Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Almost April

It's almost April 1.  And then the March SOL at Two Writing Teachers will be over... I hate quitting this fun cold turkey.  It is always a fun month of blogging and getting to know new bloggers and getting reacquainted with old friend-bloggers.  We only have two more days, can you believe it?

But then the A-to-Z Challenge begins.  I discovered that the second year into SOLC, that I didn't have to wander aimlessly around the blogosphere in April.  The SOLC had made a bit of a blogging addict out of me!  I went in search of the next adventure.

In this event, which runs throughout April (with time off on Sunday), posts are written to correspond with each letter of the alphabet on the assigned date. 
So A is on Friday, April 1;
B is on Saturday, April 2;
Sunday, April 3 is skipped;
Monday, April 4, is C
and Tuesday, April 5 is D...and so on to Z on the last day of the month.

I have signed up to do this a number of years now and have picked different themes for my blog posts.  Because it is Poetry Month, though, I've always written poems for each of the days, and I've even filled in on Sundays with a random poem, so I wouldn't miss a day of poetry.

For my first year, in 2012, I wrote a poem a day about an animal beginning with the specific letter.  I created a Tagxedo to go with it, and the poem itself had to be of a form beginning with the corresponding letter.  Here's a sample from 2012 on the "M Day":

Font: MKorsair
Theme: Miaka
Poetry Form:  Minute Poetry - Minute Poetry has 12 lines of 60 syllables written in iambic meter. Its format is 3 stanzas of 8,4,4,4 syllables each.  The rhyme is aabb, ccdd, eeff.

M is for Mouse
A tiny creature is a mouse
Who likes a house
And eats a crumb
To fill its tum.
It has a tail and tiny toes
A little nose,
Big eyes, some fur,
Small ears for sure.
It stays away from cats and hawks
Ignores door locks
Lives in the wall
Avoiding all.

© 2012 Donna J.T. Smith


In 2013, I photographed local lobster boats, most overwintering on land, with names that corresponded to the letters, and wrote poems for them.  Here's B for Bucephalus:



I champ at the bit,
A steed of the sea;
My race to the water
Is still yet to be.

I just need some paint,
The buoys do, too;
Get ready to roll
And rock on the blue.

In 2014, I selected Maine authors and found book titles that began with each letter of the alphabet.  I took the title of each book and wrote a poem about the title (not the book itself).  Here's L from that year:
Lighthouse Lullaby
by Kelly Paul Briggs
Lighthouse Lullaby

What would I sing to a light house
if I had to sing a song?
What do the waves say to it
when they are crashing so strong?
I think that it would like to hear
soft murmurs from the stars
the sound of sand 
as it swirls in to the land
I think a lighthouse would like
to hear
a tune of a conch’s shell
and maybe the faraway ringing
of a harbor’s channel bell
a lullaby for a lighthouse
would be like one for you or me
except that the sound of the singing
would be the soft, salty sound of the sea.
©Donna JT Smith, 2014

In 2015, I took pictures of interesting signage around the area.  Our Transfer Station did not disappoint:

Does your garbage make you grouchy?
Is your trash not up to par?
Bring it here, and we will match it,
Heave some more right in your car.

Is it something we have done
That destroyed your satisfaction?
Some minor imposition
Or a major league infraction?

It's our written guarantee
When you leave you should be happy
Or we'll have to give your trash back
And we'll double every scrappy.

You should always be contented
And take pride in what you toss
Or your one bag will be doubled -
Would you think that gain or loss?

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

And now "ta-da!" - this is my fifth year participating.  I have a new theme for which, since fall, I have been collecting pictures.  In the process I have gotten to know stories behind some of the pictures I've taken.  There is nothing like having a "project" to get you involved with complete strangers.  I have been honored to be given the freedom to photograph my subject, and when able, to discuss with the owner their reason for choosing what they chose.

Again, I will be writing a poem a day.  On Friday, April 1, my post will begin with a picture, as usual, and there will be a poem, as usual, and they will all begin with the letter A...
My theme is... drum roll, of sorts here...
Vanity License Plates!

Yes, a license plate, from Maine, for each letter of the alphabet, and a poem to go with it.

