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.

34 thoughts on “Where’s My Sandy Beach?

  1. jan annino

    Applause for this publication!

    The under the sea feeling comes thru swimmingly & it’s so cool to hear the poem origins from that sparked workshop.
    I agree about the inventiveness that flows from an artist’s vivid imagination running away with a writer’s words. I think the result is rockin’.
    So glad to know about this.

    Reply
  2. Carol Varsalona

    Buffy,

    Since I am a beach goer and lover of the ocean beaches, your poem strikes a chord. It is simple, delightful, yet full of meaning- a perfect addition to Ladybug Magazine. Congratulations! The illustrator has captured the essence of your work in an exquisite rendering. I think the published piece is quite the accomplishment.

    The first picture of your vacation with the breath-taking views looks like a summer serenity spot to me. Would you consider writing about it for the Summer Serenity Gallery that I will unveil later in August?
    Link at: http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2014/07/exploring-summertime-serenity.html

    Reply
  3. Heidi Mordhorst

    “No death! No gore!” here either, and although I resist the impossibly sweet, this little gem is irresistible. Congratulations, and thank you for my SPS envelope which arrived today as delicately pressed and yellowcreamblue as I think you hoped. Wonderful images, and not schmaltzy, since we don’t usually have our focus on the flower girls for long.

    Reply
  4. Keri Collins Lewis

    Congrats on your work being published with such a fabulous illustration. Does it feel like you’ve been given a magical gift? This is one I’d want in poster size to hang on a wall were I you!!

    Reply
  5. Tabatha

    Thanks for taking us through the process of creating and revising this wonderful poem! Interesting how the artwork took a different turn from what you imagined. She used a gorgeous palette.

    Reply
  6. Bridget Magee

    Congratulations, Buffy, beautiful poem AND illustrations! (I wrote about a whale for that exercise). Your vacation pictures make me long for the beach – especially the water bicycles. Thanks for sharing. = )

    Reply
  7. Jan Annino

    Buffy Silverman,
    Heart melt for your, “If You Were A Shell” & for Irene Luxbacher’s hypnotic artwork.
    She is new to me so I appreciate knowing about & will look for more of her exquisite pieces.
    Am loving the placement of the baby within the cozy spiral shell.
    It makes me think how each snail in its own shell is safely held.
    The lyrics
    “I’d soothe you with water
    And smoothe you with sand.”
    are especially evocative of how the gentle side of nature, nurtures.
    Brava! on publication & on trusting seasoned editorial instinct, too.

    Jan/Bookseedstudio

    Reply
  8. Victoria Warneck

    What a little gem of a poem! I can’t wait for this issue of Ladybug to show up in my mailbox (so that I can gather my seashell into my lap to read this to her).

    Reply
  9. Monica

    I always miss the shells when I’m at the lake, too. Your mask poem is wonderful, Buffy. “You’d sparkle and glow, a gem in my hands” – my fav lines. Maybe they inspired the jewel tones Irene chose for her illustrations. So beautiful.

    Reply

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