Community Collection 3: INSPIRATION with Lita Judge

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
Please take a moment to peruse the how-to below, and then dive in! Happy writing — and thank you for helping to build our collection(s)!


Today’s Guest…

is famous for her classic picture book Red Sled and her adorable Hoot and Peep series. But she’s been taking a walk on the wilder side with her intense and beautiful first graphic novel, Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein. Please welcome the immensely talented …



(click to enlarge)

from Mary’s Monster, written and illustrated by Lita Judge. Roaring Brook Press, 2018. All rights reserved.
I keep writing
until my pen scratches pain
as loud as screams.
But it is no longer my own voice I hear.
It is the Creature’s.
Ink-black words on paper
are no longer words.
They breathe and pulse with a life
of their own.
They are heart and legs and arms
and hands made of flesh and bone,
and they reach down my throat
and into my lungs,
and grab my breath
and squeeze out my tears,
until they become the Creature’s own.
His voice calls out to me,
Now, Mary,
You begin to see.

© Lita Judge, from Mary’s Monster


I often feel like creating a character is like a beginning of a dialogue with a new friend or companion. Write a poem that describes a moment when you felt an inspiration come upon you. How did it feel? It can be joyful, exciting, sad … there are many emotions that come with ideas. What did it feel like to have this character or idea suddenly take up residency in your mind?



1. Paste it into the comment section below. I will gather the poems and add them to this post. OR
2. Email it to me at and I will add it to this post (graphics welcome)!


It Comes to Me in the Kitchen

It comes to me in the kitchen,
peering into the fridge
trying to conjure up dinner
I conjure instead
a turn of phrase—
“Maxwell dislikes mayonnaise.”
And perhaps this Maxwell will live
on the page.
I can already see the sandwich
he constructs,
full of meat and cheese and meaning.
Maxwell and his mayonnaise
relieve me of the mundane,
of scraping a meal together.
And all the while
as I chop potatoes
Maxwell sails
on a mayonnaise sea
in a celery boat
kept afloat
by my sheer delight.

© 2018 Heather Kinser


Inspiration twists,
tapping, tapping
at my conscious door.
Dramatics rage,
rapping, rapping
in my writing store.
Imagination lingers,
lapping, lapping
in my painful core.

Joy Moore

In My Dreaming

In my dreaming
Just near waking
At the very cusp of sleep
There is rustling
There is motion
There is whooshing
from the deep
Like the rushing
of blood pounding
Like a sighing in the lea
There is restlessness
A rhythm
Something breathing
Near to me
Like a breeze blows
through the window
like the tide flows
to the sea
there’s an impulse
there is mystery
something flutters
close to me
There is stirring
In its passage
Like the sweeping
Of a broom
Could this waking
be a poem
restless for its
words to bloom?

© Karen Eastlund

Caged Character Sings

This child of story
squeezed my heart
until I listened.Caged by the pain
of my own experience,
she demanded freedom.In fiction,
she walked, ran
with ease, no limits.

(c) Sherry Howard


My muse teases me with a wink,
A glimmer of insight that springs into my mind
Unbidden, unbound.
Zip!  Flash!  Streak!
Ideas collide and blaze.
I write.
Dazed and amazed…

© Kirstine Call 2018

Lost It

An idea whisked into my head,
the image of a girl.
Who accomplished a great feat,
with her piercing eyes.
I awoke from a deep sleep,
my hands scrabbled and fished
for my Elfin Book and Pilot pen,
I thumped and bumped,
through the soft silence of night,
and flicked on the light,
(apologies to husband)
only to have missed the girl
with her piercing eyes.

© 2018 Robyn Campbell

My Audience

Audience inspire me
Right to be heard
Quiet, Unseen, Passive,
Tell me, are you there anywhere?
 Let’s meet!

Maritza M. Mejia @2016

Breaking News (March 8, 2014)

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
en route to China
disappeared from radar
over the Indian Ocean.
Sometimes the TV screen
brings inspiration
even when I don’t want it.
The newscaster’s words
grab my gut
and won’t let go.
239 souls lost
What good are maps
and flight paths?
How do we find our way back from this?
Can our own scribblings on the page,
our own words,
ever be enough
to keep us from breaking?

(c) Ann Magee 2018

Delicious Inspiration

I turn to an old friend
Words linger in my mouth
Crimson is delicious, sweet and crisp,
full of apple autumn and day’s end
Magenta is sharp
Indigo takes me to
Places far away
Spices tickle my nose
Ah, sweet cinnamon
A mouth full of words
I begin to write.

(c) 2018 nancy bo flood

Order of Operations Haiku

Seeking Story One,
Story Two won’t be quiet.
Squeaky story wins.

© 2018 Wendy Greenley
Swept under the rug,
              the secrets conspired amongst themselves
Striking their furred edges
               against each other
the secrets threw off sparks
              caught fire
                           and raged through the rug
laying a line of flame
                straight to the closet where
                                  they burned up the broom

(c) Heidi Mordhorst 2013
Where Poems Come From
There is a secret ether
beyond the earth and sky
where poems live.

