Saturday, September 06, 2014

The End of Summer

Photo credit: Me!
The End of Summer

Coneflowers in full bloom
bees buzzing from blossom to blossom
hints of red and orange tinted leaves
cooler evenings
morning dew shimmering in the sunlight
cicadas whirring, whirring in the branches
the sudden absence of robins
and goldfinches
sun peering into south-facing windows
chrysanthemums unfolding
apples ripening in the orchard.
A beautiful end,
a hopeful beginning.


Monday, September 01, 2014

Moosey Monday: My Birthday Present

My college daughter surprised me with an unannounced visit on my birthday (this past Saturday). As if that wasn't enough of a treat, she also brought me this little gift:















A moose figurine! Isn't it lovely? I think it will go very nicely on my writing desk.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

39

In celebration of my 39th birthday, here are 39 things that I am thankful for, in no particular order:

1. Legos
2. Sharpies
3. Family
4. Art
5. Poetry
6. Friends
7. Sunsets
8. Fresh baked bread
9. Home cooked meals
10. Christmas
11. Books
12. Humor
13. Movies
14. Foot massages
15. Fair weather clouds
16. Swings
17. Spring blossoms
18. Mountains
19. Trees
20. Tea
21. Jesus
22. Liberty
23. Games
24. Photo albums
25. Technology
26. Rain
27. Seasons
28. Snow
29. Home
30. Health
31. Blankets
32. Grocery stores
33. Church
34. Sewing machines
35. Book glue
36. Pizza
37. Ice cream
38. Hugs
39. Birthdays!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Writing a Picture Book Can Be Like Shopping for Jeans

I've been working on a new manuscript for the past couple of weeks: a picture book based a nursery rhyme.

Rhyme. It seems the logical approach for this story. You know, since it is based on a nursery rhyme and all. And since I tend to slip into rhyme by accident every time I start writing a new picture book anyway.

But with this project, I haven't settled into any format yet. Nothing fits well enough to make me say, "Sold!"

It's like shopping for jeans, bringing them one at a time into the fitting room until I find just the right pair.

The first format was a fairly simple narrative prose. I often begin this way when I have a concept for a story, but haven't figured out all the details. It's like brainstorming as I write. Or like trying on the simplest, most basic style of jeans a store has to offer. Sometimes they fit; more often they do not. But trying them on gives me an idea of what might work better. The prose, to me, was like a pair of jeans that were too big in all the wrong places.

So I switched to a basic rhyme pattern that has worked well for me in the past. But something wasn't quite right. It was like putting on a pair of bootcut jeans that looked great, but just weren't quite what I was looking for. I needed something fresher. Younger. Maybe with a little bling on the pockets.

Back to prose I went. This time I aimed for something a little snappy, a little irreverent, a little fun. It was cute at first. It seemed to be working! But...I paused. It was like trying on a pair of jeans that looked like everything I ever wanted, but I just couldn't get used to ultra low rise. It wasn't me. The story didn't feel authentic.

So yes. Back to rhyme. This time I was confident. I had thought of an adorable beginning stanza that matched almost perfectly the pattern of the original rhyme--an AAB CCB pattern. But after the first several stanzas, I started to feel like it was too restricting. Like a pair of jeans that looked perfect, and showed off all the right curves, but were too tight. If I bought them, everyone would know that I had to force my way into them.

And forcing it is never the way to go when writing a picture book, especially a picture book in rhyme.

So back to browsing I go. Unlike when I'm shopping for jeans, I'm confident that I will find something that fits me and this story perfectly.






Monday, August 25, 2014

Moosey Monday: WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? updates

On Friday, the "fold and gathers" for WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? arrived on my doorstep! A "fold and gather" (f & g) basically looks like an unbound book. All the pages are printed, then folded and gathered together the way they will look when the book is bound.

So we are one step closer to having a real published book!

The book is turning out to be fantastically adorable. I can hardly wait until I get the go-ahead to reveal the cover!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Suddenly, it's August!















How do looooong
 s  l  o  w
...lazy...
summer days
multiply so quickly?


SUDDENLY
it's August
and I'm faced with
a pile of back-to-school paperwork,
a long list of summer TO-DOs
that didn't get done,
and the dread of moving my daughter
back to school
for her second year
of COLLEGE.

Is there some way that I can
s..t..r..e..t..c..h
the next week
so that it feels more like
a month?

No?

Then I suppose I'll have to do
what I always do
and make the most of this last week
of summer break.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Visting the Shire...sort of

I found The Shire, and it's in Iowa!


Okay, so it's not really The Shire. It's actually the Loess Hills State Forest in western Iowa. But when I looked out over this landscape a few days ago, it wasn't too hard to imagine that I had stepped into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings


Beautiful, no? One of the midwest's hidden gems.