Friday, June 25, 2010

Noise, by Pooh

We're leaving on Sunday to go see the four grandkids in Texas. I'm so excited. Even though this thought from Pooh isn't quite the right season, it is summer already, it captures just the wonderfulness I feel.

Noise, by Pooh

Oh, the butterflies are flying,
Now the winter days are dying,
And the primroses are trying
To be seen.

And he turtle-doves are cooing,
And the woods are up and doing,
For the violets are blue-ing
In the green.

Oh, the honey-bees are gumming
On their little wings, and humming
That the summer, which is coming,
Will be fun.

And the cows are almost cooing,
And the turtle-doves are mooing,
Which is why a Pooh is poohing
In the sun.

For the spring is really springing;
You can see a skylark singing,
And the blue-bells, which are ringing,
Can be heard.

and the cuckoo isn't cooing,
But he cucking and he's ooing,
And a Pooh is simply poohing
Like a bird.

More Poetry Friday here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Daddy

Taught me how to drive on old Ford pick-up truck with three-on-the-column.

Is one of the kindest men I know.

Is as good as his word.

Worked hard and came home smelling like axle grease and sawdust. Those two things still smell good to me today.

Helped me collect newspapers and turn them in for cash to earn enough money to go to the World's Fair in New York.

Stopped in the middle of the freeway in New York City when all the cars but ours turned left.

Loves to laugh.

Never played a practical joke on me, but could pull some stunts on the aunts and uncles.

Can still fold me in his arms and make me feel safe and loved.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Perfect Procrastination

After a morning of errands and exercise, I sat down at my computer for an extended session of writing. It's an ongoing project that I've committed to finish this summer. The research is done, my notebook is organized according to sequence of events. I've written out a rough sketch of the events I'll use. Now it's time to put words on paper in an attempt at a first draft.

Oh, wait, I forgot to send that e-mail to the guy at work. And I promised a copy of a story manuscript to a couple of young readers who agreed to give me some feedback.

And it's Monday. Aren't I supposed to be washing clothes today?

There's the mailman. I could use a breath of fresh air, even if it does feel like I'm breathing in a sauna.

I'm hungry. Right, it's lunchtime. I should eat something.

I really don't like this pen. Where did I put the other one? Nope, don't like this one either. Note to self, buy a big box of those pens I like.

My nose is dripping. Where did I put that box of Kleenex?

Pit stop.

Phone rings and I enjoy a conversation with my daughter. Something in the conversation triggers one of those miraculous brain synapses that takes you somewhere else.

Check the map and see how you get from Denmark to St. Petersburg. (Different book.)

Doorbell rings. Talkative neighbor drops off tomatoes. Now where was that blog I read that recommended calling the most talkative person you can think of as a solution to procrastination? I really can't remember, but yes, it works.

Did I think about supper yet? I hate cooking on writing days. Jump in the car and run to the grocery to grab a rotisserie chicken. Get to the grocery and realize I've forgotten my purse.

Back home. Okay, maybe I'll write for a while and then go back to the grocery.

By the time I get back, there are no more chickens, so I buy scallops instead (they cook fast) and a bag of lettuce.

I give up. Maybe I'll just blog about it. With two pages under my belt, tomorrow will be easier.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Poetry Friday: Deep Sea Diver

Since I turned in my explorers manuscript last week, I've been breathing a deep sigh of relief. There comes an amazing sense of accomplishment, a bit like this poem about a deep sea diver. And by the way, one of my scripts is on Auguste and Jacques Piccard who built the bathyscaph and descended to Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, the deepest spot in the Pacific Ocean.

Deep Sea Diver
Robert Francis

Diver go down
Down through the green
Inverted dawn
To the dark unseen
To the never day
The under night
Starless and steep
Deep beneath deep
Diver fall
And falling fight
Your weed-dense way
Until you crawl
Until you touch
Weird water land
And stand.

Diver come up
Up through the green
Into the light
The sun the seen
But in the clutch
Of your dripping hand
Diver bring
Some uncouth thing
That we could swear
And would have sworn
Was never born
Or could ever be
Blaze on our sight
Make us see.

More of Poetry Friday hosted here by Kelly Poldark.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


When my kids were small, we had dial-a-story at our library. You simply dialed the number and someone read you a story over the phone. Now there's YouTube, but who wants their child surfing through the list of unmonitored videos?

There is now an alternative.

If you haven't visited the UK website called, you're missing an exciting new adventure into publishing on the web. At Smories, you'll find original stories for kids read by kids. There's even an i phone app so that your children can listen/view the stories from a cell phone. Smories is an independent project started by two London-based writer/illustrators.

At the home page, you'll find photos of the young narrators. Hover over a photo and you'll see the name of the story and the author. Click on the photo and there's the story on video--straight from the home of a child. Stories are monitored and there are no inappropriate, offensive, or harmful elements. Just kids reading good stories to other kids.

Most of the narrators are British and consequently read with an accent, but the site plans to add more American narrators beginning in August.

