Archives for November 2016

Poem of the Week: Autumn Dance

Patricia Dennis
Santa Clara, N. California Branch

A gust of wind

The soft swirl of leaves
Autumn red and gold




So gracefully through the air

Thoughts of landing

But knowing not where

Then one special moment

Upon the earth they have fallen

A few seconds of time
And then

A gust of wind

The soft swirl of leaves

Continually floating


It’s a Creative Business: Plan B and a Prayer

Our first guest blogger, Dorothy Atkins, discusses how she made her creative dreams a business reality:


While working my career job, I always had a Plan B and a prayer. Traveling 90 minutes everyday by train, I’d write down a plan of what I’d rather do in life. I made a chalkboard at home with notes, inspirational quotes, and ideas of what my life would look like doing the things I loved. As a project manager, I wrote a plan for myself on a large, lined tablet. I must have used a ton of them over the years. I still look at my first outline of what I wanted to accomplish and marvel at how many things in my plan I did.


I put a big round circle in the middle of the page and smaller circles all around it with arrows pointing to the big circle. The big circle was my end goal; the smaller circles all around it was what I needed to do. I set out to do things that I could immediately work on (e.g. Who was my target audience, what did I have that no one was offering, etc.). Even though I didn’t know when exactly my dreams would happen, I knew that I had to be ready for when it did. I wanted to make greeting cards and be a motivational speaker, encouraging women to follow their dreams. By writing down my dreams and wish list, along with my research and readiness, I put it out in the universe and asked for guidance.


First, I had to motivate myself:


I had conversations with my inner self, using words I had read somewhere: “Choose safe, gentle souls who are willing not to criticize you but to support you in your journey.” Let them be thrilled with you; listen and hear what they’re saying.  Do not dismiss their compliments or encouragement.


  • Ask yourself what makes you feel alive.
  • Avoid balloon poppers (people who do not wish you well).
  • Trust in your instincts!
  • Learn, learn, learn.
  • Know your audience!
  • Ask why others would want you or your product.
  • Be scared, but don’t let fear keep you from trying. Give fear a name, and take away its power.
  • Talk lovingly to yourself.


What I continue to practice is confidence in what I’m doing. I’m always tapping into my creative side. I realize that I love what I do, and this keeps me motivated. It’s important to challenge myself to learn new things. Exposure is a key element to my success as a speaker and artist, and although I work from home, I go to work every day and work with passion!


An artist, life coach and motivational speaker, Dorothy Atkins tells her stories in vivid colors that mimic her work. Many of her images are gleaned from a family of storytellers. Dorothy finds her voice in painting: “I love being deeply moved.” She uses a variety of media to express herself, including acrylic, oil and ink. “Color creates a specific vibration and is an elemental aspect of my work.” Dorothy is a member of Santa Clara County Branch in California. Visit her web site at and her blog at


Call for Guest Bloggers

Calling all creatives! We invite our fellow Pen Women to submit guest posts for two new series: Creative Inspirational Wisdom and A Creative Business. Accepted pieces will first appear on our NLAPW blog and later in upcoming anthologies from Pen Woman Press.


Creative Inspirational Wisdom posts will focus on all aspects of the creative process: brainstorming, drafting, revising and “publishing.” From where do you draw inspiration? What is your creative work space like? How do you tackle writer’s block or revise your work to make it even better? What are your “best practices” for creating? What helpful tips can you share with fellow creatives? Tell us what you’ve learned on your creative journey!


A Creative Business, on the other hand, will share observations and advice about making your passion your livelihood. What do you wish someone had told you before you started out as a creative professional? Where did you learn how to run your business? How do you make the perfect pitch to magazines, galleries, etc.? What business practices lead to success? How do you market yourself and your work? What practical advice can you offer about taxes, licensing, insurance, and so forth? Share your expertise with us!


Posts should be 150 – 500 words on average, although longer pieces will be considered. You must be the original author of your submission. Original posts are preferred; reposts from your creative blog will be considered with the original link and permission to reprint clearly stated in your submission email.


Please send a cover letter and your submission (as a .DOCX, .PDF, or copied/pasted into the body of the email below the text of your cover letter) to We look forward to reading you!


Poem of the Week: Thanksgiving

Calder Lowe
Modesto California Branch


Hurling himself against the confines
of the picket fence, the chained dog yelps,
its cry piercing my car windows at the stop light.

The house is in disrepair and I already know
that dog is beaten, that woman slumped
in the chair on the deck is beaten.

The peeling wooden planks on the exterior
are no fortress against the drunken man
stumbling up the rotting stairs to the door,

his lined face long stamped with resignation,
his fists already clenched in rage.
I beseech the incoming fog to blanket them all

with a modicum of grace, a respite from the despair
of circumstance, imminent storms.
Mostly, I want the dog to curl up in front of a fire,

his paws outstretched in thanksgiving
for one day unmarred by kicks to his spine,
one day of a full belly, one day of impenetrable calm.


Poem of the Week: Granite Battalion

Barb Whitmarsh, Bayou City II Texas Branch
(Happy Veterans Day – and God Bless America)


It was late
and there was a nip in the air
when he went down to stand awhile
with the granite battalion.

They had run out of ammo
twenty years ago
but held the high ground
below the knoll.

They welcomed any support
but words were cheap by now
old medals were appreciated
———melted down————
for potential bullets
but hell they’d done without fire power
all these years

He lingered in the sulphuric air
of his own cigarettes
left them the pack
told them he was coming back
and together they’d crush the enemy
so they could all go home at last