Thursday, November 29, 2018

Today's Quote: Buddha

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
~ Buddha

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Derek Thompson in The Agony of Perfectionism talks about worrying about "perfection" can keep you from being happy. There are too many choices. It is sort of like the grass being greener on the other side:
"The paradox of caring too much about having the perfect version of everything is that you wind up feel dissatisfied with all of it...

In short: The Internet doesn't have to make you miserable. But if you insist on comparing your choices and your life to every available alternative accessible through a Google search, it will.

...We don't know everything. We don't have everything. And that's okay."
Taylor Buckley also says:
Does anyone else get held back by their own perfectionism?

Do you find that you can’t adopt healthier ways of eating because you feel like you don’t have the time to go to the store, do all the planning, and make all the food?
Do you feel like you can’t start going to the gym until you have the perfect workout plan, clothes, body…?

So many times in our life we are held back by our own desire to have everything put together before we feel comfortable starting. In a way, that’s actually a really silly thought, the one that starts with, “I will do this when _____”. If we are always waiting until some magical when, then how will we ever actually start to do anything?

Can you tell when you are making good choices and good plans and when you are tripping yourself up? If you are feeling happy about your choices and actions, then keep doing what you're doing. If not, consider doing it differently. You can do it! Baby steps!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Today's Quote: Misty Copeland

Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.
~ Misty Copeland

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Today's Quote: Ben Okri

The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.
~ Ben Okri

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Be Kind to My Mistakes

It's all right, darling, we can do this together
It's all right, darling, I can think of nothing better
I don't know you and you don't know me
It is this that brings us together
~Kate Bush

This song started going through my head today. Kate Bush with "Be Kind to My Mistakes":

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Today's Quote: Twinkle Khanna

Now that I look back, all the things that I was teased about, became game changers and my strengths.
~ Twinkle Khanna

Friday, September 21, 2018

Mister Rogers

Today's Google Doodle honors Mister Rogers, a man who really knew how to roll with mistakes and mistake-makers.

Google Doodles says:
For 31 seasons & 912 episodes, MisterRogers invited us to be his neighbor. Today, we celebrate his positive impact & all that he was: a creator, musician, philosopher, storyteller - but most importantly, a friend.

The Google Doodle:

Sunday, September 16, 2018

What size mistake?

Why would anyone keep shooting themselves in the foot when clearly they can see their toes smoking?
~Eric Sherman

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

IMPERFECT visits Michelle K.

"More Art 4 All" is the name of Michelle Kogan's wordpress blog and we can't argue with that!

More IMPERFECT for all, too! Michelle has a post about IMPERFECT up here.

Today's Quote: Diane von Furstenberg

Beauty is perfect in its imperfections, so you just have to go with the imperfections.
~ Diane von Furstenberg

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Monday, August 27, 2018

Misheard Lyrics

One type of mistake that is easy to make (and can be funny or embarrassing or both) is mishearing the lyrics to a song. One famous example of this is "Hold me close, young Tony Danza" instead of “Hold me closer, tiny dancer” from Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer.’

Another famous one, this time from a Taylor Swift song:

Here's one all about Hamilton mishearings:

Sometimes, you can have fun with your mistakes!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Today's Quote: Abby Wambach

Don’t just ask yourself, "What do I want to do?" Ask yourself: "WHO do I want to be?"
~ Abby Wambach

This came from Wambach's 2018 Commencement speech at Barnard College.
To see an earlier post on Wambach and failure click here.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Today's Quote: Thomas Jefferson

...we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Today's Quote: Alex Mathers

You need to be OK with making stuff you don't like. Just keep making more. Be relentless.
~ Alex Mathers

Graphic courtesy Alex Mathers at Check it out for more messages of support!

Friday, July 27, 2018


Kintsugi Heart Enamel Pin by Pteroble

Congratulations to our kintsugi pin giveaway winners:
Wendy McGrath and Brenda Davis Harsham!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Today's Quote: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I tell you the future can hold no terrors
  For any sad soul while the stars revolve,
If he will stand firm on the grave of his errors,
  And instead of regretting, resolve, resolve.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Fool

From 1878, but still relevant...don't let worrying about not being "up with the times" make you agree with a fool!

The Fool
By Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev

There lived a fool.

