Slice of Life Challenge – March 31 – National Poetry Month on the Zebulon, Georgia Courthouse Square

With special thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge for writers!

Earlier in the month, I mentioned that I would be planning a celebration of National Poetry Month throughout my community. As the District Literacy Specialist in my school system, I am able to tap into Literacy grant funds through my state to be able to bring interactive Literacy events to our county. Denise Krebs asked, “Will you blog it?” I assured her that I would. And I thank her for the inspiration for this post!

We kick off on April 1 with our big celebration. I sought a poet to write a poem on the theme of Bloom! Clayton Moon was my choice, because he has a true gift of writing about place. The rural countryside of Pike County, Georgia is his jam. He calls himself a dirt road mystic.

And he is. Not only did he write our featured poem, The Kiss of a Flutter’s Eye, he also added to the collection and published a book of poems about our county and its rural setting.

We sectioned his poem onto twelve pages, and I asked a recent Pike County graduate who was on Spring Break from ABAC College to illustrate the poem. She drew amazing blooms to match the words in the poem. I purchased 12 poster stands and asked 12 businesses on our courthouse square if they would allow us to place a stand with a stanza outside their door. They agreed, and merchants will add flowers at the base of the stands (Bloom!). On Friday (today as you read this), we will take these to the square and put them out for folks to come and take a progressive poetry walk, beginning at our Chamber of Commerce on the west side of the square and ending at Prosperity Real Estate on the south side of the square.

Progressive Poetry Walk Stands

On each stanza, there is a QR Code to give L4GA credit for funding the project and to let readers know which numbered stanza it is, in case they begin reading in the middle (they’ll know to go back to the Chamber to start with Stanza 1).

One of our libraries will host a paint chip poetry writing workshop. Come join me as we write!

We are also having pop-up poetry writing opportunities in several businesses, along with writing workshops. I’ll lead those in our libraries, but I prepared magnetic boards and baskets with instructional videos to help folks understand what to do in each station if they want to write poems before or after the workshops. They can scan the QR Code to watch a short How To video. I also created a Community Padlet for each poet to upload their poetry if they’d like.

Our local bookstore is hosting a Cento writing board, where shoppers can read the directions or scan a QR Code to watch an instructional video before writing their poem and sharing it on a community Padlet.
I’ve framed QR Codes with poets reading their poetry so folks can scan them and listen!

I’m also featuring poets reading their poetry in random QR Codes scattered around the square. I’ve hidden them in Easter Eggs, framed them and placed them on shelves in businesses, and even put them on bookmarks and doorknob hanger signs. If you’re interested in sharing a YouTube video of yourself reading a poem that you have written, please let me know in the comments and I’ll share where to send the YouTube link so that you can come virtually to Pike County and read your poetry! When someone scans your QR Code, there you’ll be – reading to us right here. Click here to hear me read Paint Chips, or click here to hear Clayton Moon read The Kiss of a Flutter’s Eye.

One of our local libraries is hosting a Jenga Block poetry basket, a Haikubes basket, a Found and Blackout Poetry basket, and a Paint Chip Poetry board.

We’re looking forward to an amazing celebration of National Poetry Month, and if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out the progressive poetry walk and holler out for me to meet you at the 1828 Coffee Company on the Zebulon square, where we can sip a lavender latte – or my other favorite, a medicine ball tea. We’ll be having an Open Mic Night with Ethan Jacobs and other local poets on April 19th, and Clayton Moon will be signing his book on the sidewalk outside the bookstore earlier that week.

Come join us! And if you can’t make it to Georgia, come join us at #VerseLove at, starting April 1. We’ll be writing poetry every day. Glenda Funk will kick off the party on April 1, and I’ll take the reins on April 2 before passing them on to another host on the 3rd. Several of us in the Slice of Life group will be hosting on a day in April – Denise Krebs, Margaret Simon, Barb Edler, and others. Don’t forget Leigh Anne Eck’s new blog group, too, that begins April 1 and focuses on topics of nature.

Thanks for a great month of writing, friends! Now we can all celebrate by wearing our Slice of Life t-shirts. I got the baseball shirt with the black sleeves, because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my first post this month, being a lost slicer wandering the streets of Anaheim looking for a meet-up. I’ll be wearing my t-shirt at NCTE this year, so if I look lost, please come help me find my way!

Savoring Saturday – Coffee and Books

What is missing from many of our days is a true sense that we are enjoying the lives we are living.  It is difficult to experience moments of happiness if we are not aware of what it is we genuinely love.  We must learn to savor small, authentic moments that bring us contentment. – Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Some Saturdays, we get up and head over to the local coffee shop on our town square. My husband orders coffee, a cinnamon roll, and a slice of breakfast casserole. I take my Optavia breakfast fueling along with me and order black coffee. We sit at a table near the fireplace, where we chat and enjoy the meanderings of those, like us, ambling about town on a Saturday morning.

When he has extra errands to run that will take an hour or so, he’ll drop me off at the back door of the bookstore across the square, where the comfy chairs are circled around an oval coffee table, and I’ll gather a handful of books, grab a Cherry Coke Zero from the store fridge, and throw my feet up and read.

The place is magical from the moment you walk into the store. The smell of books greets you, and the floors creak under your feet as you browse the shelves. On the walls, there are watercolors and photographs by local artists for sale, and on the counters there is also handmade jewelry and other gifts. The new books are up front, along with the book club books that are lined up according to the month they’ll be discussed. The heart of the store is the used books – $3 for paperbacks, and $5 for hardbacks. And the lighting is warm and welcoming, giving the perfect ambiance for comfortable reading. Sometimes they play slow jazz.

I go straight to the travel and adventure books to see if there is anything obscure that grabs me, and I begin my book stack there. I mostly hang out in the nonfiction, perusing the shelves and searching the spines for titles that spark my interest. When I have one armful’s stack, I glance at the fiction and keep moving toward my chair – the one with the matching ottoman. I plop down, throw my feet up, pop my Coke top, and take a long swig as I begin with first glances at the books. What’s in the Table of Contents? When was it written? What does the back cover say? What’s the format, and do I like it? Is the print big enough? What do the pages feel like? Does it smell real?

I’m picky.

Two members of my writing group have recently books – Starting From Scratch, about teaching poetry, and Kitchen Table Wisdom, about womens’ wisdom from ancestors with answers. I order these, and then I chat with two of the owners. Karen leads the writing group, and we share what we’re writing. I meet her daughter and grandson. I speak briefly with another owner, Chris, who is headed out for lunch, but always asks what I’m reading – so I tell her I’m reading around the United States, and I’ve just finished Stephen King’s On Writing for the New England states and am narrowing down my choice for the Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming states. I’m leaning towards Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore.

Today, I narrow it down to two books: The Iditarod Fact Book and The Happiness of Pursuit. And then I wonder: How am I going to meet my goal of getting down to two and a half bookcases if I bring more home? I think there is math involved: if I get rid of more than I take in, will it work? Somebody who can do math, please – tell me that it will. These are small, authentic moments that bring me contentment – – and books are what I genuinely love.