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Thoughts, opinions, and ramblings about (broadly) children's literature from my perspectives as a writer, parent, and volunteer elementary school librarian. Oh yeah, and poetry of all sorts... with lots and lots of Fibs.
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26. 30 Poets/Day 21 - Greg Pincus and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Elephants and pasta both have natural ties to the 21st of April because... huh. I guess the fact is that Greg Pincus (a.k.a. me!) and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer appeared on this day was as random as I expected. Today's poems further show, I think, that you can go anywhere with poetry. And that, my friends, is unquestionably good!


I Went to the Farm Where Spaghetti Is Grown
by
Greg Pincus

I went to the farm where spaghetti is grown
In rows of long vines in a field of its own.
It grows in the shade of the great ziti trees,
Right next to the bushes that grow mac-and-cheese.
Lasagna plants bloom alongside manicotti,
And orchards of angel hair grow long and knotty.
I watched as a tractor plowed rows of linguini,
And cheered at the harvest of fresh tortellini.
I helped as the farmer cleared fields full of weeds
Then planted a crop using orzo as seeds.
We watered his land that was miles across
Then fertilized amply with meatballs and sauce.
When I left that farm where spaghetti is grown
In rows of long vines in a field of its own,
I thought it the greatest place under the sky...
'Til I saw the farm where they only grow pie!

©2009 Gregory K. Pincus. All rights reserved.
(click here to see the original post and comments)



Cousins of Clouds
by
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Long, long ago,
before man tamed words on the page
and when elephants
were great kings of the sky,
ruling the storms,
inking out the sun,
stampeding across the stars,
there was a great counselor and prophet
who traveled to the most remote mountain villages
to share all he knew.
As word spread of the master’s visit,
many gathered under the arms
of an ancient elm,
and even a great flock of
elephants swooped in with
the first ribbons of dawn
to perch in the branches and listen.
But a quarrel erupted
among the elephants
over who had the best view,
causing the limbs of the tree
to fracture and fall,
crushing all but the prophet himself.
Furious,
the prophet invoked a dreadful curse,
shriveling the elephants’ prized wings
into pitiful ears,
chaining the elephant
to gravity and man’s will
for all eternity.
To this very day
you can see the poor elephants
flapping their ears,
dreaming of flight,
but now only
cousins of clouds.

© Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. All rights reserved.
From the collection Cousins of Clouds
illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy
Clarion, February 2011  
(click here to see the original post and comments)

Yesterday gave us poems by Jane Yolen and Brad Bogart. Tomorrow... Janet Wong and Heidi Mordhorst.

Please click here for more information about this year's edition of 30 Poets/30 Days, including how to follow along.

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27. 30 Poets/Day 1 - Jack Prelutsky and Alice Schertle

The incomparable Jack Prelutsky started off the entire 30 Poets/30 Days adventure with a poem written especially for the event!  In 2010, we kicked off with Alice Schertle in fine triolet form. I'm gonna run out of adjectives this month, but geeeeeez, I love these poets and poems!

A Little Poem For Poetry Month
by
Jack Prelutsky

I’m glad we have a Poetry Month,
But still, I wonder why
They chose a month with thirty days—
Were months in short supply?
I wish that they’d selected
A longer month, like May.
I’m certain I’d appreciate
That extra poetry day.

Of course, if they’d picked February,
I would be aghast,
For February’s very short
And passes far too fast.
But April’s not as short as that,
So I don’t hesitate
To say I’m glad it’s Poetry Month.
Hooray! Let’s celebrate.

©2009 by Jack Prelutsky. All rights reserved. See the original posting here.



         Triolets
That Trouble My Sleep
             by
    Alice Schertle

Does a tree make a sound
if there’s nobody there
when it falls to the ground?
Does a tree make a sound?
The question’s profound—
but why do I care
if a tree makes a sound
when there’s nobody there?

Was it the chicken
or egg that came first?
I feel my pulse quicken—
was it the chicken?
Now I am stricken
with doubt. I am cursed!
Was it the chicken
or egg that came first?

I ponder each riddle
that troubles my sleep.
Thumbs all a-twiddle
I ponder each riddle
ensnared in the middle
of “timber!” and “peep!”
I ponder each riddle
that troubles my sleep.

© 2010 Alice Schertle. All rights reserved. See the original posting here.
 
