For years I’ve thought Nanowrimo was an amazing challenge, but just out of reach for me. Not only do I tend toward picture books and poetry, but I’m also a full time teacher with two small children — it’s pretty much impossible for me to put everything aside and get the required word count in.
However, I’m always up for a challenge, and writing challenges are a great way to push ourselves to find time to create. About 8 years ago, I took part in “National Poetry Writing Month” (in April) and wrote a poem every day for a month. It was difficult, but exhilarating. I managed to keep it up for five years running. Then last November, I heard about “PiBoIdMo” — Picture Book Idea Month, coordinated by the great picture book author Tara Lazar (author of Little Red Gliding Hood and Normal Norman). In this writing challenge, picture book authors are tasked with coming up with an idea for a picture book for each day of the month. That was an awesome challenge, and while it wasn’t easy, it was easier for me than a set word count because it only required coming up with the ideas, not fleshing them out. Even better, I now have a whole file full of ideas I can use. This year, Tara made the decision to move PiBoIdMo to next January, so watch for more posts about that in the coming weeks.
What now? It’s all come together in “30 Poems in November” — my 30 day poem challenge, but this time an event put forth by the “Center for New Americans” in Western Massachusetts. The center works to provide literacy education and other tools to aid immigrants and refugees in reaching economic stability. For more information, please consult the official CNA webpage. If you’re able, I’d appreciate a small donation. You’re more than welcome to “commission” a poem from me for the month– I love writing poems to honor people and events.
So here I am, back at it writing. I’ve been able to get in a poem a day so far, although a couple of them are unfinished. I’ll leave you with my poem for day 2:
I know why the caged dog bites.
They locked him up because he was a danger,
Then wondered why he growled and bit when the door was opened.
They kept him far from children,
Then wondered why he was not socialized.
They balanced biscuits on his nose
Then wondered why he ate them.
In dreams he runs free,
Without leash, collar or fence,
Without sharp voices cutting at his every leap.
A playful exuberance fuels his rambles over sunlit fields
And into happy waiting arms
That scratch in just the right spot.
His leg kicking reflexively, nose nuzzling, tongue giving wet kisses
In dreams he obeys,
Not for fear of the whip, but for joy
No he does not obey,
It is not a command, then, but merely
An unspoken partnership,
Born in mutual admiration and love.
With jarring clang the door swings open,
Awakening the sleeping dog with deep accusatory tones,
To play the role for which he has been trained.
November 2, 2016