Monthly Archives: July 2014

Where’s My Sandy Beach?

Happy Summer!  Earlier this month my family plus pals spent a week at a cottage near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  We climbed the dunes, went on hikes, visited spectacular Lake Michigan beaches, paddled the Crystal River and hung out at Long Lake.

There were breath-taking views.

And much picture taking.

And much picture taking…

From all angles...

From all angles…

And serious poses.

And serious poses.

And waiting for photographers.

    And more serious poses.

And more serious poses.

And water bicycles!

Although I grew up in Massachusetts and visited many Atlantic coast beaches, I now prefer Lake Michigan–amazing sand, no salt in your eyes or hair, and more manageable waves.  The only thing missing is the chance to fill your pockets with shells, but searching for Petoskey stones (small stones composed of fossilized corals) can fill that void.

And I can write about shells even if they’re absent from the beaches I now frequent!  That’s what I did a couple of years ago when I had the privilege of attending a Highlights poetry workshop.  One of the exercises given by Rebecca Kai Dotlich was to write a mask poem from the viewpoint of whatever object was on a card each person picked.  My card had a shell, and the poem I wrote at the workshop is in Ladybug Magazine this month:

LYB1407_30_IF You Were a Shell.P30

The poem I submitted was slightly different than the one published above.  I had written from a child’s point of view, addressing a parent:

If I were a shell
and you were the sea,
You’d tumble and toss me,
warm me and wash me.

The editors at Ladybug thought it made more sense to write this poem from the adult’s POV and I agreed (although I missed that first stanza rhyme.)

Don’t you love Irene Luxbacher’s whimsical illustration?! And look what happened in Irene’s illustration–the parent that I imagined disappeared!

LYB1407_30_IF You Were a Shell.P31I love the band of young mermaids rocking that baby in the shell!  And I especially love discovering that an illustrator saw the characters in my poem in a completely different way than I had envisioned.

For more poetic discoveries, head over to Poetry for Children where Sylvia has all of this week’s Poetry Friday posts.