Sunday, March 27, 2005


So today is Easter for Christians. I'm not much of a holiday sort, dyed in the wool protestant here. I protest holidays. Though some weird creature-- a pink rabbit -- did visit my closet and leave an unhealthy amount of chocolate. My daughter bit the head off her candy bunny and said she didn't want anything to do with a bunny who brought baskets of toys for little kids and lame white chocolate bunnies for teenagers. My son added that chocolate wrapped around caramel wasn't his favorite. Then I had to spend half an hour picking the chocolate out of the carpet. My youngest son wrote "Happy Easter Meal" on his Easter eggs. At dinner, he said at his favorite Indian restaurant he had a glass made out real glass, but at home he only gets plastic. He still toasted everything from the meal we ate to the fine wine were drinking at least 10 times. (We are teetotatlers. I didn't have the heart to tell him it was apple juice.) After the tasty ham, shrimp bites and tiny pickles, we all took a nap -- my favorite part of the celebration.

On writing. I'm fearful my blog is boring. I mean, I'm so provincial. I've never been cool, hip or cutting edge. I really don't see that starting now. So I think I will continue to waddle along with the blog as it stands, but (because I can read) I am now going to start adding cool links to stuff that is cool, hip and cutting edge.

First, Libba Bray. The first time I met her I laughed so hard I almost had to sit down. She activated my Wonder Twin powers, so check out someone who really understands blogging, Libba Bray. Let me take a minute and plug her book. An editor - not her editor - (K. L.) mentioned a while back Great and Terrible Beauty was delicious, something to curl up with on a dark and stormy night. I concur. Now move on to Cynthia Leitich Smith, another blogger extrodinaire. If you wish to laugh until breathing is no longer a skill that you possess, I recommend Wendy McClure and her Weight Watcher Cards.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


It's so hard to just remember to breathe. Hey, I'm stuffing the writing in between carpool, choir concerts, homework help, housecleaning, laundry, yoga, volunteering, yard work, sweeping the roof. Remember, breathe.

I love the earliest part of writing. For me it's when I see something that moves me -- like the old man charging through town with the walking stick hooked behind his arms, or neighbor kids having a tea party under the mailboxes, or four girls with rainbow colored hair singing four part harmony at Dairy Queen. The world is full of stories. Remember, breathe.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Children writer's issues

Is the tooth fairy real? Do leprechauns exist? What about the Easter bunny?

These are very stressful questions for the children's writer because we want to believe. Our imaginations are full of 'real' pretending. We know the truth. They are probably not real, but we can't imagine life without make believe.

Monday, March 14, 2005


I think one of the big mom skills is peacemaker.

I hear a crash in the living room. As an experienced mom, I can tell the "rough-housing and someone got hurt" crash instantly from the "I tripped over that Goodwill box" crash. I can also tell from the intensity of the crash if it will be necessary to intervene, time to dig in my box of hats (cook, housecleaner, laundress, plumber, teacher, chauffeur, nurse, confidant, police, diplomat, trade negotiator, humanitarian, peacemaker, etc.) and swoop into the living room to bring peace.

"Mom, he hit me."
"She kicked me."
"He pushed first."
"I needed the computer."
"I was on first."

This of course is a simple "flaming computer time war." Not a problem for families with one child, but our house has a 2 to 1, kid to computer ratio.

So the peacemaker is at work.

Have jobs been performed and homework completed?

This tactic of making people personally accountable for what they need to do right now solves many skirmishes and often results in the dishes being washed or the nasty stuff on the bathroom floor being scraped up.

If personal accountability questions are answerable, we move to advanced peace talks.

How long has the computer been used? What is the computer going to be used for?
Resources are scarce in this world and need to be used wisely. Conservation is the key tool of the peacemaker. Checking ranks over joining an online fight fest. Iming for a school project shoots over iming about who's hot in the lunch room.

If this tactic is not effective, a hardy peacemaker must move to the rights versus priviledges argument. Rights include food, shelter and piano lessons. Priviledges include computer games, mall trips and, yes, computer time.

"But no, Mom!"

If active negotiations break down. Kids stamp out of the room and doors slam all over the house.
The peacemaker makes a cup of hot calming tea and waits for re-negotiation, usually takes about the time it takes to brew a cup of tea and drink it.

Just remember -- blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

On justice and peace.

Children's writers are in the center of justice and peace. This is our business. I think its about hope and love with a good measure of the mythic questions -- Who are we? What do we want? Where are we going? It's all good.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

FYI: Dialing Cell Phones

FYI I'm just disturbed that we dial cell phones. We don't. We punch numbers. No one has dialed a phone in a million years. I remember those phones. Once I called Austraila by accident because I liked to watch the dial thingy spin.

Monday, March 07, 2005

10 things I have done that you have not.

1. When I was a teenager my parents forgot to pick me up from a 4-H meeting. I fell asleep on the courtyard steps, rolled down the stairs and under the bushes and was arrested for vagrancy.

2. In high school, I was questioned by the police for terrorism. I was staying with my aunt and someone blew up her mail box. I was accused of doing it.

3. On the first day of my first job after college, I hung up my very new suit above a space heater and brushed my teeth. When I opened my eyes, I realized the suit was incinerated and the bathroom was in flames.

4. I was in 70 mile per hour rollover accident on a major freeway with 7 family members. I was driving. All lived.

5. I broke the window of my car because the key wouldn't work in the door. That's when I noticed it wasn't my car.

6. I worked as a journeyman plumber to finance my college education.

7. I was driving a group of kindergartens on a field trip when I was caught in the cross fire between the police and some bank robbers.

8. Once, I was reading a book while crossing a street and was hit by a moped. Ouch.

9. My father gave me permission to go with any aliens that ever wanted to abduct me. I'm still waiting.

10. My parrot was killed accidentally. It involved a net, a water hose, a 911 call and the fire department. There is a group of first graders who will also need therapy for life.

OK, if anyone watches Lost, they are going to think I'm a Hurley clone. And I don't have a clue what those numbers mean. I'm writing them backwards to stay safe -- 42, 23, 16, 15, 8, 4.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Ah, Janet Wong on poetry. Why do I forget the important things? I needed to be reminded again that poetry is about our emotions. No wonder everyone is telling me to get my PB out of rhyme. It's not about emotions. It's about problem solving. I need to seek fun, sparse language, but no rhyme. I feel freer. I love knowledge. It really does set you free.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Write every day

This advices keeps coming again and again. It is true. We must write every day. This is where craft is perfected.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Be Yourself

Hey, they've been telling this to me since I was in kindergarten. I forget sometimes. I keep on trying to be them, and I keep on failing at it. I've got a favorite question, "Are you who you want to be?" Do you remember high school and cliques? What clique did you fit into to? Were you a plastic? Were you a diva? Were you a brain? Were you a jock? Mall rat? Were you an outsider?

We all know in a heartbeat who we were. This is some important info! I was an outsider. I used to hate this, but now I realize I was a rare bird. The saying goes, "birds of a feather flock together." If you are rare, the flocks are few and far between. You will often have to flock with other kinds of birds. They do not understand you. You know you are a different kind of bird.

I remember watching flocks of snow geese as a girl. There would be thousands of snow geese in the flock. They were so loud; it sounded like the fans at a professional baseball game, winning the World Series. I'd sit with my binoculars and watch birds that did not fit. You know the weird ones. The ones that weren't snow geese. You couldn't hear them. You could have only heard them, if they had been alone.

So here it is, from my first teacher -

"Molly, be yourself," said Mrs. Crabtree. "But be still."
"I will try," I said.