Thursday, May 7, 2015

May Inspirational Almanac

Hello friends and writers.

You might notice that in this issue I have eliminated the cute little clip-art images.  I'm not sure about you, but sometimes when I'm dealing with words and text, the visual additives just really distract me from original thought.  So, we'll bid those goodbye from this issue on out.

I hope you'll find this installment of the almanac inspirational and thought-provoking as we celebrate our mothers, say 'thank you' to ourselves, and emerge our pens reflectively in creative writing and inner reflections with the journal.  There's also some great quotes and first lines.  Plenty of fun stuff to keep you busy this month!

If you completed the NaPoWriMo last month, I commend you (and even if you tried and didn't quite complete them all, go you anyway!)

Here's to keeping our pens busy and our notebooks well used.  Let's make May a creative endeavor!

Happy writing, folks!


Everyday is a chance to begin anew.  I resolve to create an amazing future by making the following positive changes right now:
1. ________________

May Affirmation
Time is a gift to me, it is one of my most important assets and I utilize it well.

I will be easier on myself.  I am not perfect and I was not born to be!

Gift to my Muse
This month I urge you to just take your time.  Allow yourself some time.  Go do something you enjoy, something for yourself, without even noting the time.  Make some important appointments for yourself and mark some blocks on your personal calendar/day planner as self gift.  Why?  Because, as women who are too often encumbered with multi-roles and the faulty expectation that because we are mothers, daughters, career women, homemakers, that it is our duty to obligate our time to others, we deserve some time for ourselves!  Because it takes time to cultivate dreams.  And it takes hard to work, which also takes time.  Just because we have responsibilities does not mean that we should forego our own lives and our own dreams.  We are deserving of those things.  So this month, I want you to practice taking time for yourself.  Scheduling it in.  Saying no to things you are not obligated to do.   And allowing yourself the liberty of making others do what they can for themselves!

Notable Holidays
National Teachers Day is celebrated on May 6th.  This national day of celebration for educators actually was not introduced to political congress until 1944 when a Wisconsin teacher (Ryan Krug) corresponded with Eleanor Roosevelt his plea for a day in honor of all teachers.  In 1953, Roosevelt persuaded congress to declare the national appreciation day for teachers.

Things to Do:  If you have a favorite teacher you remember (or maybe a favorite college professor or instructor) why not send this person a 'thank you' card for all their inspiration.  Better yet, you could send them a personalized message or a direct phone call.  Are you shy?  Maybe send some flowers or a little package anonymously...either way, they'll get the message!  Honestly, though, we are all teachers.  Think about something you have taught well, or someone whom you have taught to sometime in your life.  Give your own self a 'thank you' gift!

In the United States of America, Mothers Day is celebrated on May 10th.  This holiday was created by a lady by the name of Anna Jarvis in 1908 and would later become a national holiday in 1914.  It is said that later, Jarvis would work to denounce and remove this holiday from the calendar due to it's over-commercialization.

Things to Do:  Of course, the best idea for this day is to call your own mother, send her flowers or a gift.  Perhaps you can even get crafty and create something she'll treasure as a keepsake for years to come.  If your mother has passed on, do something special in honor of her and the life force she left behind, perhaps have your own little private ceremony in her honor, drink  a toast to your best memories.  Are you a mother, yourself?  Or have you ever mothered anyone or anything (pets are included!), this is a day to give thanks and appreciation for the mothering you have done as well.  If you have children, make this a special day for them as well by doing something together that you can all enjoy (and remember for years to come).

Writing with Astrology
The two primary astrological signs for May are the Aries and the Taurus.

Some characteristics that describe the Aries personality are:
versatile, lively, passionate, adventurous, passionate, courageous, arrogant, stubborn, impulsive, confrontational

Extending the Idea:
*write a flash fiction about a busy working mother who is making a chaotic career change
*take the list of words and use them as a wordle/word pile to construct a poem.  the poem must at least be 20 lines
*write a fictional characterization of an Aries woman...make sure to detail her personal life and preferences, her romantic relationships, her job, her home, and so on.  pull the reader into the atmosphere of her life with your words
*do you know an Aries personally?  describe this person and your relationship to them.  if you don't, just make one up.  perhaps it can be your imaginary ideal best friend.