For a long time he lived in peace and contentment; but by degrees rumours began to reach him that he was regarded on all sides as a vulgar idiot.

The fool was abashed and began to ponder gloomily how he might put an end to these unpleasant rumours.

A sudden idea, at last, illuminated his dull little brain.... And, without the slightest delay, he put it into practice.

A friend met him in the street, and fell to praising a well-known painter....

'Upon my word!' cried the fool,' that painter was out of date long ago ... you didn't know it? I should never have expected it of you ... you are quite behind the times.'

The friend was alarmed, and promptly agreed with the fool.

'Such a splendid book I read yesterday!' said another friend to him.

'Upon my word!' cried the fool, 'I wonder you're not ashamed. That book's good for nothing; every one's seen through it long ago. Didn't you know it? You're quite behind the times.'

This friend too was alarmed, and he agreed with the fool.

'What a wonderful fellow my friend N. N. is!' said a third friend to the fool. 'Now there's a really generous creature!'

'Upon my word!' cried the fool. 'N. N., the notorious scoundrel! He swindled all his relations. Every one knows that. You're quite behind the times.'

The third friend too was alarmed, and he agreed with the fool and deserted his friend. And whoever and whatever was praised in the fool's presence, he had the same retort for everything.

Sometimes he would add reproachfully: 'And do you still believe in authorities?'

'Spiteful! malignant!' his friends began to say of the fool. 'But what a brain!'

'And what a tongue!' others would add, 'Oh, yes, he has talent!'

It ended in the editor of a journal proposing to the fool that he should undertake their reviewing column.

And the fool fell to criticising everything and every one, without in the least changing his manner, or his exclamations.

Now he, who once declaimed against authorities, is himself an authority, and the young men venerate him, and fear him.

And what else can they do, poor young men? Though one ought not, as a general rule, to venerate any one ... but in this case, if one didn't venerate him, one would find oneself quite behind the times!

Fools have a good time among cowards.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Michelle Kogan

“We shall never go hungry, now that we know how to make soup from stones.”
~Marcia Brown

IMPERFECT poet Michelle Kogan is thinking about how someone cleverly turns inhospitable behavior into a lesson about hospitality. Isn't it cool when you can help someone learn from their mistakes on the spot?
Hungry traveler
visits your town only
to be turned down—but
he schemes an entire meal
with his wit and appeal!

Stone Soup
photo by aehdeschaine

MICHELLE KOGAN is an artist, illustrator, instructor, and writer. She grew up on Chicago's South Side and studied first at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving a BFA, and went on to receive an MFA in painting from Northern Illinois University. Michelle's poem "Temptation" is included in IMPERFECT. Her web site is located at

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today's Quote: Proverbial Wisdom

Be happy with what you have, and you will have plenty to be happy about.
~ Irish proverb

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Warming up with a favorite no

Big Life Journal featured an article by Alexandra Eidens called 14 Books and Activities To Help Your Kids Learn from Mistakes.

One of the things Ms. Eidens shared was this cool teaching exercise, My Favorite No:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Ruth Bowen Hersey

IMPERFECT poet Ruth Bowen Hersey weighs the pros and cons of being late...

This is just to say
that I'm sorry I was late
to my meeting this morning
except not that sorry.
I stopped to take some pictures
of the tomatoes in my yard.
They were so beautiful.
So small and green
and so flecked with
And the meeting
seemed so far away.

Paul Hayday, Tomatoes

RUTH BOWEN HERSEY lives in Haiti where she teaches English, including poetry, to seventh and eighth graders at an international Christian school.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Today's Quote: Oliver St. John Gogarty

By Perfection fooled too long,
I will dream of that no longer!
~ Oliver St. John Gogarty

Portrait of Oliver St. John Gogarty by William Orpen, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Today's Quote: Harry W. Yeatts Jr.

time grants the chance
for hard humiliations
to morph to soft humblings.
~ Harry W. Yeatts Jr.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Elizabeth Steinglass

Mistakes can be life lessons, like learning where not to take a nap, and learning about giving new things a chance, as you can see in the two poems IMPERFECT poet Elizabeth Steinglass shares today. The second one is a mashup of William Carlos Williams' This Is Just to Say and Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. Fun!

napping by a tree
with a stack of unsold hats
those rotten monkeys

Give me back my hats!


