I was wavering.
I was stammering, stuttering, and stuck.
No, I wasn’t struggling with a picture book idea. I was struggling with the idea of picture book ideas.
I was looking at my upcoming month–our trip up north, our up-ended schedule, the uprooting possible if we sell our house…and the downside of joining PiBoIdMo this year. (That’s Picture-Book-Idea-Month, a challenge to find an idea every day for 30 days.)
The chances of getting 30 ideas for 30 days was intimidating. But then I read the pre-PiBoIdMo posts, and a few choice guest posters pointed out how, in reality, it only takes one inspiration, one idea, one blink of a light bulb, to make a book.
The idea may come from anywhere. It may take time to germinate. But it won’t germinate until it’s planted and that takes a choice, a determination, a decision.
So I’ve signed up again…and even if my participation is minimal, it won’t be a loss.
It will be a gain.
A book on mini-habits I purchased during last year’s NF4NF conference in Texas is finally being read. I don’t remember who pointed me to this book…perhaps Kristi Holl. Maybe Pat Miller, Kristen Fulton, Steve Swinburne, or Peggy Thomas. But thanks to whomever did. (And to the author, Stephen Guise, Mini-Habits)
The purchase was digital. Yes–out of sight, out of mind–until this year’s conference drew near and prompted me to open the file in my Kindle app.
The read has resulted in my rising early in small, minute increments. Most days now before daylight. I spend time on the deck with coffee, the tablet, the dogs, and time to read scripture and pray.
I decided, after a few days of that mini-habit, to add one other small mini-habit to the habit. Mini-writes. Something small, each day. Something brief, easily achievable. Something easy, delightful, and something that would let me say, “I wrote today.”
The perfect candidate? Haiku.
In perfect form? Nope. Perhaps I took a few liberties, which a poet easily and guiltlessly can, before daylight.
But I wanted to share my small successes, and gathered the first eleven here.
Let me know if you have a favorite. I hope you enjoy them.
morning mists grow thin
as words appear, revisions
of my fading dreams
long night dozes off
and day wake finds me smiling
sipping on my thoughts
my freedom from the form is
yawning pink and blue
a waking summer sky hosts
a ballet of bats
sad willow stands still
but maple’s leaves flutter in
her own dreams of wind
pecker taps a pine
gray flakes of bark flutter down
and beetles cower
fog muffles morning
bats hang hungry in the trees
breakfast past hearing
I chatter chatter
to scampering squirrels above
who pause on tree limbs
garden path disturbed
bricks tilted by the restless,
but slow, toes of trees
a single robin
hopping on a vast green lawn
seeks a worm’s demise
a haiku or two
in hand is worth a dozen
pantoums in the bush
(c) Damon Dean, 2015
Worm Moon whispers sighs
frowns, blows down through her pursed lips.
But frost-cold snow clouds–
unwelcomed winter cousins–
stay. No dirt will stir tonight.
© Damon Dean 2015
I am participating this month in a challenge hosted by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at TodaysLittleDitty.com . The challenge issued from her guest author Margarita Engle is to write a tanka on any topic.
But specifically Engle asks us to “Seek the resonance that enters a poem only when it is touched by the stillness of nature
My last book for the 14:14 Challenge is not your ordinary ‘ribbit.’
author Brenda Guiberson
illustrator Gennady Spirin
(1,375 words, AR Reading Level 4.5)
Lush in the color and detail of Spirin’s illustration, this picture book is also rich in language with Guiberson’s lyrical approach to the lives of frogs. Like most good non-fiction works, the focus is narrowed to a particular aspect, in this case, frog song.
First, what kid–any age between 2 and 62–wouldn’t grab a book with a cover like this off the shelf and hop to the first cozy lily-pad to read about a big red frog? I did.
Furthermore, consider the opening page, full of word play:
Frogs have a song for trees, bogs, burrows, and logs. When frogs have enough moisture to keep gooey eggs, squirmy tadpoles, and hoppity adults from drying out, they can sing almost anywhere. Croak! Ribbit! Bzzzt! Plonk! Brack! Thrum-rum!
Their songs are printed in various fonts, splayed across colorful habitat backgrounds.
Word play features such as onomatopoeia, assonance, metaphor, alliteration, consonance…all are in place in this book. After all, it’s a book about swamp music. Sound is the main character.
Kids will love the uncommon behavior of some of these amphibians, but will also have fun ‘performing’ the various calls that appear on every page. I did.
This book is an exemplary model of how story elements such as word play can be used to elevate non-fiction above the simplicity of bare facts. If you find this book, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
(See a list of other reviewers’ posts in Christi’s latest post at Write Wild.)