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JoAnn's Blog

The "Deeper Wisdom" of Rivers

Milwaukee River

Last week on Today's Little Ditty, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes interviewed Joyce Sidman about her gorgeous new poetry collection, Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold. Joyce issued a challenge: a "Deeper Wisdom” poem, modeled after her thoughtful “What Do the Trees Know?”

Here's mine:

              What do rivers know?

                    To carve our paths through rock, through snow
                    To carry everything in tow
                    When ice forms, how to slip below

              What do rivers know?

                    Dams are temporary, so
                    Whatever happens, we still flow
                    We find—or make—a way to go

              JoAnn Early Macken

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Live Your Poem. . . with Irene Latham. Enjoy!

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The Perfect Poem

Here in Wisconsin, we’ve got cold. It’s a good time to buckle down and write. I’m plowing ahead on the seventh book of eight in my Poet’s Workshop series, and somehow I lost a poem I wrote for a chapter on riddle poems. Here’s my thought for today.

              The Perfect Poem

              Once I wrote a perfect poem.
              If only I could find it!
              I searched inside my messy desk,
              on top, beneath, behind it.
              I poked through every pocket
              and each notebook I could see.
              I think it was a perfect poem.
              This really bothers me.
              Once I wrote a perfect poem.
              I’m not sure what it said.
              So now I have to wonder:
              Was it only in my head?

              JoAnn Early Macken

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference. Enjoy!

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Planning for 2015

I’m trying something new for 2015—scheduling my work time in blocks so that I include time for top priorities every week.

Happy New Year! I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient and productive. Today seems like a good time to start something new.

My son Jimmy sent me a link to an article about time management for creative people, "5 alternative ways to manage your time." Jimmy said he especially liked the second method, “How to Schedule Your Day for Peak Creative Performance,” and so do I. I’ve adapted it to use with the activities I want to include:

• Create: I’ve been starting my days with coffee and my own writing for a long time; this practice works well for me. My Inner Critic sleeps late, so I’m less likely to reject my own ideas first thing in the morning. The earlier I start, the more time I have in this block.

• Exercise: I want to make this more of a priority, so I’m scheduling it earlier in the day. Plus it’s a nice transition into the next time block.

• Sticking My Neck Out, or Push (as in “pushing myself outside my comfort zone,” as the author of the article labels it). I have a long list of Maybe/Someday ideas I hope to address in this time slot.

• Work for Hire (WfH): Right now, this includes two nonfiction series I’m writing for educational publishers. With deadlines approaching, this block might expand temporarily, but I don't mind being flexible. Teaching could also be an option later in the year. We'll see.

I've included a couple of breaks for showering, checking email, throwing in a load of laundry, eating lunch, etc., because I’m trying to be realistic. And the whole five-day plan is subject to change, of course. (I am not scheduling evenings or weekends!) I'll try to post updates as I figure out what works.

What do you think? Are you planning your work hours? Any recommendations? Let me know!

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