Voices Gone Silent: A Reminder Before You Die

Death, From Behind the Pen, Influence, ReflectionsIt still seems so surreal that some of the most influential voices of our time have gone silent. A week ago, the world was in total shock when the news that Prince Rogers Nelson passed away at the young age of 57. It still seems weird that singers like David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Luther Vandross, Joe Cocker, The Gibbs brothers and countless other performers, actors and family members have transitioned to another assignment, in another place.

Each time death occurs, it makes me question if I am doing all I could do to touch someone’s life in a positive way and leave an indelible mark on those around me and those I meet. But what about that person(s) you were close to whose voice has also gone silent? Could those silent voices belong to your grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, coworkers, colleagues or a neighbor? Do you have fond memories of these individuals who have passed away?

While we reflect on the awesome contributions and influence the famous and important people in our lives made on us, by helping us to be better people, let us also be proactive in paying it forward. Remember the impact of those who have left us, and let us strive to leave our positive imprint on others even more, before our voice falls silent forever. There is no time to waste!


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Posted by on April 29, 2016 in Reflections


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Did you hear about the Billion e-Book Gift from RIF and USTYME?

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) understands the power that books provide, yet for many of the children they serve, books are a luxury their families can’t afford. RIF has partnered with “ustyme” to give the gift of a billion free e-books to the communities they serve. All families across the nation can access 50 classic e-books absolutely free, without advertising or fees of any kind.

Children can read e-books of their choosing independently, with a caring adult or remotely in a live video call using the “ustyme app.” USTYME (pronounced “us” “Time”) is a free app platform that lets you read books, play games and more with friends and family. It distributes family educational and entertainment content and is the publisher of high-quality children’s books and family games. Visit for more information. It’s free to download and free to use.

This offer is available through December 31, 2016. No purchase is necessary. USTYME does not promote advertising to children of any kind. The app works for most devices, including Apple and Android devices, Chromebooks and any computer with internet access.


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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Books, Reading


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Communications: Celebrating National Telephone Day

TodaTelephone, Communications, National Telephone Dayy we observe National Telephone Day. The telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. In 1876, Scottish immigrant Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be granted a United States patent for a device that produced clearly intelligible replication of the human voice. This instrument was further developed by many others. The telephone was the first device in history that enabled people to talk directly with each other across large distances. Telephones rapidly became indispensable to businesses, government, and households.

Yet, there was great controversy about whether or not Elisha Gray, an American electrical engineer who co-founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, was the true inventor. Gray is best known for his development of a telephone prototype in 1876 in Highland Park, Illinois. Some recent authors have argued that Gray should be considered the true inventor of the telephone because Alexander Graham Bell allegedly stole the idea of the liquid transmitter from him; although Bell had been using liquid transmitters in his telephone experiments for more than two years previously. Bell’s telephone patent was held up in numerous court decisions. Of course inevitably, Gramham was granted the patent.

Today, this invention undoubtedly dominoed into the most communicable device in the history of inventions, the mobile or cellular phone. Many households and businesses still use landlines, and personally, I don’t think that is a bad thing. Landline phones have been a saving grace in many emergency situations where mobile signals are unable to reach.

So, with modern technology transcending the way we were with telephone usage 20 years ago, we have to credit the invention of the telephone as one of our most widely used and transformed devices ever! Happy National Telephone Day!


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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Communications


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Ready to Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day?

From Behind the Pen, Poetry, Poem in Your Pocket DayApril 21, 2016 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Handing out free poetry to random people in malls, coffee shops, tea houses, in hospitals, business parks, schools, worship institutions and on the streets is one surefire way to brighten someone’s day. As we celebrate our generosity in handing out poems and encouraging recipients to share their poem with someone else, we will help to spread poetry awareness in our respective areas.

Just because we have a few more days left in National Poetry Month, let’s not stop celebrating poetry. Continue sharing your love of this genre with poetry enthusiasts and those who may not otherwise be introduced to poetry. Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!

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Posted by on April 20, 2016 in Poetry


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Academy of American Poets Recommended Reads for NPM

Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month, Poetry Books

Image Credit: Academy of American Poets

As we continue to celebrate National Poetry Month (NPM), the sponsors and partners for the Academy of American Poets 2016 National Poetry Month campaign released their poetry titles of collections to add to your reading list for the month. Click here or on the image above to see more recommended reads.

Among these books are Eating Moors and Christians by Sandra M. Castillo; One Blackbird at a Time by Wendy Barker; Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein; The Woman in this Poem by Georgia Heard; Crowded By Beauty by David Schneider and Blood Memory by Colleen J. McElroy. What’s on your poetry reading list? Enjoy the rest of National Poetry Month!

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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Celebrations, Poetry


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The Star Power of Poetry

National Poetry Month, Celebs Who Love Poetry, Poetry

In this month’s issue of O Magazine, there is an article Poetry in Its Prime that celebrates National Poetry Month. There was a spotlight on actor Bill Murray talking about poetry, how he reflects on it and mentions his over 20 years of support for the New York City’s Poets House. Who would have thought this funny man had such a soft spot for poetry?

Among other celebs who also enjoy and celebrate the art form of poetry are Diane Sawyer, Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Mike Tyson, General David H. Petraeus, Kate Capshaw, Wynton Marsalis, Demi Moore, Liz Smith, Sting, Jessye Norman, Dan Rather, Matt Dillon, Ashton Kutcher, Terrell Owens and James Franco.

Poetry has inspired and has been a great influence on artists, musicians, singers, doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, teachers, clergy, culinary pros, vintners, athletes, writers, politicians, military personnel, civil servants, scientists, architects and of course celebrities. Who is your favorite poet? What are your reflections on poetry? What collection of poetry have you read lately? Has poetry inspired you to write your own poems or propelled your imagination to venture into creating something else? Indeed, poetry has star power, no matter what size your star is!

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Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Celebrations, Poetry


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How can National Garden Month Inspire Poetry?

National Gardening Month, Gardening, Japanese GardenPoets and writers seek inspiration in every nook and cranny, from the most obvious to the most inconspicuous. Now that Spring has officially sprung, people are getting their gardening swagger on. The cornucopia of flora and fauna found in gardens everywhere, whether occupying acres of land or in container niches on a patio, gardens have not only been breathtaking but have stirred up our internal creative juices.

Since we are celebrating National Poetry Month in April, why not add more pizzazz to our poetry writing as we celebrate National Garden Month? Celebrated annually in April, National Garden Month is for enjoying and taking pride in looking, touching and smelling the beautiful plants that you grow and love. If you never grew a garden of any type before, why not test the waters and plant a few flower bulbs in flower pots and go from there. Get some books or go on a field trip to your local nursery or garden center and ask the experts about plants, trees or vegetables indigenous to your area and get started. You can journal your planting progress and turn it into a poem or some other form of writing that would appeal to those who share your interests.

Be sure to add accessory elements, like garden sculptures or a fountain that will make your garden tell a story. The garden’s the limit, so grow some poetry and celebrate nature at its best! Happy National Poetry Month and National Garden Month!


Posted by on April 15, 2016 in News, Poetry


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