A good week of thinking

Hi everyone,

Last week my seven days of thinking turned out well. I worked on a revision with Sandy Asher of Jesse and Grace, the verse novel we wrote some time ago and which Sandy turned into an award-winning play. We’re polishing it a bit to prepare to enter it for a dramatic reading. If we make it, I’ll tell you more about that.

Cheryl Harness and I pulled a story from the file that she and I hatched a few years back over wine and chatter at a dinner somewhere; maybe at a Warrensburg Children’s Literature Festival? Correct me, Cheryl. Anyway, we couldn’t sell it because it’s about a princess and some editors who saw it informed us the world wasn’t much in need of another princess story. So to heck with ’em, we’ve embarked on a completely different story springing from the ashes of the dearly departed princess.

Also during the week, I got to thinking about an extremely unlikely subject for a science picture book, outlined it, shared it with my agent, he likes it, so as soon as I can I’ll start work on it.

What else? Got my new webcam installed (thanks Jeff) and a tripod ordered (thanks, Jeff). Posted a new picture on OZARKS FAMILY VOICES (with another plea for more pictures I can post there: https://www.facebook.com/ozarksfamilyvoices. Gave a ZOOM presentation to Springfield Writers’ Guild. Received two rejections. Wrote the first draft of my Word of the Month Poetry Challenge poem, which I’ll post soon. Agreed to meet virtually tomorrow with our moderator and eight other poets to rehearse for a program to be aired on October 15. Jane Yolen and I wrote our poems for the upcoming series of bloggers who will help us introduce our new picture book, RUM PUM PUM. Su Hutchens and I agree to give my agent another week or two to read our new collaboration before I start nudging.

I recommend a good thinking week now and then. It relieves pressures and allows the imagination to get out for a good romp.

Adding a new voice to the tool box

Hi everyone,

In my thirties I published picture books of fiction. To wided my range I added picture books and full length works of nonfiction. In my fifties I added poetry to reenergize me and hone my writing skills. In my sixties I began co-writing books for teachers.

In my seventies I told you in one of my posts that I wanted to see if I could successfully write middle grade novels. My first story, placed in Peru’s Amazon rain forest, was rejected by editors who said they liked the story but didn’t relate to the voice. I revised the manuscript and tried again. The editors liked the story but didn’t relate to the voice. I revised again. One editor liked the story but wouldn’t accept it because of the Our Own Voices movement: I wasn’t a Peruvian. Other editors said they liked the story but didn’t relate to the voice.

I wrote a second middle grade novel. It takes place in the Arizona desert. Editors so far have said they like the story but don’t relate to the voice. I’m midway into a third middle grade novel but have put it on hold until I figure out how to “fix” my voice. To me both stories are told well, but that’s the danger of being your own critic. Su Hutchens has read both manuscripts and provided wonderful input, a true gift from a true friend. I’ve read a handful of middle grade novels by friends who write them well and thought I’d learned from their examples. I think my next step is to read a LOT more of them.

One thing I won’t do is quit. I’m frustrated but challenged, and that, after all, is one of the main reasons why we all keep trying.

Oh lordy, I gots da windshield blues

Hi everyone,

Today’s sad story is reported by our pal Su Hutchens. With her permission I’m reprinting her note to me here. As you can see, this poor lady deserves a carload of poor babies and maybe they should be poetically phrased. Just saying.

Here’s the story…

I got my new car (a Rogue) two years ago. Had it about two months before a rock was thrown up on a gravel road and caused a big chip. The chip has steadily grown through the two years, but was on the passenger side, so it didn’t mess with my vision while driving.

About six weeks ago, my car was at Denver International Airport, and on the very day we flew home, there was an awful hail storm at the airport. In fact, our plane wasn’t allowed to land because of the storm, and we were diverted to another airport on the other side of the Rocky Mountains for a few hours.

You guessed it – the windshield was really busted now.

Today, we took the Rogue to Cheyenne to have the windshield replaced, along with the windshield on Danny’s truck, which was also broken. (The windshield place LOVED us today! Ha!)

I joked with the young lady at the windshield place…wondering if Danny or me would get the first chip.

Guess I tempted Fate, and she got even with me!

I had not even had the car for an HOUR, and was on the way home (just a few miles away!) when a pickup truck coming towards me on the gravel road that leads to our house kicked up a rock and…you guessed it…I now have a chip in the new windshield! The “starburst” around it is about the size of a quarter!!!! Oh yeah – the chip is down low on the driver’s side…of course!

I sure hope my phone wasn’t “listening” to me while I spewed a few choice words!!! (I can’t be mad at the truck driver – he even waved to me as he went by! This stuff just happens when you live in the country!)

Anyway – I called the windshield place, and they said to come back tomorrow and they’ll repair the chip for me.

Goodness gracious! It’s always something, huh???

Hope you and Sandy get a chuckle out of my sad tale. Honestly, I’m laughing about it now. It just wasn’t funny a few hours ago!

Hugs!
Su

Worth repeating

Hi everyone,

On Friday I posted a picture of my turtles studying my calendar and Jane wrote a witty poem about it. I followed up with this picture and a poem and Susan chipped in a poem as well, but I’m not sure many saw the fun developing. Today I’m reposting all that for anyone who missed the original and maybe we’ll see some further contributions before the day is done.

Jane Yolen

February 10, 2018 @ 7:04 am

The Turtles Escape

The Reading of Turtles
is not too well known.
They sit upon books
that their people all own.

They act as if reading–
–Or sleeping–who knows.
Their eyes are just painted
and they never close.

I worry they’re reading
and planning a trip.
I caution myself
that I must get a grip.

Next morning, the turtles
are missing, away.
I worry about it
for all of the day.

But turtles are careful,
deliberate, I know.
Wherever they’re headed,
It’s going to be sloooooooow.

Hahahaha!

JaneY

The Turtle’s Response

All those nights
he read to us.
All those words
he fed to us.

Now those words
will take us far
cleverly hidden
in his car.

We’ve made our plans,
we’ve marked the date,
we’ve packed our bags,
and now we wait.

He says that turtles
aren’t allowed,
but we can READ!
He’ll be so proud!

(c) by David L. Harrison, all rights reserved

Susan Hutchens

February 11, 2018 @ 12:17 am

Don’t Judge a Turtle!

Likely ’cause
we walk so slow,
people think
we just don’t know.

Folks judge us by
our outer looks –
We might be green
but we love books!

Like other creatures
here on earth,
we didn’t choose
this reptile birth.

Ever hopeful
we surge ahead,
and know we’re smart
because we read!

How cold is it?

Hi everyone,
20170107_093928_resized
How cold is it? Susan Hutchens has challenged us to tell her. Rule #1: keep it clean, kiddies. 20170107_112538_resizedFor example, if you must talk about them, go somewhere like, “Our Christmas tree is setting so close to the window that its balls have turned blue.” 20170107_093941_resizedThat sort of thing. See what I mean? Or maybe “SNL’s Shweddy Balls have stopped Swedding.” Just keep it in good taste. That’s all I’m saying.