You Can Vote For Best Actress, Boogie Willis!

Hello Ponderbots,

I am thrilled to share with you that Boogie Willis has been nominated for Best Actress in the Anchorage Press Picks! And the good news is, you don’t have to be in Alaska to be able to vote for her! You are able to vote every day until September 27, 2019.

Follow this link, select Best Actress, then select Vote next to Boogie Willis’ name:

Go Vote!

To see some of her work, go check these out:

Jupiter Prime by Laura Minning

About the Artist

Laura Minning began writing creatively at the tender age of nine. Her first poem was published by her Alma-matter in 1989, and her second received an Editor’s Choice Award by the National Library of Poetry in 1993. Laura’s work has been featured both in hard copy and on-line, via publications like “Literature Today”, “Amulet” and “Stanzaic Stylings”.

Laura received her first International Merritt of Poetry Award in 1995 and her second in 1998. Both were presented to her by the National Library of Poetry. Her outstanding achievements in poetry were internationally recognized again in 2005 by, who was kind enough to bestow the title of International Poet of the Year on to her.

Laura’s first collection of poetry, “dear diary” was published by Vantage Press in 2003. Her second book, “sunburst” was published by Xlibris a year and a half later.

Laura’s artistic accomplishments have been equally impressive. She’s been creating and exhibiting abstract work since 2013. Her pieces have been displayed at venues like the Iowa Children’s Museum, the Trenton Free Public Library and Barcode. Her artwork, as well as her original photography, has also obtained publication status both in hard copy and on-line.

The Barcode exhibit was held in 2016. It featured thirty-six pieces of Laura’s original abstract artwork. Four of those pieces were sold over the course of the exhibition’s opening weekend, and the entire event was sponsored by Bacardi.

In 2018, Laura produced a chapbook, entitled “fusion”, which featured photographic images of her artwork.

As a person with legal blindness, Laura hopes to inspire other creative people with disabilities to never allow anything to hinder them from reaching for the stars and accomplishing their dreams. If you were to ask her about her creative successes, she would tell you that the difficult is but the work of the moment, and the impossible takes a little longer.

Laura Minning’s Artist Statement

“My creative passions began with poetry. I started writing at the tender age of nine as a means of expressing my own thoughts and feelings. A few years later, I developed a desire to share my work with others. This not only aided me in strengthening the bonds that I had with friends and family, it was also instrumental in helping me to come out of my shell and become less timid.

Toward the end of 2013, my attentions shifted from poetry to art. I immediately decided to fan the flames of my new passion by applying the methods that I had used for my old one. I subsequently found this to be rather effective in developing my artistic skills and techniques.

I began by utilizing acrylic paints. Next, I tried my hand at combining the paint with candle wax, crayons, nail polish, sidewalk chalk and glitter glue. I’d additionally affix original poetry or Imax film strips to the canvas board and incorporate the acrylic or wax based mediums around them. These techniques created some exceedingly colorful tactile and three-dimensional effects.”

Follow Her Work

For more information about Laura and her work, please feel free to log onto her web-site at

or any of the following sites:

The Art of Depression: A Mini-Series/Artist Lineup

Hello Ponderbots! Boy, oh boy, do I have the lineup of artists for you this month!

This series will be including work from different parts of the world coming together to present their art. Each one will be reflecting different aspects and viewpoints of depression.

Keep an eye out for these artists:

anonYmous – July 15th

Kelly Berry – July 15th

Danni Blackman– July 16th

James Pompey – July 16th

Heather Pease – July 17th

Saoirse Love – July 17th

Jack Freedman – July 18th

Kaci Skiles – July 18th

Rachel Cunniffe – July 19th

Lindsey McAdams – July 19th

Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions– July 20th

Carl Scharwath/Jennifer Link – July 20th

Amirah Al Wassif – July 21st

Suman Kabiraj – July 21st

CL Bledsoe/Tony Mancus – July 22nd

Ann Privateer – July 22nd

Mark Blickley/Amy Bassin – July 23rd   

Jennifer Carr – July 23rd  

Alexandria Drouin – July 24th

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick – July 24th

Meg Smith – July 25th

David Estringel – July 25th

Dylan Newitt Allen – July 26th

Adebisi Amori – July 26th

Chella Courington – July 27th

Lauren Scharhag – July 27th

Acoustic Librarian – July 28th

Young Toledo – July 28th

Andrew Wetmore – July 29th

Kirsty Niven – July 29th

Marc Cid – July 30th

Evan Hall – July 30th   

Shannon Light – July 31st

Karly Robinson – July 31st

Calling For Submissions!

