Gratitude and the Writing Life


Gratitude Postcards

I carved a block with the international gratitude symbol and printed it in pink, a color associated with gratitude. I want to provide guests at the upcoming Riverside Arts Walk who attend Inlandia’s panel discussion at the library an opportunity to express their gratitude to a writer through a postcard.

Thursday, February 2, 2023
First Thursdays Arts Walk
“The Gratitude Project: Readers & Writers Edition”
with Janine Pourroy Gamblin, Cati Porter, Leila Kirkconnell, Robert Kirkconnell, and David Stone

Riverside Main Library
3900 Mission Inn Blvd
Riverside, CA 92501
Doors Open at 6:00 PM
6:30-8:00 PM
Free and open to the public.

Is gratitude part of what it takes to build a writer’s life? We think so.

In reading and writing, as in life, we don’t often take the time to tell people how much they – and their work – mean to us. Join Inlandia and a gathering of IE writers to learn how to weave together a literary life, and discover ways readers and writers can express gratitude for one another while doing so.

Journaling Idea #28: Write about the News

Photo by Amy Wolf, the goat Thickle’s owner

When city newspapers cover an international or national story, they often publish a local news story next to it. The reporter looks for connections between what the wire services are reporting and their local community. In the same manner, a journaler can make use of the day’s news and look for a local connection.

Many people use the local news approach when they write posts for social media. A former student of mine made such a move for a post on Facebook:

Wolf’s words and photo were quite the hit. Nick Beres, a journalist for News Channel 5, reposted Wolf’s picture of Thickle looking at himself in the mirror and wrote his own clever commentary. Beres’ post received over a thousand comments and nearly four thousand shares.

I love the way Wolf wrote her post. Her pairing of the words “snomageddon” with “farmageddon” is clever. She starts with the larger event and moves to its impact on her life.

Responses to news in a journal can be as short as Wolf’s post or as long as the writer wishes. A journaler can choose to write in prose like Wolf or write in verse. I advocated for poets to write in response to the news in a column titled “Poetry Made Present,” published in The Press Enterprise on September 8, 2014.

Wolf could have easily adapted her response into the form of a septolet. The website Shadow Poetry defines a septolet as “a poem consisting of seven lines containing fourteen words with a break in between the two parts. Both parts deal with the same thought and create a picture.”

Here’s my septolet created from Wolf’s words:

Thickle and Friends


beat out

our goat shed’s warmth,

so farmaggedon


in our upstairs


Wolf’s post reminded me of the pet goats named Zebu and Daisy that I purchased for a 4-H project with a friend. Thinking of how Zebu even ate my homework, I replied to Wolf’s post that I hope she had removed the shower curtain and towels from her bathroom.

My humor soon faded, however, as I remembered Zebu and Daisy’s fate.

Blizzard of 2022

Facebook shows

Amy’s goats

in her bathroom.


froze in 

the barn 

in ‘83.

I hope you will give writing about the news a try for an occasional entry in your own eclectic journal or in a journal devoted to responses to the news.

Printing Postcards for Peace

In preparation for my participation in the World Peace Poets Postcard Project, I am working on making enough postcards to send out one card every day in February. Each postcard will contain an original short poem. I am looking forward to a month of receiving meaningful mail in return.

Block for World Peace Poets Postcard Project

I finished carving the block to make the postcards I will be sending out each day in February as a part of the World Peace Poets Postcard Project.

I will write a short poem about peace each day in February and send it out to one of the other members in my group.

I am looking forward to receiving cards back from other poets across the country.

Making your own postcard is optional.

Directions for My Poetic Voices: Open to Air Reading at LLU

Take the 10 to Anderson/Tippecanoe. Exit and head South on Anderson St. towards the hospital. You’ll pass on the right a Del Taco and Loma Linda Academy. After you cross Academy Way/Van Leuven St, you’ll head up the hill and cross over the railroad tracks. The picture below shows the view as your coming down the railroad overpass. You want to get in the far right lane.

Turn right onto Stewart Street.

Get into the left lane on Stewart as you head under the pedestrian bridge. Get into the far left lane. Turn left onto Campus at the stop sign.

You will drive up to the corner of Campus and University. The Coleman Pavillion is actually up ahead on the left, but your best bet for parking it off University.

Turn right onto University.

You will make a left just past the parking garage.

The entrance is divided. Be sure to get into the right side. There may be spikes on the left.

Drive straight forward until the parking lot has a T. Your going left into the parking garage. There is no fee to park in this garage.

Find parking inside the garage and exit the garage so you are on the sidewalk facing the construction being done on the church on the other side of Campus St. Use the cross walk to get to the other side of Campus.

You should see a bus stop as you are walking up the hill on Campus St.

You can walk through the parking lot just past the bus stop to reach the Coleman Pavilion.

This is what the building looks like from the front.

Inside the from entrance, want to immediately turn left towards the elevators.

Be careful of the poster advertising the event. These posters were inside the entrance on the Friday before the reading. In the hallway on the opposite side of where you want to get the elevator. Who knows where they will be on the day of the reading. They are mobile as you can see.

Next to the elevator is a directory. You are headed to the Faculty Lounge on Level 2. You will be entering the elevator on Level A. Push the 2.

When the doors of the elevator open on Level Two, you will see the Brian and Maureen Bull School of Medicine Lounge straight ahead.

The doors will likely be open. This sign is to the right of the doors.

This sign is to the left of the doors.

The doors of the lounge were closed for an event when I did my reconnaissance, so I didn’t get to see the actual venue. The event is not ticketed so come early to get the best seating.