Last Thursday I challenged you to share something good about yourself. It was wonderfully inspiring to see people respond to the challenge. I encourage you do it again this week, tell me something good about yourself, or if you still find that too difficult, how about this, tell me something good about a friend of yours. Pick  just one  friend and tell me all the wonderful things you love about that friend. We can do another friend next week.

I want to tell you about my friend Laura Salas. If you don’t know Laura’s books or poetry, you should. Her website is full of kinds of all fun stuff as is her blog. I met Laura years ago in an online critique group and while we have only had the pleasure of being in person together twice (once at the Chautauqua conference and once at KidLit con) we have maintained our friendship via emails and Skype calls. She’s an awesome cheerleader to have on your team and terrific critiquer as well. If you already know Laura, you know of her generous heart and unending support of poetry. She wants poetry to be easy and accessible for everyone and she works hard to make that happen. For the past, shoot, four or five years (Laura, help me remember here) she has done a Thursday poetry exercise called Poems of 15 Words or Less. Every Thursday she posts a photograph and invites people to share their poetic responses in the comments. The only catch is that it has to be 15 words or less.

I can’t believe how long she has been doing this and that every single Thursday, she comes up with something to say about the photo she posts. I have participated on and off but I confess, sometimes the pictures don’t inspire me and I just have to let it go. But for a while there I was doing the 15 Words or Less on a pretty regular basis. I saved the photos to my computer, along with my poems, knowing I didn’t want to lose my words but I didn’t know what else I might do with them.

Then I started art journaling and I knew that my collection of 15 Words or less poems would be perfect in an art journal. I had so much fun creating art pages and then adding Laura’s photos and my words. I ended up with a lovely fat book that still surprises me when I turn the pages.

But the story doesn’t end there. As some of you who follow me on Facebook might know, last night I participated in my first art show. One of the pieces on display was my Laura Salas inspired Art Journal! I can’t even put into words the thrill of standing at one end of the gallery and peeking down toward the other end and watching complete strangers flipping the pages, nodding their head at something they read.

Thank you, Laura, for the idea of 15 Words or Less inspiration, for the dedication to keeping it going, week after week after week (even when life is trying its best to beat you up) and for being the wonderfully supportive friend that you are.

I had eight other pieces in the show as well, from a series called “Notes From a Life”. I’ve included a few pages from the art journal and the individual pieces in the photos below. And it looks like I may have already sold my first piece.

Click on any photo to see it larger.

Your turn, tell me something wonderful about a friend of yours.

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