Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One That Trips Me

This came from a tumbler reference. I'm not sure whom to credit.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Everyone Has A Voice

Mossi White: Emigrated to America all by herself at the age of 19.
I will try to re-tell her story the best I can.

When Mossi was younger and still living in Norway, she attended a music class. The class was singing and the teacher stopped mid-song and announced, "Someone is not singing right." Self conscious thoughts raced through her head that it might be her; she lip-synced the rest of the song. When the teacher couldn't identify the off-note singer, he decided to have each student sing a solo. Mossi stood in terror waiting for her turn. She only sang two notes when the teacher stopped her and said, "You need to leave the class right now and go to the library. You can spend the rest of the class in the library and I will still give you full credit for the class."

Mossi never sang again and for the rest of her life, she lamented that she didn't have a voice--until one day as she sat on the podium as a guest speaker in front of 9 deaf women who sang. Beautifully. With their hands.  Their voice was different but each one had a voice and used it in the best way possible.  Mossi decided to always use her voice and she did. She was an advocate for education and has been a keynote speaker in almost 50 states and in several different countries. She taught her daughters to use their voice--two daughters are attorneys and another is a Doctor of Psychology.

As writers, we have a voice. And it's important to use that voice in the best way we know how. Beautifully. However that may be.

Preparation and the Earthworm

The lowly earthworm. Or at least you may think it is the lowly earthworm. To me, the earthworm is pure joy. 

On Friday, I spent a few hours in my garden beds preparing the soil for a great summer garden. And the first step to great vegetables is great soil.  But it actually started long before this Friday afternoon.

Last year, I added several new garden beds. I started with basic soil that was missing the good stuff-earthworms and other matter that makes it light and rich. I knew it would take a lot of work to make the soil rich. Because I had worked to do just that, I stood on the periphery of the new beds filled with anticipation.  I thrust the shovel into the soil and overturned chunks of earth again and again, hoping to find good soil.  And then, I hit the mother lode. A shovelful of earthworms! I broke into a smile and then crumbled the dirt between my fingers examining the organic matter that had housed these lovely creatures. Amidst the dirt, were chunks of vegetable and kitchen scraps, decomposed leaves and other green matter from last fall. And that is where it all began. Last fall. The wealth and richness in my garden soil began months and even years before.

Because I don't have any giant deciduous trees in my yard, I rake and collect the leaves from my neighbors' gardens. Their benefit is my benefit. I carry buckets and bags of leaves down to my garden and spread them over the soil. 

I also keep a small bucket in my kitchen to collect all the green refuse: bottoms of celery stalks, apple cores,  old lettuce. I dig holes in the garden soil and mix the kitchen matter. Over the winter, the kitchen scraps and the leaves decompose and create a rich environment for earth worms. 

Earthworms are so important because they aerate the soil. They turn clumpy, clay soil into light loam. They eat through the organic matter, process it and the castings they leave behind are the best soil conditioner.

Here's my takeaway: The fruit of my writing labor: earthworms in my soil, the work to bring them to my garden, began six months ago, even before then. And this is what I take away as a writer. Plopping in front of the computer and whipping out a novel in NanoWriMo fashion is the preparation necessary to the finished novel.  My life experiences, the choices I make, the adventures I dare, come before the great novel. 

So today, as I sit at "Women in Leadership" conference accompanied by four lovely seniors, it's not a waste of a Saturday morning and afternoon, it's preparing the soil, my mind for something great and yet unseen.

Lesson for you: Where are you today?

The Brugge Madonna

A couple of my students insisted I see the film "The Monuments Men." Art and WWII--I knew it would be a film to love. But there was an unexpected surprise. The Brugge Madonna, sculpted by Da Vinci, is an important sculpture in the film.  I had been to Brugge several years ago, and knew if there was a DaVinci in this small town, I had probably seen it. The story was familiar. After the film, I came home and searched my Brugge file and voila, I had seen the sculpture  and taken a photo. The sculpture was found in a tiny chapel on a side street in this small medieval town. And oh, what a lovely town.

The film was an important historical retelling. In MIMI LOST AND FOUND, the Mona Lisa is stored in the Lost and Found. I recently read that the Mona Lisa was moved 7 times to stay ahead of the art-hungry H....r (I really hate to mention his name). Sort of like saying Volde.....e.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

So Many Opportunities!

A great opportunity to submit your finished work for a middle grade novel: