Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Unlocking the Monster

Stories are small vignettes that start in the spaces of my mind and are brought to life with evocative words and images. Stories become my key to unlocking the soul and inner ideas, releasing words into the universe of thought. Writing journals (digital or non-digital) are sacred spaces where fears let go and thoughts rise. Laura Shovan's 11th Annual February Poetry Project has been an outlet for me to address storytelling in poetic ways. 

Day 27 of the challenge presented a unique way to introduce the monsters within that plague the soul. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Monster was the subject raised by Tabatha Yeatts. As a child, I was fearful of monsters but Shelley's creature seemed misunderstood and alone. Many times, humans feel the same. Chaos existing in the world estranges people. Kindness and empathy are lost in the mix. Loneliness leads to increased horror. The monster within finds shape. These thoughts sparked an idea to review the fictional Frankenstein monster in a different way. I first digitized a picture of an outstretched monster found on the Internet. He seemed bound by a world of chaos and internal strife. What I created is a brief glimpse into an unfinished tale.

Have you ever felt bottled up?
Perhaps, the answer is 
to seek peace in life's moments.
Make the ordinary extraordinary.
Just Be.
Settle in.
Search the soul.
Open your heart to gladness.
©CVarsalona, 2023, quick write

Today is the last day of Laura's project and tomorrow starts the first day of Two Writing Teachers' 16th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge of writing daily during the month. I am ready to search my soul and expand the stories within. Join me.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Story Evolves

Stories evolve as rich products of the creative spirit. While traveling to Disney World with my family, a window setting without a storyboard caught my eye. Mannequins dressed in late 1920s clothing were looking out at the boardwalk and a water body. I stopped to photograph the female mannequin thinking she has a story to tell. I knew I could create a writing prompt with her photo that would make an interesting challenge for Laura Shovan's 11th Annual February Poem Project. 

Last weekend, I did some research and added photos of a painting beside the photo of a female mannequin (see the left corner below). The other two images were a painting by Edward Henry Potthast, the American shorescape and landscape artist (1857-1927), in the top right corner, and the piece of digital art I created of children at the shore in the bottom right corner. On February 21st, I added all three photos and a prompt to spark other poets' imaginations.

Prompt-Day 21
Ponder the following thoughts:
What if the past and present timelines begin to merge?
What do the images bring to mind? (beach, children, seaside, nature, a vacation, other)
I enjoyed creating the above prompt.  Because I was so busy reading other poets' poems, my offering was added late. My poems are below. I do appreciate constructive criticism. 

Summering in Style

I just realized that it is the end of the month, and the Poetry Sisters challenged writers to write an ekphrastic poem and use the tagline #PoetryPals. I offer the above poems.


Tabatha Yeatts is the host of Poetry Friday this week. She is also one of the writers who participate in Laura Shovan's daily February 2023 Poem Project. You can find more poetic goodness from the Poetry Friday community here at the Roundup on Tabatha's blog.
Collage Art Logo by Linda Mitchell

Friday, February 17, 2023

New Publication: Two Truths and a Fib Poetry Anthology

Truth be Told:
Bridget Magee, teacher, poet, author, editor, and publisher opened the door to a new kind of poetry anthology in January 2023. Her Two Truths and a Fib Poetry Anthology is an imaginative idea based on an ice breaker game, Two Truths and a Lie. In her introductory invitation to writers, Bridget said, "One goal of this anthology is to have an instrumental element as well as be a joyful celebration." 

Inside this unique anthology, there are 29 poets writing on 30 different subjects using 32 poetic formats. Each subject has two poems that are true and one that is a fib. Each writer's poems flow in such a way that it is difficult to decide where the fib lies but there is a Poet Fact Check in the back of the book for clarification.

To celebrate the writers of her new book, Bridget created a Fib-O-Rama to her wee words for wee ones on Facebook. It is a trailer type of teaser for each poet's work in the anthology. Each day, a new author is celebrated. I am honored to be one of the 29 poets included in the book. My poems on Kindergarten are based on a first-day-of-Kindergarten experience. While I took some ideas from my granddaughter's first days, the poems are universal to many children. 

