Poem Speaks Out Against Trump

Abbie-1

I usually don’t get political here, but when someone in my Third Thursday Poets group suggested we each write a poem about the meaning of January 20th for critique at our last session, I couldn’t resist. Click on the title below to hear me read what I wrote. You’re welcome to comment, whether you agree or not, but if you don’t like what you read or hear, I hope we can simply agree to disagree.

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INAUGURATION DAY

 

 

Today, our country turns over a new leaf.

A different leader takes the Oath of Office.

A billionaire, racist, bigot

with no grasp of foreign policy,

little respect for women or minorities

or concern for impoverished Americans,

the economy, environment,

he won the Presidency, not by popular vote

in an election possibly rigged by Russians.

What will become of America?

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

 

News from Abbie’s Corner December 2016

Abbie-1

As you read this, I’m flying the so-called friendly skies to Florida where I’ll spend about a week with my brother and his family before returning on January 9th. December was a busy month, as you would expect for a holiday season.

The whirlwind actually started the night after Thanksgiving when Just Harmony, my singing group, was one of many entertainers during the Christmas stroll in downtown Sheridan. We sang at a thrift store run by the local senior center called The Green Boomerang.

A week later on December 3rd, we performed for a Christmas open house at the Trail End Museum here in Sheridan. After that, our appearances came in quick succession: a memory service at Champion’s Funeral Home, an AARP Christmas party at a local senior apartment complex, a Big Horn Women’s Club Christmas party, and a Sunday morning service at Prairie Dog Community Church. We also sang at Green House and Sugarland Ridge.

I did some performing of my own with my guitar. The Monday after Thanksgiving, I did a poetry reading and sang for a cider social at Sugarland Ridge. The Tuesday after that, I sang for the monthly birthday party at Westview. The following week, I performed at Sheridan Manor, the week after that at Green House, and on the 22nd at the senior center’s adult day care facility.

On the 21st, I planned to participate in an open mic program at the senior center, but I was the only one signed up, so I played my guitar and sang for about half an hour while people played cards and chatted. The activities director asked me to come back any time.

I also went to a couple of Christmas parties. December 8th was our Friendship Club Christmas party at Ole’s Pizza and Spaghetti House. We ordered lunch off the menu, exchanged ornaments, and played Christmas bingo. On the 10th, Range Writers had its Christmas party at The Country Kitchen. Again, we ordered off the menu, and we exchanged gifts and each read something to the group.

Here in Sheridan, we definitely had a white Christmas. We already had quite a bit of snow on the ground. When I got up about eight o’clock Christmas morning, it was cloudy, but contrary to the weather prediction, it didn’t look like we’d received any new snow overnight. By eleven o’clock however, as I was waiting inside the kitchen door for the para-transit bus that would take me to the senior center for Christmas dinner, it was coming down. Actually, I think it was blowing more than it was snowing.

Despite the inclement weather, the senior center’s dining room was crowded. The delicious meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, asparagus, fruit, and custard was paid for by a local philanthropist. Someone played Christmas songs on the piano while everyone ate. I ended up eating and visiting with people I knew.

Afterward, as the bus made its way through the storm, windshield wipers at full speed, I wondered if it would have been safer to eat Christmas dinner at home alone. I had a mini beef pot roast from Schwann I could have cooked in the microwave along with some frozen mashed potatoes and green beans, but although it would have tasted good, it wouldn’t have been the same. Once I arrived home safely, I was glad I went.

Aside from my trip to Florida and my usual appearance at Westview’s monthly birthday party, I have no other plans for January. Just Harmony will start practicing music for programs in the winter and spring months. I have a completed full-length poetry manuscript I recently submitted to the National Federation of State Poetry Society’s Stevens Manuscript Competition, and I may send it out to other publishers and then resume work on the short story collection I started last summer, Welcome to Wyoming.

Here’s a song we associate with the coming of a new year. I wish you all a great 2017 and will have more news in February.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

A Poem Rings True

Abbie-1

I wrote the following last night in light of events during the past week. It was inspired by the song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Click on the title to hear me read it.

