Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Dedicate This Song... To My WIP

Me and my work-in-progress--especially the first third or so--are stuck like glue. I try to get away, to work on more and other parts of the manuscript, but it keeps pulling me back in.

Writers, how do you keep yourself from revisiting one part too often?
Those who aren't writers but have work or projects of your own, what are your tricks for moving on?

**I'm not a country music fan (yep, this is a country duo), but this song is catchy, no? And what a cute video!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Class Time

I admit, I was a little nervous. Anytime I'm in front of a group of people--whether in a small social setting, a whole church congregation (to sing), or an elementary class--I get that way. Because here's the thing, they have to look at you. And listen, too. Gah!
head of the class (for a brief time)
But I had prepared for my session with the kids last Thursday. I'd taken notes to bulletpoint the things I wanted to say, readied fun little notebooks and pencils to distribute (gifts are always exciting), and I took my time, kept it casual. (I wore my school t-shirt, too, which I thought a nice touch.)
It was great fun!
I told the second grade class (including my older daughter):
There are all kinds of ways to write, and anyone can do it! You can journal, write letters or poems (which is also called poetry) or lists, and you can make up stories or tell true stuff, too.
I took props, showed them a fiction chapter book (who loves Junie B. Jones?), a non-fiction book of facts (about Justin Bieber, because he is all the rage among the youngsters), and a volume of Shel Silverstein's poetry (classic! an absolute favorite of mine when I was their age).
I taught them how to write haiku poetry. The 5-7-5 syllable rule was something they really got into.
Missus [surname] is
the coolest teacher ever.
We really love her.
We talked about how ideas can come from anywhere: People-watching, pictures, music, brainstorming, etc. They liked it when we closely studied their teacher's necklace, and came up with stories for the pearl. For instance, that the teacher is a spy, and when she has to report her findings she speaks into the bead. How great is that?!
I gave them a list of things to remember:
Poetry can rhyme but does not have to.
Fiction means not true, like make-believe.
Non-fiction means true and real.
A story or piece of writing has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
A story also has a plot, which means something happens in the story, and it can be funny or scary or sad or full of action, or whatever you want it to be. If you are the writer, you get to decide!
You get to be creative and use your imagination!
We talked a little about the mechanics of writing:

Whenever you write and whatever you write, check your spelling and sentences. Are your capital and lower-case letters correct? What should your punctuation look like? Make sure you write clearly, too, so people can read your words.
I talked about how neat it is to spend some time with writing and then pass it on, so that another person can read and understand and feel your thoughts and ideas.
We spent about thirty-five minutes together. It went quickly. Before I left I gave them ideas for writing to try at home (using those new notebooks). They could write their own haiku, start a private journal, people-watch and take notes, write a letter to someone out of town (and get Mom or Dad's help sending it), or write a fictional story about their favorite animal.
My first "speaking engagement" couldn't have gone better. I was so pleased with their attention and enthusiasm. As it turned out, the things I talked about were supportive of things they've learned in class (though haiku was new, and that was cool), and I was so excited to have encouraged them, even just a little.
I think, too, that I may soon have chance to speak to a group of women, teachers, who are interested in writing and reading, and that makes me giddy! I'm a nerd for this stuff, and to be able to share it with others is awesomely awesome.
Thanks to all of you for your ideas and support. And thanks to my mom, who went along for moral support, and acted as photographer, too. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hiya, gang. I'm posting to say that I won't be posting today.

I had planned to tell you about my writerly visit with the kids, and though I don't think you've been waiting on me, I wanted to say, well, you may have to wait on me... Busy few days with more yet ahead, and the blog post hasn't developed like I'd hoped it would.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Just a Quick Post

I've another humor column up at An Army of Ermas today... Won't you join my club? All the cool (lazy) kids are doin' it.

And Thursday is the day I'll be talking to kids about writing. I can't wait! I'll post about my experience on Friday. (Thanks for your tips!)


It's Monday here in the States, and my week is doomed for (good) busyness. How do your next few days look?