I congratulate my Poetry Friday friends, Margaret Simon, Molly Hogan, Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, Linda Baie, Linda Mitchell, Michelle Kogan, and Rose Cappelli, who are also Two Truths and a Fib authors.

Truth Poems and a Fib Poem

a seed of an idea took root over a year ago
over a year ago, a seed of an idea took root
©CV, 2023, skinny

when you wish upon a star
imagination soars
seeds of spontaneity burst

an anthology
evolves from different poets
publisher edits and smiles

after publication
quiet reading time
thirty poems to savor
©CV, 2023, tricube poem

were added
to the collection
by the excited publisher
©CV, 2023,fibonacci poem

(Can you tell what is the fib in the above poem?)

It's Poetry Friday time. This week Molly Hogan is the host of the Roundup. You can view Molly's winter photos that inspired her poem. Click here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's Valentine's Day and that means treasured items, plus new ones are strategically placed as decorations throughout my house. The weather adds to the ambiance of this lovely day with bright sunshine and warmth. Love is everywhere from fresh flowers to cards and mementos. I think about a saying from Voltaire, "Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination." As I sit in my great room, I look around and see the beauty of nature outside my tall windows. My imagination is in overdrive thinking of all the beautiful ways to acknowledge that love is alive.

Throughout today, I pondered the writing prompt provided by Heidi Mordhorst on Laura Shovan's 11th Annual February Poetry: give a story about love between you and a tiny object you still have. Sitting on my mantle are various handmade hearts created by my mother. Her talent always amazed me so naturally, some of her creations adorn my house on various holidays. The image poem below honoring my mother will remain at the bottom of my Valentine's Day container to remind me each year of her legacy of love.

I join Two Writing Teachers with my Slice of Life.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Welcome to Poetry Friday

I invite you to pause, be in the moment, and enjoy visiting The Poetry Friday Roundup. If you are new to our poetry community or just stopping by you can learn more about Poetry Friday at Renee La Tulippe's blog. 

Do you know that postcard writing was popularized at the end of the 19th Century? The trading of postcards became a favorite pastime leading to a new social event, postcard-swapping parties. While a postcard-swapping party is not a common way of corresponding in 2023, Jone Rush MacCulloch resurrected the art of the swap. 11 writers in our group were asked to send sending postcards with a photo and a poem to each member. I am happy to say that this project has become an annual event. 

Enjoy the mini-showcase of our poetry postcards celebrating the year of the rabbit.

Linda Mitchell opens the Calvacade of Poetry Wishes with her collage art and poems.
Jone Rush MacCulloch adds her new year wishes to live curious.
Heidi Mordhorst's poem shares a Happy 2023 greeting with an interesting last line.
Carol Labuzzetti offers a water rabbit's wish for poet writers.
Sunsets always surprise the viewer and provide sky magic.
"Sunrise is
the proof that
the best
things in life
are free."
-Linda Baie

Patricia Franz celebrates a silent gathering.

Nature poems share the beauty of earth.
Mary Lee Hahn speaks of nature's passing seasons through a haiku.
old and new
one year gone, another blooms
wheels keep turning
-Mary Lee Hahn
Marcie Flinchum Atkins's photographic eye focuses on a tiny mushroom.
Gail Aldous adds color and an inspirational poem about nature.
Margaret Simon captures the beauty of life through big and little hands.
I fashioned my poetry postcard to include my one word "be".

I thank you for enjoying the Calvacade of Poetry Postcards 2023 with the hope that you will

May your winter days be filled with tranquil moments so you can just be!

Collage Art Logo by Linda Mitchell

Now for more poetic goodness from the Poetry Friday community, click on each poet's link.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Photos Capture Family Moments

"We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us."  -Ralph Hattersley

Family life is precious so why not celebrate the joys of a family vacation?

celebrate a magical world
a whole new world of fun
where smiles are the signature look
and dreams come true
whether on land or sea,
Disney takes us back
to another time
of imagination
©CVarsalona, 2023

I agree with Karl Lagerfeld's following quote. "What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment gone forever, impossible to reproduce." My dream vacation with family and the little grandgirls may be over but the memories last. The above photo collage created with Canva reminds me of a magical trip to Disney World and the cruise ship voyage that followed. . I'm pulling out the magic wand and wishing for more to come. Stay tuned.

