Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
April 2015



Welcome to Out on a Limb, a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in your life.

The Voice of Poetry

Once upon a time, I was really turned off by poetry. It did not help that I had a college professor tell me my interpretation of a poem’s meaning was wrong. I concluded that I just did not have the aptitude for understanding poetry. It never occurred to me to challenge that professor by asking how he knew what meaning or message the poet wanted to convey? And why was it so darned important to know what the poet intended? I will admit, however, that I prefer poems that are fairly accessible. What matters is whether the poet’s sparse assembly of words has personal impact. If a poem somehow speaks to you, even if it is just a line or two, it might be a winner! For those unfamiliar with or allergic to poetry, just think about song lyrics. Some are more accessible than others, right? But if a line or two of lyric does a “gotcha” on you, it often gets more playtime. And those lines may bring palpable joy.

I came to appreciate the utter joy of listening to poetry thanks to a deeply gifted poetry performer, Kim Rosen, author of Saved by a Poem. If you listen to her rendition of the poem by Ellen Bass called Relax, or Derek Walcott’s, Love After Love, perhaps your ambivalence will melt, too. Kim’s gift inspired me to attempt a performance of Louise Erdrich’s Advice to Myself because boy oh boy, did that poem resonate. By speaking it out loud, the words had much more impact and their wisdom has stuck with me. Sometimes all I have to say to myself is “Leave the dishes …” (the first line of Advice to Myself), and all of Erdrich’s advice is back to the forefront of my mind. If you are a music lover, you may have an anthem or theme song that you play repeatedly to inspire, uplift or help you. Why not collect poems as anthems, too? There are poems that will bring joy and yes, there are poems that will evoke sorrow and everything else in between. Start your search; I would love to know your favorites!

April is National Poetry Month!

This collage is an invitation to access joy by way of poetry. Read it, hear it, savor it. Heck, why not write it?

It does not have to be
serious or solemn;
remember that a limerick
or words inspired by
Dr. Seuss are still poetic.


Your April 2015 Prompts for Joy

Click here for guaranteed heart swells. (Thanks, Kim Scala!)

Click here for “otter” joy. (Thanks, Margot Hand!)

All previous Prompts for Joy (PFJs) can be found at my website, unless the video url is no longer functional.

Joy-Gram for April 2015

You would be surprised to find how many fine poems are available via YouTube or Sound Cloud or Poetry Out Loud.  For those who are fans of National Public Radio, check out The Writer’s Almanac which features one poem read out loud by Garrison Keillor each day.  If you have no idea what poems or poets may speak to you, ask others for suggestions!

Archives Available

To re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click here, or type the following url into your browser: http://www.mcscala.com/html/EZineArchives.html.

By no means do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!


Martha Clark Scala, MFT · 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 ·

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