Posts Tagged ‘Hunter Gibson’

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

I have a new best friend. We met on the Internet through blogging, linking up each week with the Two Writing Teachers blog. We met face to face for the first time at NCTE in the fall. So when she told me she was coming to New Orleans to visit colleges with her daughter, I jumped at the chance to get together. Julianne Harmatz, her daughter Claire, and I spent the day together on Tuesday. I showed her some of my favorite things about NOLA, The Quarter, beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and Pim’s Cup at The Napoleon House. Julianne and I talked nonstop. At one point we were discussing birthdays and guess what!? We have the same birthday! I screamed, “Soul sisters!” I celebrate friendship.

With Julianne in Jackson Square

With Julianne in Jackson Square

On Wednesday I drove home to Mississippi to be with my sister and her kids to celebrate our mother’s birthday. All of us (brother included) went out to a nice restaurant for lunch together. Much talking, laughter, and fun. Here’s Mom with her Crème brûlée desert.


My brother, Hunter Gibson, is a musician. He was featured in The Clarion-Ledger this week. Friday night many of us gathered to hear him play and sing. Jack, my 10 year old nephew, and I made origami with dollar bills for the tip jar. Jack made an elephant and I made a guitar. I celebrate creating with Jack and in giving to Hunter.

origami guitar

The sunsets are glorious here at the lake. I celebrate being with family, watching wildlife, and reconnecting with friends old and new.

June sunset on the lake

June sunset on the lake

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SOL #28

SOL #28

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Tulips from the grocery store.  A gift for my mom.

Tulips from the grocery store. A gift for my mom.

I am at home. My parents are surrounding me and my friend, Cathy, with love, kindness, and laughter. I love seeing my parents through her eyes. We are eating breakfast this morning having lively conversation about personality types and stories. The stories! I hear stories again that I have heard before, but with my friend, the stories have new meaning. I am celebrating friendship and family.

Last night we ventured out to an oyster bar to hear my brother’s band play. What live music does for the heart and soul should be celebrated. One of his band members, Monty, has been playing with him for 36 years. I celebrate my brother, his music, and Monty.

My brother Hunter, me, and Monty, his longtime friend and bass player.

My brother Hunter, me, and Monty, his longtime friend and bass player.

Cathy and I are in Jackson for the Sweet Potato Queens weekend. The theme this year is Braveheart, so we wore plaid tutus to the Big Hat Brunch. Cathy made the skirts as well as our hats which reflect our own personal theme of “birds of a feather.” I celebrate Berry Queens, friendship, and Cathy’s creativity.

Me with Cathy in our Berry Queen finery and big hats

Me with Cathy in our Berry Queen finery and big hats

View of the lake from an upstairs window.

View of the lake from an upstairs window.

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Join the Poetry Friday round-up at Jone's site: Check it Out.

Join the Poetry Friday round-up at Jone’s site: Check it Out.

Revision? Ugh! If you are a writer, revision is a necessary evil. Maybe not evil, but definitely necessary. If I am going to urge my students to revise, I must experience it myself.

I have a copy of Kate Messner’s Real Revision in my stack of professional books for the summer. It’s already dog-eared, written in, and sticky-noted. Each chapter ends with a section “Meet Mentor Author…” I decided for this post that I would take one piece of advice and apply it to an old draft of a poem. However, when I got started, I went in a different direction.

I’ve “met” Jeannine Atkins through Poetry Friday. Her exercise in Real Revision begins, “Try It: Jeannine Atkins tries to use concrete nouns- specific, precise words- and verbs that really suggest action.”

I pulled out my poem “Singing the Blues” that I wrote in a wordlab setting. I liked it but felt that it needed work. Jeannine’s exercise helped me attack the challenge, but once I started pinpointing precise words, I also made other changes. This is a good lesson for my work with students. A revision strategy such as this one by Jeannine can be a starting point, but I also should encourage other changes. Jump in with finding precise words, then move on to confirming the theme, changing the order, or adding in senses, metaphor, etc. Revision can be endless. We should teach our students that it can also be fun and satisfying when your writing takes shape and looks like a bird that may fly.

