CLMOOC Collaborative Calendar: Welcoming 2023 With Art

In what has become a beautiful tradition of sorts, the CLMOOC community has come together again to create a calendar of original art and design for the coming year. With Wendy T overseeing the effort, the new calendar is ready and available in a few different formats, including free downloadable PDF or as a web-based Google Slideshow or as a video (see above).

More information about contributors, etc, is available at the CLMOOC website.

As always, I appreciate the global reach of CLMOOC (many contributors are from many different countries) and the way that making art and collaboration is a thread that binds us together, even after many years. The calendar project is a way to stay connected throughout the year.

Peace (and Hope Ahead),

25 Solstice Poems (Voice Files)

The shortest day of the year
The shortest day of the year flickr photo by .^.Blanksy shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

I wrote 25 poems over 25 days with a Winter Solstice theme, using mentor poems as inspirational texts. Each day, I recorded audio of my poems. Here is the entire collection, if you are interested. The file names are by date of publication, as I didn’t give the poems titles.

Another view of the entire calendar, with text and audio, is here.

Peace (and poems),

My 2500+ Daily Creates and Counting (but Celebrating 4000)


Yesterday, the DS106 Daily Create celebrated its 4,000th daily invitation to make, remix, create. I started with my first response way back on Sept. 9, 2015, and at some point, doing the Daily Create became part of my daily morning routine (along with: walking the dogs, sipping on coffee, and writing a poem or two).

On the very first day I started (thanks to a recommendation from a CLMOOC friend, Karen F.), Stephen Colbert had just taken the helm of the CBS Late Show as new host and Queen Elizabeth had just become the longest-ruling monarch of Britain. Yeah, it was a while back.

My first Daily Create wasn’t anything special, really, and was little more than a reply:

But once I got rolling, I got rolling, and have added audio, video, memes, comics, poems, games and other responses along the way. You can read the history of the DS106 Daily Create here and then join in yourself today, tomorrow, or whenever the inspiration takes hold.

Hats off to Alan Levine, who holds it all together, and to others along the way who have helped coordinate the daily scheduling (I know of Sarah and Paul, but I suspect many others have stepped up from time to time). I know there were collaborators along with Alan — like Jim G. and Marcia B. — who got DS106 off the ground at the university level as a experiment in MOOCs. Others have picked up the DS106 baton over the years to create college courses with open components on various themes, and/or fully online courses around media production that anyone in the open can join in.

The Daily Create is/was always one component of the larger DS106 ecosystem but for me, even if I took part in DS106 courses (like Headless DS106 or the Wild West 106), I still found myself centered the daily invitations to make things. We even worked to replicate the Daily Create into the Daily Connect for various projects, first through Connected Courses and then through CLMOOC and Write Out.

Alan is now migrating the Daily Create over to Mastodon, which gives me hope that others will find the daily inspiration and build a new audience there.


Alan often notes that while other educational MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have come and gone, and faded away, the DS106 ecosystem, with the Daily Create at its heart, continues onward through crowd collaboration and artistic flexibility. Participants are encouraged to submit prompts, which I have done more than 170 times.

Is it massive? Maybe not. Is it meaningful? You bet it is.

Peace (making it happen with art),

A Year of Images: Silent Sundays in 2022

Each Sunday, I try to share out a Silent Sunday image with CLMOOC friends and beyond (and now on Mastodon, Silent Sunday is a HUGE event, with images from all over the world flowing through the #silentsunday hashtag).

The Silent Sunday concept, which was introduced to me by my NWP/CLMOOC friend Kim D, is to share an image with little or no context (other than the alt-text for screen readers) and let the photograph or art have a quiet moment in an otherwise noisy social media stream.

I gathered up each image of mine from each Sunday in 2022 and made a collection that I hope you find interesting.

Peace (and Quiet),

Video Text Poem: Winter Solstice

This poem, for today, the Winter Solstice, is part of a larger collection of daily poems inspired by mentor texts that were curated by a National Writing Project friend, Deanna. I am trying to write one poem each day, as an advent calendar of sorts of poetry for winter. Today’s poem is inspired by Winter Solstice by Ray McNiece.

I’ve been writing and then recording audio of my poems but today — on the actual day of Winter Solstice — I decided to go a bit further, using an app for visual text, and voice, with soundtrack.

Peace (and poems),


Rusty, The Rock And Roll Robot: From AI Art to AI Story with AI Music

Maybe I went a little overboard here but I was curious about what would happen if I merged the output of a variety of different AI-infused sites to create an AI story from an AI image with a computer-generated narrator voice backed with an AI soundtrack. The result was a tale about Rusty the Guitar-playing, Rock-and-Roll Robot.

Here’s how it worked: This all began with an interactive article in the Washington Post about how AI engines create art from text prompts. The article is excellent and the tool to play with was worth tinkering with, so I used the prompt to guide my experiment along: A robot playing guitar in outer space in style of a cover of a magazine.

AI Art via WashPo

I had an interesting image that I downloaded but now wanted a story. So I opened up ChatGPT and typed in this prompt: Write a funny story of a robot making the cover of a magazine for playing guitar in outer space.

Within seconds, I had the text of a story about a robot named Rusty who was rocking the space jam and ending up going viral and landing on the cover of a magazine. I took a screenshot the story.

Story via ChatGPT

I went into LunaPic to merged the Art image with the story, and added a border. Neat.

AI Art Meets ChatBotGPT

Now I wanted some voice narration. I used a text-speech site that wasn’t AI, really, but the computer-generated voice worked for what I needed: a “narrator” reading the text of the story of Rusty as an audio file.

Knowing this would become a video project, I wanted some soundtrack music. I went into a site called Melobytes, which takes an image and used AI to convert it to music. I used the combined Rusty Art/Story from LunaPic, and got a soundtrack. (I remain a little skeptical and unsure of how Melobytes really works its AI magic, but I stayed with it because I could not find an alternative for this activity).

I also used Audacity to mix the music with the narration, and then went into SoundSlides to pull everything together into one project, with an image backed by audio.

Is it any good?

Well, it’s interesting as an experiment, I think, and it shows how more and more AI projects could become collaborations across platforms.

Is it writing?

I don’t think so, but it was an act of “composition” as I tried to weave different threads of the story, generated by machine, into a coherent media project.

And you know, it’s likely that some company will surely bring all of these AI tools — art, text, music — under one umbrella at some point, and I am not even sure if that is a good development or bad idea when it comes to the world of stories.

Peace (press Play),

Holiday Song: A Gift Of Peace

A few years ago, my friend John and I wrote and went into a studio, recording an original Christmas song, and each year, I bring it back out, and try to add some new remix elements as promotion. The song is called A Gift Of Peace (for Christmas) and I hope, if you listen, it brings you some joy.

This year, I followed some instructions from Eric Curts on making words light up as animation inside Google Slides. The original video – produced by my elder son, Colin – and full song is down below.

And if you want to help us earn nearly nothing but parts of pennies from streaming services, the song is on:

Peace (as Gift),