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28. Fibonachos! (A Recipe)

So, I ran across this recipe on a scrap of paper on my desk today - I recall quickly writing it late one night while brainstorming ideas for The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. launch.  I don't recall what my exact thoughts were, but I bet it was something like "Hey! It's food! And Fibonacci!" Regardless, here it is:

Fibonachos

1 bag of chips
1 can refried beans
2 lbs. ground beef
3 handfuls shredded cheese
5 tablespoons sour cream

Serves 8.

In a large pan, brown the meat, seasoned to taste (with 13 spices, ideally). Combine with beans. Pour bag of chips onto cookie pan to form an even layer. Cover chips with meat-bean mixture. Sprinkle the three handfuls of cheese on top. Put in oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with sour cream.

Yes, I had all that written down. I was serious about this idea, I tell you! As you may recall... I had pie at the launch party instead. I'm okay with that... but if you ever want to invite me over for Fibonachos, I'm game!

Now, I already knew about a similar idea as presented by Bill Amend in Foxtrot. But I decided to Google "fibonachos" today and lo and behold, check out this gorgeous post on the Tech in Translation site. The picture below gives you the idea. And with that, I say... Fibonachos for all, and for all a good night!




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29. Announcing the 2014 Redux-Edition of 30 Poets/30 Days!

This year, I'm doing something a little different with 30 Poets/30 Days: I'm going to the archives and re-sharing the first two years of the amazing poetry I've been lucky enough to have here at the blog.

This will be the first year without new poems - logistics and life conspired to make it so that I wouldn't be able to offer up 30/30 the way I wanted. So, as I tried to figure out what to do to keep the event moving forward (because finding 30 poets was NOT the problem!), I went back and re-read old poems... and the answer became clear.


Each day of April, I'll re-share the poems that came out on that day in 2009 and 2010. For example, on April 1, you'll have poetry by Jack Prelutsky and Alice Schertle. So, two poems a day... and here's the full list of whose poetry you'll see in during National Poetry Month here:

Arnold Adoff, Jaime Adoff, Francisco X. Alarcón, Kathi Appelt, Jorge Argueta, Brod Bagert, Carmen Bernier-Grand, Calef Brown, Joseph Bruchac, James Carter, Kurt Cyrus, Graham Denton, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Ralph Fletcher, Douglas Florian, Betsy Franco, Kristine O'Connell George, Charles Ghigna, Nikki Giovanni, Joan Bransfield Graham, Nikki Grimes, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Georgia Heard, Mary Ann Hoberman, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Alan Katz, Bobbi Katz, X. J. Kennedy, Bruce Lansky, Julie Larios, Arthur A. Levine, J. Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, Elaine Magliaro, Pat Mora, Heidi Mordhorst, Walter Dean Myers, Kenn Nesbitt, Linda Sue Park, Ann Whitford Paul, Greg Pincus, Jack Prelutsky, Adam Rex, Laura Purdie Salas, Liz Garton Scanlon, Alice SchertleJon Scieszka, Joyce Sidman, Marilyn Singer, Charles Waters, Charles Waters, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, Janet Wong, Jacqueline Woodson, Jane Yolen, and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.

You can see why I'm excited! I admit, I had not re-visited some of those poems in five years... and I'm suspecting most of you will find some wonderful surprises (or weren't even here with us those first years), so let me just say... there is some amazing work coming your way.

I'm looking forward to April, as always, and celebrating poetry a little more than during a typical month. But only a little more since poetry is a year-round thang!


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30. What a Poem Can Be - a poem about poems

What a Poem Can Be
by
Greg Pincus
(inspired by Marilyn Singer's What Water Can Be)

Complete in a couplet
    A poem, petite
Placed well on the page
    A poem, concrete
An A B, A B verse
    A poem that's rhyming
Clear metered precision
    A poem with timing
Strong words in set structure
    A poem well formed
On stage off the page
    A poem performed
Fun twists causing laughter
    A poem with wit
Best words in best order
    A poem well writ


Today's poem was written in response to the poetry prompt at The Miss Rumphius Effect, sharing Marilyn Singer's poem from her book How to Cross a Pond: Poems About Water.

I don't know that this form has a name, but it was true that it forced me to think of word choice. I suspect I will tweak and tweak and tweak this one because I had so much fun with it, but I promised myself I'd post what I had today... and here 'tis!

Good fun. Thanks for the prompt, Tricia!

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31. Happy Pi Day!

If this isn't the most numerical beautiful pie around, I don't know what is (from The Nerdista)


As a lover of pie, pi, Fibonacci, math, and circles (who doesn't love circles?), 3/14 is fine day, indeed. I hope you get to celebrate it more than three times today!

