to explore something about yourself. Click here to see one of the poems from the book.

Lines, Poetry in Notion is available through this site using Paypal, or at online stores including Amazon.

Through Christmas, 10 percent of all sales will go to Chapter H, a Las Vegas, N.M. chapter of an international organization that supports educational opportunities for women.

Q&A With Cinematic Entrepreneur

And promoter of Las Vegas: Jim Terr

Jim TerrPromoting the community can sometimes feel like a thankless job. It requires hard work, a sweeping understanding of the area, discerning what makes the area appealing locally and to visitors, and an ability to connect with readers and viewers in interesting ways. Jim Terr continues to be a light in the tunnel that leads folks to visit – and helps those who live here appreciate – the sweetest little town around. He does it in creative and often quirky ways, always positive and lighthearted. What you may not know about Jim is how very talented and creative he is. He has produced countless YouTube videos that highlight Las Vegas positives, and many that celebrate life. He is a satirist with a liberal bent, a song writer, and a tongue-in-cheek commentator on the fractured political landscape. This Q&A is about his consistent dedication to promoting Las Vegas, the original.

Watch Jim show off his talent in Over the Edge Part 8 at Sala de Madrid, Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and in a matinee performance on Sunday at 3 p.m. He will be performing as an opening act featuring a couple of his songs, including his most recent video Road Show Rejects. (A disclaimer here, Bob and I have our 10 plus/minus seconds of fame in the video.)

ORP: Talk about yourself and Blue Canyon Productions.
Jim: Blue Canyon Productions
, a name I don’t use much anymore, was originally coined after a canyon near here, to go with my first production, an album I did with Sweetgrass (1972), a bluegrass band I was in. I’ve used the name to cover a lot of my music and other productions, which transitioned into a lot of video work starting in 1993 with Las Vegas, New Mexico – America’s Oldest Film Location, which has gotten almost 3,800 views on YouTube since I first posted it, and hopefully some good publicity for Las Vegas.

I’m participating in the upcoming CCHP Places With a Past Film Tour of Las Vegas on Saturday, Aug. 6, as a docent at the Plaza Hotel, speaking as an expert on Las Vegas film history – which I’m actually not but I’ll brush up on the subject. I also have a long-running website on film at www.lasvegasnmfilm.com. And I’m trying to promote some future film and TV productions, hopefully in Las Vegas, with a “Romaine Fielding” series of vignettes at www.TentaclesFilm.com

ORP: You’ve had success writing jingles. Talk about that and how it inspired your creativity.
Jim:
I think my first jingle was a song I did on an album around 1983, called Is Your Mama Behind You?, about littering (wondering if your mama is following behind you to clean up your litter). The jingle was distributed nationally by the Sierra Club. When I returned to Las Vegas in about 1985, I did quite a string of radio jingles for local businesses, banks and Murphy’s Drug Store to name a couple. I have done many since then, including a national jingle for Snapple, which I was told was the most popular of that series. It was called Sing a Song of Snapple. My little niece and nephew accompanied me on vocals and saxophone respectively. I found out later that the kids made much more in royalties from it than I did! Anyhow, I have a foundation-funded documentary in progress looking at jingles in a larger perspective historically www.jinglingfilm.com, a realization that came to me while listening to an old-time brass band in Plaza Park one day.

ORP: At what point did you burst into the digital arena with your very active Facebook page, and what have you gained or realized from this effort.
Jim:
I was resistant to Facebook (like everything else), until a friend signed me up, and the rest is history. I spend half my day on Facebook. I always say I learn a lot about other people, and have made a lot of real friends and business connections. It’s a great playground for me, and educational in a million ways. Facebook has gotten my videos and other content out there. Although I’ve gotten more than 1.5 million views of my videos on YouTube, I get many more views per video on Facebook, so maybe I’ll surpass that total on Facebook videos someday. Here’s one about Jimmy Carter that amazingly got over 140,000 views on Facebook, and almost 6,000 shares (reposts). So Facebook has been a great gift for me.

