Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Sydney Dunlap

How IMPERFECT II poet Sydney Dunlap gets her perspective back:
Life can seem overwhelming at times, even down to the little details. Sometimes it's hard to shut off my worries and know where to begin, especially when so many things tug at my time and attention. Something that helps me a lot is going outside and taking a walk or a jog and looking at the beautiful sky -- whether it's blue with puffy white clouds; or drizzly and dreary, but still so vast; or dark and deep and scattered with stars. I remember how much bigger the Universe is than my little world. As I listen to the birds sing and watch the squirrels scamper, whatever I was worried about no longer seems quite as important.
Sydney Dunlap is a former elementary school teacher who has worked with at-risk youth in a variety of settings, and she enjoys reading and writing heartfelt, hopeful fiction that expands young readers’ awareness of tough topics. A lifelong animal lover, Sydney lives with her family in a home where the dogs and cats outnumber the people. Her middle grade novel, It Happened on Saturday, is set to release in February 2023.

Friday, August 26, 2022


Have you heard of the concept of "lossiness"? Mandy Brown says that whenever people are communicating, some "information or context or sentiment" is lost or distorted. Maybe one person thinks the other person knows the background, so they leave it out. Or they don't talk about how they feel about it, so the feeling part is left out.

The amount of "lossiness" varies based on how much attention the speaker and listener are giving to the interaction, stress levels, assuming the other person will "get it," etc. Once you realize that "lossiness" is a thing in communication, there are things you can do about it.

Ms. Brown explains:
Once you’re aware...there are lots of habits you can adopt to reduce it:

When listening to someone else, really listen, without trying to imagine how you’ll respond or anticipating what they’ll say next. This is harder than it seems, and it takes practice—but you can do it.

When you think you’ve heard someone, reflect back what you heard and ask if you got it right.

When sharing information with someone else, prompt them to reflect back, and check to see if your message was received the way you intended it to be.

Try to slow communication down, when you can. This seems counterproductive—you’ve got things to do and so little time to do them—but lossiness increases with speed. Take your time and you can avoid time-consuming miscommunications later.

Read the whole article: All communication is lossy.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Perspective in a Gratitude Suitcase

Kim Haynes Johnson is interactively reading Dictionary for a Better World by my friends Irene Latham and Charles Waters, and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. (Irene is an IMPERFECT poet.)

Kim Haynes Johnson writes:
As I prepare to begin a word journey through Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini tomorrow, I’m packing my suitcase of all the things I’ll need along the way, including a list of the things for which I am grateful. The Gratitude List on p. 117 of the book inspires me to remember to have a thankful heart always, but particularly as I journey through these months ahead. A common saying is “a lot of what you see depends on what you’re looking for,” and I agree.
The first thing that Kim says she will pack in her Gratitude Suitcase is:
“A kaleidoscope, to remind me that every twist of perspective is beautiful. As Rainer Maria Rilke said in Letters to a Young Poet, There is not more beauty here than elsewhere…..but there is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Liz Garton Scanlon

Many IMPERFECT II poets turn to nature when they need to put things back in perspective. Liz Garton Scanlon says:
My biggest perspective shifts happen outside, in nature, lots of air, moss, leaves, birdsong. Surprises over every hill.
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of many beloved books for kids, including the recent Would You Come Too?, the upcoming Frances in the Country, the Caldecott honored All the World, and many others. She's also co-authored several books with her pal Audrey Vernick, including the hilarious Bob, Not Bob. Her next middle grade novel, Lolo's Light, launches in fall 2022, and her chapter book series Bibsy Cross debuts in 2024. Liz is faculty co-chair of the Writing for Children and Young Adults program at the Vermont Faculty of Fine Arts, but lives in Austin, Texas.

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.g.scanlon
twitter: @LGartonScanlon
instagram: @lizgardensalad