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32. Blinding You With Science (Poetry, That Is)!

I am super excited to be part of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, out this week from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong!

The book is chock full of over 300 science related poems by an incredible assortment of poets - Laureates J. Patrick Lewis, Mary Ann Hoberman, and Kenn Nesbitt, for example, or Joyce Sidman and Jane Yolen as other examples. Oh, and I'm in there, too!

The poems say they're for K-5, but I've been reading them since they arrived and... oh, just buy it. It's great stuff (and I'm not even using the classroom bonus material).

If you want the poems broken down by grade level, you can get that, too - there are six smaller books - the K through 5 booklets, really - that you can purchase individually (with bonus poems, but not all the same teacher-ish stuff in it).

You can check out all the Poetry Friday Anthologies on the Pomelo Books website as they are all worth a look.

But in the meantime, I say to you... Science!!!!

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33. I'm For Sale Cheap!!!!

Or maybe not so cheap if y'all get into a bidding war! Regardless, I'm part of an auction - all of which is open to you (and all of which is worth checking out!). Here's what you can get from me:

You can bid on a one hour phone call with me to discuss writing, poetry, whatever (or, dare I say it, turn it into Skype visit!) and get a signed copy of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K.

And you can bid on two hours of my social media consulting services - currently going for a huge discount to my normal rate.

There are some really amazing things in this auction, by the way (your kid in a Marvel comic! A personalized greeting recorded by The Ice King from Adventure Time! Various table reads here in Hollywood, signed swag, and two times me!), and it's for a school that does absolutely extraordinary things for some amazing students.

Bidding ends Saturday evening, so hurry, I say. Buy me for a great cause! And thanks!

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34. The Cybils Awards announced!

Well, I'll start off by saying that The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. did NOT win the MG Cybil award. Sigh. It was a thrill to be nominated, however, and I cannot wait to get my hands on Ultra by David Carroll, the MG winner. It was the one book in the category I hadn't read... and the others were so fantastic that I know that Ultra must be amazing.

The list of Cybil award winners is a great collection of books for kids across a whole range of areas. As always, I highly recommend checking 'em out.

And congratulations to all the winners!

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35. This Post is Kinda Dumb....

So, on Sunday afternoon, I visited the one and only Dumb Starbucks in the US. All of us in line knew we were part of something that was art or a promotion or both, and I don't think anyone was waiting (and waiting and waiting!) for the free coffee. We were waiting because it was fun. It was community. It was... dumb in the best way!

What is Dumb Starbucks? Well, it's a place that is a "working
Dumb Venti, Dumb Grande, Dumb Tall
coffee shop" that looks like Starbucks, has a menu board like Starbucks, appropriates the logo of Starbucks... but simply adds the word "Dumb" in front of everything. Well, except the seasonal drink, the "Wuppy Duppy Latte." (Quoth the barista when asked what the drink was, "It's whatever you want it to be.")

It was exceedingly well done, including three Dumb CDs (one of which was part of a whole series of dumb music of the world).

And yes, it turns out that the whole thing is the brainchild of Nathan Fielder who hosts a Comedy Central show called Nathan For You. He claims there will be one in Brooklyn in two weeks, in fact, though who knows if it'll happen.

It wasn't just performance art which might've been more satisfying, but the way it played out was probably the same regardless. Here's the message from the founder that keeps in the spirit of the launch.

Now, I was gonna tie this into a writing post ("pay attention to detail") or a social media post ("go viral with IP borrowing at your own risk!") or both... but I decided, no, I'd just share my dumb experience. I got my drink, had a blast, and got more than enough enjoyment out of it to pay me back for my time. It was a win!

I hope you had an equally enjoyable weekend....






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36. Elegy for a Cookie - a cookie poem/a food poem

Elegy for a Cookie
by
Greg Pincus

I walked in from my car - you fell off of your platter.
You landed unnoticed, alone.
Oh, how I wish you had made a loud clatter
Or simply picked up the phone!

But no, you just stayed on the ground overnight
Exposed to the cold and the dew.
Now, come the morning, you're truly a sight:
You're less yummy solid, more goo.

The world was a cruel one for you, you poor guy -
A place full of heartache and hurt.
Yet I toast you my friend, with a tear in my eye:
You would have been one fine dessert.


Yes, this is based on a true, sad story of a cookie that escaped my post-Super Bowl party dessert-extraction expedition. Poor cookie. Poor me, who didn't get to eat said cookie!