ORP: Talk about your website.
Jim:
I have so many websites I wouldn’t know where to start. Way too many, mostly momentary inspirations that have not been productive; I’m “website poor.” You may be referring to the New Mexico Vegas  website, www.NewMexicoVegas.com. That was an idea to incorporate the many Vegas-related websites and projects and videos under one umbrella. Several folks and businesses in Las Vegas pitched in for me to put that together and make some new videos specifically for that site, some of which have gotten quite a few views already. So, it’s an effort to sort of consolidate a lot of my local promotional efforts in one place. I’m expecting that the Road Show Rejects video will get quite a few views over time. Like some of the other videos I’ve done at Charlie’s (Spic & Span, Bakery and Cafe), and around Las Vegas, I think it features some of the “good spirit” that makes Las Vegas unique. An occasional resident once told me it was the friendliest town he had ever been in. I had never thought about it, until then. I try to promote that generosity, which I think is extraordinary, as well as the physical and historical beauty.

ORP: I’ve thought about uploading videos, but it seems a bit daunting. Talk about how you became such an active producer on YouTube.
Jim: Before YouTube came along (or before I got onto it), it was quite a deal to upload a video to a website. YouTube made it much easier. Once you get familiar with the procedure it’s pretty simple. It’s even easier to “embed” a YouTube video into your website. I’ve become rather compulsive about producing videos – it is great fun and has produced some income and some visibility for issues I care about. I now have more than one thousand videos on YouTube. Facebook is where my new videos get the most views, and that’s equally easy to upload once you understand the procedure.

ORP: Why do you work at promoting the community when your only compensation is an occasional, “Thank you?”
Jim: I enjoy it for some reason, and enjoy sharing and seeing beautiful pictures of nature and architecture and people in general. I hope some of it generates tourist business for Las Vegas as well as additional pride and appreciation among residents. And I do get compensated – sponsorships – for some of my videos, occasionally.

ORP: What do you most want people to know about the area?
Jim: I’ve covered a lot of that in the videos and comments above, but here’s one that’s been very popular on YouTube (almost 20,000 views!), Las Vegas New Mexico – the Real Las Vegas, featuring our superstar, Brenda Ortega. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever put that video on Facebook…

ORP: Talk about some of the songs about Las Vegas – serious and parody – you’ve.
Jim: Here’s a funny one about Las Vegas – or Northern NM in general – with more than 5,000 views on YouTube), though probably not everyone will think it’s funny. I would hope we all agree that Las Vegas is absolutely unique in about a million ways – including its history and culture and architecture.

On a more serious note, I did a series of videos about some of the “elders” in our area, if you search for “NEW MEXICO SURVIVORS” on YouTube you can find them.

ORP: What is your goal in producing/creating your many Las Vegas-related YouTube videos?
Jim: It’s just been some sort of itch to appreciate Las Vegas and to share that appreciation and hopefully promote tourism, and of course to keep myself afloat with sponsorships for videos and websites when I can.

Jim Terr is available to film videos on commission. You may contact him at www.JimTerr.com, e-mail: bluecanyon2@juno.com

 

 

Deer Me

The Connection
Well, hello there

There you are, sleek and beautiful
a creature amazing and graceful,
stippled brown and buff,
your tail a fluffy white flag.

Long of leg, powerful and swift,
your gaze penetrating, full of light.
Wary and wise, watching for danger
survival instinct evident in your awareness.

Your eyes find me behind a plate of glass.
No scent to tell you I am there
but you know, and look up.
I am breathless!

I think for a moment
my heart beats in cadence with yours,
creation in tune for a span of time,
until you cut our connection and bound away,

Leaping, it seems, straight up
as you fly over the fence
followed by your family,
seeking solitude and peace.

Three's a Charm
Are you looking at me, girl?

Away We Go
And away we go!