This is just to say

I would not eat
the eggs and ham
you offered
so many ways

and which
you had probably
for me

Forgive me
they were delicious
though green
and cold

ELIZABETH STEINGLASS lives in Washington, DC with two of her children (a third has flown the nest), her husband, and her sleepy cat, Scout. Her book Soccer Nonsense is forthcoming from Boyds Mills Press. You can also read her poetry in magazines and anthologies, including Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, both edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. For more information, visit

Today's Quote: David Whyte

Text: All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.
~ David Whyte

"Three Friends" by William H. Johnson courtesy Smithsonian Institution.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Losing as a Tool

Bobby Bones has a new book called Fail Until You Don't. He says:

“I wrote this book to be the opposite of Instagram. On Instagram, you look and see all the beautiful things people are doing all of the time. I wrote this book to show the opposite: most of life is not about all the wins, actually most of life is the rough spots and failures that get us to the wins.”

Sunday, June 10, 2018

1-10-100 Rule

The 1-10-100 Rule is something that companies think about, so it might not seem like it would have much to do with our daily lives, but...

The 1-10-100 Rule says that the cost of a mistake goes up the farther that it goes. If a company is making a car seat, for instance, and they catch a mistake in the design, they might lose some money (whatever it takes to redo the work). That is "1" in the Rule. But if they didn't catch the mistake there and they started making the car seats and THEN they realized the problem, they would lose ten times as much money as if they caught it earlier (that's the "10"). If the mistake hadn't been discovered at the manufacturing stage and they actually sold the car seats and later realized the problem, recalling the car seats would cost much, much more (that's the "100" in the Rule). So being careful and taking your time can save a lot of problems down the road. This is true for many situations.

It's not only money at stake

Let's say you're writing a paper and you pick a topic that doesn't match what the teacher has asked for. You don't realize your mistake, but if you figured it out before you started writing, it would be a "1" in terms of "cost" (inconveniencing you). It would only inconvenience you a little. If you figured it out while you were planning your paper and taking notes, it would be a "10" -- some inconvenience. If you didn't figure it out until you wrote the whole paper, that would be a "100." Checking things early on, and then double-checking, can save you a lot of inconvenience. Can you think of anything else where, the earlier you figure out the mistake, the less of a problem it is?

Friday, June 8, 2018

Diane Kendig

Louisa Lane Drew as Mrs. Malaprop

IMPERFECT poet Diane Kendig wrote a clerihew for the blog about a character whose name became synonymous with a certain type of mistake.
Richard Sheridan
created this harridan
in Rivals, his play
where she mis-speaks all day.

A bit of info:
The word "malapropism"...comes from a character named "Mrs. Malaprop" in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals. Mrs. Malaprop frequently misspeaks (to comic effect) by using words which don't have the meaning that she intends but which sound similar to words that do.

Sheridan presumably chose her name in humorous reference to the word malapropos, an adjective or adverb meaning "inappropriate" or "inappropriately", derived from the French phrase mal à propos (literally "poorly placed"). [Wikipedia]

DIANE KENDIG'S five poetry chapbooks include the most recent Prison Terms, and she has also co-edited the anthology In the Company of Russell Atkins. A recipient of Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry and other awards, she has published poetry and prose in journals such as J Journal, Under the Sun, and Ekphrasis. She blogs at “Home Again” (, and her website is

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Today's Quote: Mary Lee Hahn

I was thankful for a new day and the chance to fail better than I did the day before.
~ Mary Lee Hahn

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Liz Garton Scanlon

IMPERFECT poet Liz Garton Scanlon shares a haiku here about a charming mistake maker.

Oh, no -- dropped a thread
and my sorry web now reads
OME PIG. Poor Wilbur!