Today, however, cookieless though I may be, I know I can eat my fill of poetry simply by checking out the Poetry Friday roundup over at No Water River. Great links to check out there and... a giveaway!. It's like a win-win!

By the way, if you want to get all the new poems hereabouts emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

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37. Notes on Spirit Week at My School (Part 1) - a school poem/a spirit week poem

Notes on Spirit Week at My School (Part 1)
by
Greg Pincus

Pajama Day's rough
If you sleep in the buff!

(Hat tip to Evan Pincus for the idea/help on this poem.)

Growing up, I was never a fan of Spirit Week or Spirit Days or any such, particularly not Pajama Day. Interestingly, of course, now I wish I could just wear a comfy robe all day when I go out and about....

To up your spirits... it's Poetry Friday (already back East as I post this, in fact)! You can check out this week's roundup of poetry awesomeness at the always fantabulous Miss Rumphius Effect. It's always good stuff, I say to you.

And if you want to get all the new poems hereabouts emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

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38. Pete Seeger, Legacy, and the Thread of Memory

When I was a young boy - in my mid single digits - I met Pete Seeger on his Clearwater sloop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The event still sticks in my mind, though not really because of meeting a famous singer/activist or anything like that.

What I remember about the event is that the sloop was late. Our family waited for hours - my parents were big Pete Seeger fans, and I certainly was, too, in that son-ly way... so we waited - but eventually we had to return home because there was no sloop in sight.

My dad, though, went back to be there when the boat arrived in the wee morning hours. It was that big a deal for him... and that's why, I'm sure, it was for me, too.

Our whole family returned to the sloop the next day, and I remember being on the boat, but that's really about it. My mom tells me there's a picture of me and Pete Seeger on the sloop somewhere at home, and I hope to find it next time I'm back there. But I remember the day even if not the specifics.

The boat moved on, of course, as did our lives. I never saw Pete Seeger in concert, though I've certainly sung his songs (and songs he popularized) my whole life. My own kids have heard his music... and sung it at school, too, I'm pleased to say. That brief meeting didn't change my life in any way. And yet...

When I read that Pete Seeger had passed away last night, the meeting on the Clearwater was the first thing I thought of. And that made me think of my dad, also gone from this world.

That memory - of a boat, of two men (one who could carry a tune and one who didn't care if he could or not but was gonna sing regardless), my whole family, the importance of song, and the power of speaking your mind - is a thread within me sewing together much more than I think I'd fully realized until today.

And I'd say that's part of Pete Seeger's legacy, too, just on a smaller scale than the front page news. 


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39. Los Angeles SCBWI Writers' Days (and Me!)

Oh, sure... most people will come to the SCBWI-LA Writers' Days on March 22 and 23 because of Newbery winner Katherine Applegate (!!!) or plot whisperer Martha Alderson (!!!) or the second day intensives or the editors and agents and all that. But, I'm going to be there, too, doing social media consultations that you sign up for in advance.

They're like manuscript critiques, but about social media, kinda. You fill out a short questionnaire before we meet, then I give you a write up of ideas, efficiencies, thoughts, action steps and the like AND we meet and talk for 20 minutes, too, so you can ask follow up questions. So, if you need help tweeting or building a platform or can't decide what you should blog about or find you're wasting lots of time on social media and don't know why or or or... this is for you.

I've also heard that a bunch of my slots are taken, so if you're on the fence... sign up now. (I offer a longer, slightly more expensive version of this outside of conferences, too, though we won't get to sit down in person most likely. The conference is a deal, I tell you! But if you're not coming to LA Writers' Days and interested, well, ping me by email or twitter or wherever you see me next.)

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40. I'm Not Really the Apple of Your Eye (The Apple Speaks) - a perspective poem/a food poem

I'm Not Really the Apple of Your Eye (The Apple Speaks)
by
Greg Pincus

You can't see it, I know,
But a worm's just below
My glistening skin.
So when you bite in,
You won't get a crunch
But rather you'll munch
That poor worm's guts and pieces
And the gunk it releases.
Yes I expect if you ate me
You'd expectorate me.
So please leave me be.
Go try cookies and tea.


What, you may wonder, lead me to write a poem from the point of view of an apple who doesn't want to be eaten? Well, why not head over to TeacherAuthors site, where I shared a writing prompt earlier this week (a prompt that, in fact, led to this poem... and other stories and poems, too). 

And then why not check out the Poetry Friday roundup over at Keri Recommends (and celebrate Keri's birthday while you're there!). Lots o' poetry joy to see over there....

