Micropoetry Monday: Hymns of Motherhood

The Shutterfly Edition

In her older daughter’s eyes,
whose body was developing 
faster than her mind,
but whose innocence
could shield her soul,
the mother saw her future.
In her younger daughter’s eyes,
already so full of awareness,
intelligence,
& promise,
the mother saw the future.
In her husband’s eyes—
haloes of hazel
encircling a hazy green—
she saw their future,
& in her brown, bloodshot eyes,
she saw not one day past today.

Bound with a swaddle
& gagged with a paccie,
Babbling Brooke grew up to be the new Houdini,
wiggling her way out of an uncivil reunion
& giggling all the way to the local credit union.
This former quicker spitter-upper,
bubble factory,
& drool machine,
kept the upper hand
by sleep-depriving
(& poo-pooing on)
the hands that fed her.
However, when Cupid,
feeling underhanded after a row with Eros,
shot B.B.
(now Blabbermouth Brooke)
in the lub-dubber,
this former rude awakener—
who hit the milk bottle more than once too often—
realized,
after giving birth to Saltwater Taffy,
that she was paying for her raising
with every one of Taffy’s cries.

He loved teaching college students
about all those high-minded things;
she loved teaching her little children
about all those basic things 
that would help them someday understand
those high-minded things.
However, her preference for early childhood education
was rooted in the fact that children knew B.S. when they saw it
a lot more than when they heard it,
for she had days—
when the Duchess lost her cakehole clogger & jolted her awake
during the wee wee hours—
when she was just spitballing her way through
the periodic table of contents.

This Writer’s Life

Whether you’re editing someone’s autobiography, as I’m doing now, or you’re editing someone’s scholarship or college admissions essay, those words mean something to someone, be it the words themselves or what the client hopes those words will get them. This is why you should treat each writing/editing job, no matter what it is, as the most important job you are working on (even more important than your own writing because editing someone’s work is a sacred trust; they are paying you, after all). When people say I’m expensive, I tell them this is how I approach any job I undertake. When I charge someone, I consider my time, skills, access to resources, the education it took to be qualified to do the job, and my years of experience and expertise. When you hire someone to do a job, you are not just hiring them for their time; you are hiring them for what they know and can do and what you don’t know and can’t do (which is I don’t do my own contracting work). Know your worth and respect other people’s.

I recently received a referral from someone local who was looking for someone to edit her autobiography. The book would not be for publication but simply something she wanted to leave as a legacy, which doesn’t mean someone isn’t serious about their project. I mean, after all, if you’re leaving something to your family, wouldn’t you want it to be the best it could be? 

I’m not an aspiring writer or editor; I am published and have won several awards for writing, and I edit for a living. I have two Associate degrees and am working on my Bachelor’s degree in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. 

Recently, a friend posted something that resonated with me.

So, know your client. First, if you detest phone calls, and your client is old school who prefers long chats on the phone (something I don’t have time for) rather than text or email, make that clear upfront. Unless you’re willing to communicate their way, please don’t take them on as a client. 

I don’t know of a tactful way to ask someone if they’re computer literate, but if they’re typing their manuscript on WordPad and don’t know how to copy and paste, you don’t have the time to teach that unless you want to charge extra. (I have learned that I could make good money teaching people over sixty how to use a computer.) I spent about an hour-and-a-half over several phone calls (I was also rung up at eight-thirty in the morning and was called thrice in one day), trying to walk someone through the steps to sending me something via Google Docs, which was valuable time I needed to homeschool and work on my writing. 

And, most importantly, the minute they mention you sound expensive, and they have to go to the ATM to get the money rather than having it ready (even after you quoted them a price; for me, it was a dollar per double-spaced page in Times New Roman and 12-point font), and they give you a printed, single-spaced printout, you want to shut that down and say in the nicest way possible that you probably aren’t the right person for them (rather than the other way around). Don’t negotiate. You are not selling a house, you are selling yourself. Know your worth.

I always give a sample, one-page edit to show what clients can expect. I would never ask someone to pay me otherwise. This is the third time I’ve done a one-page sample edit for someone, and they’ve fallen through. However, another client, who I met through Upwork, had never even seen my work, paid me what I asked for. I think this is why I’ve always bought a car from a lot rather than an individual, as individuals can be flaky, though our first car we purchased for five hundred dollars from an elderly couple, which lasted a couple of years. We saved a ton in car payments.

Remember that you don’t just have to sell yourself to a potential client, but they need to sell themselves to you.  

I’m amazed at how many people are willing to pay four dollars for a cup of coffee but are unwilling to pay to have what is a labor of love (or should be) be the best it could be—something that will last for generations and hopefully be read and enjoyed by many rather than for ten minutes, enjoyed only by you.

Emoji Bingo!

I created these BINGO cards to teach my daughter coordinates (in the context of columns and rows rather than x and y axes). Unlike Geography BINGO, where we use coins to combine money math with state “geometry,” for Coordinates BINGO, we use Bananagrams. Whenever I call a “coordinate” (C#, R#), she places a Bananagram tile facedown. Once she gets a BINGO, we flip all the tiles over, which she uses to create as many words as possible. (I usually let her get BINGO at the 11th or 12th tile). Canva is an excellent homeschooling graphic design program for those who prefer (and need) to create their child’s curriculum. My daughter loves emojis, so she enjoyed helping me create these cards.

Micropoetry Monday: Apocalypse

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When nearly all the world had become infertile
from the measures taken to prevent overpopulation,
children became more precious than saffron,
rarer than the Sumatran rhino & Darwin’s fox,
for what did it mean to save the planet
when there would be no one left to inhabit it?

For the postmodern world began to suppose
that mothers & fathers were interchangeable.
Yet it was proven that one person
could never be both father & mother,
but rather,
the best parent for what has always been a 2-parent family.
For to lose a mom
was not
to lose a dad
or vice versa.
In marriage,
their flesh had become one,
but in the eyes of their children,
Mom & Dad were separate entities
that had merged their sacred powers of procreation
to create flesh of their flesh,
& to imbue that flesh with the spirit
they would send out into the world–
not to seek their fortune,
but to make the world more fortunate
for them having been in it.

For the world
became such a place,
that only the experts
could speak
on certain subjects.
One had to be an artist
to talk about art,
an activist to discuss politics,
a chef to critique food.
Such was The State’s way
of controlling
the flow of
misinformation,
& so any talk of morality
was the first to go.

Micropoetry Monday: Faith

Chapel

For they had supposed He was
John the Baptist,
reincarnated,
but people did not return,
only to die countless times
as recycled souls;
they passed from this life once—
as one-of-a-kinds—
to live forever.

She did not find her future in the stars,
nor her fortune in the earth,
but her faith in the One
who parted the two.

When he was a boy,
he enjoyed his boyhood,
learning from his dad
what it was to be a man.
When he sowed seeds of legitimacy,
rather than wild oats,
he traded in his Xbox
for a toolbox,
& showed his daughter
how men should treat her
by how he treated her mother.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
—St. Paul, First Corinthians

Golden Stars and Silver Linings

Just received another addition to my daughter’s time capsule: a collection of nursery rhymes I wrote after bringing her home from the hospital. When I put together a PowerPoint presentation on Transcendentalism incorporating the pastoral, the picturesque, and the sublime, I used this close-up of my daughter smelling a daisy (my favorite flower) to epitomize the childlike wonder of discovery. @mixbook does such a beautiful job. Unlike another service, my em dashes (and all other punctuation) are preserved in transferring text from Word to the app. As a grammarian, this feature is essential.