My brother, the performer, Hunter Gibson

My brother, the performer, Hunter Gibson

Find Hunter’s music on the web here.

Singing the Blues

My mother sang blues in rhythm with her cleaning,
mopped on out to the shade of the oak tree
to cool off and cool down. That Mississippi sun
shone like Jupiter on a summer night.

We played with fire.

The front yard burned.
Smoke rose to the gods,
Chatty Cathy and a set of Lincoln Logs—ashes.
Mom cried when she saw her begonias
seared like sausage on a stick.

I buried my Barbies in the flowerbed, knelt
beside the snake of Eden—I am a sinner.
I Guess that’s Why They Call it the Blues
echoes from the microphone.

Brother now plays the keyboard,
sways his Elton John head
above the noise of a crowded bar.
Does he remember?

We were only children, for God’s sake!
What did we know about heat and rage then?
Our phoenix rose long ago.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Discover. Play. Build.

Christmas changes as the children grow. This year, my oldest daughter traveled with her boyfriend to Wyoming to spend Christmas with his family. He has a 2 year-old niece, so everyone marveled over her first understanding of Christmas. Maggie sent pictures and called through facetime, so we connected. But it was not the same. Christmas Day was quieter, but still wonderful. Jeff made the obligatory pancakes, even though he had to make a run for milk and syrup. My mother’s dressing recipe turned out great, and we enjoyed the time with our two other daughters and my mother-in-law. Not to mention the delight of the dogs with their new toys and treats.

This weekend our family has grown. We are all together in Jackson to celebrate Christmas with my family. We are 18 all together. Each of my daughters has a boyfriend with her, so our five grew to 8. This is a first for us. Last night the eight of us went out to a restaurant to eat and hear my brother play. What fun! The sisters requested “Sidney Elf,” a Christmas song Hunter wrote when they were younger. We all sang along when up pops Sidney, Hi de doo!

Tonight the 18 of us will get together to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday. We are all so grateful to be together and to know my parents are happy and healthy. We have much to be grateful for and to celebrate!

Christmas 2013

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As much of the country experiences cold temperatures, freezing ice and snow, I am thinking about this Christmas song. In the Bleak Midwinter is a poem by Christina Rossetti written prior to 1872.

My poetry book Illuminate, features the following poem, Outside Salzburg to my father’s first Christmas card drawing. My brother recorded a CD to accompany our book. Following my reading of this poem, he sings “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

Take a moment to focus on the season of Christmas.
Slow down.
Pray for peace.
As we feel the cold chill of the winter air and remember the tragedy of Sandy Hook, may we embrace each other a little longer
and find special ways to show kindness to one another and to our world.

Outside Salzburg

From the train, snow-covered hills beckon
outside Salzburg. The whistle echoes.
Trees stand tall and barren.
Weary travelers stare in wonder.

Somewhere in the distance,
a child is torn from his mother’s arms,
a beggar reaches out with empty hands,
Somewhere, a woman grieves for her lost lover.

But here—on the road to Innsbruck—
a church glistens on the smooth,
unblemished snow, calling out
–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

In the Bleak Midwinter
by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

To order a copy of Illuminate with CD by Hunter Gibson, click here. To order on Amazon, click here. I’ll give away a copy with CD to a randomly selected commenter.

For more great poems, join Poetry Friday over at Tabatha Yeatts’ place, The Opposite of Indifference.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Fellow blogger, Ruth Ayres starts up her Celebration Saturday round-up today. Click on the image above to find other writers celebrating today.

Gallery hanging
Excitement is in the air at A&E Gallery for the Fall into the Arts Artwalk tonight. Above is a picture of gallery owner, Paul Schexnayder on the right, showing my father, John Gibson, on the left where he will be displaying Dad’s art for tonight.

gallery hanging 2
Dad brought 8 pieces to show, a few to sell, and some prints. I am excited to introduce him and his art to my friends here in New Iberia. We will be signing and selling our collaborative book Illuminate. My brother, Hunter Gibson, completed the companion CD, and it is absolutely beautiful. My nieces added in their voices on the recording. This whole project touches me deeply. I hope others will feel all the love that has gone into the book, the love of art, poetry, music, and family. A true thing to celebrate!

