Acorn

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Candy for squirrels
oddly shaped rock
hope in a shell
tree in a century

the cap is a whistle
if you know how to do it

the bottom is a pinprick
when grasped too hard

together in great numbers
they’re natural ball bearings

Alone
just a seed
in need
of soil and sun

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RedCrest Blackbird

A stiff tail of inky black feathers keeps this chicken-sized woodpecker upright on the ancient stump. Powerful jerks of its red-crested head send old bark pieces sailing down to earth, fifty feet below. Its pecking is slow and methodical. Its toes are reptile’s toes, clenched like a lizard on peeling bark. Its wings are jet black lined with cotton white. Its wingflaps are sudden and decisive, either extended in stroke or retracted mid flight. For such a large bird, its landings are elegant and graceful. A grown Pileated never misses its mark.

White fuzzy beard under its chin as this male looks over my head, aware of my presence, contemplating flight to greener pastures. He launches himself and glides with the slow heft of America’s largest surviving woodpecker. He flies into the gold morning sky, through single digit air with snow sparkles twinkling in it like magic, and alights on a willow a hundred feet away, only a silhouette.

Pileated

 

Write it Out

When the clouds have gathered and the sun won’t shine
and the power’s gone
and thunder is rumbling
grab a pen
and write it out.

When everything sparkles with new fallen snow
a million diamonds
cleaner than stardust
grab a keyboard
and write it out.

When seagulls take off
with your hat
and your lunch
and your sandals
and your notepad
reconsider feeding the seagulls
grab some driftwood
and write it out.

When you have no pen
or paper
or keyboard
or sand and driftwood
go shopping
then write it out.

The Last Straw

There wasn’t anything special about it in particular. It was like many others of its kind, having a cylindrical shape with an accordion bend about four fifths of the way up its torso. This straw had green stripes longways down its pearly white sides. (Many of its kin had red.)

Yup. This was the last straw. I saw it only briefly, in somebody else’s fingers, surely destined for a long and illustrious career carrying liquid contents from cup to pleased consumer.

Alas, it was the last straw.

Write Short and Sweet

Having trouble getting back to writing? Maybe you’re just not sure where to start, or writing a novel seems way too big a project to take on. Life is hectic, no doubt about it. If you’re worried about your word count, try making writing easier for yourself. Writing short and sweet is both easier than writing long (and sour?) and it’s good practice for getting your idea and message across in a short amount of time and space.

Have a novel to write? Try starting with 500 words. Have a message to get out there? Maybe try 200. Have a seemingly unbeatable word count to tackle? Every finished manuscript begins with a few keystrokes.

Write short, write sweet, have fun! Your unique perspective deserves to be heard. And let yourself go when the words are flowing out. Many writers make their craft harder for themselves than it needs to be, but at its core, writing is as easy as a kid drawing on the sidewalk, as simple as yesterday. Yes, it can take thought and effort and nose-to-the-grindstone work… but not today.

Just type the keys and let memory and imagination flow.

2 Amazing Free Film School Resources to Check Out Today

“Free” and “film school” in the same sentence is pretty unusual. What I’m talking about are the abundant online resources for budding and veteran filmmakers alike. After a semester in graduate film school (which was not free) I can vouch for the accuracy and educational value of these particular resources, which I’ve been excited to find only recently after many hours spent watching various educational Youtube videos.

1. Filmmaker IQ

This site offers the behind-the-scenes technical details of the inner workings of filmmaking, not just how sets are run but how cameras work and why filmmaking happens like it does. Awesome!

2. No Film School

Yeah, it says “no film school” but this is film school online. I’ve only started browsing here, but their slating video succinctly covers everything about slating that I learned in film school in only a few minutes. I don’t even want to think about how much longer it takes to learn in a classroom setting.

Whether you’re taking the Expensive Film School route or Free, these are super resources for anyone interested in making movies.