Finally, if you want to get all the new poems hereabouts emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

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41. A Poetry Re-issue: I'm Pretty Well Connected

I first posted this poem back in September of 2008 and discussed revisiting it to see which of these links would still be active as time passed. Take a read and make a guess!

I’M PRETTY WELL CONNECTED
(a Web 2.0 poem)
By
Greg Pincus

I’m pretty well connected:
Facebook’s got my face.
I AIM and blog.
Of course I vlog.
Come see me at MySpace.

I Flickr, and I Twitter.
I wiki and Squidoo!
I’m Live. I Ning.
I’m there on Xing.
I’m really LinkedIn, too.

I Hulu, Yelp, and Google.
My YouTube channel’s hot.
I share Goodreads,
Have many feeds,
And Digg and link a lot.

Second Life and Classmates?
Xanga? RateItAll?
I’m on those four
And dozens more
Plus some I can’t recall.

I’m pretty well connected:
My friends are EVERYWHERE.
I bet I’d meet
Them on the street...
If I’d just leave my chair.


Would you believe that all the links to companies are still valid? Yes, a few companies have changed a lot in the intervening years (Myspace anyone?) but they're all still kicking. Go figure! (By the way, one reason I thought of this poem is that it turns out that a Facebook friend and I passed each other on a hiking trail in Big Sur over the holidays, though we didn't speak there. Still, it proved my punchline!)

It's Poetry Friday today, with this week's roundup of posts over at Mainely Write (which is safely out of the polar vortex!). Go on over and check it out.

And hey... if you want to get all the new poems hereabouts emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!


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42. Missed it By Thaaaaat Much.

I love the stats that Goodreads shares from time to time, including in their year-end infographic posted below. I was bummed, though, cuz I'd had this unofficial, unstated anywhere dream goal that The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. would have the most reviews of the year, but instead it's Dan Brown's Inferno, which has over 17,000 reviews on Goodreads! Drat. Missed it by thaaaaat much.

Maybe the big miss is because my book came out in October? Probably :-) (I love the Goodreads reviews of Fibs, by the way, and my thanks to all who have taken the time to talk about Fibs there or on their blogs or in their classes or on Amazon or in bookstores or ANYWHERE at all!!!!!)

Anyway, here are the Goodreads stats. As always, I'm curious about your thoughts....

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/449-goodreads-2013-by-the-numbers-an-infographic

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43. The Cybils' Short Lists Announced (and I'm on one!)

On New Year's Day, the Cybils announce their list of finalists in all awards categories. The lists are always packed with great books, and I'm always excited when they're announced. In fact, you've seen my posts about it here every year (and met many of the nominated poets here, too).

Well, this year, guess what? The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. is one of the five finalists in the Middle Grade category! Talk about a fantastic way to start 2014. (Hmm... 14 Fibs? 2014? More than a coincidence?)

My tremendous thanks to the first round Cybil judges, and a huge hat tip to the stupendously talented Mike Jung for nominating Fibs in the first place. Also, it's remarkably flattering to me to be in a group with the other nominated books and authors, so my virtual hat's off to them, too.

Finally, my thanks again to everyone who's been part of the journey and offered support and encouragement along the way.  I am totally thrilled by the Cybils recognition, and I happy that I can share the moment with all of you.

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44. The Year in Preview - a new year's poem

The Year in Preview
by
Greg Pincus

I know I'll make choices that won't be the best.
I know I'll spend time being tired and stressed.
I see a full day when I'm sick in my bed.
I'm sure I'll say things that I shouldn't have said.
I know I'll play games. I'm sure I'll get hurt.
I see tons of laughter and lots of dessert.
I know I'll have good times. I know I'll have fun.
I know I'll try new things I never have done.
I see rain and snow and some gorgeous blue skies.
I know I'll feel joy, love, pride, hope and surprise.
Yet mostly I see a blank canvas of days
That live to be filled in all kinds of great ways.
I see all the stories that wait to begin.
I see this year's promise. Now I'm diving in.


Happy New Year! May your 2014 be happy, healthy, and with just the right amount of dessert.

And if you want to get all the poems from here at GottaBook emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!
 

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45. Thanks, 2013!

2013 was, as most years are, a very interesting year. Still, when I look back, I'd say the dominant theme was that The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. finally became a book. And for that I say, "Thanks, 2013!"



Wishing you all a happy, healthy New Year's Eve tonight and in years to come!