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Mortimer Minute

Mortimer is one busy bunny, hopping all over the country to interview children’s poets. I want to thank Tabatha Yeatts for tagging me in the blog-hop. Here are the rules:

1. Answer 3 questions:These questions are somewhat created by you, but you can borrow from other bloggers.

2. Invite poetry loving friends to follow you. I will introduce you to two fabulous poetry writing friends at the end of my post.

3. Say thanks and link up, so Mortimer can keep on hopping along!

Mortimer: What has been one of your favorite ways of sharing poetry in school? (question borrowed from Tabatha.)
Me: My students have been loving the end of the month Chalkabrations, the creative genius baby of fellow Poetry Friday blogger, Betsy Hubbard. However, I have to say that the lagniappe (the little something extra) that happened last April during National Poetry Month still tops my list. For every day of the month, I would introduce a poetry form for each letter of the alphabet. A for acrostic, B for bio-poems, and so on. Well, the end of the school year is always filled with those doggone standardized tests and on the day of the letter K, I was administering a test. My students were not supposed to come to class; however, three of them appeared. I told them they could stay if they worked quietly. They got together and wrote an amazing Kyrielle about Kindness. I was so blown away that I had them read it aloud on the intercom the next day. They wrote in response to the Boston Marathon Bombing. Writing is healing, and my students knew this. Had I taught them this? The link to my original post is here, but I will reprint the poem for Mortimer.

26 Acts of Kindness

There’s something kind that we must do
To pay respects, so let’s be true
It won’t be for me or for you
So help the dreams they can’t pursue

Please, show your kindness, here’s your cue
Be the person God asked you to
We can stop them from feeling blue
So help the dreams they can’t pursue

Their families are torn in two
Come, everyone, and get a clue
Those men would wish they could undo
So help the dreams they can’t pursue

What is our country going through
To me, it feels like déjà vu
You all know who I’m talking to
So help the dreams they can’t pursue

by Kaylie, Brooklyn, and Kendall

Mortimer: Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
Me: Yes, but it is very embarrassing. What I remember is waiting for my mother to pick me up from Miss Jo’s piano lesson. Miss Jo had a big tree in her front yard. I danced around the tree and made up this poem, “Spring is my favorite time of year/ when the sky is blue and clear./ Flowers blooming all around./ Snow is melting on the ground.” This may be the reason I need to keep my day job.

Mortimer: What is your current poetry project?
Me: I am so proud to be publishing a small book of poems to accompany my father’s drawings. I should receive my first shipment any day now. You can read a review on Diane Moore’s blog A Word’s Worth. You can order a book with CD from the page Illuminate.

My brother, Hunter Gibson, is a talented musician.

My brother, Hunter Gibson, is a talented musician.

My brother is a wonderful musician, and he has decided to add to this family project by making a Christmas CD of traditional and original Christmas songs. I sent him a recording of me reading three of the poems and he put together a mix with an original tune. This touches me to my very core. Not only do I connect with my father through his art, but I am connecting with Hunter through his music.

Here’s tagging…

Here's Michelle!

Here’s Michelle!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes who writes children’s poetry, picture books, and greeting cards. Her creative challenge is to bring out the natural musicality and rhythm of words and let them bounce around (and otherwise run amok) within the sphere of her imagination. You can find her blog at Today’s Little Ditty. Her Mortimer Minute will be posted Oct. 11th.

Here's Matt!

Here’s Matt!

Matt Forrest writes radio commercials and poetry for adults as well as children. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). He’s been in recording studios, on theatre stages, and in front of TV cameras…and has always managed to leave before security arrived. He’s done voicework and audio production for companies around the country, and his voice can be heard from Maine to Florida, from California to New Jersey, from the U.K. to Dubai. Matt’s post will go up on Oct. 18th at his blog site Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme. Please hop along!

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by Doraine at Dori Reads.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by Doraine at Dori Reads.

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