Poet’s Corner at Scarritt Bennett Center/August 22

Brenda McClearen will be the featured speaker at Poet’s Corner

August 22, 2013. (7:00-8:00 pm)
Free & open to the public
Fondren Building at Scarritt-Bennett (2nd Floor)
1008 19th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37212

Most convenient parking is in SBC Parking Lot A which is accessible from 18th Ave. S.

Plan to join us for some laughter, misty eyes… and basically a little fun.


Here is a sampling of Brenda’s work:

Greta Mae Skelton (Oct. 2011) 

The saucy gal with bosoms…
The one that had ‘em.

She stood out.
Her tall stature,
taller than reality
for the spike heels made her so.

Mama Skelton used to say that only Greta
gave her trouble.
The youngest child of 5

The one with fiery temper… flair,
and a zest to grab life
Make a whirlwind of it… really

Greta must have given her mom a real run…
more than the others
It was true.

She pushed the boundaries.
She jumped those fences.
She flew.

I’d guess the bosoms
helped to carve her personality
to bold.

Confident, head high and lilted… sure.

Not many have the luxury of such a physical trait
that enables a creation to become an eye magnet.

Such a shame for all the other Skelton girls
that Greta got all the bosom genes…

The whole linage of bosom blood…
all went into Greta.

And the small leftovers…
dispersed sparingly to the remaining three.

But the Lord knew that Greta Mae
could handle them, I guess.

And she did, they served her well
and all her days
they made her proud.

Her beauty of face and ready smile…
Her tiny waist, caramel skin…

Flashing beauty, bosoms…
turning heads with the ever slight of strut

The power to win men and gain women’s envy
with a simple drifting move
that cuts a room in two.

Colored lips, bright red always,
dark hair

Stunning, she glided…
confident she posed… perky

Fireworks followed her path
She captured the man…
the handsome, lively one

Natural they were together.
She loved her bosoms
and so did he.

Early to marry, they did,
cause her bosoms needed capturing.

Safe in hand
And a family fast – they made.
One, two the children came.

Her fire grew into a graceful
woman with age.

Her hair grew too, piled higher still, black.
She doted on her man, spoiled him sure.

This matriarch coddled her family.
She drew them all to her.
She loved deep.

We gathered round the casket.
Gone, she was.

The preacher praised Aunt Greta.
He described her love of flashy dress,
and shopping expertise…
her famous cherry cobbler… a perfected achievement.

He shared her love of God and family
and service to her fellow flock.
Then accolades more in detail…

But glaringly… absent to me…
all those words
and not a mention of those bosoms,
famous as they were.


Roll-y Veins 

It looked like the virus that had visited all at the office
was finally settled in to live with Mom.

Her labor in breathing and failure to rebound was becoming obvious.
The trip to the hospital changed from an if, to a when.
And I saw that it was coming.

What I dreaded most was watching the small, frail victim be so scared.

I knew the drill and had my “roll-y vein” speech ready.

“You know she has roll-y veins
so when you try to get blood
bring in the best blood sucking, vein catcher that you have

‘Cause this woman’s veins run, they roll
they dodge a needle with the best of skill.
You’ll puncture and poke, sweat and swear…
Then, you’ll give up… you’ll run find the best vein catcher you have.
So if you’ll start with the very best vein catcher in the east…

You’ll get those precious few drops…
quite a bit earlier than later
(cause that’s all you’ll get)

Plus, know at the onset that we can’t fill those tubes…
This blood river is slow, thick and dry… so get your drops and go.”

Then, much to my awe and amazement the vein catcher came,
poked, hit that roll-y vein… first snag!!
Wow, I thought… now that woman is a vein catcher champion, as she said
“That blood is like molasses”,
then skipped out with her vials,
in professional vampire form.

And we rest… Mom in her fancy bed
and me in my cushy straight chair,
with a fat pillow in my lap to hug.