Some characteristics that describe the Taurus personality are:
generous, dependable, down to earth, patient, independent, persistent, stubborn, self-indulgent, lazy, materialistic

Extending the Idea:
*Use the words above to construct a poem, flash fiction, a short story, or a journal free-write
*Write a three page memoir of a Taurus woman.  Make her a compulsive shopper.  She's involved in multiple relationships.  The irony of the story is that most of all, she just wants to love herself.  The setting of the story should be  a small town.  She must have a happy ending.

Advice From Famous Television Mothers
“I ain’t taking no orders. I can be a sunshine lady if I wanna be. And I wanna be. And I am.”
—All in the Family
 “It hurts until it doesn’t. You think it’s going to break you, but it won’t. You may not sleep as well at night, but you will be fine.”
“You know, actually, this could be a good lesson for me. To learn to be content with what is and not hope for what could be.”
—Everybody Loves Raymond

“It doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside of you that counts, don’t sell yourself short.” 
Home Improvement
 “You see, that’s what feminism does. It makes smart girls with nice birthing shapes believe in fairy tales. Stop waiting for your prince.”
—30 Rock
“People aren’t as different as we think. We may have different beliefs, but we’re all pretty much alike.”
—The Partridge Family

“I realize you have to do what you think is right. I wouldn’t respect you if you let yourself get pushed around by anyone, including me. “
—The Dick Van Dyke Show

Extending the Idea:
*Take each of the quotes above them and use them as prompts for your journal.  Write the prompt at the top of a blank page, observe and reflect on the prompt, and then write!

The Word Pile
A word pile is simply a list of interesting words.  Typically, I use word piles as challenging poetry-writing exercises.  The idea is to incorporate the complete list of words into a poem.  You can change the tense of any given word if you need to.  You can also use these word lists to write short stories and flash fiction.

World Pile #1
swine, map, lost, uncle, redwoods, matches, seven, mountains, psalm,  kitchen, bulbs, bus

Word Pile #2
light, passes, scales, fall, wilderness, identity, butterfly, soul, wild, etched, earth, bone

Word Pile #3
orbit, boundaries, fractal, quota, erode, tilt, cardboard, continents, compelled, geology, force, mass

Word Pile #4
trees, stars, fixed, urge, pleasures, flakes, age, shell, hassle, roaring, flowing, erogenous

Word Pile #5
indigo, glazed, ashen, cigarette,  skin, talons, window, rain, light, motion, Plutonian, maddening

Write Myself Some Poetry
Here are some first lines to get you started:

1.  Love was neither friend or foe.
2.  Some things my mother taught me
3.  My childhood days bloomed like the buds of sunflowers
4.  The heart is a silly, bulbous thing
5.  There is a teenager who lives between my ribs
6.  April rained all month, a teardrop down my windowpane
7.  Last night I lost myself to memory
8.  Headlights danced between the windows like drunken shadows
9.  My grandmothers hands were never alone
10.  The last time life got busy
11.  Spring wrung my heart around it's hours like a limp rag
12.  This is everything preceding the adult me
13.  A first date never tasted so swell

Journal For You
1.  One of my best school memories is the time when _______.
2.  Did you have a high school sweetheart/crush?  Write a detailed recollection of what you remember best about that person.
3.  A silly memory from the bathroom during my school years is _______.
4.  My favorite grade school teacher was _______.  Because _______.
5.  Write about a teacher (or professor) who had a resounding positive impression upon you.  What did this person do to inspire your?  What kind of advice would they give today's version of yourself?
6.  Write about a teacher who had a negative effect upon you?  What was it about this person that did not inspire you?  Why?
7.  What is your favorite memory of your mother?  Explain.
8.  Is there anyone else in your life (besides your actual mother) who has served as a mother figure to you in some way?  If so, describe this person and their effect on you.
9.  What is your idea of the perfect mother?  Is there such a thing?  Why or why not?
10.  Write about a memorable event that you shared with your mother.  What did you do? Where did you go?  Why was this so memorable for you?
11.  What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?  And why?  Did you take the advice, or not?
12.  Write about your favorite grandmother.  What kind of person is/was she?  What kind of questions would you like to ask her?  And how do you feel she'd answer those questions?  (If your grandmother is still alive, perhaps it would be a great idea to interview her, ask her some important questions you'd like to have her answer!)

I Need to Remind Myself That...
I only live once!  I need to stop waiting for a special occasion to use my best China, or for the perfect party for that little black dress I look most amazing in.  I need to quit waiting for when I win the lottery so I can take that much-needed vacation or writer's workshop that would really be rewarding for me....I need to do these things NOW!  I need to stop thinking in terms of tomorrow and do what it is I want to do most today.