Friday, March 18, 2011

RQ #18

Sometimes I forget to look off the path I am walking. Then I realize, there is so much to see (feel, do) if I am paying attention.
that's me, and a swatch of peace out my back door
Once in a while you have to slow, sit, lie down, even. Look at things from a different perspective.
Have you tried it recently? What did you experience?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Of An Afternoon

A part of me wanted to approach him, the man with his dog. I wanted to say, "He's beautiful, and I've always liked dachshunds."
photo from
I'd have said, "I noticed you talking to the little guy. What was it you whispered so sweetly?" I saw them as companions, compadres, cohorts. They were dude and pooch, both squat and chesty with abbreviated legs, and a powerful bond.
But instead I watched from my spot, cozy in that place between warm sunlight, cool wind.
I decided that a verbal exchange I could dream up, the picture sketched before me, the what if, was good enough. Maybe better than the truth of the moment.
So I looked on and I imagined, and that was all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Talking to Kids About Writing

photo from
I need advice.

Today my daughter's teacher asked me to visit with her class (of 7- and 8-year-olds) about being a writer, and writing. I am thrilled!

But all I know so far is that I'll gift each kid with a mini composition notebook and a pencil (camo for boys, polka dots for the girls).

The kids know me, I've helped at parties, so there won't be a formal need for introduction. I'll feel most comfortable pulling up a piece of
floor with them, so there's that. I won't have to dress up. I may even go without make-up.

But talking literary terms and explaining my genre or giving them my resume is out.

What do I say? What do I ask? What do I tell them about myself? How do I show my passion, and encourage them with a love for words and story?

I know many of you have experience with this kind of thing, and I'm looking for guidance.

What are your pointers?

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Today! Jodi Picoult's Web Chat!

Have you been counting down the days like I have?

author photo by Gasper Tringale

In less than twelve hours you can watch a LIVE interview with bestselling author Jodi Picoult--right here at Something She Wrote!

Unsure what this is all about? Visit my last post (or just scroll down the blog) to see the super-exciting details, and to access the Livestream viewer. Then come back to my blog tonight at 7 PM EST, park yourself in front of said viewer, and hold your breath. (Okay, I exaggerate that last part...) It's gonna be awesome!

Jodi will talk about (among other things, I'm sure) her new release, SING YOU HOME, its inspirations and controversies, and will answer fans' questions, too. It's not to be missed!

See you here?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coming Soon: LIVE INTERVIEW with #1 NYT Bestseller Jodi Picoult

Are you a Jodi Picoult fan? Really, I'd be shocked if you didn't know many people who have read her books. Some of the most popular--out of nearly twenty published titles--are MY SISTER'S KEEPER (which was made into a movie), CHANGE OF HEART, HANDLE WITH CARE, and NINETEEN MINUTES (which, coincidentally, I'm reading now). 

Jodi's newest is SING YOU HOME (Atria Books, March 1, 2011), a novel which could very well prove to be her most controversial...

SING YOU HOME explores what it means to be gay in today’s world, and how reproductive science has outstripped the legal system. Are embryos people or property? What challenges do same-sex couples face when it comes to marriage and adoption? What happens when religion and sexual orientation – two issues that are supposed to be justice-blind – enter the courtroom? And most importantly, what constitutes a “traditional family” in today’s day and age?

Visit HERE for a full synopsis and details about Jodi's inspiration behind the book.

I've been asked to be a blog partner with Atria's Salon Series, who is hosting a live web chat with Jodi next Monday, March 7 at 7PM EST. This means that you can come here, to Something She Wrote, and watch the interview from my blog!  
So mark your calendar, set your alarm, wash your favorite pajamas, and get some popcorn ready for popping. Come back here, next Monday, for this LIVE special appearance with bestselling author, Jodi Picoult! See what she has to say about SING YOU HOME and more.

**Yeah, yeah. I'm supposed to be disconnected from the nets this week, but this is too cool an event... I had to plug back in!
**Many thanks to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for contacting me with this opportunity.