Sunday, December 29, 2013


What to say about my "sky" year? It's been AMAZING. Thanks to all of you who helped make it that way!

Every single day this year I've been aware of the sky in a way I never was before. It provided a focus for me, which is exactly the point of choosing One Little Word. The experience has brought me wonder and joy and beauty. Also: poems! And I learned a few things, too-- if the sky can change and change and change, and be beautiful ever which way, so, too, can we.

Soon I will begin again with a brand-new One Little Word. I've made my choice, and I'm excited... but sad, too. The good news is that the sky is good at waiting. It will be there whenever I turn my eyes that way. And I will. Often. I don't think that habit is going away.

Happy 2014, everyone!

Friday, December 20, 2013


Can it really be the last Poetry Friday before Christmas?! Indeed. And then just one more Roundup before 2014. Wowza. Be sure to visit Buffy's Blog for the festivities!

It's been a busy week 'round these parts... and I've had the crud. Improving now, but feeling very behind! So I am going to use this opportunity to share some poetic goodness I'm more than grateful for:

1. I recently wrote poems on the topic of "what makes a good book." One called "Fishing for a Reader" was accepted for inclusion in a textbook, and the other entitled "Recipe for a Good Book" appears in the Utah Journal of Literacy.  Thank you, Terry!

2. Enter to win an autographed copy of THE SKY BETWEEN US:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sky Between Us by Irene Latham

The Sky Between Us

by Irene Latham

Giveaway ends December 23, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

3. My poem "Coming to Terms" appeared at Womens' Voices for Change. This is a fantastic site. Do check it out!

4. My favorite pic from this week's visit to Forest Oaks Elementary in Chelsea, Alabama (taken by one of my favorite fellas):

Talk to the hand.... :)

5. I've written poems recently about Harriet Tubman and Barbara Johns. (Will share when they appear in the magazines!) Writing about history presents a unique challenge... how to stay true to the facts, but also include a surprise for the reader? For these two, I leaned heavily on metaphor. Hope it works. :)

Monday, December 16, 2013


Santa came early to our house this year! Here's what I received in the mail:

Don't you love those paper packages tied up with string?! They were gifts from my Winter Poem Swap partner Linda! (Shout-out to Tabatha for setting this up! It was my first time to participate, and I loved it.) When I opened the packages, here's what I found inside:

A blue sky scarf! Art made out of woven aluminum cans! And best of all: an original "SKY DREAMS" POEM!! Here it is close up:

Thank you, Santa Linda. I will treasure it always.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit the every-generous and inspiring Tabatha at the Opposite of Indifference for Roundup. Her blog never fails to get my creative juices flowing!

Here in Lathamland, we've got life journeys on our minds. We've had our struggles recently, and I think all of us here are keenly aware of how the most we can claim is to be works-in-progress.

And since writing, for me, is spiritual practice, I turned to Pat Schneider's book HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN. It's an inspiring read... and nice companion to Jeannine's new book!

Pat Schneider's previous work, WRITING ALONE AND WITH OTHERS, is another one of my all-time favorite books on writing. And, many moons ago, I was accepted into the Amherst Writers & Artists program. It seemed like the perfect way to join two of my passions: writing and social work. I decided not to go the formal route, but I do practice many of the teachings introduced to me by Pat.

Today I'd like to share with you a poem that speaks to me right now:

Instructions for the Journey
by Pat Schneider

The self you leave behind
is only a skin you have outgrown.
Don't grieve for it.
Look to the wet, raw, unfinished
self, the one you are becoming.
The world, too, sheds its skin:
politicians, cataclysms, ordinary days.
It's easy to lose this tenderly
unfolding moment. Look for it
as if it were the first green blade
after a long winter. Listen for it
as if it were the first clear tone
in a place where dawn is heralded by bells.

And if all that fails,
wash your own dishes.
Rinse them.
Stand in your kitchen at your sink.
Let cold water run between your fingers.
Feel it.

Something else on my mind: it will soon be time to choose a One Little Word for 2014! "Sky" has been such a rich and rewarding word for me that I'm a bit sad to leave it behind. Think of me, searching, pondering, considering.... what will your One Little Word for 2014 be??

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


It's been a stressful time here at the Latham household, but a couple of things happened this week that reminded me how wonderful this world is.... so... I've decided to make It's a Wonderful World Wednesday a new feature for 2014. Consider this a sneak peek!

At the Post Office
This past Saturday I headed into the post office with three packages. Because I was in a hurry to make my lunch date with my husband, I headed straight for the self-service kiosk. I've used the kiosk a bunch of time and feel completely comfortable with it. Everything was going swimmingly until I got to the third package. At that point, another customer came up behind me -- very close -- and made me feel rushed. I paid for my postage and deposited the third box in the bin... without the postage label attached. Well. There were about ten people in the lobby line, and only one clerk. I thought I needed to get this settled right away, so I went over and rang the little buzzer. No one came, and soon the clerk informed me that no one ever answered the buzzer, and how could he help? I explained my mistake, and he asked me to wait, which I did. Meanwhile, he dealt with all those frustrated customers! Finally he motioned me over. He gave me a piece of paper and asked me to write the address on it. I stapled that to my label and again approached the desk. He finished with his current customer and looked over my paperwork. He said, "I'll take care of it," and set the paperwork on a back desk before helping the next customer. And I left. I kept seeing the box for my sister sitting there in the post office, unlabeled, languishing, never to be delivered.

But guess what? On Monday my sister texted me to say the package had arrived! Thank you, Amazing Post Office Guy! You helped make my world wonderful.

At Kohl's
Also on Saturday, I dashed into a very crowded Kohl's to spend my Kohl's cash. The lines were LONG, and I was cranky after the whole Post Office incident. When the person two in front of me had an item without a label, I switched to the next lane. Then the lady in front of me in that line had an issue, and I was wishing I had stayed in the other lane! Finally, I got to the cashier, and in the middle of ringing me up, she says, "just a moment, ma'am." I was like, wha???
She came back with a manager who announced I was the winner of the day's Dream Receipt! Turns out, once a day, at random, the computer selects a customer -- they  never know when or at which cash register it will happen. On Saturday, it was ME! Which meant my entire purchase was FREE. Does Kohl's rock, or does Kohl's roll? What a thrill. What a wonderful world!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Movie Monday: HAPPY

Okay, so I pretty much love Neflix. I especially love all the documentaries, and this one, HAPPY, is one you don't want to miss. It takes a global look at happiness -- what makes us happy, and what happiness experts have learned over the years. Apparently happiness is impacted by activity and giving. And, it turns out, happiness is not really a thing to have or not have, but a thing to be developed -- as in, happiness as a SKILL. Just like we can practice playing the guitar, or practice kindness, we can also practice happiness.

I love it! Watch the movie and see what you think.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


"--these are the music and pictures 
of the most ancient religion." 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 2, 2013


Confession: CATCHING FIRE was my favorite book of the trilogy, so I had high expectations for the movie. And I was not disappointed! Katniss is every bit the gutsy heroine we've come to love. She's confused about some things (aren't we all) yet absolutely certain about others. She's still amazing with a bow, and the movie is enjoyable form start to finish. When the screen went black I really couldn't believe we've been in the theater for 2 1/2 hours. There was no drag at all. So far it's one of my favorite adapted from a book movie franchises. Will Hollywood wreck it by making the last book MOCKINGJAY two movies instead of one? We'll see!

Next Monday: HAPPY (a documentary)