Posts Tagged ‘John Gibson’

Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.


For the last 13 years my father has created a drawing for my parents’ annual Christmas card.  In 2013, I published a small chapbook of his drawings along with poems that I wrote.  The book, Illuminate, seems to still be available on Amazon.

Earlier this week I visited my parents and talked to my dad about this year’s card.  This summer, my husband Jeff was building a pirogue in our carport.  When he was close to finishing, I took a picture and posted it on Facebook.



The artist in my dad saw this image.



He emailed me and asked for the picture.  Then he blew it up and printed only the trees from the background.  These are crepe myrtle trees that are actually on the front of our house.

The photograph became the inspiration for his abstract drawing.  My dad works with pen and ink in pointillism.  Each drawing is a miracle.  I celebrate this creative gift.

John Gibson, 2016

John Gibson, 2016


Haiku #31

Happy New Year’s Eve!
Even trees have a party.
Sparks of light illume.

Thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for the haiku-a-day challenge. I celebrate:

  • We lightened the world with our words.
  • We grew as a community of writers.
  • We made it.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

For Easter weekend I visited my parents in Mississippi.  I am so grateful that they are doing so well.  My father still draws upstairs in his studio every day.  My father’s art is pointillism.  The images are created by dots on the page.  Last year he was on a medication that kept him from being able to hold his pen steady.  He didn’t know if he’d ever be able to draw again.

Now he is preparing a set of drawings for a gallery show in May.  Each one takes at least a month to complete.  I admire his perseverance and his talent.


Pop in studio

Focus, patience, and a steady hand are necessary for this style of drawing.

In 2013 in honor of my father’s 80th birthday, I published a book of his Christmas card drawings alongside my original poems.  The book is Illuminate and is still available on Amazon. 

Pop Studio view

My father’s studio looks out at this view of the lake.  He is currently drawing the tree that hovers near this window.  Trees are his favorite subject.  “Beautiful and complicated and challenging.”


Pop drawing

This drawing hangs in the hallway near the studio.  The chiaroscuro (play of dark and light) is prevalent in this drawing.

My father is not a famous artist.  He doesn’t sell many of his drawings and when he does, they are modestly priced.  That is not why he draws.  His art is as necessary to him as air, an intimate part of his being in this world.  Drawing dots is his meditation and his communication. I am blessed to be a witness to its beauty.


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In Blue Veils

Original is in blue watercolor wash, a painting by John Gibson.

Original is in blue watercolor wash, a painting by John Gibson.

In Blue Veils
Celebrate the mystery
We drape her in silk veils of blue
and blur the lines of fame and truth.
We speak of heaven; say we know her.
The mother we paint in azure.
We behold her framed in gold.
She’s the lapis lazuli of the Silk Road.
Her constancy like ocean waves
rocks and cradles the Son she gave.

So we drape her, cover her face.
Imagine a beauty—a place
we cannot touch. If she could see
through this broken glass, our uncertainty,
Would she want to craft us anew?
Cover us, too, in shades of blue?
–Margaret Simon, from Illuminate

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

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Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!


There is a construction paper chain outside the principal’s door, visually counting down to Christmas. I prefer to count up. Advent helps us count up as we light one more candle each week. Every time one more candle is lit, we say a blessing. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. O Come, thou Dayspring. Come and enlighten our hearts. Come and save us.

I discovered a hashtag for an advent word of the day, #adventword. Consider following this hashtag on Twitter for inspiration and meditation each day.

Last year I released a poetry book, Illuminate. This little book is special to me. I wrote poems to accompany my father’s Christmas card drawings. His drawings are done in pen and ink pointillism. Today I share a favorite, The Annunciation. This is one of the last ones I wrote. I was struggling with it, so I visited my parents and interviewed my dad about the drawing. “I conceal lost edges” came from this interview. He talked about his efforts in the drawing to keep it fluid, losing the edge of the wings. This discussion made me contemplate the real/ unreal, the sensed/ the imagined. Advent is a time to conceal lost edges, to imagine something new, light coming from the darkness.

Annunciation by John Gibson

Annunciation by John Gibson

An angel appeared out of the night.
I am not real
I am a dust, a shadow,
a sprinkling of dots on a page,

A lonely seraphim
with open arms
at the royal gate.

I am crowned
by the moon’s light,
draped in the darkness of forewings.

I pray
my message is welcomed.
I conceal lost edges.

The sacrament,
this new birth
unveils me, makes me real
as breath.
–Margaret Simon, from Illuminate

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Silence of the first snow by John Gibson

Silence of the first snow by John Gibson

This never happens in South Louisiana, a snow day. Yesterday, the weather man predicted a wintry mix. All schools in Acadiana were canceled for Friday.

Like an excited child, I have been up since 5:30 AM checking for snow…no. There is some ice accumulating on the deck, so I suppose it is a good thing little southern children are not having to stand outside and wait for buses that do not handle ice on roads well. Hey, I’m not complaining. I get a free day. But as I look at my father’s drawing of this beautiful silent scene of snow, I can’t help but wish I could see this in my own yard, if only for a few moments. There is something silent and magical about the first snow.

Snow Day
Snow fell silently through the night,
Tufts of a fluffy cotton-ball sweater.
I wake to a field of white.