Calling For Submissions! The Art of Depression: A Mini-Series

Come, be brave and inspire others by your creativity.

I am calling for art submissions that are inspired by depression/anxiety for my upcoming mini-series. The art can be validating the struggle, challenges faced within it, hope beyond it, etc. The goal is to remind people they are not alone, and to see some beauty come out of an otherwise painful experience.

To have your work considered to be a part of this blog series, please follow the instructions below.


  • 1 piece of artwork of any medium inspired by depression/anxiety. Poems, music, drawings, paintings, or something completely different!
  • Your contact information. If you have a website that you would like to be promoted, please send as well.

Submit to:

Submit by:

  • June 30th, 2019

Poetry Like You’ve Never Seen: Poetry in Motion – The Undulating Line

A New Form of Poetry

                As I sat at an open mic poetry, soaking in the delightful poems being presented, there was one poet that stood out to me that particular evening. A woman named Shannon went up on stage and courageously stepped outside of the norm to perform her poem while simultaneously bellydancing. It’s not a combination that I would’ve ever considered go together, but it was quite magical and intriguing. I immediately wanted to know more.

                As if she read my thoughts, after she finished, she mentioned her Poetry in Motion workshop that she was a part of, and there was an upcoming event in the month of April. I could not resist the opportunity to see more and explore this blending of art forms.

A Warm Environment

                I had no idea what to expect when going in, but I entered, fully prepared to feel completely incompetent and inadequate. What I found was two inviting teachers, Aruni and Shannon, who immediately put my mind to rest that I did not need to be skilled in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I was still very bad at dancing, but I was able to not worry so much about that. They made it incredibly easy to simply enjoy watching them share their knowledge and there was no judgement on my humble attempts at following their direction.

Bellydancing – Aruni

                Aruni led the bellydancing portion of the class, and elegantly demonstrated each move. Aruni is a poet and she has over 20 years of experience in bellydancing. The amount of grace she has in her movements is astounding. You could see her heart has poured into this style and it is truly a wonder to watch. I almost forgot at times that I was trying to learn the moves as I was captured by examining the skill that clearly took hours upon hours to perfect.

                What I liked about her teaching was that she focused on individuality. She said that we don’t need to dance like other people, rather we should dance from our own hearts. She encouraged us to feel the music and express it the way that we perceive it. Finding my own perception was rather difficult for me, as none of the movements felt natural to my non-rhythmic body. However, I do think my awkward turtle dance is probably still a somewhat accurate reflection of how I see the world.

                The concept behind bellydancing was quite empowering. Aruni said that it is a way to get out of your head and into your hips. It is not for some sort of gawking eyes to watch, but to be sensual for yourself. Bellydancing is primarily a dance that women do together, not so much as a way to entice men. It’s about embracing your body as your own, feeling free, throwing away body shaming thoughts, and enjoying your own curves. I found this to be strangely soothing, like a unique form of self-care.

Poetry – Shannon

                The second half of the workshop was taught by Shannon, a publisher and poet. Middle Eastern style music and dance is not in her heritage, but it feeds her soul. She is so excited about her work and such an encouraging person to be around. I love the way she is all about building up poets and eagerly wants to display their work. She diligently stays connected with all of the poetry outlets to be able to direct her authors where to place submissions.

Shannon directed us through poetry exercises, relating to the dance and movement. The idea was to get out of our heads through dancing, and then back into our heads with a rejuvenated perspective. There was a refreshing peace to be able to transition this way, and it did give a little bit of a clear mind to work with when writing.  

