I read in order to write. I read out of obsession with writing. ~Cynthia Ozick
A dozen articles chosen especially to spark your creativity this weekend.
- Disclaimer: some very inappropriate stuff here, but the rest of it is so funny I couldn’t not share. Original ideas.
- The case for reading books you might find objectionable.
- How public libraries are becoming true community centers. It can happen in your town. Make it so!
- Oh, the satisfaction of finishing a quilt you started a long time ago—and a pretty quilt at that!
- Write short stories like Kurt Vonnegut.
- Spectacular quilts.
- I love this artist’s Instagram page. She posts some in-progress videos that are mesmerizing to watch.
- Architectural photography.
- Love stories. I wanted to save these for next Valentine’s Day, but I’d probably forget, so you’re getting them now. You’re welcome.
- This sketch artist draws portraits of people in recovery and surrounds them with their stories.
- What’s special about Ukraine?
- Van Dyck’s portraits and the clothing of his subjects.
I was born about seven months after my parents emigrated to the United States from Germany. One of the many things my mother did right (probably at the suggestion of the neighborhood moms) was read to me every day. This practice helped her strengthen her English language skills and also introduce me to what would become my primary tongue.
One of the books she read over and over was Mother Goose. I heard it so many times that I knew it by heart. She capitalized on my memorization by running the tip of her finger under the words as she read, so that even as a toddler I connected the words I heard to the visual representation of them, and began to recognize them in different contexts.
When my children were little, I also read to them twice a day, before naps and bedtime, and Mother Goose rhymes were a staple. (So were Dr. Seuss books.) All five were readers before they entered kindergarten.
During my first elementary general music teaching career (right out of college in the 1970s), I often used nursery rhymes in musical exercises to develop rhythmic and melodic awareness. Most of my students were familiar with them. However, when I returned to the classroom (after a 27-year break during which I raised my children), few students knew of Mary, Mary quite contrary or Humpty Dumpty. I know the rhymes are from a different age, but why has Mother Goose fallen out of the childhood canon? Nursery rhymes are a tradition we cannot afford to lose.
Why nursery rhymes are important:
- They introduce the concept of story.
- They encourage listening skills and comprehension.
- They are easy to memorize. The brain subconsciously recognizes patterns in the rhymes and the rhythms.
- They stimulate language and vocabulary acquisition.
- They introduce numbers and counting. (One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, then I let it go again.)
- They often suggest hand or body motions that boost motor skills. (Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man; or Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posie, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.)
- Many nursery rhymes are associated with melodies (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush; Hey Diddle, Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle), or are easy to make into a song.
To learn more about nursery rhymes, read further:
- The Benefits of Nursery Rhymes in Your Child’s Development
- The Importance of Nursery Rhymes and Songs
- Rhymers are Readers
- Impact of Rhymes on Preschool Development
What? You don’t know any nursery rhymes? Bless your heart—here are 50 rhymes you can start learning today!
Now it’s your turn. Did you grow up reciting Mother Goose rhymes? Did you read or teach them to your children? Do you think they should remain part of standard children’s literature? Or could you suggest books of more modern rhymes (maybe the poetry of Shel Silverstein, for example) that would make suitable updates? Share in the comments below.
For creative people everywhere.
- Wallpaper. You either hate it or love it. Here are some designs that might win you over.
- This quilter finished a lot of lovely quilts in 2021.
- A bunch of pretty quilts in different stages.
- These ceramic mugs are works of art. (If you like animals, you’ve got to click this link.)
- Wildlife photographs.
- Do creative people ever misplace their tools? (Guilty.)
- What habitual reading does for your brain.
- Street photography.
- What is it about successful authors that made their careers take off?
- Resources for writers.
- So, you quit your day job to write fulltime and now you can’t pay the bills? Here are some side hustles that will earn you a little cash and also help you be a better writer. Lots of openings right now.
- How to generate content quickly.
This week’s offerings are heavy on writing tips. But there are some crumbs for the quilters and crafters.
- Incredibly fine quilting from the International Quilt Festival.
- A quilter talks about the creative process.
- Make some holiday cards.
- A profile of the first Native Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland.
- How to improve the article you’ve just written.
- How to write a short story.
- For the fiction writers: a very good article on characterization.
- Revelation: writing is not as glamorous as it seems.
- An abandoned clinic.
- For writers: how to read.
- How to decipher crochet pattern code.
- For most writers, the road to publication is long and winding.
I missed my own blog birthday! On June 3, ARHtistic License turned five years old.
My goal for ARHtistic License is that it would be a place where creative people would come together to celebrate the arts and discuss the creative process. A year ago, AL had 683 subscribers; today it has 941, an increase of almost 38%. I’m happy about that growth. I’m on track to hit 1000 subscribers before the end of 2020. Are you a subscriber yet?
Here are the ten most popular posts on ARHtistic License in the past year, based on the number of “likes” they earned:
- Hiking in the Arboretum
- Tuesday Photo Challenge: Tourism
- Creative Juice #188
- Creative Juice #156
- Creative Juice #159
- Wordless Wednesday/ Flower of the Day: Lavender Daisies
- Creative Juice #171
- Sunday Trees/ Flower of the Day: Palo Verde Blossom
- Flower of the Day: Palo Verde Blossoms
- Wordless Wednesday/ Flower of the Day: Flowering Cactus
Nine of these posts fall in one of two categories: photo challenges and curated articles (Creative Juice). The outlier, “Hiking in the Arboretum,” is a photography-heavy post, more of a photo essay. So, should I focus on photography and reading recommendations, since these are the kinds of things that my readers apparently like? It would certainly free up a lot of my time, since those kinds of posts can be generated fairly quickly.
In contrast, here are what I consider to be some of my very best posts this year, in no particular order, which received very few likes:
- Franz Schubert
- Interview with Author Paul Mosier
- The Red Priest
- Quiz: Are You 65+ Years Old and Cool?
- Mathew Brady, the Father of Photojournalism
- An Interview with Vesna Taneva-Miller
- Why Writers Should Review Books
- I’d Rather Be Dancing Greek Folk Dances
- Common Misconceptions About Creativity
- Fra Angelico, the Angelic Friar
- Review of Crazy Brave: A Memoir, by Joy Harjo
- NaPoWriMo Day Eight: Starting with a Line from Sylvia
Are these articles dull? Should I avoid spending time on posts like these?
Please help me. What would you like to see more of on ARHtistic License? What would you like less of? If you read a blog post you like and there’s a “Like” button, do you click it? If not, why not? I’d love feedback on all the questions that appear in bold throughout this article. Please comment below.
Three poems this week, some funny stuff, and some useful information, as well as beauty.
- Do you love horses?
- Do you miss cameras with film?
- A self-quarantine poem.
- A man lived in a shack for five years and did nothing but read. You will probably recognize his name if not his story.
- Beautiful Arizona quilts.
- More art-recreation.
- A whimsical NaPoWriMo poem.
- Dyeing with stuff you probably have in your kitchen.
- Do you take care of little kids all day? You’re going to love these tips.
- I found this marketing article very interesting.
- Warning: some of these are very sad. But most are LOL funny.
- Frances is the queen of organizing fabrics. Her sewing room sparks joy in my life.