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NOTHING RINGING

 

I heard no bells on Christmas Day,

no familiar carol,

no song of peace on Earth,

only bad news:

 

war raging in the Middle East,

a sea plane crash in Russia,

a friend’s canine companion passing,

another friend’s mother diagnosed with breast cancer,

a third’s mother hospitalized with dehydration,

actress Carrie Fisher dead from a heart attack.

 

There may be no peace on earth,

no good will to men,

but hope still lives.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

News from Abbie’s Corner November 2016

Abbie-1

Wow, can you believe it? Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? Well, October was a pretty busy month.

On the 8th, I participated in a national event for independent authors at the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library. Many libraries across the country hosted this program which was open to the public. After a light lunch of sandwiches, vegetables with dip, and soft drinks, we watched a digital presentation featuring leaders in the publishing industry giving advice to authors wanting to self-publish. After that, several authors, myself included, participated in a panel discussion where we shared our experiences. We then sat at a table and tried to sell books for about half an hour. Although I didn’t make any sales that day, I enjoyed networking with other writers.

On October 20th, my Third Thursday Poets gave a reading at the Sheridan Senior Center. We do this twice a year, once in October and once in April, to commemorate National Poetry Day and Month respectively. October’s National Poetry Day is actually on the 15th, the same as White Cane Safety Day. You can read more about that here, but I digress.

At our reading, several poets, myself included, shared work. Some read poems by other authors. I performed a poem I featured in an earlier blog post, much to everyone’s delight. The poem involved stomping my feet, and afterward, someone complimented me on its percussiveness.

You’ve probably heard the song “Sing for Your Supper.” Well, I played my guitar and sang for the monthly birthday party at Westview on the 25th and got free cake. On the 23rd, I played the piano and sang at a friend’s party in the dining room of a senior apartment complex and got a free meal, a potluck affair to which I contributed homemade pasta salad, so it wasn’t exactly free. I also performed at Green House on the 4th and Day Break on the 28th but no free food there. This month, I’ll be at Sugarland Ridge and Westview. My appearance at Sugarland Ridge will feature a reading as well as music.

This past month, I had a rare opportunity to hear the Glenn Miller Orchestra live in concert, here in Sheridan, Wyoming, of all places. Although their music was way before my time, my father loved jazz, and hearing the big band brought back pleasant memories of the two of us enjoying this music together when he was alive. I also reflected on the lives of my late parents and husband growing up during World War II with songs like “White Cliffs of Dover” and “American Patrol.” This inspired an earlier blog post.

Well, that’s the news for now. I wish I could come up with something witty like what Garrison Keillor says at the end of his Lake Woebegone monologues, but oh well… Such is life. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and will be back in December with more news.

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 Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

News from Abbie’s Corner October 2016

Abbie-1

As I write this, it’s a beautiful Indian summer day in late September. The sun shines in a cloudless sky. Through my open front door, as I sprawl in my easy chair with my feet up, I hear the occasional car going by, dog barking, and a neighbor’s weed eater. Guitar music flows from my device’s speaker, courtesy of the public radio station in Billings, Montana, about 150 miles north of my home town of Sheridan, Wyoming. It’s 77 degrees, and the only thing that keeps me from writing outdoors is my tablet’s low battery.

By the way, I’m working with a new device, a BrailleNote Touch from Humanware. This is the world’s first Google-certified Braille tablet. I like this a lot better than my iPad. I don’t have to swipe, flick, double tap, or triple click. Although using the touch screen is an option, most functions can be performed with the Braille keyboard and thumb keys.

The down side is that it’s running an older version of Android, but most apps I’ve tried work pretty well, and the word processor is a lot better than other Braille note takers I’ve used. After I finish writing and proofreading this, I’ll upload it to Dropbox so I can access it on my computer, add finishing touches, and schedule it for posting. It’s nice not to be tied to my PC all the time.

Believe it or not, I’ve also been doing other things this month. On September 10th, Range Writers was pleased to have as a guest state poet laureate Eugene Gagliano. He did a wonderful presentation on character development and other aspects of writing. September 10th would have been our 11th wedding anniversary so I thought it only fitting that former poet laureate and dear friend Rose Hill read a poem she wrote for our wedding in memory of my late husband.

On September 17th, I attended a writing workshop in Buffalo, about 30 miles south of here. It was conducted by Lori Howe, University of Wyoming instructor and state humanities council road scholar. She gave us prompts and plenty of time to write and share our work. A poem I wrote during this time was posted here earlier.

