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  • zanjohns

Welcome 2021!

I welcome the new year with open arms. 2020 was challenging and full of blessings. As I settle into 2021, the word I chose as my companion is LOVE. This is my first time selecting a word for the year. Thank you to my niece, Marquita Myrick, for the prompt. I said that I chose the word LOVE, but actually it's the other way around; LOVE chose me! I am continuously on the receiving end of endless love, from near and far. I seem to have an object with the word "LOVE" in every room of my house. These objects have been selected and placed over many years; but today I noticed that LOVE surrounds me aesthetically and abstractly.

Given where we are and what's going on (in my Marvin Gaye voice), I know that LOVE is the best focus for me in 2021.

Always grateful, I appreciate the love that flows toward me. I felt vulnerable when I published my book, Poetic Forecast. Sharing my innermost thoughts with the public required bravery. It required a readiness for criticism and praise. When I write, that is not my focus. I write because it is my calling--I write to inspire and connect with the reader. When asked who my audience is, everything I read said that if you don't know who it is, i.e. your target, you won't sell many books. I felt then and am still convinced that my audience is everyone who has a heart--everyone who wants to feel, or needs encouragement, comfort or joy, everyone who wants to challenge their own thinking, everyone who wants to celebrate themselves or anyone else. I selected keywords for Poetic Forecast in order to attract certain groups. However, I want to share a cross section of my readers to demonstrate that demographics are secondary when it comes to reading and appreciating poetry. They include:

  • The childhood friends I haven't seen in decades, reconnected

  • The family members and friends reliving our experiences of joy and pain

  • The friends of my children; the friends of my spouse

  • The 91 year old female role model: independent, vibrant and impressive

  • The couple who (separately & unknowingly) ordered 2 books each to be autographed for themselves

  • The COVID-19 patient who ordered books for his family from his hospital bed

  • The stroke survivor who asked early on for help with her ordering

  • The cancer survivor who sought her daughter's help with ordering

  • The COVID-19 ICU nurse who found time during her break to read poems

  • The Vietnam War veteran, impressed and personally touched by the book

  • The Gold Star mom whose son was killed in Afghanistan

  • The grieving daughters who recently lost their mothers

  • The decorated retired US Army Sergeant Major who also related to my new poem he read online

  • The Washington, DC teacher who discussed my book with her students

  • The national education leaders; the equal justice and social justice leaders

  • The retired university library professional; the early childhood education teachers

  • The former university professor and associate vice chancellor who asked his daughter to purchase a book for him

  • The heralded physical therapist; the oral surgeon; the psychotherapist

  • The reader who gifted books for family at Thanksgiving and doubled back on "Giving Tuesday" to purchase books for people in her community

  • The readers who gifted books for Christmas, including a local shop owner, numerous friends and family members, and strangers who are now considered family

  • The human resources professional who completed a bulk order on behalf of her church

  • The human resources executive who completed a bulk order for colleagues

  • The millennials I met as babies, intently absorbing every word

  • The consignment shop owners who gladly carry and promote my book

  • The retired judge; the pastors and ministers; the colleagues who encourage me continuously

  • The professional singer and "artivist"; the published authors and journalists

  • The machinist who gifted books to family and friends

  • The hurricane survivor who ordered a second book after her first order was sent to the home destroyed by the hurricane

  • The CEO whose reaction to "What Matters" led her to feature my poem at the front of her book, Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise and Make a Difference

From young adults to a 93 year old woman recovering from a recent fall . . . from men and women of all ages with varied relationship or socioeconomic status, I dare say that my audience is anyone who has a heart! I dare say that I'm grateful for each and every one!

Soon I will highlight some of the feedback from readers in a link called: "Love Shared: What Readers Say." Please stay tuned! Please stay well!

With LOVE,

Happy 2021

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