White-topped limbs reach out for light.
No one predicted this wondrous weather.
Snow fell silently through the night.

Come to the window to see the fresh sight.
Cancel school. Let’s play together.
I wake to a field of white.

Smooth pure canvas, all is right.
Each leaf a glass-encased feather,
Snow fell silently through the night.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

This poem is featured in my book Illuminate. Enjoy more Poetry Friday over at Tara Smith’s Site, A Teaching Life.

poetry-friday-1 (1)

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Discover. Play. Build.
Morning Light, photo by John Gibson

Morning Light, photo by John Gibson

I temporarily forgot it was Saturday, Celebration Saturday. I was only thinking about the break. Whew! Here it is, two weeks off! I scheduled a facial this morning using a gift card my husband gave me for my birthday in August. I am Celebrating me today!

Celebrate imperfection and embrace holiness: Bishop Jake’s message touched me this morning. He always has some wonderful wisdom to offer. Today he tells us that we are not called to be perfect. We are born imperfect, and we will always be that way. This week my daughter, Martha, is home from Chicago. Celebrating her! She went to the eye doctor for the first time in probably more than 10 years. (Pass the guilt knife over.) She discovered not only that she is far-sighted like her mother, she also has a congenital defect in her optic nerve. The defect, Thank God, is harmless. Her amazing blue eyes are not perfect, but they are still lovely.

I spend a lot of time trying to be perfect. I would guess many of us do. It was refreshing to hear that I am not perfect and never will be. However, I am holy. This comes with a huge responsibility. To fully be holy, I need to accept others with open arms. I need to connect daily. I need to love fully. For more inspiration, read Pelican Anglican.

God did not make us to be perfect. He made us to be holy, to live into his image. God is love, and so love is the point of human life. And just in case you haven’t noticed, love is messy. God didn’t come to clean up the mess. He came to make it holy. To make it the holy mess he had in mind in the first place.
–Bishop Jake Owensby

Celebrating connections: I posted a full moon photo on Wednesday. My father posted one too, from his home in Mississippi. I wrote a haiku and have placed it over his photo to create a haiga. I learned about haiga from my Poetry Friday friend, Diane Mayr. She posted window haiga this week. Mine is a moon haiga.

Photo by John Gibson.  Haiku by Margaret Simon, all rights reserved.

Photo by John Gibson. Haiku by Margaret Simon, all rights reserved.

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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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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

For today’s Slice of Life, I want to express my gratitude for the Wonders in my life.

I. I am part of a Wonderful group of women called The Berry Queens. At the 6th annual ball on Friday night, I was honored to be named Head Diva.

2012-13 Head Diva, Susan and me, 2013-14 Head Diva.

2012-13 Head Diva, Susan and me, 2013-14 Head Diva.

II. My Wonderful baby girl was home for two weeks. We enjoyed some fun times together. Her boyfriend, Jeff, came in for the weekend. Here they are posing at the Grandmother Oak.

Daughter Martha with boyfriend, Jeff and Grandmother Oak.

Daughter Martha with boyfriend, Jeff with Grandmother Oak.

III. Reading FREADOM: This is National Banned Books week. My students are discussing their favorite books. I am grateful that they are Wonder-filled readers. Some of them made Animoto videos about their books.

IV. International Dot Day celebration continues: My younger students (2nd-4th grade) discovered the Wonder of creating their own mark using Paint.

Emily's Dot created on Paint.

Emily’s Dot created on Paint.

Emily’s Acrostic Dot Day poem

Decorating Dots
Oh,what a nice day
Today, today dots we make.

Dabbing on dots
All day I say
Yay! oh what a nice day!

V. The proof is here! The book of my poems with my Dad’s art, Illuminate, will be coming soon. Here I am with the Proof! Wonders never cease!

It may be small, but it is oh, so precious.  My book of poems with my father's art.

It may be small, but it is oh, so precious. My book of poems with my father’s art.

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Margaret Gibson Simon and father,  John Gibson

Margaret Gibson Simon and father, John Gibson

I am visiting my parents in Mississippi. My father and I are working on the final touches of our book project. Yes, you heard me…book project. I am excited to announce the publication of Illuminate, a book of poetry and art.

I started writing poems to my father’s Christmas cards in December of 2012. I’ve posted some of the drafts on this blog. My friend Victoria Sullivan at Border Press will be publishing it. The book will be small, about 25 pages. The drawings to me are striking, done in pen and ink pointillism. I hope the book will be ready mid-October in time for Christmas.

In 2008, I wrote my first poem about my father’s art. There is a drawing framed in my bedroom of an American Indian woman with her child, wrapped together in a blanket as though she is shielding her child from all danger. The writing connected me to his art work in a spiritual way. I share this first poem in the preface of Illuminate. Check back in October to order your own copy.

My Father’s Drawing
Dots of ink and graphite rise in tension with paper
to form a likeness of mother and child.
The wild contrast of darks to light plays
in harmony creating a vision of love.

In the meantime, I grew up,
became a woman with children
living away from my father.
His letters come to me in thank you notes.

Yet everyday, I look at this drawing—
the dots of pointillism reach out from the wall
and grant me an audience
with his graceful praise.
–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Mother Earth by John Gibson

Mother Earth by John Gibson

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