Book in the Making

                In addition to teaching, these creative individuals are putting together a book wherein they collect poems that are created in the class! They are collaborating the uniqueness of their talents to design something new and fresh in the poetry world.


                I was so impressed by the work that these individuals are doing. It was so clear that they do this not because of money, but for the love of the art. They lose themselves in the creative process while at the same time diligently work to make their concepts a reality. In a chaotic world of day jobs, bills, and families, they are still making art and passion a priority in their lives.

                They have more workshops coming up! Go check them out and share them with your friends!

                You can find them by clicking on the links below:

                Picture Show Press

                Poetry in Motion: Bellydance and Poetry Workshop

A Month of Poets – Celebrating National Poetry Month

A Month of Poets

Celebrating National Poetry Month

April 2019

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” – Walt Whitman

Hello Ponderbots,

          This month is particularly exciting as the month of April is National Poetry Month!

For this artistic occasion, I will be featuring the work of four poets from Orange County, CA. Come get inspired by the art of the written word!

James Pompey – April 3rd, 2019

Heather Pease – April 10th, 2019

Christina Brown – April 17th, 2019

Travis Atkinsonsessler – April 24th, 2019

Let their work excite you, ignite you, and fill you with passion!

*Disclaimer: Some poems are mature topics. Reader discretion advised.

Follow my blog so you don’t miss these remarkable poets.       

Life is Pain – And So is Passion

You may have been wondering about my slogan. What do I mean by “Life is Pain – And so is passion?” Well, my Ponderbots, allow me to explain.

                Life is more than just pain, obviously, but I wanted to focus on this particular aspect that consumes such a large portion. It’s easy to want to find a way to push away pain. It’s there all around us, and yet, it always feels so unnatural, so wrong, like it is something that should not exist. And yet it does exist and quite frequently it is a dominating factor in our wellbeing.

                Everyone finds their own individual versions on how to cope with pain. Some might pretend its not there at all. They fake the smiles, bottle up the emotions, and push it down far deep and away. Others might try to avoid it at all cost, sheltering their lives in a box that holds a limited amount of life. Still others might attempt to mask it with a distraction of some sorts.

Whatever the method of choice, I can’t help but notice, tragically, that the pain is still there. Denial doesn’t change a truth. Avoidance only leads to a new version of pain. Masking can only hide a problem for a temporary amount of time, it can never be a permanent solution.

This may seem rather gloomy, and you are right, it is, but my thought process is, why not embrace it? Not that we should deny the joy that it is there. Joy should be equally embraced, but life being the fickle thing that it is, makes it possible to hold multiple emotions simultaneously.

If the idea of embracing pain makes you cringe, allow me to share with you the benefits that I have found from this particular reframing:


                Validation holds a power like none other. Knowing other people suffer in the same way we do is a huge part of feeling emotionally supported. We want to know that our pain is real and that it holds, at the very least, a measure of validity. This pain that we don’t know what to do with gets trapped inside our hearts and minds. It tears us apart even more if we think that we are the only ones struggling with it. We feel isolated, crazy, or maybe like a freak. When we hear that someone else hurts in the same way we do, it eases the tension and gives us that much needed reassurance that we are not alone in this world.

                If we hear about someone’s success and that is all we hear, it is easy to think that they achieved it out of some uncontrollable luck that was graced upon them. We might think, “Why am I not so lucky? Am I not good enough?” It can lead to feeling inferior, which can lead to giving up. However, if we hear the struggles a person has to get to a success, and we realize that they had to battle all of the same human struggles that we are going through ourselves, then it may just inspire us to keep the hope and keep fighting.


                If we can accept that pain exists and do not shy away from it, then we can use it to our advantage. Instead of avoiding pain, we can put our energy into a specific type of pain in order to achieve an outcome.

“How can we do this?!” you ask excitedly in your skepticism. Let me give you an example:

 Should we never exercise or eat healthy, our bodies will eventually have health problems and be in pain. However, if we exercise and eat healthy, it may be a painful process now, but it’s pain that will achieve something in the long run.   

