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George Ella Lyon, Writer and Teacher; For All Our Voices
Issue No. 12 November 2013

Earthbound Book November: say it aloud and hear the wind blow through that open O and then Vem on into BRRRRR.

Here in Kentucky, April's seedtime grew into July's weedtime and now, harvest over, Fall waves goodbye through emptying branches. Quiet time is coming. Oh, there will be feasts and celebrations to get us through the darkest part of the year, but there will also be time to settle, to reflect, to listen. Winter offers these riches.

All of us are full of memories, full of voices, and in the months when we can't work our outside gardens, we can plant words in rows in our journal or on some screen. Who knows what might come up when we listen for voices inside us who want to speak?

"Earthbound Book" photo by Ann W. Olson (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)
Visit Ann's blog, Sideway Views.



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NEWS
Many-Storied house

Poetry:

Many-Storied House is just out from the University Press of Kentucky. Welcome, readers!

Voices from the March: Washington D.C. 1963, the collection I co-wrote with J. Patrick Lewis, has been accepted by WordSong, the poetry imprint of Boyds Mill Press. We're working for a Fall 2014 pub. date.

Succinct: The Broadstone Anthology of Short Poems, ed. Jonathan Greene and Robert West. A good Christmas gift for a poetry lover who is pressed for time.

Picture Books:

Planes Fly

What Forest Knows, illustrated by August Hall, will also be released next fall from Atheneum.

Planes Fly! took off in July and is already in its second printing.

This I Believe: Kentucky

Mick Wiggins, who did the gorgeous illustrations for Planes, is now working on Boats Float!



Essays:

This I Believe: Kentucky, ed. Dan Geidman and Mary Jo Gediman, with a forward by Bob Edwards. I had the pleasure of reading and being interviewed by Bob as part of the book launch for this collection.

QUOTATIONS recently copied into my journal

"The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars."

"Your job is to learn to work on your work."

Both come from Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by Ted Orland and David Bayles, a book whose wisdom keeps me returning to its pages.

WRITING EXERCISE AND POEM

This is from Voices. The fictional speaker, Dan Cantrell, is a teenager from Dillard, Georgia.

MOTIVATION

"Don't you go," Dad said.
"Don't you dare go to that march."

That's not what got me here,
but it helped.

Often we write out of our own story, but we are all part of larger stories, too; those of family, community, state, nation, and the whole world ring out around us. Choose an event you feel drawn to from that larger story, then imagine a person who was part of it, and listen for what they might tell you. Your speaker may be an actual person or a fictional one.

If you're not well-grounded in the facts, you'll need to do some research first. Writing Voices, we turned to written accounts, movies, music, and interviews with folks who were there. However, if a voice comes to you before you've done the research, get it down! You can always revise and expand it later. But if you don't capture it as it comes, it will be gone.

This could become a class project: choose an event, share individual research as well as doing what you can—such as watching documentaries and listening to music—together. Then each create a short piece spoken by someone who was there. You may discover, when you find the best order for these voices, that you have created a play for reader's theater.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy writing!

George Ella Lyon

It All Connects

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