Monday, March 2, 2015

Best Shot

I've probably said it 1,000 times but that is my favorite quote. These last two months have been crazy. 2015 has been full of opportunities and I'm trying my best to do it all, squeeze everything in.

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards asked me and other Magic Hour Writers Members to be a writing judge. I was very honored to judge poems written by children in middle school at a national level; what an opportunity! The judging took place in January and was conducted online. They receive thousands of entries every year and the Northeast Indiana Northwest Ohio region had one of the most national award winners in the country last year. How wonderful to read the work of these talented young writers and be a part of it all.

I also helped judge the entries for this year's POPP (Power of Poetry Project) contest for local 4th and 5th graders. Katherine recently notified the winners and Judy is working on the publication. The awards celebration is scheduled for April 9th. Just today I interviewed my friend about his passion for poetry and thoughts about being the inspiration for the Tom Spencer Award. Tom has been writing poems for over 50 years and has been an important figure in the state and national poetry societies as well as regionally. He challenges and inspires his colleagues at every gathering.

Last week I received yet another rejection letter. I suppose I was disappointed that they didn't like my adorable poem (about a destructive little puppy) but not too discouraged. I keep submitting, keep putting myself out there and opening myself up to criticism or denial. We all have to remember art is subjective, we all have our own opinions about what is good or noteworthy, what is outstanding and unforgettable and unfortunately, what is just plain bad.

Recently I sent in digital photos to two charities for greeting card contests and sent in several more for my camera club contests. I didn't receive great scores in the latest competitions but I guess it just makes me want to get better. I'm still waiting on news about the cards (and on the Indiana poem for the bicentennial). On a happy note, I did get accepted into another photo exhibit. The opening reception is this upcoming Sunday. Two of my nature prints will be on exhibit though the end of March at the Chesterton Art Center. It would be nice to be able to sell one or both.

Right now I'm editing a poem for the Earth Day Poetry Contest entitled "Enough Already" which is about how we have exploited our planet. I have until the end of the month. And I just finished a huge project in which I had to really take a look at the things I have accomplished and determine what my future plans and goals are. I suppose I had to sell myself; convince others that I'm serious and determined to succeed in whatever it is I'm trying to do. I'm not sure if I'll qualify for any award but if you look at everything as a learning experience you never really loose.

Speaking of learning, there is just so much I still need to figure out. I just attended another one day photo clinic and have a weekend writer's conference down state in a few weeks. I need to get a portfolio together (print a few photos, paint some more pictures) and also finish edits on a recent photo shoot. I need to learn more about e-books and self-publishing.

Often I think I'm doing too much and I try to put limits on the things I commit too but I can't stop thinking of stories or poems and I can't put down the camera. Nothing worthwhile is easy but it would be nice to be able to take it easy once in a while. That being said, I need to pick and choose carefully so that I can give everything I commit to my best. It's great to keep taking chances and trying different things but it doesn't make sense to overwhelm yourself or take on too much.