It seemed like hours went by…
and it probably was,
but I had left home without a watch,
Thank God.

Our personal vampire returned with the scary blood pressure cuff.

In my mind… I knew where this fatal scene was headed.
I braced myself… I felt her fear that would come,
as sure as her next breath
I screamed, as loud as my mind could shout it

Please, Take my arm, Take my arm… with its plump fat cells and massive muscle…
It would be a more likely match against that boa constrictor cuff that makes its rattle, hiss,
then squeeze…
that painful squeeze…
And hauntingly, at the height of it’s control…
it begins to release it’s hold right before your arm is dead.

“Take my arm against that thing,” I cried.
But no, it was hers they wanted.

She cried “Mama, Mama”…

and I was there…
holding the hand that looked like mine.



Anticipation… fret… worry.
Such useless emotions
‘cept anticipation’s good sometimes
I guess.
Depends on the topic, you know.

But ‘fret and worry’…
I’ll single those scoundrels, scourges… scraps of venom out…
then chatter and chew on those two.
Crap… such a worthless duo,
just a waste of breath and brain.
I’ll wallow in a bit of time with them.
Then send them on their way.

They gnash.
They creep over your body like a virus.
Like disease…
like plunging in a river of cold,
cold to the core…
you can’t shake off.
You live with the shakes ‘till your seized.
Seized up and trembling.

Dentist, such an ugly word.
Just feel it in your mouth.

It causes you to ‘bite’ something.
It almost sounds like scraping…
crying, carving, pulling, prying.
Carcasses of teeth on the floor…
pomegranate red, everywhere, wet… messy

Crowbar that pried them out.

Stabs to your mouth, needles,
knife stabs and blood…

And those hands… the size of a lumber jacks………… huge.
She tries to get all 4 of ‘em
in the cavity
that’s much too small for that.

Using my front lower teeth
the loose ones…

Using them, those poor weak precious teeth,
the ones trying their best to hold on for life.
Using those poor fellows
for her pivot point
To anchor her crowbar, against.

How very cruel.


Rhymes with Satan.
Don’t you think?



Once it was the carrots
in my garden
planted in bad soil
starved of care and water

I’d pick those knarly carrots
pulling them from the earth
some small
some large
mostly bumpy and misshaped
not like a carrot at all
one would see at the market

But each carrot represented
to me, a sin to pluck
some deeply rooted
some shallow

My goal to tear all out
like weeds

I fed them to my dogs
who surrounded me
ready to catch, to devour

they didn’t mind them
small or large or gnarly

They gulped them down
as God would say,
“Give them to me all.”

“Can you find more?”
“Look hard within the
plowed rows.”

“Lay them at my feet
until they’re gone
and you can pluck no more.”

Then just for fun
I pulled two onions and tossed them to those dogs
They looked at me so funny

I betrayed them,
with a smile.

Hadley’s Southern Kitchen & Bakery (commercial, web, photography)

We have created a lot of commercials in the past, but the most recent spot for Hadley’s Restaurant out of Jackson, Tennessee was certainly a “day to remember”. (Click image above to watch the commercial!)


The client’s goal was to shoot macro food photography to support a minimum of three television spots in one day! We also supplied still photos for print, outdoor advertising and web purposes for all their new product line. ONE DAY…. well, it was a very long day.


I must share, that we prayed that this day would go smoothly, efficiently and sanely… and hoped we would be a blessing!


This process required a pretty efficient assembly line of talent to pull this together, to stay on time and within budget. Thankfully, we had a great crew, and I didn’t see anyone cry or throw food from the stress! Hmmmm, not a bad idea, we could have thrown a lot of food! I must admit we worked like a well-oiled machine. We got enough footage for several more spots in the can.


Many thanks to the crew: Mary, Martin, Fred, Randy, Fabianna, Russ, Kelli and Whitney


I certainly would not try this for just anyone… but we are real fans of the fine southern gentlemen that have a great product in… Hadley’s Southern Kitchen & Bakery. You know, it’s “Southern Food Done Right!”