Thank you for reading my Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers, a place where teacher writers meet and share their stories. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Poetry Friday Wishes

For the past weeks, I have been wishing upon a star to make my dreams and my family's dreams come true. If you have not read my January blog posts you would not be familiar with my wishes that did come true so let me quickly summarize them. January was filled with the wish to switch from a rushed pace to a relaxed one. With that in mind, my dreams cascaded into thoughts of a magical land, hence a cascade poem evolved filled with wishes. A three-generation family vacation was planned by my daughter to the magical kingdom of Disney World with a cruise to the Bahamas on the new Disney Wish that followed.  Finally settled, the family shouted out their biggest argh as official pirate mateys who traveled the seas. A stand-alone wish to have a family vacation without my husband, son, and me getting COVID was granted but as fates would have it, the sirens of the Caribbean left their mark. I sit here covered in a red rash taking strong meds to bring my immune system back to normal, another wish that will be granted. The end is a tale as old of time for several trips in years that have past had medical issues surrounding them. From hurried to relaxed, I indulge in some quiet moments, With focused feelings and postcard imagery (a line from poet Alan Wright's poem) writing and recalling our fabulous trip to Disney. 

With focused feelings and postcard imagery
Wish You Were Here  by Alan Wright

magical touring
dipped in fairytale wonder
sparkles in a sea of amusement-
with focused feelings
and postcard imagery
I float in a pool of serenity
soaking in childhood delights
©CVarsalona, 2023

When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!  

wishes are wisps of a dream come true
come true-wishes are wisps of a dream
©CVarsalona, 2023

My thoughts float backward to a sandy beige beach with turquoise waters. A balloon filled with poetic essence transports me into a blissful state.
one word digital art concrete poem shared at my keynote presentation on Zoom last night
Click here to see the original concrete poem.

With gratitude for all the sweet memories of a family vacation, I bid you a bibbidi-boppity-boo wish for a magical day filled with color.

Please join me to celebrate the Poetry Friday Roundup with our host, Laura ShovanLaura is showcasing Laura Purdie Salas' new nonfiction picture book, Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons. 

I'm off to read all the poetic goodness provided by the Poetry Friday writers 
and then, join Laura Shovan's 11th Annual February Poetry Project.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Color My World SJT

Another month has passed as I try to be still, quiet, and grateful for life. I desire to color my world in colors that sparkle with joy and appreciation. Thanks to this month's Spiritual Journey Thursday's host Bob Hamera, aka arejha, for the prompt "think about the colors you project to others, colors that act as a guiding light".

My one word for 2023 is "be".  I wrote this line about my one word, Be is a guiding spirit. It follows that my word should interact with colors that affect me emotionally. Below, I tinted my "digital inspiration" with blues to signify calmness, something I highly desire.


In the Bahamas
be colored my world
with the warmth of yellow sunshine
the energy of foaming turquoise waters
the vibrancy of deep reds on pirate night
and the comfort of delectable beige bread
that affected emotions and moods
that energized each blessed day
that swept away stressors
existing in daily living-
coloring my world
bright and
©CVarsalona, 2023

Before the night is over, I reflect on my proposed action for "be": Prepare daily for change, renewal, and peace. Colors can help me bring a sense of serenity to my being and others.  Through research, I found a Guiding Light Color Scheme with a beautiful palette of five colors. They are B'Dazzled Blue, Sea Serpent, Pale Robin Egg Blue, Papaya Whip, and Cinnamon Satin. I shall ponder how these colors can lift my spirits during the winter months.

I listen to Colour My World by Chicago for the umpteenth time today, to find words to soothe the soul.


as time goes on
colors appear
through eras

coloring my world
with blue hues
of the seas
of the sky

floats in a blue mist
touched by healing hands
of the Divine

I see
I  touch
I "be" in the
presence of peace
©CV, 2023

There are so many colors to discover in this world. It is my hope to find the colors that will brighten the sky and bring joy, not only to me but to others.