Winnow Magazine: New Literary Magazine

          typewriter-vintage-old-vintage-typewriter-163116    I like to support new literature ventures, and am supporting and submitting to this new journal, the Winnow Magazine,https://thewinnowmagazine.weebly.com/about.html
which states:

the winnow is an online literary magazine devoted to showcasing urgent works of prose, poetry, and photography from underrepresented creatives.

​We strongly believe that everyone has something important to say. From the marginalized, to the disillusioned, to the unpublished, we want to hear your voice.

I, too, believe we should support hearing the voices of others.

Why not consider submitting there and reading there when they publish?

Thanks for reading.

 

After a Rough Summer of Submissions–Finally Positive Publication News

After a rough summer of submissions and many “declined” (rejections), I am pleased to learn my poem “Herstory Lesson” will be published by Coffin Bell Journal on October 1st.  I’ll put up a link when it’s published, but for now, the journal can be found here: https://coffinbell.com/.

I don’t write in the genre they publish, dark literature, very often, but I did my research, read there (fun!), and decided some of my work does fit.  Phew, because I was correct.  While I wrote this poem as feminist poetry, about killing women, it did fit the genre of dark literature.

(And now this post is longer than the poem!)

Lesson learned? Read before submitting, read more, think creatively, and keep on submitting!

Thanks for reading.

Favorite Quotes? Feel free to add on and share

quotes      “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lau Tzu

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”  –Frederick Douglass

 

Feel free to add on and share!

Thanks.

Laura Lee

August, Poetry Challenge Month?

6 wordle         For decades, August has been my strongest “urge to poetry” month. Something about the light, the sounds, the smells–all is so REVVED UP. Poets, agree?

I used to be in vibrant online writing communities, and every August we would have a poetry challenge.  We would write a poem a day, no editing allowed, just to “rev” up our creativity.

It was glorious.

We (I!) wrote a lot of bad poetry, but I am still finding some snippets of good poetry on old flash drives and in old posts.

Hmm…perhaps it is time to reinstate an AUGUST POETRY CHALLENGE?

It couldn’t be here, on a public blog, I fear, for that would preclude subsequent publication.  Perhaps back on good old Facebook, with a private account only friends can access.

There’s an idea!

Readers, writers, what do you think?

Thanks for reading.

35 submissions this summer—and the rejections roll in…

blog word cloud       Since late spring, I’ve made 35 plus submissions just using Submittable.com.  I love using this vehicle since it helps me keep track of my submissions in one convenient location.  I’ve also made email and US mail submissions.

My goal in submitting work is yes, to be published, but also to encourage me to improve my writing and to feel a part  of a writing community.  I am not a great writer, but I can be a good one if I work at it!

It’s obvious there are more poets than poetical publishing opportunities.  I am receiving a number of rejections after an early spring run of four acceptances, and so yes, I am feeling the sting a bit, even while the editors are quite kind in their notes.  Just doesn’t fit, not right now, etc.  No one has said I should seek solace on another planet.  Yet.

Poets, you know this is mostly unpaid publication anyway, and it’s the joy of being published that urges us onward.

While I’ve submitted mostly poetry, I’ve always worked on some mini-dialogue experiments and one short story.

In the meantime, I am enjoying revising my writing, and submitting more.

I am glad I am not trying to support myself with my writing, but I am also glad I write.  It’s been a part of who I am since I was an angsty pre-teen, writing my wretched “woe is me” type broken-hearted poetry.

Now it’s time to get back to work; I have a lot of writing to do.

Thanks for reading!

Update on Submission: The Value & Power & Fun of Poetry–Submitted to Willowdown Books

dream courage harmony inspire rocks images Update: the work I submitted here is short-listed; the editors will determine the overall themes of the works they are interested in and then let us short-listed know if we will be published.  I was not familiar that as a writer I would ever be told this, so this is interesting.

As I find new (to me) literary journals, I am delighted to find the absolute joy of language and belief in the power of poetry to be prevalent.  The journals I am finding are truly labors of love, and the publishers and editors are publishing poetry because they love poetry, love language, and believe poetry is important.  What a pleasant change of pace from the local, national, and world news, which is portraying a country and world in hate-filled crisis after crisis!

