Well, my goal had been to finish a novel in 12 weeks. I’ve finished a little over half of my 65,000 word suspense mystery —35,000 words. I could beat myself up, let myself feel like I’ve failed. Instead, I’ll not only forge ahead but celebrate what I’ve managed to accomplish.
First, I need to thank Colin who works so hard out of the home. He is—in every way—my art patron. Without his support, I would not be able to write.
So, I took a good, long look at what else I’ve done over the past three months WHILE working on my novel:
Mom Time 1
Approx. 500 hours of ‘quality time’ with my daughter. Playing together, reading together, working on crafts and art projects, taking her to afterschool activities like her book club and First Communion classes (as non-Catholics) and Zumba, spa-fun afternoons, helping with homework, listening to problems and helping her find solutions, styling hair, swimming together, shopping for shoes (never ending!), volunteering on school field trips, attending special school functions like talent shows and family fun nights, planning March break and Professional Development day activities, occasional ‘home schooling’, playing board games, watching family movies, going to splash parks, planning and then hosting her 8th birthday party (which included homemade invitations and cake), weekly trips to the library and selecting appropriate reading material, painting and ‘tweening-up’ her bedroom (a two week family project), cuddling, attending to those ‘teaching moments,’ nightly prayers.
Mom Time 2
Approx. 600 hours of taking care of my family. cooking and baking, making daily smoothies, preparing and packing school lunches and snacks, doing dishes by hand, laundry (including hanging up two loads a week), sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, grocery shopping, garbage and recycling, general tidying-up, preparing weekend picnics and family take-along-lunches, gifts for friend’s birthdays, Easter (’nuff said), costumes assembled for talent show/grade 2 production, school forms signed and Scholastic books ordered, teacher/parent communication, photographing special moments.
Mom Time 3
Approx. 60 hours of being ‘Doctor Mom.’ General first aid, trip to the hospital, nursing a knee injury, caring for a patient with the stomach flu, administering cold medication, application of sunblock.
Kitty Mom Time 4
Approx. 40 hours. Rescuing a kitten, bottle feeding, cuddling, litterbox training, bathing, shopping, weaning and teaching my daughter about what is involved in caring for a very young pet (3 weeks old.)
Also, in the midst of all this, my sister had a heart attack, and I did my best to support her by making her several meals and caring for my niece for a few days. I was so worried about her that I had a hard time concentrating on anything else. She is better! I think it scared me more than it did her.
I entered CV2’s two day poetry contest in April and gave it my all. (about 20 hours) There are six placements. If I win even a nod? I’ll turn cartwheels.
Add to this? Our building’s hallways are being renovating , and I am constantly hearing workmen on the other side of our door. Picture trying to write as you hear someone ripping out a carpet.
I hope to write 10 pages a week over the summer … This will mostly be done between 10 pm and midnight.
I’m enjoying the writing process. And I’m enjoying life at the same time.
Carpe Diem, People!
Well, many of us WON’T be watching Trump’s inauguration. Some will read, spend time with family, clean out clutter, pray, weep, hit their heads against the wall, wonder what the hell happen…
Well, many of us WON’T be watching Trump’s inauguration. Some will read, spend time with family, clean out clutter, pray, weep, hit their heads against the wall, wonder what the hell happened.
And some will be watching something else.
Why not watch a movie that peacefully protests the mocking, the grabbing, the KKK parading, the wall building, cabinet choices, the Islamophobia, the homophobia… Rent, download, look through your own movie library, call friends, have a “Boycott the Bull” party and revisit a favourite flick or check out something that you’ve always meant to see.
What follows is a list of movies I highly recommend that will validate your decision and remind you WHY you AREN’T watching as Trump slithers into the White House.
My Top 50 Recommendations
My Left Foot
Children of a Lesser God
The Miracle Worker
The Theory of Everything
The Horse Whisperer
12 Years a Slave
The Colour Purple
Thelma and Louise
The Stepford Wives
The Passion of Joan Arc
Like Water for Chocolate
Real Women Have Curves
Mad Hot Ballroom
The Vanished Elephant
The Kite Runner
Slum Dog Millionaire
The War You Don’t See
Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority
Rachel: An American Conscience
An Inconvenient Truth
the 11th Hour
Under the Dome
Vanishing of the Bees
If a Tree Falls
Boys Don’t Cry
The Danish Girl
Tell Trump he isn’t worth the time by putting him on “ignore.”
And share this list, please! Tune Trump OUT as he’s sworn in.
Today, I’m thinking about creativity. As a former Early Childhood Educator who has studied child development and curriculum, I recognize that creativity is a process, not a finished project. Creati…
Source: So, What is Creativity?
Today, I’m thinking about creativity.
As a former Early Childhood Educator who has studied child development and curriculum, I recognize that creativity is a process, not a finished project. Creativity is about forming original ideas. Creativity gives full freedom to explore both environment and materials. Creativity, at its core, is about observation, independent thinking, innovation and imagination.
There is nothing more detrimental to children’s creative process than being shown a finished piece so that they can strive to mimic it, if not in totality, then in some way. You will paint King Tut. You will ALL paint King Tut.