If you're a writer, there's a link to submit your story. Author retains all rights except the right to publish the story as a narrated film on their website. The website is still fairly new, and only the best 50 stories submitted per month will be published. Beginning in August, Smories plans to add one story each day.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Poetry Friday: Robert Louis Stevenson Gives Away His Birthday

Don't you love listening to Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story." Getting a look into the back story of famous writers and little tidbits of their everyday lives has always been fun for me. Here's a delightful story I found in an old book called, Children's Letters, published in 1905.

A young friend of Robert Louis Stevenson regretted having been born on Christmas Day. Stevenson agreed to give her his birthday in November if she would, in return, add part of his name to hers. Here's the agreement:

I, Robert Louis Stevenson, Advocate of the Scots Bar, author of "The Master of Ballantrae" and "Moral Emblems," stuck civil engineer, sole owner and patentee of the Palace and Plantation known as Vailima in the island of Upolu, Samoa, a British subject, being in sound mind, and pretty well, I thank you, in body:

In consideration that Miss Annie H. Ide, ... was born, out of all reason, upon Christmas Day, and is therefore out of all justice denied the consolation and profit of a proper birthday;

And considering that I, the said Robert Louis Stevenson, have attained an age when we never mention it, and that I now have no further use for a virthday of any description;

...Do hearby transfer to the said Annie H. Ide, all and whole my rights and privileges in the thirteenth day of November, formerly my birthday, now, hereby, and henceforth, the birthday of the said Annie H. Ide, to have, hold, and enjoy the same in the customary manner, by the sporting of fine rainment, eating of rich meats, and receipt of gifts, compliments, and copies of verse, according to the manner of our ancestors;

And I direct the said Annie H. Ide to add to the said name of Annie H. Ide the name Louisa--at least in private...

Stevenson must have liked Annie's reply. He wrote her letter in return:

My dear Louisa,--...I am now, I must be, one of your nearest relatives; exactly what we are to each other I do not know. I doubt if the case has ever happened before...I think I ought to call name-daughter.

...You are quite wrong as to the effect of the birthday on your age. From the moment the deed was registered...the 13th of November became your own and only birthday, and you ceased to have been born on Christmas Day...You are thus become a month and twelve days younger than you were, but will go on growing older for the future in the regular and human manner, from one 13th November to the next. The effect on me is more doubtful; I may, as you suggest, live forever; I might, on the other hand, come to pieces, like the one-horse shay, at a moment's notice; doubtless the step was risky, but I do not the least regret that which enables me to sign myself your revered and delighted name-father, Robert Louis Stevenson.

Stevenson's Birthday
by Katherine Miller

"How I should like a birthday," said the child,
"I have so few and they are so far apart."
She spoke to Stevenson -- the Master smiled,
"Mine is to-day, I would with all my heart
That it were yours; too many years have I,
Too swift they come, and all too swiftly fly."

So by a formal deed he then conveyed
All right and title to his natal day,
To have and hold, to sell or give away--
Then signed and gave it to the little maid.

Joyful yet fearing to believe too much,
She took the deed but scarcely dared unfold.
Ah, Liberal Genius at whose potent touch
All common things shine with transmitted gold,
A day of Steven's will prove to be
Not part of time, but Immortality.

Read more Poetry Friday posts at The Cazzy Files.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Garrison Keiler on the End of Publishing

There is an interesting article from Garrison Keillor in the New York Times. It's called "The End of an Era in Publishing." If you haven't read it, you should. Keillor is a self-admitted pessimist, but he presents his pessimism in such an attractive package, it's not easy to disagree with his prediction of publishing's imminent demise.

Thad McIlroy, over at The Future of Publishing, left a short post you should read, too. Orwell vs.Huxley on the Future of Books reminds us that this discussion has been going on for a long time.

Back in March of this year, Stephen Lowman, staff writer for the Washington Post wrote an article called, The Future of Children’s Book Publishing. He quotes Michael Norris, an analyst for the media research firm Simba Information, who said publishers of children's books are "unbelievably important" to the survival of publishing as a whole. The article also interviewed Jeff Kinney, whose “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series was originally published online, not as a book. Kinney said, "I feel like I am hedging my bets by keeping one foot in the print world and one foot in the online world," Kinney said.

I work with media specialists on a regular basis. This spring I was talking to one who had her doubts that e-books would ever replace the paper version. Her reasoning? Too many kids don’t have the resources to purchase a Kindle or an iPad. Too many of her teen readers still want the feel of a book in their hands. Too many school districts don’t have the funds to buy them for their students and fix them when they break.

For the moment, I lean to the my media specialist’s side of the argument, no matter how much I enjoy the way Garrison Keillor puts words together.

What do you think? Leave me a comment. I'd like to hear which camp your experience places you in.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I have two, and they were both here this weekend. One from Oregon and one from Mississippi. I enjoyed them so much, I forgot about the camera. So, no pictures, but I'm posting an older one so that you can see my lovely girls. I have one more week with Jen before she goes back home.

Having them both to myself without other family around was blissful. A little like having a really good meal and a fine glass of wine. Moments to savor.

I'll be back to posting normally next week.