For example, I just had to submit some poems to Willowdown Books out of the UK: Willowdown Books.

Willowdown is sponsoring “The Poetic Bond VIII,” a bound poetic journal in autumn; submissions are due by the end of the day tomorrow here: The Poetic Bond.

So what creates a “poetic” bond?  The publisher wants to create this bond by publishing poetry that is deeply connected with humanity, nature, and the universe.

You tell me, poets, if this isn’t the heart of poetry?  Deep connections.  Humanity. Nature. The universe.

Yes sirree.  Sure is for me.

Plus the play and delight of language.

Have a look at the “poetic bond” and Willowdown Books.

Oh! For submitting, we got to pick a book out, sort of a thank you for submitting.  This also shows support for the poets already published, so that’s a great idea.

Thanks for reading!

 

“Ink and Voices,” a Mini-Review

cropped-be-creative-creative-creativity-256514     Perhaps my skepticism about poetry being ALIVE was too skeptical?  I am finding many fine literary magazines and communities, online and in paper, if I just take the time to look about a bit.  What’s different for me, however, is how many of the publications are online only or mainly online.  For an oldster like me who loves to learn and use technology, that’s fine.  I am just happy that literacy in all its forms appears to be thriving.

One publication I just found is Ink & Voices, which can be found here: Ink & Voices.

Ink and Voices acknowledges that the internet is full of places to share writing and art, but states they are different in that:

   Ink & Voices is an online publication and community for artists and writers. We are all about original and unapologetic voices, and providing a space for you to express your originality and humanness. We love pieces that are honest, raw and original.

This publication has three main sections, one for Mind, one for Body, and one for Soul.  Yes, they are brave enough to use those terms in this sometimes snide and toocooltoshowemotions society.   I found mainly fiction and artwork there, but liked what I saw and liked what I read.  Perhaps I just couldn’t find the poetry, but I did look. Nevertheless, Ink and Voices is accepting submissions or writing and art and has a separate category for poetry, all through Submittable.com.   The positive aspects here are that your work is read or viewed “blind,” and judged on its merit rather than your bio or name, or lack of a name in publishing.

I didn’t see a May or June issue, but they are still accepting submissions on a no deadline basis through Submittable.com, meaning they are paying to keep submission coming in.

I am going to investigate this new site more and consider submitting some poetry.  I know I’ll be viewing the artwork there.

If you create “honest, raw, and original” artwork, including written work, why not give Ink and Voices a view?  I personally like to support new literary ventures as well as the more-established ones.

Thanks for reading!

Laura Lee

English, the Word “Stealing” Language

What fun looking at the etymology of English words. I often       have my students eximg_0531plore the origins of interesting words we come across in our studies, and they are amazed to learn how much of our versatile language “borrows” from other languages. It helps them understand spelling and pronunciation in English can be greatly influenced by the origins of the words.

Plus it’s interesting to do so.

Once again, a thanks to Thoughtco.Com. To learn more about English’s interesting word origins, go here: Loan Words in English

Don’t feel bamboozled. It’s just English.

Oh. This post created entirely on my phone as I sip ice tea on the patio before the heat wave hits.

How did I do?

Thanks for reading!

On running into former students

flowers-vase-decor-interior-870512

I don’t want to make more out of this than I should, but in this case, meeting a student outside of school reminded me of one of the reasons I “retired” early–a badly designed one size fits (none but the elite few???) evaluation system.

No, not because of this student, named D (not real name, of course).  D was a sweet, emotional, moody, respectful, goofy, and very needy student when she was in my class my last year of teaching full time.

Fine.  I like a challenge, and I like kids.  I chose to be a literacy teacher/ specialist at the secondary level, and that means working with kids who have struggled a lot with school.  They get me instead of a fun class or instead of an elective.  This means they often acted out, since they didn’t have the maturity to realize acting out did not get them out of class.  It took much art, much patience, much creativity, and much compassion for me to develop good working relationships so they would try to “do school” and not act out in class (so much) or disengage in class.

And I was used to getting a lot of challenging students all in one class.  Some years, if I had a particularly challenging group, I would often go home exhausted to the point of bone weary.