Currently, there are many so-called art classes for youngsters that are promoted as being creative when, in fact, the instructor hands the kids a stencil and selects the paint colours for them. Only the few finishing touches (like where the eyes are painted or if the cat has black fur or brown fur) somehow makes the piece unique and personal. Um. No.
Perhaps, the instructors feel that parents put more emphasis on the finished piece than on their children finding inspiration and developing self-realization. After all, the parents shelled out $100, $200 or $300, so perhaps the instructor feels compelled to show that those dollars produced what most would view as “art” to ensure the student (customer) returns.
Thankfully, I’ve found a course that will teach my daughter some techniques, but will not overshadow her creative process by telling her what she will create. She will be collaborating on a mural with other children her age. THEY will plan and design its layout and then work on completing the art. .
As someone who writes for children, it is imperative to me that my books encourage self-expression. One of the books which I’ve written has my main character taking art classes, and I’ve been very careful to show that she isn’t told WHAT to paint. My protagonist slowly develops her skills and is free to produce the art that SHE sees all around her.
As a former teacher, as a mother, as a children’s book writer, I must nurture the creative process in young children the best that I can.
Am I opinionated about this? Absolutely. I say, colour outside the lines, paint the sky gold if you want to and if everyone else is painting King Tut, then go on, paint your platypus as big and bold as you want.
And let art come from the heART.
Like so many Canadians, I watched the recent American election with horror. I felt a sense of shock as you-know-who won state after state. It hit me on multiple levels. It’s been five days sin…
Like so many Canadians, I watched the recent American election with horror. I felt a sense of shock as you-know-who won state after state. It hit me on multiple levels. It’s been five days since the results were made known. In that time, I had to come to terms with what that meant to me as a writer of children’s books.
Books are powerful tools. They teach as they entertain. They become friends and they live-on in memories. Stories encourage, transport us and nurture character.
Today, I went to the library and took out several books for my seven year old daughter to read. One is called, Ruby Bridges Goes to School by Ruby Bridges. It is about segregation. Another book which we borrowed is titled Tolerance by Connie Coldwell Miller. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we discuss racism with our children. It is a difficult subject, but it is one that cannot be ignored or put off.
As a children’s book writer, I realize I have a responsibility during this highly turbulent time. Acts of discrimination and sexism are increasing. Swastika graffiti is on the rise. Minorities are being threatened, and the threats are very real.
Recently, I read a cautionary article about minority characters. The piece advised against including characters of different cultures simply to include different cultures.
I am sensitive to cultural appropriation, and I understand that culture should not be used to marginalize or stereotype or denigrate. But I refuse to segregate my characters, to commit literary apartheid.
I live in a multicultural country, and I believe in its diversity. And the more I think about it, the more I believe it is imperative that I include that diversity in what I write.
So often, I browse through early chapter books and see princesses and fairies and girl protagonists with fair skin, blue eyes and blond hair. Surely, we are more than this? What does this say of our diversity, our national commitment to inclusion? Do best friends need to have the same skin colour, religion, family background? What are we saying to our readers when characters only play with their own ethnicity? Aren’t these questions we should be asking ourselves?
So, here is my vow to young readers:
1) The characters in my books will come from a range of cultures. They will each have their own unique personalities, and I will do my best to respect both traditions and beliefs.
2) Some of the characters in my books will have both a mother and a father. But some will have just a mother or just a father. And some will have two fathers or two mothers. Love is love.
3) I will include women firefighters and male nurses. Some dad’s will stay home, and some mothers will be managers. My characters will enjoy activities based on their interests, not on their genders.
4) Some of my characters will have physical or developmental challenges. Some may be in wheelchairs and some may use service animals.
5) One of my next books deals with bullying and gender roles. I feel strongly that villainizing a bully does not belong in early chapter books. My stories will allow for change, self-realization, sincere apologies and healed relationships.
As writers, we have a responsibility to our readers. And our stories must embody our commitment to diversity, now more than ever.
The editors of ROOM Magazine are delightfully energetic and generous with their encouragement. Chelene Knight, the Managing Editor of ROOM, https://cheleneknight.com/about-me/ , has sent the cover for the 39.4 issue to its contributors so they may share the artwork with friends and family via social media. I am so excited! Three of my poems will be included in this issue. I’ve long enjoyed reading ROOM, as the poems and stories they choose target both heart and mind. https://www.facebook.com/roommagazine/ the issue will be available in bookstores across Canada in a few weeks. To say that I’m deeply honoured to be one of its contributors is an understatement. They receive over 2,000 submissions a year and of which they are only able to publish 80-100. The magazine is in Vancouver and I’m much, much further east. So, I’m blowing kisses to ROOM, THE literary magazine for women writers of Canada. CANADA NEEDS YOU! https://roommagazine.com/issues/bodys-map
As a fiction writer, I know that I must put my main character through a series of life trials. The protagonist must suffer. The reader wants someone to root for, someone with an indomitable spirit.
Source: CRUEL TO BE KIND, WRITER VERSION