I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Write From the Soul

I can't tell if this is how I feel,

or if this is how I feel.

But whether it's boisterous or quiet, I am definitely thrilled to be going to my first SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles!!!!       

I'm flying to  San Diego for three days to visit friends first- a longtime bud from college days and newer friend from an online critique group- then my college bud will drive me up to LA for the 4 day conference. I feel like a kid being dropped off at camp for a first-time experience!

I'm working on the packing now. I've got the clothes laid out and although I don't have a laptop to take notes in, I do have my notebooks and pens at the ready.

Here are my goals for the conference:
1) Have fun
2) Meet new writer friends, get blog addresses and emails
3) Be inspired
4) Have fun
5) Get a little sleep (of course I'm taking a red eye back to Atlanta so I the more tired I am, the better I'll sleep on the plane!
6) Take LOTS of notes in the workshops so I can clearly share the info with critique buddies back home.
7) Possibly make connections with a few agents and/or editors
8) Have fun (did I mention this already?!)

I'll be back, and human, after Aug. 3rd so no posting until then. If you're planning to be at SCBWI - LA, and we haven't touched base yet, please let me know through a comment or by email:
g underscore handle at bellsouth dot net

I would love to plan to meet up with you for: lunch, dinner, coffee, drinks, or just a chat.

California, here I come!                                 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Write From the Soul

Today is my birthday! And of all days, your birth day should be one where you celebrate, connect with, and appreciate only things you love.

So, I want to spend time (or talk) with my family and friends, eat something sweet, write, and be around books!

Today has had many telephone and Facebook renditions of Happy Birthday,  even from former students- I love reconnecting with them and seeing the child I knew as an adult,

Lunch was spent with a wonderful friend who then gave me time to talk with a curious calico and a hungry horse nibbling my elbow.

 Something sweet came in the form of yummy homemade cookies from another friend with a mini banner on top and pop-up happy birthday letters- I love creative people!

And books... I'm going to reread some of my favorites. Have you ever read the Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence trilogy? Utterly fabulous!!!!! Nick Bantok, an illustrator in his own right, wrote and illustrated these marvelous books. The basic storyline is: Griffin, a postcard illustrator in London, receives a note from Sabine, an unknown, mysterious postage stamp designer living on a remote island in the South Pacific. She claims to know about him and his life, though they have never met. They begin an extraordinary correspondence, and courtship that the reader is privy to with actual letters in envelopes you can open within the books. Who wouldn't be tempted to read someone else's love letters??!! You begin to wonder, like Griffin and Sabine, whether they are soulmates or if it is all an illusion. I found it difficult to wait for each sequel when the trilogy first came out in the early 1990s. 

If you haven't read them, do it. It won't be wasted time. Any worries or troubles that are stressing you out, shoot, you'll forget all about them for a couple hours. It's worth it.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of my birthday!

Friday, July 9, 2010


       I can't believe a whole month has gone by since I last blogged! Here's the list of reasons why...um rationalizations...um...excuses:
  • A few days after the last post, I went to the beach for a week and we had no Internet access- we hardly had cell phone reception. ( yeah, that excuses me until about June 20th. )
  • I realized that I had to do some MAJOR writing to have my manuscript at least solidly first drafted before I leave for the national SCBWI-LA conference in order to perfect my pitch for agents. (yeah...pfftt - that's a "raspberry sound" in case you don't recognize my spelling.)
  • We had the 4th of July weekend.
  •  I'm still working on perfectly the manuscript that had to be totally rewritten after my writers' group critique.
  • I've been lazy. (Okay, that's probably the truest.) 
  •  I couldn't think of something good to write about.

Anyway, today I found something to write about.

       Since the beach trip- where I took my newly purchased white cane to practice using it- I have been using my cane more and more. I'm feeling more comfortable out in public walking with it and some friends have said, "hey, you walk more confidently now that you're not constantly watching out for stuff to trip on or bump into!"

       Today, I was out shopping with a good bud of mine. We were walking along the sidewalk of an outdoor shopping mall, heading to lunch, when a man suddenly appears next to us and says: "Hey! Have you heard the good news? God heals the blind!" Now my friend tells me he was sitting at a cafe table, talking to someone sitting with him AND talking on his cell phone when he saw us. He jumped up to come over and speak, so to me, that implies there wasn't a lot of forethought going on! This was impulse proselytizing at it's worst [and I am not a fan of proselytizing at all] but he picked the wrong cookie! This is a woman who "encouraged" her city to replace the broken-up, uneven sidewalk near her home. [got it done within 3 weeks] This is a woman who sent letters to all of the executives and Board of Directors of the local mass transit organization to "encourage" them NOT to eliminate the bus routes she needed to get around the city, and cited  the Americans with Disabilities Act. [And they did save the routes (well parts of them.]

No, that man, who thought he had a poor blind woman on his hands who would jump at the thought that a higher power would remove her vision loss, made a big mistake.

I turned to him, put my mad-teacher-face on, stuck out my finger and said, "DON'T GO THERE MISTER! DON"T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!" [it always worked well on 4th graders :-D ]

There must have been something in my face that convinced my friend to take my elbow and urge me to continue crossing the walkway, rather than let me go after him. I wanted to tell him he was being totally rude and offensive. I wanted to tell him that religious solicitations using someone's disability was not good karma. I really wanted to take my cane, which is 52 inches long, and which wasn't too far from his feet and suddenly raise it toward heaven- maybe 2 feet off the ground- and smack him where it hurts! Then I could tell him that maybe he could ask for healing too! (Yeah, I know that wouldn't bring good karma either.)

But I didn't....... because unlike that man, I have a bit of class. And while I have done some stupid things in my life, I am not afflicted with terminal stupidity. 

Let this be a lesson to all wish to proselytize to this woman. Think before you speak....or else you better wear some protection!