I’m on a quest to intentionally incorporate one simple act of kindness into each day for one year. My hope that kindness can change the world feels a little like throwing a glass ball into the ocean and believing it won’t break.
You can call this series: 365 Reasons to Roll Your Eyes, but science says your own happiness will increase if you share the journey.
That feeling you get when you walk into a home and smell fresh bread baking. The sense of welcome, of being in the company of people who generously share what they love, what you love, in an artisanal, intentional way.
That’s what it feels like to me every time I see my work published. Of course it’s nice because then I know my words will find an audience larger than my writing group. But it’s more than that. It’s the overflow of gratitude I feel toward the editors for all the work that goes into getting any creative endeavor out into the world.
Today feels especially good because I have the honor of finding my poem, “Mother” , as Poem of the Day on one of my favorite literary websites, SWWIM Every Day.
You might enjoy the entire poem if you’ve ever looked longingly at a giant book of words hoping to pluck the perfect ones to speak well with someone you love. While poems are supposed to be like a family’s children, no clear favorites allowed, “Mother” holds a soft spot in my heart, as does SWWIM with its mission statement:
SWWIM publishes, celebrates & promotes women, women-identifying & femme-presenting writers through a Miama-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.
That’s right. Every. Single. Day. Two super human editors – Jen Karetnick & Catherine Esposito Prescott – put out for all the world to see, one gorgeous poem. You can subscribe and have one poem delivered to your inbox every day and become an Instagram follower to find one fine poem in your feed every day.
I reached out to Jen and Catherine, first to thank them for keeping literature piping hot and always fresh. Then, as if it wasn’t enough to give my poetry an audience, I asked more of them. Questions. They kindly pulled back the curtain so we might glimpse an insight into what fuels their creativity.
How long have you been publishing a daily poem?
We began publishing on October 1, 2017.
Have you ever missed a day?
Yes! But only intentionally. We take periodic breaks around summer and the winter holidays. This year, we plan to take a publishing sabbatical from July-August. Generally, our publishing breaks coincide with our children’s school vacations.
Do you have a staff of thousands, or are you two exceedingly gifted at nonstop working?
Hahaha. It’s the two of us…juggling jobs, families, our writing, etc. You know what they say about busy people? We are her kind. Or just workaholics. Whatever fits the narrative.
Do you want to share who you’re reading now, which art you’re immersed in, or what music is on repeat that inspires you?
Catherine Esposito Prescott says: I’m re-reading the Bhagavad Gītā at the moment and re-engaging with the work of mystical poets and the Transcendentalists as well as Whitman, a bit of Dickinson, and TS Eliot. I recently completed a 200-hour Jivamukti yoga teacher training course, so the music on repeat (in my mind and in my home) is kirtan…lots of mantra chanting.
Jen Karetnick says: I’m reading a ton of journals and lit mags—both print and online. My house is on the market, so I have to donate everything afterward to Goodwill or libraries. As we’re going through our mail in prep for an eventual move, we’ve discovered I have upwards of 20 subscriptions. Some of them I’ve been subscribed to twice, under two different spellings of names (I’m looking at you, Poets & Writers).
So there’s the secret sauce. Just keep doing what you love and take time to refill your spirit with inspiration.
What is it you do every single day? Some people publish poetry. Others try to find one simple way to spread kindness. Some write. Some paint. Some sing or drum or work at feeding themselves and their families by picking the grapes that dry into raisins that sweeten my bread. Some get out of bed and that’s enough.
If you have a tiny bit of extra energy, take time to reach out and say hey to someone you admire. Tell them they’re a rock star in your eyes. Then carry on being you.