Sometimes sleeping.

Until something momentous happens.A flower blooms.
A heart breaks.
The sun sets.
A baby wakes.

And that’s when the ether
whispers in my ear —Here are the words, my poet-child.
They have been waiting for you.
© 2018 Madeleine Kuderick

Meet Toni

Funky, spunky Toni,
ready to roar
ready to soar!
Savvy, snappy Toni,
hard to hold back
hard to crack.
Sincere in your sphere Toni,
give her space
give her grace–
You may
   meet her

© 2018  Michelle Kogan


Boats wait for paddlers.
Listening to silence,
I wait for inspiration.
Isolation is separation,
Solitude is inspiration.
Furious, glorious quietude.
Be still, and perceive.
Calm, quiet confidence,

Celebrate inspiration.

by Yvona Fast


Can ride in on a gust
of crackling leaves,
float by on a cloud,
splat warm and wet
against your forehead.
Inspiration can be as loud
as a siren, as soft
as a whisper. It may
not move—or speak—
at all. Inspiration might
be a river stone—
cool and smooth, silent
and still—glistening
in the sun, just waiting for
you to pick it up.

© 2018 Gabi Snyder

Nature Inspires

Rain falls in sheets,
sun-dried into paper,
rain drops then drip
as ink through my pen.
A robin yanks worms
from out of the damp earth,
and flings them
smack onto my page.
Worms wiggle and squirm,
shape shift into letters,
a wet and slippery

(c) Linda Jean Thomas

Inspired by Zeus

I’m stuck indoors
with weekend chores;
I’m vacuuming and dusting.
The sinks I scrub.
I clean the tub
and litter box – disgusting!
I move ahead
to change the bed;
I see our cat there dozing.
then, WHAT I’D DO
the plot I start composing.

Colleen Murphy
© 2018


Lita Judge is the author and illustrator of 24 fiction and nonfiction books including, Mary’s Monster, One Thousand Tracings, Born in the Wild, Red Sled, and Hoot and Peep. Her book, Flight School, has recently been adapted into an off-Broadway musical which is currently showing in New York City and China. Awards for her books include the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award, an ALA Notable, NCTE Notable Book, a Kirkus Best Book, and the Jane Addams Honor.

Before she created art and books, Lita was a geologist and worked on dinosaur digs. But a trip to Venice, Italy inspired her to quit her job and pursue a lifelong passion for creating art. Now, when not in her studio, she can be found backpacking through Europe with her sketchbook and easel in hand. Painting in the streets of Italy, France, Sweden, Russia, and many other places has inspired many of her books.

The novel Mary’s Monster was inspired through reading Mary Shelley’s journals while exploring places she had traveled. This book created a rich opportunity to explore working in a completely new form, that of combining free verse with full page illustrations in novel form. Lita was drawn to capturing the interior world of Mary Shelley’s mind, as well as the realistic images of her life. Creating this book was a journey in itself and took five years to complete.

Lita lives in New Hampshire. Discover more about the author and her books at


Pairing free verse with over three hundred pages of black-and-white watercolor illustrations, Mary’s Monster is a unique and stunning biography of Mary Shelley, the pregnant teenage runaway who became one of the greatest authors of all time.

Legend is correct that Mary Shelley began penning Frankenstein in answer to a dare to write a ghost story. What most people don’t know, however, is that the seeds of her novel had been planted long before that night. By age nineteen, she had been disowned by her family, was living in scandal with a married man, and had lost her baby daughter just days after her birth. Mary poured her grief, pain, and passion into the powerful book still revered two hundred years later, and in Mary’s Monster, author/illustrator Lita Judge has poured her own passion into a gorgeous book that pays tribute to the life of this incredible author. (from


It’s Peep’s first winter, and it’s going to snow very, very soon. Peep has so many questions for her older brother Hoot: Does snow drop, ploppety splop like the rain’s song? Does it scrinkle scrattle like falling leaves? But Hoot can’t remember snow very well. The one thing he knows for sure is that it is worth waiting for. (from author’s website)





Some are born to run; little Penguin believes he was “hatched to fly.” He’s come all the way from the South Pole (via a bright red motorboat) to attend a tropical shoreline flight school run for birds, by birds. Penguin soon discovers that zoology is destiny, no matter how nifty his red aviator goggles or how eager his new friends are to help get him aloft, which they manage to do…thanks to some engineering worthy of MacGyver. (PW, 2/14)

Although little Penguin has the soul of an eagle, his body wasn’t built to soar. But Penguin has an irrepressible spirit, and he adamantly follows his dreams to flip, flap, fly! (from author’s website)



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Copyright on poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Lightning photo by Mysticsartdesign via Pexels (no attribution required).