Being a Writer, Poetry, prose, Recommendations/Things to Check Out

Throwing my hat into the ring –

After many years, I have decided to start collecting rejection slips again – who knows, I have been mildly published and I know it is to some extent a numbers game. If I don’t submit, I will never know if I can tip the odds in my favor.

In the interests of sharing the bounty with fellow writers and poets, I am putting links here to journals and contest that I have found to be of interest. Good luck!

About dogs (because, well, dogs rock, and what could be better than writing about dogs?) :


Poetry South out of Mississippi:

For microchapbooks :

For poetry, The Tishman Review:

Submission Guidelines






Mental Health, Recommendations/Things to Check Out

Book Recommendations: Grit by Angela Duckworth and Choke by Sian Beilock

I first read Dr. Duckworth’s journal article several years ago. Please see the links to her TED talk and the book itself : Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

It’s an easy read and makes a cogent argument for the power of persistence and commitment, the willingness to fail and see mistakes as learning opportunities, in order to achieve goals. I highly recommend it to anyone who has experienced either the “choke” phenomenon (another good book, btw :  Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To, by Sian Beielock) or who has been told they are “smart” but can’t seem to follow through from plan to success. I’ve included a link from an NPR editorial from a psychology professor who is not as enamored with the theory as I may be, just for reference. The last link is to the Sian Beilock’s blog and site.

Baking, Poetry

Michael Makes Cookies

Michael would be a proud house-husband

hang at the dog park with mommies and au pairs

compare recipes for homemade bread, piquant Eastern NC barbeque,

perfect Mexican wedding cookies for holiday giving.

Jen, his “fun sized” powerhouse fiancée , engineering genius

works the power tools while Michael makes a tasty lunch.

He starts dinner by late afternoon because Jen prefers eating before 10 pm.

Michael sees food as performance art beyond nourishment;

their gender-specific roles are clearly defined,


when the planets align, Jen will concede tradition.

The day they tie the knot will be Michael’s turn

in Wing Tips and Top Hat, to be the “pretty pretty princess.”

Bride and Groom will dance to The Great Pumpkin Waltz,

will always defy convention.

Michael will empower his daughters to be mighty girls

paper-bag princesses, slaying dragons

saving princes and their loyal hounds.

The Yates-Yeagley children will snuggle

on Michael’s chest as cartoons lullaby from the television.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

June 26, 2016

Goldsboro, NC

Mental Health, Poetry

In Which a Friend Asks Me to Define “Paradise”

I worry that my dreams grow small

a child who wrote in her diary

“I want to be a writer and musician

when I grow up.”

Now I wonder if growing up is over-rated

positive I would abhor the lack of privacy

that comes with fame, remember the panic

of every orchestra audition, the “choke”

that never inhibited private practice.

My Ukrainian violin teacher commented,

“You are my leetle mouse

you  play with such passion.

One day the world will hear you roar.”


On the brink of 52, I can’t convince myself

the world is my oyster

can’t begin to be expansive of vision.

I want to stay true to that little girl

believe in her goals, realize the achievements.

I will always be a poet.

My violin sings in my head

though unpracticed fingers fumble.

I look to the future and set goals:

a house of my own, dogs

a lover to share my life.

I reserve the right to augment

definitions as I grow bold.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

July 10, 2016

Goldsboro NC


dog training

Cognitive Training for Dogs

I am impressed with the wealth of information on the website. As a student dog trainer, I am learning that dogs need not only affection and discipline, but mental and physical stimulation/exercises to thrive.

These are just a few activities that you can do with your dog to expand his skill set.


Have a good Independence Day Holiday and remember to keep your pets safely inside when the kabooms are going off!