musings, life lessons & poetry from Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Tag: books

Poetry Challenge Day 12: “Not Too Late”

No poem yesterday. In an attempt to slay my own perfectionistic tendencies, I’ve decided to relax my goal of doing a poem a day, if a particular day doesn’t work out. To be honest, my drive to be accountable makes me cringe and feel anxious at the idea of NOT achieving the goal I publicly committed to, and yet when I finally let myself off the hook, I was able to relax. So this is progress for me! I still want to try to write a poem a day this month, but if it doesn’t work out, I’m not going to beat myself up.

That said, today’s poem is actually one I wrote in the poetry challenge of 2018. It has recently been popping its head up and I’ve had a few people express interest in hearing it. So I will post it here– it’s a message that I myself need to be reminded of again and again. I hope it may be helpful to others too.

Not Too Late

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Poetry Challenge – Day 6

 Welcome to Day 6 of my 30-Day Poetry Challenge!

  • I’m writing and posting a new poem every day through the month of April (yikes!), for better or worse.
  • AND, as a gift, I’m giving away a copy of my poetry book EVERY DAY this month. FREE!
  • Sign up to WIN a copy of (After) Confession by just leaving a comment beneath the poem of the day.
  • I will pick a winner every day in April! So comment every day for a new chance to win.

OR, you can purchase your own copy of (After) Confession for the new low price of $9.00 USD, shipping and handling included! Click here to read sample poems and purchase a copy.

Congratulations, Mary Lee, for winning a free copy of my poetry book! (I do a raffle from those who commented on yesterday’s post.) Mary, please email me your address so I can send your prize:  (or I can just hand-deliver it to you!).

Now onto today’s poem. Don’t forget to comment, and check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!

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Today’s prompt: write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. That could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two. (Note: my line breaks will probably only be evident on a computer screen.)

Books, A Curiosity Continue reading

Living Inside Books

Girls playing Betsy-Tacy

This past weekend I got to experience another world– somewhat like living inside a book, immersed with other folks in the imagination of a writer… the people, places and events she created.  It wasn’t a re-enactment, but we were in a little sensory time-warp bubble.  The author was Maud Hart Lovelace, the books were the Betsy-Tacy series, and the world was “Deep Valley” (as she dubbed Mankato, Minnesota in her books) and the years were 1892 – 1917.  I was in Mankato for the Betsy-Tacy Convention.

Betsy and Tacy in the piano box

Maud wrote about her childhood and early adulthood growing up in Mankato in these books– they are based on her life, but she maintained they were ficitonalized.  She changed names and locations and situations; she created stories based on some reality; she embellished.  When I was a kid eating up these books like candy, I wished they were real.  I looked up “Deep Valley” on the Minnesota map and could never find it, so I assumed they were totally fictional.  It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood that I discovered the reality part of the fiction.

These were books I re-read many times over the years.  I loved the world Maud created, and these characters felt like my friends (yes, I did have real friends, too!).  I identified with Betsy, who knew from a young age she wanted to be a writer.  But until the mid-90s, “I thought I was the only one” (a catch-phrase of Betsy-Tacy fans).  For brevity, I’ll keep it short… but I discovered an email listserv of Betsy-Tacy fans, two societies working to promote the books, and I have been a part of all of these groups for 17 years now.

Going to Mankato this weekend for another B-T Convention (we’ve had them every few years) is as much about seeing the many people I’ve come to know and love online, and in the societies, as it is about seeing the actual historical sites.  We have become a close-knit community, and that made the convention extra special.





But there are also the actual houses of the real Betsy/Maud and Tacy/Bick that have been bought and restored, and many historical places to visit in the town.  Living inside the Betsy-Tacy books this weekend also meant:  listening to speakers, some of whom corresponded with Maud, a young adult author panel, a costume parade, a legacy panel of descendants of the series’ characters, a sing-along, touring Minneapolis since one of the books takes place here, a trivia contest, socializing and drinking, and much more.

I feel really, really lucky to have come across this community of fans– it’s brought me friendship and fun, shared experiences and many great book recommendations.  People sometimes look at me strange when I talk about these books, the people I meet because of them, and how excited I get about all of this.  But I feel grateful to be able to live inside these books, and have a weekend like this one where it all becomes even more real.  After all, I can whisper to my childhood self, “guess what?  You’re not the only one!”  🙂


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