Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dragons and Kindling

How do you fuel your creative kindling?
With dragons, of course!
Janet Lee Carey, author of Dragonswood
is working shop with thirsty writers this Sunday, September 15
at the Bainbridge Island library.
I'm going!
How's that to fuel my story sparks?

I've gushed over Dragonswood and Dragon's Keep before.
They are among my top fantasy novels.
Janet writes compelling, wholly satisfying tales
so skillfully woven that I want to re-read them
as soon as I finish. 
Northwest writers: if you're in the area, come join me
at this Field's End event!


Who doesn't need such a creative boost?
After a whirlwind of crazed schoolishness,
I know I do!

Last night was writing night.
I finally sat alone with my manuscript, pen in hand,
distractions tucked away,
ready to blow through with a masterful fury.

But instead of mastery,
I just sat staring into the trees,
letting the wind rush past me
and all my pieces.
No story mastery.

But the space, the air!
The silence!
It was exactly what I needed.
To get me right first.

Do you ever de-fuzz?

It's the kind of work that doesn't count on your timecard,
but still matters!

Apart from our writing, our desires,
our hankerings to be published, 
our accomplishments, our parenting,
our quirks and our failings,
we are all the same.

We are all people who need Love and Shelter
and Bread and Breath.

If you are ever busy, frantic, worried, overloaded,
or just stuck in your story,
try taking it down a notch.

Find a quiet place and de-fuzz.

Do something that doesn't "count" on your timecard.

Twirl. Stomp. Laugh.

Take off your socks and shoes. Wiggle your toes.
Paint with water.

Stretch out on the grass.
Watch clouds. Watch stars. Watch people.
Start a sketch notebook, a Favorite Words List, a Myths List,
a Sayings List, a Thankfulness List.


Play with dragons!

Treasure awaits.

A few fiery tales:
The Deliverers of Their Country - E. Nesbit, Lisbeth Zwerger
The Knight and the Dragon - Tomie dePaola
The Reluctant Dragon - Kenneth Grahame, Inga Moore
Saint George and the Dragon - Margaret Hodges, Trina Schart Hyman
My Father's Dragon - Ruth Stiles Gannet
Talking To Dragons - Patricia Wrede (ill. Trina Schart Hyman)
Dealing With Dragons - Patricia Wrede (ill. Trina Schart Hyman)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Breathing Room

 What do sharp new pencils, pigs, and a gym ball have in common?
Call it a surprise twist in the plot, 
a hopeful story arc...
One that involves less free time while we learn the ropes
but hopefully more flexibility in the long run. 
Pip and Winnie are trying a new school setup: 
a public school / home school mix. 
Today was our first day.

It felt like the first day of a tricky job. 
Do you know that feeling? 
The feeling that you might possibly be drowning after only minutes into it?

Or like finding the opening lines to your novel of novels, the jaw-dropping first page...
Every word has to be wonderful.
That was me today.
It should have been great. 
We're home all the time!
But somehow, I crammed all my expectations 
into one small day's window. 
I even had a list written up on the wall - our day's assignments. 

The first fifteen minutes were bliss. 
And then it all began to unravel:
Pip asking over and over when we could go to the library, 
Winnie crying about the math game where you throw the little pigs and count them,
Sugar Snack bouncing the gym ball at everyone, 
sneaking off with the camera, 
and me wondering who was going to make me some coffee 
if I was down here doing MATH! Quelle horreur!
"Gym Ball" - by Sugar Snack
I love perspective.
The day is now folded away.
The moon is up, warm and embracing.

And I'm here, peeling off my layers.
Thinking about how sometimes I take a great wad of expectations that would probably fill a year or a lifetime and I stuff it into a summer, a holiday,
or one small first day
when really,
all that's needed is joy for the moment,
and a lot of love.

Tomorrow, we'll try it home style.
We'll aim to get some learning done,
but this time we'll add a generous dose of
breathing room.


A sweet book about breathing room:

Little Bird, by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine


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