How A Google Alert Can Lead to a Book Deal and Better Brain Function

By Kimberly Burnham

I write poetry for fun, for healing (my own and others), and as a creative outlet. Brain research indicates that the more creative outlets you have, the more caring you are and the better your brain functions. Caring, creativity, and cognition are all centered in the frontal lobe of the brain. And what activates one function of the frontal lobe also gets more blood flow and nutrients to support the other functions.

Deadlines and competitions motivate me so I have a Google Alert set up so that every time the words “poetry contest” shows up on the Internet, I get an email from Google letting me know. Now, many of the emails I get tell me about a local contest only open to people in London, England, a contest open only to children under the age of 16, a poetry contest for World of Warcraft fans, or some other specific requirement that I don’t meet. But every so often, I get an email about a free contest that is perfect for me.

That is what happened last spring when I got a Google Alert letting me know that the Tiferet Journal was celebrating National Poetry Month (April) with a 30 poems in 30 days poem-a-thon.

I like the Tiferet Journal and their mission to advance spiritual understanding in interfaith settings and peace in the world, so I applied to be in the Tiferet Journal Poem-A-Thon. Soon I got an email from the publisher, Donna Baier Stein letting me know I had been selected to participate. And so I read the daily prompts and wrote a poem everyday in April. Each day, I posted it on Facebook and emailed to Donna so she could post it on my special poetry page at the Tiferet Journal, along with my bio at TiferetJournal.com.

One of those poems, “Dear Stranger” was published in the Summer edition of the Tiferet Journal.

burnhambookI also ended up co-editing with Lisa Sawyer a poetry book featuring 10 of the poets in the Tiferet Journal Poem-A-Thon. The book, “30 Poems in 30 Days: Writing Prompts & Poems from Tiferet Journal” features, cover design by Monica Gurevich-Importico; introduction by Donna Baier Stein, and the ten poets:  Tracy Brooks•Kimberly Burnham•Udo Hintze•Shannon S. Hyde•Catriona Knapman•Maureen Kwiat Meshenberg•Louise Jayne Moriarty•Hazel Saville•Ambika Talwar•Laura J. Wolfe. It is a print book and eBook on Amazon. The book was published just less than four months after I wrote my poem for April 30 and less than six months after I opened the email from Google telling me about the Poem-A-Thon.

A couple of months ago I received another Google Alert with a chance to participate in a poetry and writing contest from Sampad in England. They sponsored a story contest called Inspired by Gandhi and participants were asked to write a poem, short story, or essay that was inspired by the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. Last week I got word that my poem entitled, “Gandhi, A Found Poem of Peace Words” was selected for publication in the upcoming book, “Inspired by Gandhi.”

And it is connected to the Tiferet Poem-A-Than because that is when I first started thinking about found poems. One of the prompts from the Tiferet Journal was to use the words found in the work of other people to create a poem. I found a number of quotes from Gandhi on peace, which is so important in the world today. I worked with the quotes, using a few words from one quote and a few words from other quotes to create a unique poem.

I feel that my work on these books, blogs, and magazines contribute in some small way to the world being a better place with more caring and creativity. And an increased chance for people to live and grow in peace.

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Lisa Sawyer

The Google Alert I received this morning showed 4 mentions of my name, the top one being this inspiring and thoughtful post!

Kim, you are a very caring and creative woman and we are very blessed to have you in the Tiferet family. Thank you for your involvement and support.


Kimberly Burnham

Thanks Lisa Sawyer and Shannon S. Hyde, Here is a link to the earlier piece I wrote about the Tiferet Contest. http://spokanefavs.com/interfaith-journal-offers-30-x-30-poetry-challenge/

Shannon S. Hyde

Kimberly, I am so impressed and inspired by your work. Thank you for putting the “30 poems in 30 days” book together so efficiently and effectively. I am compiling the information you recommend to create my very own author’s page and so appreciate the examples, advice, and expertise provided by the Creating Calm Network.

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