_________________________________
(c) Photos and poem: Sharon Vander Meer

Snow More

Snow Down

 

Are you happy now?
Do you remember
when you moaned
and groaned,
whined and fretted.
Will this snow
ever go away?
you asked.
It’s too cold!
you said,
Will this ever end?!
you cried.
And now I am going.
It seems as though–
winter has died.
Once I was three,
four feet deep.
This is all that is left of me,
and now you fret
because it is still winter
yet I am dwindling,
fading,
drying up.
Are you happy now?

___________________
Photo: (c) Sharon Vander Meer

Please like and share. I write because I love it. I’m inspired to continue when I know my work is read by others. Comments are welcome.

 

Ever the Optimist

The Optimist

I heard a new definition of pessimist recently. A pessimist is an optimist with experience. I am, as the song from South Pacific goes – a cockeyed optimist. I haven’t quite made it to pessimist, but I do have my days. There are many surprises in life, some of which make it difficult to maintain a positive and upbeat outlook.

But I do.

I’m like Snoopy in the Charlie Brown cartoon shown with this post. Yes, bad things can and do happen, but the rest of the time they don’t.

I have friends who have terminal illnesses of one kind or another. You know the amazing thing? Most of these folks are more optimistic about life than the people around them. One of them has dealt with cancer more than once, but through it all she remained a fighter, and a survivor. This time she knows it’s the last time, and she is preparing and prepared. Her spirit is like starlight on a dark night, brighter than anything around it, eclipsing the sadness and fear, overcoming despair.

When my sister-in-law was in cancer’s waiting room, those of us fortunate enough to be with her through the last days of her life found more comfort coming from her than we ever gave. My mother was the same, but I knew she was ready to move on when she said, “I want to go home.” We all knew she wanted to pass from this life into God’s hands. One day she looked up toward the ceiling, lifted her arms and said, “He’s reaching for me. I’m ready.” Eerie? Yup. Did we think she saw someone, God, reaching down for her from heaven? Does it matter? She believed it.

Others I know who are in treatment for cancer have amazing stamina for the grueling and sometimes debilitating regimen they undergo. Their faith and trust are without question. Are they being optimists, or is their connection with – and understanding of – God so profoundly strong, it colors their every day with a clarity we who want to love them into remission simply cannot fathom? I don’t know. I share the gift of their trust and give it back with prayerful respect, trusting in my Creator God, as do they.

No doubt there are non-believers who are just as strong and just as amazingly inspirational through the trials of cancer and other illnesses. Believers don’t have a corner on bravery and hope. The point is that whether you call it optimism or faith, the bubble of believing is in each of us in some measure. What we can’t know is how our courage brings healing and hope to all the people around us.

In this befuddling world I continue to be optimistic. I continue to have hope that people I love who are struggling will turn their lives around. I live each day believing today will be better than yesterday and tomorrow is a gift waiting to be opened. I believe in miraculous healing. I believe in letting go and saying goodbye to those with terminal illnesses whose suffering has made their lives miserable. I believe there are no easy answers; that does not mean we shouldn’t work through the hard questions.

In the words of Charlie Brown and Snoopy: “Someday we will all die, but on all the others, we will not.” Snoopy was always the wise one… and the optimist.

________________________

The Charlie Brown cartoon was circulated through Facebook, which I hope makes it public domain, and I’m not even sure the caption is the original text.


Thank you for being a reader/subscriber. It is my goal to present informative, interesting and creative content on this site. Your likes, shares and comments are welcomed and hugely appreciated.


Follow Sharon at:
www.vandermeerbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks
Amazon Author Central

Waiting for the Post

Happy Valentine's Day

 

Remember
…waiting with fluttering heart…
for a Valentine from your beloved?
A missive filled with passion
and bad poetry?
Now, if you’re lucky,
you get a text
– i luv u –
or something equally uninspired.
Does that make it
less valid?
Love spoken
…in any form…
is a gift to treasure.
For love,
there is no measure.

______________________
Image: clipart.com

I am looking for artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and other creative folks to feature in my Q&A series. To learn more about how to participate go to Welcome.