Keeping up with the times

Hi everyone,

Got my office cleaned so now I’m ready to start the process of messing it up again. Digging through the debris produced latest issues of “The Missouri Archaeologist,” “Literacy Today” (ILA journal), and “Language Arts” (NCTE journal) so I want to get to those this week. I don’t subscribe to many magazines but association journals help me follow trends in fields that interest me. For example, this issue of “Literacy Today,” features the results of a survey about current hottest topics in education, “Language Arts” includes an article about notable trade books for 2016, and “The Missouri Archaeologist” presents a brief history of steamboating on the Missouri River. I thinking about writing an article to submit to one of the state journals for an upcoming issue so that’s another reason to keep up. I’m curious about the journals or other materials you read to stay current with your interests? I think I’ve asked this before but it has been quite a while.

Sandy and I spent much of yesterday pulling taxes together. I think I can finish this afternoon. But this morning’s quiet hours are reserved for me. And away I go.

Well someone has to decide

Hi everyone,

Winding up another week
and peering toward the next.

I’m arguing with myself about my priorities over the next five days.

On one hand I need to start a second poem for the new collection I have in mind but on the other I need to do some serious editing on a manuscript that really has a priority over something new. It’s enough to put me to sleep.

All I know is that I’ll work on something next week whether I sit at the keyboard ,

or in my favorite chair in the living room.


I forgot that my M.O.W. says I can’t play until I clean my room.
I guess I’d better start with that.


Sometimes it’s nice to change the scene

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I spent most of the time sitting in the living room in a favorite chair by a window. I was revising a manuscript and didn’t need to be working at the keyboard. I loved the break from the routine. I held a pad on my lap and used a pencil to snip and tuck away. Occasionally I would come in here to type in my edits or pause for coffee or snacks. Okay, one time it wasn’t coffee, but that was later in the afternoon.

Next week looks mostly open so I look forward to my chair by the window then too. From that seat I have a great view of Goose Lake. A week ago we were visited by a bald eagle. Yesterday we had three swans. As you well know, I’ll never grow tired of watching the residents and visitors going about their business.

My Word of the Month poem for March

Hi everyone,

One Time When I was Little

One time when I was little
and we lived in Ajo, Arizona,
our neighbor Mrs. Joe Geiger
made tacos and invited me

and Mr. Joe Geiger and I
got into a contest to see
who could eat the most tacos
and we tied

so next day at school a girl said
I smelled bad and my teacher sniffed
and said so too and moved me
to the front of the room so my
garlic breath wouldn’t kill anybody

and later I found out that
Ajo means garlic in Spanish
so that makes my story funny
so ha ha.

And the kids said, “Really?”

Hi everyone,

This morning I hope to finish the poem I’ve been working on for ten days or so. I haven’t spent much time on it most days but enough to make it seem like it has taken a long time. At the festival one child asked how long it takes me to have a book published. The longest for me was THE MOUSE WAS OUT AT RECESS, my second book of poems about school, which came out in 2003.

The first book about school, SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, was released in 1993 and sold well. It went into a third printing during its initial year. I decided to do a second school collection and eventually sent my manuscript to my editor, Bernice (Bee) Cullinan. She liked it and was proceeding with it. Before it got too far I reread the manuscript and contacted Bee to tell her I didn’t want to publish the book yet. She seemed surprised but was gracious about it.

I got busy on other projects and it took me some time to get back to work on the second set, but I eventually discarded some of the original poems, revised others, and added a few new ones. Bee liked the second effort and put it back in line to be illustrated. Before that happened, I revisited what I’d sent her and found several pieces that I didn’t like and wondered how I could have thought they were good enough. I contacted Bee. She agreed to let me have another chance to make whatever improvements I thought necessary.

By the time I finally sent the third version of THE MOUSE WAS OUT AT RECESS to Bee and it became a book, nine years had passed. I had written seventy-four poems and kept twenty-five of them for the book. All the others were discarded along the way.

P.S. The book was nowhere near as successful as SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK. Maybe I should have tried harder.