LIZ GARTON SCANLON is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, including the highly-acclaimed, Caldecott-honored picture book All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, and her debut novel for middle grade readers, The Great Good Summer, as well Another Way to Climb a Tree, In the Canyon, Bob, Not Bob (co-authored with Audrey Vernick), and several others. Ms. Scanlon serves on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a frequent and popular presenter at schools, libraries and conferences. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Logic Mistakes

Sometimes the kinds of mistakes we make have to do with our thinking going awry. For instance, there's the "sunk cost fallacy." That's when we've put effort and time into something so we feel like we have to keep going with it, even though it's not in our best interest to do so. Like let's say we wait for a long time at a restaurant... we can tell that the restaurant is having a horrible night and they've run out of the food we wanted to eat, but we stay there instead of going somewhere else because we've waited this long already.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Buffy Silverman

thin ice
photo by mfortini

IMPERFECT poet Buffy Silverman writes about backpacks and origami in the anthology; here she talks about a potentially dangerous mistake:

frozen pond speaks with
warning cracks and groaning creaks...
skating on thin ice

it's less of a risk for these folks
photo by Yutaka Seki

BUFFY SILVERMAN is the author of 90 nonfiction books for children, featuring topics from Angel Sharks to Alligators, and Mars to Monster Trucks. Look for her nature-inspired poetry in anthologies and children's magazines, and visit her at

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Today's Quote: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Linda Mitchell

IMPERFECT poet Linda Mitchell shares an inspiring diamante in the anthology, and here she shares a mini poem about an invention that could have been dangerous for its inventor. Chemistry can involve a lot of surprises and volatile mistakes!

Earliest known written formula for gunpowder,
from the Wujing Zongyao of 1044 AD.

Mixed a little...
with a long wooden spoon --
charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter
in a bamboo tube --
sparkles in the sky...
don't know why...
a mistake?
or a really lucky guy!

The inventor in Linda's poem was lucky,
but we don't know what happened to this bird:
An expendable bird carrying
an incendiary receptacle round its neck.
From the Wujing Zongyao.

LINDA MITCHELL is a family girl and middle school librarian which makes her increasingly curious, geeky and creative on a daily basis. She writes in the edges of her life. You can catch her weekly Poetry Friday posts at A Word Edgewise

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Make Failure Your Fuel

Abby Wambach at USWNT Training

Sharing something that U.S. Olympic soccer player Abby Wambach said at Barnard College's Commencement Address:
Rule No. 1: Make failure your fuel.

Here’s something the best athletes understand, but seems like a harder concept for non-athletes to grasp. Non-athletes don’t know what to do with the gift of failure. So they hide it, pretend it never happened, reject it outright, and they end up wasting it.

Listen: Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be powered by. Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel.

When I was on the youth national team, only dreaming of playing alongside Mia Hamm – Y’all know her? Good. I had the opportunity to visit the national team’s locker room. The thing that struck me most wasn’t my heroes’ grass stained cleats, or their names and numbers hanging above their lockers. It was a picture. It was a picture that someone had taped next to the door, so that it would be the last thing every player saw before she headed out to the training pitch. You might guess it was a picture of their last big win, or of them standing on a podium accepting gold medals. But it wasn’t. It was a picture of their long time rival, the Norwegian national team celebrating after having just beaten the USA in the 1995 World Cup.

In that locker room I learned that in order to become my very best — on the pitch and off — I’d need to spend my life letting the feelings and lessons of failure transform into my power. Failure is fuel. Fuel is power.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Christy Mihaly

George Washington at the Battle of Trenton
engraving by the Illman Brothers, 1870

Some mistakes have big repercussions. IMPERFECT poet Christy Mihaly wrote a poem for the Team Imperfect blog about a military mistake:

The men who celebrated
became inebriated,
their stomachs fully sated,
oblivious to threats;

then in their camp at Trenton
commenced their slow descent in-
to sleep, in this event in
our early history.

[The mistake-makers here are the Hessian soldiers camped at Trenton, NJ, who celebrated Christmas a little too hard as General George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River to attack them, Dec. 25-26, 1776, in a great victory for the Continental Army.]

CHRISTY MIHALY writes in Vermont at a pine table overlooking forests and fields. The activities in those fields inspired her first picture book, HEY, HEY, HAY! (A Tale of Bales and the Machines that Make Them), illustrated by Joe Cepeda (Holiday House, 2018). Christy is a member of the Poets' Garage, an online community of people who write verse for children. As a founding member of GROG, the group blog for writers and readers of children’s literature, Christy blogs about books and the writing life. She also creates ELA exercises for an online educational company, which is great writing practice and pays better than poetry. She has published articles, stories, activities, and poetry in children's magazines. Her poem for writers, "Muse," appeared in the SCBWI Bulletin in 2014. She has, in addition, amassed a tall stack of rejections.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Today's Quote: Cynthia Heimel

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.
~ Cynthia Heimel

Photo taken at the WOW® World of WearableArt™ exhibit last year at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. --DM

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


IMPERFECT bookmarks and postcards are available to teachers, librarians, school counselors, and other folks who work with young people (until our supply runs out). Write with your mailing address to request your freebies.

Also, there's a giveaway of IMPERFECT at The Children's Book Review (ends June 17th)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Diane Mayr

IMPERFECT poet Diane Mayr knows that some mistakes begin perfectly small gesture gets the ball rolling. Maybe something as small as a cookie.

In All Probability

Probably, I'll grow frantic
--see how I obsess.
You gave me the cookie,
now it's everything in excess.

DIANE MAYR is a public librarian, a writer for children, and a poet. She also plays at being an artist. Her published children's books include Littlebat's Halloween Story and Run, Turkey, Run! Her illustrated poems can be found at Diane lives in southern New Hampshire with her feline friend, Skippy.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mary Lee Hahn

photo courtesy the Asian Carp RCC

Sometimes what seems like a good idea can go very wrong, like the introduction of Asian carp to the U.S. They were brought to control weeds and parasites but have ended up causing problems for native fish and the water quality. Currently people are trying to keep Asian carp from spreading other places in the U.S. IMPERFECT poet Mary Lee Hahn spotlights that mistake:

A Note From the Asian Carp

Don’t forget, you invited me.
I didn’t intend to be invasive –
the floods just carried me away

and now I’m on the loose
heading towards the Great Lakes to reproduce.
Will you be able to keep me at bay?

MARY LEE HAHN is a teacher-poet. She has taught fourth or fifth grades for over thirty years and is the author of Reconsidering Read-Aloud (Stenhouse). Mary Lee blogs about children's literature and teaching at A Year of Reading ( with Franki Sibberson. Her poems can be found in all of the volumes of the Pomelo Books Poetry Friday Anthology series (K-5, Middle School, Science, Celebrations), The Best of Today's Little Ditty (2014-2015 and 2016), Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems, and National Geographic Book of Nature Poems. She collects her poetry at Poetrepository (

Today's Quote: Mahatma Gandhi

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Susan Weaver

photo by Sarah Zukoff

IMPERFECT poet Susan Weaver shares a mini mistake maker poem from real life. In it, Susan recalls a night when her brother found dozens of praying mantis nymphs on his bedroom floor:

a tanka

from a boy's pocket
to bureau drawer
an unfamiliar egg case
forgotten. . .
until it hatches

photo by WoodleyWonderworks

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Mistake-Fixing Mom

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Have you heard the Monkees?

The mom of the guitarist is the person who invented white-out (aka liquid paper)!
Bette Nesmith Graham (1924-1980) was a bank secretary who wanted something to cover up her typing mistakes. From her Wikipedia page:

It was difficult to erase mistakes made by early electric typewriters, which caused problems. In order to make extra money she used her talent painting holiday windows at the bank. She realized, as she said, "with lettering, an artist never corrects by erasing, but always paints over the error. So I decided to use what artists use. I put some tempera water-based paint in a bottle and took my watercolor brush to the office. I used that to correct my mistakes."

Graham secretly used her white correction paint for five years, making some improvements with help from her son's chemistry teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas. Some bosses admonished her against using it, but coworkers frequently sought her "paint out". She eventually began marketing her typewriter correction fluid as "Mistake Out" in 1956. The name was later changed to Liquid Paper when she began her own company.

Good work, Bette!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Suzy Levinson

IMPERFECT poet Suzy Levinson shares a mini about a messer-upper who is lucky someone comes along to save her from this mistake:

Grandma's looking weird today.
I can't believe my eyes.
Her ears are big, her fur is brown,
her teeth have grown in size.
Should I take a closer look?
Yes, I'm sure that's wise.

photo by Patrick Tubridy

SUZY LEVINSON writes poetry and picture books. Her poems have been published in several anthologies, including The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books). Others have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the SCBWI Bulletin, Ladybug, and Highlights' High Five and Hello magazines. She lives in New York. You can find her online at, on Twitter @suzylevinson, and in IMPERFECT with the poem LOTS OF THINGS.