On a Snow Day

On a snow day my thoughts drift to other homes and I wonder what everyone else is doing.  I wonder if the students that I helped find books yesterday are enjoying their titles or if they are still buried in their backpacks.  Is Alise reading, Al Capone Does My Shirts?  Is Rosalind enjoying Sing a Song of Tuna Fish?

I wonder what will become of us all.

I wonder what Amy Krouse Rosenthal's family is doing right now.  I think of the years of grief and loss that lay before them and I cringe at how young she was at her death and how young my mother was.

I think of Shinichi Suzuki's idea that to surrender to the thought of having no talent and give up the effort is cowardly.

I wonder why I even bother with this annoying blog.

I wonder about the events in Mia Farrow's life that gave inspiration to this quote: "I get it now, I didn't get it then that life is about losing and doing is as gracefully as possible and enjoying every minute of it." This is my new mantra.

I wonder if I am creating an environment in my home that will produce abilities in my children so that they will have an easier time enjoying life.

I wonder if this snow day that brings rest and unrest to our home is doing the same to others.

I wonder if my manuscript is as terrible as I fear.

The snow has finally started and now maybe the noise outside will be a background to good things in this home of mine.

I read the first chapter of Farmer Boy last night to my family.  This chapter is one of my favorite first chapters of all time  I chose it in hopes that it would ward off any bad omens lingering in the house after a tumultuous weekend. I always turn to it for comfort. After I finished, Fiona told me that it is her favorite chapter in the Little House Books and then Myles crawled in bed with a nightcap of this, Midnight is a Place.  I think this is what enjoyment is for me.


Dear Sunshine

"Dear sunshine, what a potent medicine you are."  

Before the current day trend of addressing personified seasons in clever captions of social media photos, L. M. Montgomery was a woman ahead of her time. Clearly I am still in the grips of the Emily of New Moon series. Every three paragraphs I pause and marvel at her use of metaphors and impeccable clairvoyance.  I am as much enrolled in a writing class as I ever could be.  Today the sunshine was the perfect remedy. It appears that New Englanders may be served up a Spring this year. A scandalous claim at this spot on the calendar, but the hope is real.

I am working on a middle-grade piece of historical fiction, so yesterday when I visited my ninety-five year old friend I shared a bit of the story with her. She then looked at me hard and asked me what the resolution will be. "What is your heroine getting at?" I stared blankly for a minute searching for a simple reply, but nothing came. It was exactly what I needed to be asked and I give thanks for her wisdom and the work that is before me to answer that question.

"Oh, God, as long as I live give me, 'leave to work.' Thus pray I. Leave and courage."

I will stop with the Lucy Maud quotes now.  The other day at the library, this book was lying next to the checkout counter and Myles exclaimed, "Mom that's what my teacher is reading!"  In a classic moment of, "I'll have what she's having," I plucked this book up and have been enjoying it ever since.  See what you think. 

And this one too; such a heart warming tale that contrasts nicely with other fluffy stuff found everywhere.



A Farewell

Yesterday our cherished local children's librarian retired. There was a farewell gathering hosted in her honor and it was standing room only.  Many, many people were touched by her kindness.  She is someone that you feel lucky enough to know. As my sister and I stood together listening to her co-workers speak of her unique ability to show love to each patron, young and old we knew we were witnessing a special moment and a precious chapter coming to a close.   Her service to her community is something that we will never forget.  She created a space between her shelves that sheltered us.  It was a comfortable home that we returned to again and again. Whenever we checked out an old, favorite title of hers she would smile and say, "It makes me so happy when I see this go home with someone." And then we would smile thankful to know we were meeting one of her friends.  My sister lives on the same street as this local branch, so my nieces and nephew have grown up in her reading room; truly an extension of their home. She blogged about it here.

It is not often that one experiences life the way it should be.  But at this place, this sanctuary; one does. Cue the Cheer's theme song.  Thank you, Lise for all that you gave us.  May you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Here's one of the newer titles that she acquired that I will always remember on account of her.



Yesterday was a snow day.  One of those glorious snow days that you pray for on a Sunday when the reality of a full week looms before you.  I was returning home on the train after attending a conference for writers and illustrators when I heard the news.  I shared an Amtrak four seater with three other young women who were congratulating themselves on a job well done after a victorious law school feat that landed them a trophy (which was on display) and a delicious looking chocolate cake which they cut, served, and ate right in front of me without offering me a morsel. I found this rude considering I could smell the desert and obviously would have politely declined had they thought to make the gesture.   But they had the manners of pigeons and even after I laboriously inserted the ear plugs I conveniently acquired earlier in the day at one of my workshops titled, Unlocking the Power of your Unconscious Mind they failed to dampen their loud conversations.  My hopes of getting some writing done were dashed, therefore the phone call telling me that school was canceled was music to my ears. 

I was reading, Emily Climbs, of the, Emily of New Moon series by L. M. Montgomery. At first I was concerned that the young lasses were going to think I was reading a trashy romance novel due to the dated portrait of a starry eyed damsel on the cover, but as the enchanting and skillful writing of Montgomery swept me away, I proudly held the paperback before me.  It was and is the perfect post conference read.   

I learned some things this weekend at the conference. Brian Collier challenged us to make people feel something. Andrea Pinkney said to kill the committee that stands in the way of your writing.  Sarah Pennypacker said the story is the boss.   And then there was the lady next to me who wants personify her guinea pigs in her next manuscript. Go for it, my friend.

And so I am back at my kitchen table determined to do these things and hope that one day I will find a home for my stories. 



Postlude to Christmastide: The review on the back of Rumer Godden's, The Doll's House says it best, " For little girls who love dolls, women who remember dollhouse days, and literary critics who can recognize a masterpiece."  This book took Fiona and I on a ride to the edge of a cliff where we stared into the dark abyss below and pleaded for mercy. And we were granted it.  Mercy and honor and sacrifice were put in their rightful throne and we will never see things quite the same again.

Tomorrow Myles turns 11. Asterix and Redwall will always be his first loves.  I can still picture his four year old self curled up on a red beanbag chair flipping through the pictures, or listening to Brian Jacques and his band of storytellers read aloud the tales of heroism in a woodland abbey. This past week he has picked Redwall up again to read before bed. How interesting it is how much they change and how much they stay the same.

Tomorrow we will give him this: