April is National Poetry Writing Month!

There are so many writing challenges out there. But if you feel you need a motivating force to begin, continue or improve your poetry writing (regardless of your style), then this challenge may be for you.

April is NaPoWriMo – National Poetry Writing Month!

To participate in NaPoWriMo 2014 your challenge is to write a poem each day this month – 30 poems in 30 days.

Unfolding in the tradition of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, held in November), NaPoWriMo founder Maureen Thorson will post daily prompts on the NaPoWriMo site to inspire your creative juices, and give you a kick start each morning.

The Daily Post (WordPress.com) will also post prompts.

For more information on NaPoWriMo, please click on:


And if you are interested in improving in the art and craft of blogging, you might wish to sign up to The Daily Post at https://dailypost.wordpress.com  to receive their regular newsletters. I find their tips inspiring and helpful.

Children’s poetry competitions

If you a children’s poet/writer you might be interested in these competitions.

This site that I am directing you is not yet officially launched (but soon will be) but as two of the competition deadlines fall on Friday 28 February 2014, thought I’d let you know about them  ie.  if you don’t know already.

Information at: http://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/competitions/

Although the site is titled: Australian Children’s poetry, most of the competitions are open to anyone ie. no matter where you live.

Have fun!


P.S. Yes, I am still here – just been a wee busy.

Setting Off

Well, it is holiday time again. In Australia, it does get a little confusing as each State/Territory has slightly different school terms. Also Private schools and colleges tend to have different term dates to that of State schools. Regardless, many people are taking advantage of the snow in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, while others are heading to northern parts of Australia for the warmer weather. July and August are also peak travel times due to Summer holiday time in other parts of the world.

So I thought a poem I wrote many moons ago would be apt for this time of year.

(First published in New Visions: A collection of 800 Australian Poems Published by Writers World Poetry Anthology 1993. The following has been edited since its first publication.)

Well it is holiday time again
We’d been planning where to go
But couldn’t make up our minds
To go to the sun or the snow

Then travelling in the country
Seemed like the way to go
We’d pack up the car and leave
Maybe with a caravan in tow

We’d leave early for the highway
And camp along the way
End up somewhere along the Murray
Do some fishing in the day

Somehow the time just flew
Leaving little time to pack
As usual, the kids packed too much
We yelled till they put things back

‘Get in the car!’ I screamed
‘It’s time we were on our way
It’s my holiday too
I’d like to leave today.’

Now with all the yelling
I got in a bit of a state
Hastily in reverse I went
And smashed into the wrought iron gate

I sat there in a daze
How much more could I endure?
I soon found out just how much
For the car I forgot to insure!

Copyright Helen Ross 1993.

The End

CAR cartoon accident

If you are currently on holidays – Happy holidays and stay safe!

And to celebrate ‘Christmas In July’ please join in the festivities with Donna Smith and myself – coauthors of ‘A Christmas Tail‘, which has just been released on iTunes as an ebook.
More information here.

Psst! Donna and I wish you a very mousey ‘Christmas in July.’

Creativity takes courage

Creativity takes courage – Henri Matisse

Yes, it does take courage

It takes courage to start

It takes courage to take your own path of creativity

It takes courage to not give up

It takes courage to believe in yourself

It takes courage to be yourself, especially when others are ready to criticise or give their opinions, even if you didn’t ask for them

It takes courage to be strong (without being aggressive and trying to convince others)

It takes courage to accept that the going may not always be easy

It takes courage to learn from your mistakes

It takes courage to accept what may not be working creatively, and try other methods. It doesn’t mean you have ‘failed’. You may need to study more, or look outside the square.

It takes courage to stand out

It takes courage to take flight – creatively and with adventure

It takes courage to take the road less travelled

It takes courage to continue when you still have a lot of learning and living to do. Or when dealing with sorrow. Or hardship.

It takes courage to get up and start anew

It takes courage to blog, paint, draw, write, photograph, dance, act, sing, sculpt, carve, weave, sew, knit and create whatever brings you joy – especially if those around you question or don’t understand your passion

Not everyone understands that you can’t always turn creativity off, like a tap. It sometimes continues to drip or pours out unexpectedly with fervor

It takes courage to not let fear take control. Yes, we can feel inadequate, or frustrated that we cannot create what is in our head and heart. Or we doubt ourselves

It takes courage to not give up after feeling discouraged

It takes courage to experiment with your creative style

It takes courage to be excited when others may not feel your passion or achievement

It takes courage to be adventurous

It takes courage to not let others rule your life, or creative time

It takes courage to not be a prisoner of creative style, expectations or reputation ‘An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc.’ – another quote from Henri Matisse

It takes courage to try

It takes courage to be you

It takes courage to be different – an individual (without purposely trying to hurt anyone)

So go forth. Be courageous. Be strong. Be YOU!.

LIVE. LOVE. ENJOY. And BE. These are what fuels your creativity and creations.

And please feel free to add to these.


creativity never sleeps

A giggle poem – ‘Shopping’

Today I am feeling a little overwhelmed with everything I am trying to get done. What’s new! So what do I do?

Instead of knuckling down, karate chopping items from my ‘TO DO’ list, I have just rifled wasted time through my computer files to download a giggle poem from my children’s poetry book, Bubble Gum Trouble and Other Giggle Poems. Of course that is what I should be doing.

Anyway, here it is. It is a little bit how I feel today. Hopefully it will make you smile. Also the cute picture is by the talented Dee Texidor.

Shopping poem from Bubble Gum Trouble

Well, I’d better get back to that ‘TO DO’ list.

A Summer Renga – completed

In February this year I posted that I joined eight poets at Karawatha State Forest (Brisbane) for a summer ginko (haiku walk) with the talented poet Graham Nunn.

Then from that time till mid April we worked on a renga (collaborative poem) using the following form: [SU = summer; A = autumn; W = winter; SP = spring; Misc. = non-seasonal references -- usually about people or feelings or places; Love]

It was a great experience working with these talented poets with a diversity of voices. It certainly unearthed me from my comfort zone of writing humorous poetry for children. It helped stretch me as a poet of haiku (I’m still very much a novice) and Graham’s advice was always invaluable. I learnt so much from this experience.

Now it has been completed, Graham has posted the links to each quarter of the renga on his blog, Another Lost Shark. Incase you haven’t checked out the completed renga, just follow the direct links below:

So drum roll please

Snake Renga – written by/between: David Stavanger, Andy Smerdon, Cindy Keong, Katherine Battersby, Graham Nunn, Chris Lynch, Trish Reid, John Wainwright, Helen Ross (me) and Andrew Phillips

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4

As I was in Japan at the time that we were working on the final quarter, you will notice my Japanese inspired contribution (couldn’t help but be inspired by the beautiful cherry blossoms).

I think the renga has shaped up beautifully. And though I was always nervous when it was my turn to contribute, I still enjoyed the whole experience.

So thanks Graham, David, Andy, Cindy, Katherine, Chris, Trish, John and Andrew. You are all so inspirational.


April Fool poem

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter.

Well, it is the start of a new month. But beware of the jokers as today is April Fool’s Day.

April Fool's Day

So thought I’d post my April Fool poem from my giggle poetry book, Bubble Gum Trouble And Other Giggle Poems.


You’ve dropped your head
You’ve dropped a tool
Look behind you
April Fool

What’s on your back?
Watch the stool!
Look you’re falling
April Fool

You’ve won a prize
It’s a swimming pool
You lucky thing
April Fool

No running outside
It’s the school’s new rule
Go to the Principal
April Fool

Have you been outside?
In your yard there’s a mule
Eating your flowers
April Fool

I love your sunglasses
You look so cool
You’re wanted for a movie
April Fool

xHave a great day, and a wonderful month.

Bubble Gum Trouble And Other Giggle Poems - published 2009 by Little Steps publishing (Division of New Frontier. Illustrations by Dee Texidor.


Edgar Allan Poe App

It is raining here in Brisbane (Australia) – again.

So, thought I’d do a little reading. I loooove books, especially new books – cracking open the cover is very exciting for me, especially when it is from an author I love. I can’t wait to take my new ‘babies’ home to meet their new family - ie. the other books on my bookshelf. I can feel their excitement as they (yes, I normally buy more than one at a time) jump up and down in my bag – Yay! we have a home.

As such I have been a little reticent about buying Book Apps but thought it time to delve into this ‘new’ (well, new for me) world.

So this week I downloaded six children’s Book/Apps: two were free.

Well, I am excited. I will tell you more about two of the other Books/Apps in a forthcoming post – because I think they are great.

But the one that excited me today were stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Author Karen Robertson actually recommended this one in one of her posts, so thought I’d check it out.

I just loved it. The iPoe Collection includes four interactive and illustrated stories, plus a biography and sketch book. The music is very apt, and has some wonderful moments.

I downloaded this App for free – Free today in the App Store.


Edgar Allan Poe A New way of reading

This is a great book/App to read snuggled up in bed at night, with just a night lamp on – would really help set the mood.

So if you love creepy stories and Book Apps, go check it out. Even just for the eyeball in The Tell-Tale Heart.

A Summer renga

If you love haiku, hope you’ve had a chance to check out the links to the haiku written by the nine poets who recently gathered at Karawatha State Forest. David Stavenger’s haiku, ‘snake weather’, was voted the most resonant poem by the group on the day.

Since this fabulous summer ginko (haiku walk) the poets have  been working on a renga (collaborative poem) using the following form: [SU = summer; A = autumn; W = winter; SP = spring; Misc. = non-seasonal references -- usually about people or feelings or places; Love]

Drum roll please…

Starting off with David’s haiku, here is the first quarter written by/between: David Stavanger, Andy Smerdon, Cindy Keong, Katherine Battersby, Chris Lynch, Trish Reid, John Wainwright, Helen Ross (me) and Andrew Phillips

Snake Weather, a Summer renga: Link at:


I think it has shaped up beautifully.

More haiku from Summer ginko

Here are some more poems from February’s Summer ginko – haiku walk – in Karawatha State Forest. The backdrop of the forest provided an inspirational few hours of haiku hosted by poet, Graham Nunn.

Please check out the wonderful haiku from poets Trish Reid, Katherine Battersby, Andrew Phillips, John Wainwright, Cindy Keong, David Stavanger, Andy Smerdon, Chris Lynch and moi.

Link at: http://www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com/
Photography courtesy of Andrew Phillips

And if you missed the first selection of our Summer ginko haiku, please click the following link for Graham’s web/blog:
Photography courtesy of Cindy Keong.