You see, pain is still part of the equation, but in this scenario, we can choose which pain we are willing to suffer with. When we embrace the pain, we can then ask the question: What type of pain will lead us to a productive outcome?


                There will, of course, be pain that we have no control over, which I won’t deny is a huge source of our pain. When this happens, we still have options. We can use one of our proven blocking of pain listed at the beginning, which is sure to feel safe and produce no outcome, or we can channel it into something that we care about.

Channeling pain is part of what makes art so beautiful and alive. For instance, how a sad song can be medicine for our spirits, or how a stand-up comic can bring a laugh to an otherwise horrifying situation. These things can fill our souls and make us feel like we have purpose. This is more than just a hobby to keep us from being bored. It brings vibrancy and color to an otherwise dull existence.

                What kind of passion should we choose? Get ready for the answer to this because it is the most exciting part of it all: Anything. Anything done with heart can change hearts and minds if we have the courage to make ourselves vulnerable and authentic with it.

                What fills us with love? What fills us with fire? What are we willing to suffer for?

                Life is pain – and so is passion. If pain is always going to be part of the equation, then let’s find our passion and unapologetically dive into that which makes being alive worth it.

Dancing To Far Away Places with Katie O’Loughlin





“How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.”

This line in the song Saturn by Sleeping At Last could not be more fitting for Katie O’Loughlin as she gracefully expresses herself through dance. If you’re thinking her face looks familiar, you are not crazy! She was one of the other dancers with Boogie Willis in the collaboration piece from my last article.

Now, I must warn you, no words will truly do justice for how amazing this person is, but I must attempt to explain a piece of what makes her so remarkable. Am I biased? Probably, but I’m sure by the end of reading this, you will be too.



Katie lives and breathes dance. She started as a young child and hasn’t stopped dancing since. Boldly she flies across the dance floor with purpose in every step. She is out there changing the world one leap at a time.

With each piece you can see the genuine love of the craft by the way she moves. She somehow manages to take herself out of the equation, even if she is the only person dancing, and pulls her viewers into the story that she is telling. Watching her, you can’t help but respect how bravely vulnerable she makes herself. You are not watching a mere dance routine, you are looking at a piece of her soul.



Katie does not reserve her love for only dance alone. She extends her creativity into every aspect of the arts. From lighting, to photography, to set design, she is well versed in it all. Diligently she worked to gain knowledge in the whole production.  She has been a part of so many creative performances, workshops, mission works, etc. that I couldn’t even begin to count the hours she has given to her community. Seriously, I dare you to keep track!

Her courageous spirit pushes her to challenge herself and pursue her dreams of travelling. Recently she traveled to Cuba for the second time where she gathered inspiration and learned from the different culture. She soaked up all that she could while she was there and brought it back with her to be able to share with others.

Throughout her journey, she never forgets to stop and empower every person around her. Whether it be her students, her peers, or her family, she speaks words of encouragement to enrich their lives. She leads by example on how to be humble and kind while simultaneously growing personal confidence. She aims to use her skills and her work to unite people in love.



There are times that she struggles to know her path, and questions if she is going in the right direction. Pursuing a life in arts and service is not always the most compatible for a stable life and let’s face it, it can be extremely daunting. But Katie pays very close attention to the calling on her heart and does not shy away from listening to it, even if the outcome is not clear. She combines hard work with faith and allows life to play out the rest.



If you were wondering how you can support this fiery woman, I have the answer for you! Her next adventure will be off to Kenya where she will be meeting the child that she sponsors through her church. While she is normally only able to show her love monetarily, this time she will be able to give the greatest gift of all, the gift of time.

It is difficult for someone who is so generous to call in favors or ask for anything for herself, so already she is stepping outside her comfort zone. But the beautiful thing is that she isn’t asking for herself alone, rather she is asking for help to give to others. Should it be on your heart to support her, please follow this link to her fundraiser page:


Katie O’Loughlin creates her own flare of fire and beauty. She is an adventurer, a leader, and treasure of a person to be around. She embraces her life and truly makes the most of her existence.