But for many years, that was fine and we who chose this path were thanked.  Admin understood our classes might not be quiet like the AP or Honors classes.  Admin understood part of our job was to work the magic of relationships and understanding and compassion. Admin understood that many of our students were not intrinsically motivated in classes they didn’t want to be in or actively hated being in.

(Side note: One year, during my evaluation for tenure I had a student go wild, explode after he received some devastating news.   My great admin understood this can happen, especially with adolescents challenged with many outside problems.  I got tenure and I was praised for handling this very difficult situation in a professional and compassionate manner.  The admin was able to use his/ her discretion, assess the situation, and became involved in helping the student and his family after he/ she learned about the issues.)

But that is another story.)

D had been labeled as a handful, a trouble maker, but I found her quick to anger, quick to forgive, quick to cry, but always a young person who would go out of her way to say hello, even shouting across campus.  That’s not always true with teens, and I took it as a good sign.

But during one evaluation  on Day 2 of 2, D was having a hard time, crying in class, whispering, etc.  I dealt with it, I thought, in a manner that let me continue to teach without anyone losing face, without shaming anyone.  It was an active class and we were doing a lot of moving and talking in the room anyway, and come on. They were 14, 15 years old… sophomores in high school. I felt I dealt with it very well, and expected to hear that.  The day before, D had been on task completely and helping out in class by passing back papers, etc.  But this day 2? She was having a hard time.

But using the Danielson framework, it was an awful class allegedly.  D and the other 14 years old did not self correct.  I needed to gently guide them.  Gently guiding did not result in D miraculously gaining self control and becoming a self-actualized student at that moment.  I was dinged on this eval.

Whatever.  Just another reason to retire under this ridiculous one-size-fits-all system.  Admin had to use the system, and the system was wrong, in my opinion, for it tried to standardize what good teaching should always look like.  Kids are not standardized.  Teachers are not standardized.  Yet admin had to use this tool, this evaluation “model” where one size would perhaps fit college instructors or instructors of highly motivated students.  I don’t blame admin.  They had no leeway.

#  #  #

Later that month, I had to miss two weeks of class, the first time ever in my long teaching career.  I had minor surgery and the recovery was longer than expected.

When I returned, there was a vase with some lovely simple carnations in them, no note.

Oh, my boss said to me, they are from D.  She’s been here every day looking for you.

D? D, the one who cost me a ding in my evaluation, which–if I had been staying–could have cost me a rating and could have been very serious.  No matter that the year before D had to be escorted sometimes by admin because of her behaviors in class.  No matter what, the rubric had to be followed. No exceptions.

D, the student who the year before had to have someone from the Dean’s office sit with her often so she would “behave” in class. D made so much progress behavior wise, academically, and personally in just the school year I’d know her.

I will never forget her smiling face as she yelled across the hall, “She’s back!”  I won’t forget you, D, but I had to leave.

D brought me flowers.

#  #  #

I met a former colleague for a late lunch the other day, and there working at the restaurant, seating guests, supervising other staff members, was D.  Her braces were gone.  Her hair was pulled back in a sleek style and she was confident, smiling, and efficient.

She had grown up.

It was great to see her and reconnect for a few moments.

Oh, did I ever tell D she hurt me on my evaluation?

Absolutely not. I believe it would not only have been unprofessional to do so, but it would have also shamed a young lady for no reason. I knew the class well, knew the students, knew how to run the class.  I would not have changed what I did.

It this case, it was a ridiculous system imposed on me, an individual, with my own style and with unique kids in each class, kids who sometimes seemed to change from day to day as they navigated issues.

So no, I would not hurt a young person because a system was unfair and inappropriate to impose on all educators.

But it sure made me remember why I left early.

Not the kids.  Never the kids.

And even after all this time, I am not over it, for teaching is so difficult, so time consuming, and so personal that it’s not okay, in my opinion, to do this to teachers. It is not okay to simply fill out a rubric, and the details be damned.

And I am a good teacher, very hard working, dedicated, educated well, and compassionate and respectful with students.

So a blog post that should have been about D becomes about me and how sad, angry, and burned out I still am.  All those 60-90 hour work weeks truly exhausted me.

But I would still be there full time, working until I could no longer do so, if we didn’t develop this blame the teacher and one size fits all and not being appreciated for the tough job we do very well at times.

It’s just not okay to do this, but it is how it was.