I think I got the idea last spring from my own vanity plate, our first one ever.  I started taking pictures of license plates as soon as I thought of it.  If someone was still in their car, I'd approach them and tell them what I was doing and ask if they minded if I took their license plate's picture.  No one ever refused.  Of course, if they weren't in their car, then I just took it anyway.  How can you stop someone from snapping a photo?  If they were in the car, I supposed they could have run over me.  But no one did.  So it all worked out every time, all 26 times, plus all the extra times.  I took more than one of each letter, since I needed to write a poem for each, and wasn't sure what would strike me as poem-worthy on the day I needed to be creative.

I have prewritten a few poems and I've pre-scheduled each post already whether there is something written yet for the post or not.  It's just a help to get me started. 

There is still room on the list to add your name if you are interested.  It is a lot of fun and kind of eases you out of March SOL and into Spring!  I am number 1193 right now on the list.  As people drop out, or haven't participated and are removed from the list, your number changes.  The object is for everyone to visit other sites and get to know other bloggers.

From the SOLC and the A-to-Z Challenge, I have come to know so many wonderful bloggers.  This next challenge kind of takes the edge off the sudden change!  I'm still taking pictures... even today... just in case...  You just never know where a word will take you.


  1. I've loved reading your posts in this challenge all these years, Donna. What a great "new" idea this time. I'm going to bounce around this year, will be gone part of April so cannot commit to an every-day thing. But looking forward to poetry for sure!

    1. This year seems to have been the most difficult yet for posting daily. Don't know why I'm suddenly so busy, but I seem to be!

  2. Ooo the A-Z challenge looks great- I'm also sad the SOL will be ending. Is the A-Z all poetry?

    1. Oh, no, it's anything you want to write or show, as long as it is in order on the correct letter day. Some are just like a slice of life, centered on an alphabetically correct topic word. I just always do poetry with my post because it's what I like to do for April anyway. Pop around and check out the link where it says topic reveals to see what some people are going to be doing. It can just be random topics though, too.

  3. Your other April option is NaPoWriMo: National Poetry Writing month. The challenge is to write a poem a day for 30 days. Just Google NaPoWriMo and you will find all sorts of resources.

    1. Oh, yeah! I've never done it, but thought about it a long time ago. I'll have to double link since I'm doing a poem a day anyway! Thanks for reminding me. What will we do for fun in May?

    2. Yea! I've signed up! Thanks!

  4. I've been wondering what your theme would be for the A-Z challenge. You are so creative! There must be a lot of vanity plates in Maine, I don't see as many around Missouri as I once did. I'm looking forward to reading your posts.

    1. It's always a relief to finally decide on a theme. Almost as soon as April is over, I'm thinking and testing to see if I could find enough to do all the letters. We have lots of vanity plates in Maine. Some are really creative and fun.

  5. So much promise in this post. Wonderful writing to look forward to and better health every day. Thanks for the info about A-Z, and the reminders of your past themes. Looking forward to this year too!

    1. It is going to be a very busy month. Keeps me out of trouble!

  6. You guys are such enablers! Here I was thinking I was getting out of daily blogging for April, and now I'm considering going all in with another challenge! Thanks for sharing the A-Z Challenge (and NaPoWriMo! I've done NaNoWriMo 5 or 6 times--and wow, a poem a day sounds SO much easier than 1667 words a day! Mostly because I don't write poetry and so I would have VERY low expectations for myself.). You've done such creative things with it in the past, and I love the license plate challenge.

    1. Wow! I applaud your doing the NaPoWriMo! I tried once, but I'm just not capable of writing that many words in a day that sound good together. You should try the poetry. As you said, keep the expectations low and you will be just fine...and grow. Who knows, you may discover you love to write poetry by the end of April!

  7. You always have such great collections. And I love the A-Z idea and how you've matched it with a license plate. That certainly will keep you busy stalking cars all month. I will plan to check back and see how you are doing.

    1. I have actually been stalking cars for a few months now! My husband has been a really good sport about it!

  8. What a fun idea, Donna! I haven't decided if I can commit to another month of daily blogging, but I'm looking forward to reading your poems!

    1. It's intense, but lots of fun. I enjoy reading all the other blogs to see what other ideas people have come up with. There are some wild ones!


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