Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Odds and Ends

Goodbye February!

Seriously, don't let the door hit your bum on the way out.

Yay for March!

First things first--on Saturday, March 3rd, I will be appearing at a fabulous Read and Romp event in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday.  Details are here .  Proceeds benefit Reach Out and Read, a pediatric literacy program.

*dusting off my striped hat/crown combination*

Let's see, what else is new?

Well, I bought a stuffed Yoda yesterday to use at class meeting time.  (It's a thing where whoever is holding the special object is the only one who gets to speak...and I could not think of a more special object than a stuffed Yoda.)

I am about to dive into edits on a newish mg book.  I got some great (as in helpful) feedback from my agent but I am holding off until the weekend to start.  (We've got two concerts in two days coming up.  Vocal jazz on Thursday and show choir on Friday.  I shall be officially concerted out by Saturday, I fear.)  But back to the writing, I am almost done with a bit of restructuring I did on Keelie of the Lake.  I had been letting that one sit for a while until I could figure out what it needed.  I think I found it and should be done soon.

I've been reading a delightful manuscript for a friend and am typing up a teeny bit of feedback.

I have two picture book drafts complete, but in that simmering stage. The great thing about a picture book draft is that they either get better with age (like a fine wine) or they start to stink (like garbage.)  I am hoping I have written  champagne, but only time will tell if I have indeed penned swill (or not.)

I should make a list of March goals, since it is one of my favorite months....but since it is still cruddy old Feb., I am going to be lazy and do it in the next post. I think I will hail the new month with Corned Beef!!  Yes, every March should be welcomed with Corned Beef (and yeah, I know they didn't really eat it in Ireland, they ate Irish bacon.  People started the whole Corned Beef thing here in America.  True.)

Well, Happy March!


P.s.  Um, this is so embarrassing....but look!

 My husband said, "I liked your book on Amazon today."  I said, "I liked it yesterday, so there." Yeah, so there.  So ridiculous, but the sight of Trinket makes me happy in an all over kind of way.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 Authors I Really Admire

1.  I adore Grace Lin.  She writes incredible books for children across genres.

Newberry Honor!  

Geisel Award Winner!
What I love about Grace is that she follows the story where it needs to go.  So if the story needs to be for beginning readers, that's how she writes it.  If the story wants to be more lyrical, that's how she writes it.  There are not many folks who do well as easy reader and middle grade authors--but Grace Lin does.  AND my student LOVE her books.  Just love them.  (And she has a couple of amazing chapterbooks out, too!)

Check out her blog, here.  Grace is the kind of author that I want to be.

2. So is Jane Yolen.

This book

Caldecott winner....oh yeah!
changed me as a reader and a writer.  How I love the way she writes!  And she is an award winner, too.  (In addition to writing over 300 books!  True! )  Jane Yolen loves language and I so love to read her words.  From simple picture books:
To intense novels (and graphic novels as well!!)  Jane Yolen consistently knocks it out of the part. She is another writer that I adore.

3. And then, there's Cynthia.  Cynthia Rylant, that is.

Her Henry and Mudge books were among the first that inspired me to write my own easy readers.
Cutest. Couple. Ever.
And she showed me that children's authors can write across genres, yet again!

Yes, that is a Newberry Medal
I loved the book, Missing May, sooooo much.  Cried, but they were good tears.

I am sensing a theme--maybe with the Oscars looming I am thinking about award-winning authors...I dunno. But I do know that these writers and their collective spirits of writerly freedom inspire me and ignite within me the desire to be better at my profession as a writer, to push myself to try new things, and to give to my writing the best effort that I can.

When I grow up, I want to be them.

What writers inspire you?


Friday, February 17, 2012

The Week In Numbers

Number of times I watched a mid-school production of High School Musical = 4

Number of Star Wars valentines given out = 31

Number of Origami Yodas and/or Darth Papers I received = 3

Number of eighths of pizza eaten by students on Valentine's day = 32 (Yes, as a matter of fact I am teaching fractions right now.)

Number of headaches due to school-wide evaluation = 1 (but it was a very big one)

Number of times I had to listen to Moves Like Jagger in the car with daughter = WAY too many

Number of four-leaf clovers found = 2

Number times I cried while reading THE FAULT IN OUR STARS = 2

Number of pages I revised = 57

Number of purses I wanted to buy = 1

Number of purses I actually bought = 0

Number of times I cleaned my desk = 1

Number of random items I removed from my desk = 21

Number of days I have off in a row starting today = 4!!!

Number of hours I am going to sleep tonight = a lot


Saturday, February 11, 2012

What Keeps Us Whole

The other day, I was talking with some new acquaintances about the different aspects of my professional life.  There is the Educator Part and the Writer Part.

Their comments were along the lines of, "When do you have time to write?  Especially a novel?"

The answer is both simple and hard.

The simple part is that we all have those things we do that keep us whole.  Sometimes those things are social, sometimes artistic, sometimes restful, sometimes get the idea.

The hard part is the realization that you can't do all of them all of the time.

I am making peace with the fact that I will not write quick novels because often, after a full day of teaching, I manage only a page a day, and am usually very grateful for that meager page.  That page helps to balance me.  That page keeps me whole.

And sometimes I am so incredibly jealous of writers who have the luxury of writing full time.  (Notice how I phrased that?  Written by someone dripping with envy.....)  But then I have to admit that the teaching part of my life, the part of me that works side by side with kids as we try and figure out this thing called Knowledge,  this thing called Meaning, this thing called Life, keeps me balanced as well.  My work with children keeps me whole.

I suppose it's a bit of a Yin and Yang thing.

And instead of being overwhelmed by it and by the lack of time to do everything that I dream of , I am deciding to embrace it.  I am lucky to have stumbled into those things that keep me  sane and alive.

And whole.


What keeps you whole? What feeds your soul?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Things I Love Right Now

1.  I am in love the with art work of Mary Blair.  She is the Disney artist who designed It's a Small World.  She also worked on Peter Pan, Alice and Wonderland and many others.  I just love her style and use of color.

 I bought a print of one of her paintings recently.  *love*

2.  I love that it is now the Year of the Dragon!  (I have this thing for dragons....)
This is my puppet, baby dragon.  He is very excited that it is his year.

3.  I love Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Truffles.  They are heart-shaped and the outer chocolate makes a lovely snapping sound when you bite into it.  The inner chocolate stuff is smooth and creamy.  I am sorry that no one else in my area will get to have any since I bought All Of Them.

4.  I love the students and staff of Mission Meadows Elementary for having me at their bookfair/pajama party last Friday evening at Barnes and Noble.  What a fun night!  It is always lovely to be met with such an excited crowd.  I felt like a rockstar.

5.  I love that February has the decency to be the shortest month.  I am going to be honest here--not my favorite month.  But at least it is short.  And before we know it, it will be March.  Which.I.Love!!

So, what do you love?