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46. Hard To Eat - a Chirstmas Poem

Hard To Eat
by
Greg Pincus

One Christmas thing around our house
I'd change if I were able:
I'd never put utinsels out upon the dinner table.


This is actually an old poem of mine that popped into my head this week utterly out of the blue. I took that as a sign that, silly though it is (or maybe because it is silly!), I should post it here for the last Poetry Friday before Christmas. And so... I have! (Feel free to draw some utinsels, by the way. :-))

And since it's Poetry Friday, you can check out this week's roundup over at Buffy's Blog. When you do, you'll actually find a link to more of meeeeee, because there's an interview with me over at the Teaching Author's site today. And a poem. AND... a giveaway of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K.! So, like... go!

By the way, if you want to get all the poems from here at GottaBook emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!
 

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47. Journeying and Marketing and My Desk

I was lucky enough to be asked to write a guest post at Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations blog... and it appeared just yesterday. In it, I talk about the journey to publication with The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. and talk about marketing, too.

I'm biased, but I think it's pretty good stuff. AND... on top of that, if you click over there, you can see the only known photo of my desk, complete with a dog! I hope you go check it out.

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48. To Pie! - a pie poem

To Pie!
by
Greg Pincus

Pie! Pie! My word, I love pie.
I've loved it since birth, and I will 'til I die.
I love it in summer and winter and I
Will eat it with whipped cream, or ice cream, or dry
And with any filling that catches my eye
(To date I've not seen one that I wouldn't try).
Dutch apple and chocolate cream both make me cry.
Blueberry, rhubarb, or pecan? I sigh.
A slice is a gift that I just can't deny.
A full pie is better, of course. I can't lie!
So join in my toast with your fork raised up high -
"Here's to the best food of all! Here's to pie!"

 
While pie is a big part of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., the opening lines of this poem predate the first draft of the book, perhaps proving that old adage "write what you know."

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Robyn Hood Black over at her blog. Go check it out for gobs of poetry goodness (including a visit from the president of the Haiku Society of America!)

And if you want to get all the poems (and not the other posts) here at GottaBook emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!
 

for fun, pie from my launch party

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49. Is It Drafty In Here?

I took another crack at some office unpacking/cleaning over the long weekend. My office is functional yet not fully put together after the move last year, ya see, and... well... I'd like to fix that.

Anyway, one of the things I did was put all the various drafts and notes of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. together to be stored somewhere now that the book is out. (Did you know it's out? It is. It makes a great gift, I've heard, and who would lie to me about something like that?).

All I can say is... boy did I take a lot of notes! That's a full banker's box of notebooks and printouts and manuscripts from Arthur and others, too. And here I thought I did most everything online! It was fun looking back through it all, but I gotta tell you it's a nice bit of closure to be able to put the notes away.

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50. "It's All Over Now!" - My Gratitude for the Power of Storytelling

Many years ago, at a screening of the movie Die Hard, there was a person a few rows behind me who, about 20 minutes into the movie when Bruce Willis is surprised by a bad guy, said very loudly and full of anxiety, sadness and surety, "It's all over now!" He totally believe what he said, too. You could tell. 

Now screenwriter-moviegoer-me was sitting there thinking "dude, we're 20 minutes into the movie. It cannot be all over now!" And yet, throughout the film, each time something happened, that gentleman behind me was convinced that the end was nigh.

And you know what?

He loved that movie. And he experienced it exactly as the story was meant to be experienced.

Sometimes, I forget the sheer power of storytelling, and how grateful I am that others have mastered that art and that I get to enjoy it. Too often, I fear, I get caught up in the trappings - the fact that a movie has just started or that I'm only halfway through a book - rather than the experience.

I got a reminder of this yesterday when I saw the movie of Catching Fire. A few rows behind me were an older couple who clearly did not know the book at all. I like to think the male part of the couple was Mr.-It's-All-Over-Now.

The couple were talkers, and their comments were mostly those of discovery ("Oh, there's only one name they can pick from! It's gonna be her!") and of curiousity ("Is she dead? I think she's dead."). And they reminded me again that those who just let the narrative flow over them get a tremendously powerful experience.

The ability to lose ourselves in story is one that I'm grateful for. It is what powers my own writing, of course, and I need to remember to turn off the creator brain when I am reading or watching or listening. I need to stay connected to that power, and I'm grateful that I got a reminder of that yesterday.

And by the way, she wasn't dead. I knew that, of course... because I'd read the book. Yet I hope when I read it, I asked the same questions as that couple, even if I didn't say them out loud!

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