Monday, May 17, 2010

The Life of a Picture Book Part Two: Drafting and waiting

Sometimes it takes a long time for the life of picture book to really get started. I began my ogress story over a month ago, with the idea of a character. And now, so many weeks later, it is nothing more than a partially finished rough draft, waiting within the pages of a composition notebook.

It is a sad way to begin life. Neglected, ignored as I pay attention to other stories (and even finishing some). But that is the way it is with picture books (and novels and poems) sometimes.

I haven't forgotten you, little ogress. Wait for me!

Read The Life of a Picture Book Part Three: Re-drafting

Friday, May 14, 2010

Slivers (possibly not for the squeamish)

Today I got a sliver (or splinter, as some call them) under my fingernail. A great big piece of wood from the mulch in the garden! OUCH is not quite a strong enough word to express how that felt (feels!).

Actually, there were two slivers. But the other one was in my thumb and was fairly easy to deal with. The one under my nail did not come out without a fight. A painful fight, at that.

Flashback to a childhood summer. I accidentally kicked the rusty metal of a car door, while wearing sandals, and ended up with a piece of rusty metal under the nail of my big toe. My folks tried to pull it out, but it broke. Tried soaking my foot in the tub. No help. Finally, my dad pulled out one of his dangerously sharp pocket knives. Uh oh.

I sat on the couch, paralyzed with fear, as my dad gradually shaved the toenail down until he was able to remove that piece of metal. It worked. And, despite my terror, he didn't nick me even once.

So today, as I considered my predicament, I thought of my dad. And I got out my pocket knife. And then--yep--I shaved my fingernail down and down and down (it took about an hour), until it was as thin as tissue paper. My oldest daughter overcame her squeamishness and helped by pressing the flesh of my finger down and away from the nail as I grabbed the sliver with the tweezers and--Hallelujah!--pulled it right out.

I must have said "Praise the Lord" about ten times. The relief was immense!

I have a crack about 1/3 of the way down my nail, and it is throbbingly sore. But the sliver is out and I will be able to sleep in peace.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Keep 'em coming

Yesterday I received TWO contracts in the mail. I've just sold two more poems to Highlights for Children! This makes four of my poems that Highlights has accepted thus far.

Having my poetry published has been a life-long dream. And to have them published in Highlights, at one point in my life, seemed like it would never happen. I must have sent them over 30 poems before I sold my first one, but I kept at it. And it has paid off. Hurray!

I thank God for each of these little successes because it was Him who gave me this talent for weaving words. And it is His creation that most often inspires me.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Spreading the Awesome: Because I Am Furniture

Because I am Furniture, by Thalia Chaltas is my pick for a book that deserves ten stars. It is a novel in poems about a teenage girl who feels like she is no more than furniture, ignored in the background, as she witnesses her brother and sister receive the worst kind of attention from their abusive father.

I love this book because it was so easy to fall in love with the main character, Anke, as she learns how to stand up for herself and her family.

Because of Thalia's gift for voice.

Because of the way she strikes to the heart of the issue of abuse with so few words. Just enough to break your heart and make you want to scream with rage--all without graphic details.

Because I could hardly put it down.

Because of how Thalia weaves hope into such a devastating story.

If you haven't read it, you should!