We are hoping and hinting to see a Hadley’s Southern Kitchen & Bakery in our own Music City, real soon!


Visit Hadley’s Southern Kitchen & Bakery’s website (design by McClearen Design Studios): http://www.hadleysrestaurant.com

View the commercial on our YouTube channel!

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GodSong Music Academy with Allison Speer

It was a privilege and an honor to speak at GodSong Music Academy (previously known as The Elijah Conference) again this year. The conference, hosted by Allison and Brian Speer is a four day event that teaches ministers and musicians to hone their skills into a more effective presentation of the Gospel.


Students come away with critical performance techniques and instruction in the many facets of the music business such as: CD production, marketing, your image, non-profit ministry opportunities, road management and booking.


McClearen Design Studios’ part of the presentation touched on image and visual presentation of what contributes to good design for CD’s, photography, promotional materials, and web applications.


After speaking, I joined in for part of the afternoon to watch more of Allison Speer and her group’s presentations. I am always amazed at how much good information is covered here, in such a short amount of time. I was touched by a short critique of a young vocalist that preformed under Allison’s watchful eyes. Every detail of his presentation was noted by her, and at the very end, after stopping him mid-song several times, and offering tips on stage presence, vocal delivery, and actually breathing our Lord’s confidence into his work… Oh My Goodness… in the very last, the transformation took me by surprise. I still get cold chills at his final delivery of the song. The whole audience was moved, as I was.


Next, Allison and Brian presented a segment on songwriting. The two professionals interviewed, Joel Lindsey and Jeff Bumgardner, were co-writers on some of Allison’s new songs that are being released. Brian took Allison by surprise, and invited her to sing a couple of the cuts they had recorded. I must admit, after those two songs… I had cried enough. As I left, I commented to Matt Felts, of the Dixie Melody Boys… I gotta get outta here, so I can quit crying! Unexpectedly, as I drove home, I realized I had hoped to be a blessing to their ministry… but left… having been scooped up by my Lord and personally hugged by Him… and the beautiful group of people at GodSong Music Academy. Thank you, Allison and Brian, for letting me visit for as long as my heart could stand it!! Love to you both.


Brenda McClearen

McClearen Design Studios


Learn more about GodSong Music Academy at www.godsongmusicacademy.com

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DVD Shoot for Renee Grant-Williams, Master Vocal Coach

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with leading vocal coach, Renee Grant-Williams. Renee is a very well known, and well-respected vocal coach in the Nashville area, with clientele ranging from Christina Aguilera to Kenny Chesney.

McClearen Design Studios was asked to shoot video for Renee’s “Vocal Master Class,” held at Soundcheck Rehearsal Studio in Nashville. This was the first of these classes after a five-year hiatus, and at this time Renee has no plans for another Master Class, so it was an honor to be able to attend, and work on this DVD series.

The detail she brought to every aspect of her vocal teaching is nothing short of amazing. From the very beginning Renee caught my attention and drew me in. Even though I was running camera, I couldn’t help but join the group in breathing technique. As each talented vocalist gave us examples of their style, Renee’s critique and suggestions for improvement made for such an informative event. I am sure everyone there came away with so many new ideas and tools for improving their personnel style.

Participants’ names were drawn at random for to receive instruction from Renee, while other attendees learned by watching and listening. There was also an industry panel titled, “This New Business of Singing,” that helped provide singers with the insider information needed to pursue a successful career in the current music industry. Panel members included music moguls such as, Paul Worley, Frank J Myers, Dean Sams, and Sherod Robertson. It was a very informative session for everyone involved.

Later that evening, participants were asked to sing in front of power members of the music community, who would then offer critiques of the performances. There was an amazing amount of talent that hit the stage! Every person that performed did an incredible job. It was certainly a night to remember!

Learn more about Renee Grant-Williams at www.MyVoiceCoach.com.

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