On September 29th, I returned to Buffalo for a reception for Eugene Gagliano. Again, he did a great presentation where he talked about his life, read some of his work, and demonstrated some activities he does with children in the classroom. I had a great time.

Of course I’ve been busy singing as well. My group, Just Harmony, is working on Christmas music and already has several performances scheduled in December. On the 9th, I performed at Sugarland Ridge for a fall social. On the 27th, I sang at Westview for their monthly birthday party. I’ll be at Green House on October 4th and at Westview on the 25th. Sugarland Ridge has invited me back in November to do a reading and music in an attempt to promote my new book.

Speaking of which, I did a signing this month at Sheridan Stationery on the 24th and sold books in the lobby of the Sheridan Senior Center on the 27th. On October 8th, I’ll be part of a National Indie Author Day presentation at the library. I still have plenty of copies of My Ideal Partner to sell, and it’s also available online through Createspace, Amazon, Smashwords, and other sources.

Well, that’s all the news I have for now. Happy fall, everyone. I’ll be back next month with more news.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

News from Abbie’s Corner August 2016

Can you believe that August is already here? Summer’s almost over, but you wouldn’t know it with the heat wave that has been ravaging the country. I recently read on a blog post a poem about dreaming of a blizzard on a hot summer day. Isn’t it funny how we long for snowstorms when it’s hot but wish summer would come when we’re slip-sliding down icy sidewalks and landing on our back sides?

In July, my brother, Andy, and his wife, Christina, from Florida came for a visit. They flew into Denver on the 12th and spent a couple of days with relatives before renting a car and driving to Sheridan to stay with me for a few days. They arrived here on the 14th, just in time for our annual national rodeo. On the morning of the 15th, we went to the rodeo parade. I hadn’t been in years, and it was so much fun. Andy sat next to me and read me the signs on the floats and described them to me while Christina snapped pictures of them with her cell phone. She’d never been to a rodeo parade and found it fascinating.

Afterward, we had lunch at Frackleton’s downtown and then wandered across the street to the Wyo Theater where a piano was set out for anyone to play. I played and sang a few songs, much to the delight of passers-by. Here’s a video snapshot Christina took while I was doing this.

Andy’s class reunion was that weekend. When they weren’t involved with those activities, we went out to eat, explored our old neighborhood, got ice cream in the park, and visited with friends. Andy and Christina fixed my treadmill, disposed of a wasp nest under my old picnic table, and helped me pick out a new one at Home Depot. We also had dinner with my uncle and aunt who live out south of town. The following Tuesday, they drove to Yellowstone Park where they spent a few days camping and hiking before driving back to Colorado, spending time with friends, and flying back to Florida on the 25th. I had a great time with them, and I hope they’ll come back next year.

On July 8th, I played my guitar and sang at Sugarland Ridge. With the Fourth of July holiday a few days earlier and the upcoming rodeo, I performed a mix of patriotic and country and western tunes, much to everyone’s delight. I did the same program at Westview on the 26th, and those residents also enjoyed it.

On the 20th, fellow poet Christine Valentine and I were featured as part of the weekly Vaudeville program at the Wyo Theater where we performed the same poem we did in June during the Wyoming Writers’ conference. The poem, which Christine wrote, is called “Driven Insane by Mitzi Gaynor” and talks about songs that get stuck in your head. The songs mentioned here were “101 Pounds of Fun” from South Pacific and “Go Home with Bonnie Jean” from Brigadoon. Christine read the poem, and we sang the songs together when she got to them. It was a lot of fun, and the audience loved it.

Now, I’ve saved the best news for last. Those of you who follow my blog already know this, but it’s definitely worth repeating as part of my shameless self-promotion. My new memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, is now available for purchase from Createspace, Amazon, and Smashwords. It will eventually be distributed to Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and other sources. For those of you like me with print impairments, if you purchase the book from Smashwords, you’ll be able to download it in various formats that can be read on a computer or device such as a Victor Reader Stream. I also plan to submit it to Bookshare and record myself reading it and make that available as a free download from my Website. For more information and to order, visit the book’s page on my Website. Happy reading, and stay cool.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds