Diaries Magazine

Inspired by Literary Grannies: Ina Coolbrith, Legend and Encourager of Legendary People

Posted on the 10 April 2015 by Juliejordanscott @juliejordanscot

Ina Coolbirth collage for Literary Grannies

“It’s oh my heart, my heart, to be out in the sun and sing!”

Ina Coolbrith

She is one who would best be called legendary. Oh, if only more people knew who she was rather than only who she influenced.

The name Jack London is revered, but who is to say who this young boy might have become if not encouraged and inspired by the librarian of his “house of worship” also called the Oakland Public Library? Ina Coolbrith so touched his young, creative heart, he wrote a letter to the library years later, extoling her virtue and crediting her with his earliest development as a lover of words.

She was the first Poet Laureate of the State of California - in fact, the first state poet Laureate in the United States.

She was friends with John Muir, took walks and had chats with the young Samuel Clemens, and had friends so devoted they purchased her land and built a home for her after hers was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires. She collaborated with reformer and literary granny Charlotte Perkins Gilman and counseled a young Isadora Duncan.

Today, allow her energy and enthusiasm to light your writing and creative fire. Invite her heart into yours, to be in the sun - metaphorical or not, depending upon where you are weather wise today - and sing. Just sing - whether for you singing is something you do with your pencil on the page, your body in your dance or your voice, quivering with vibrato.

Questions for contemplation and writing.

What space, place or circumstance fills your heart so full you must sing? (or dance or paint or write? Write a vignette of a time when your heart was that full --

Who are some of the legendary people in your life? Start a mental or physical list and scribe an homage (or two). Share your observations with others to keep that legend alive, even if she or he is no longer living. Allow your passion for that person to overtake you, even for a moment.

Sentence Starters:

Oh, my heart is….

To be out in the sun and…..

Reflections for the end of the day:

Whose life have you influenced?

What people (or groups of people) would benefit from your positive influence? What will you do and who will you be to reach them more readily?

Today I was inspired by….

Tomorrow I will be more aware of….

Today, I created….

Tomorrow I aim to create…..

 (My first writing of Ina Coolbrith may be found here)


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This blog post is a part of April's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Visit here daily in April to be inspired by literary grannies across time.


Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world.  She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist  whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in Spring, 2015 and beyond.


Julie Jordan Scott writes from inside a Fountain at Joaquin Murrietta Park in Oakland, California. Mr. Murrietta was one of Ina Coolbrith's closest writing friends. Julie Jordan Scott writes from inside a Fountain at Joaquin Murrietta Park in Oakland, California. Mr. Murrietta was one of Ina Coolbrith's closest writing friends.

To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.


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