Thursday, December 2, 2010

Last Call

It makes me very sad to say this, but this is my last blog post. My life path has shifted into a new direction and I do not have the time, energy or focus to keep my blog running. I have loved having a blog so much. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to keep up with my thoughts and occasional rants. Please keep writing and sharing the joy of reading. Until next time...................................

Love and Lollipops,
Jeannine 

Friday, November 19, 2010

And the Little Ones Shall Lead Them

My daughter provided me with a huge boost of inspiration this morning. When she was about 4 I posted on the blog a story she'd written. It was about 10 words and involved her getting bothered by her brother. This morning at the ripe age of 5 and a half she wrote a story that actually had a strong beginning, middle and end. She used one of her favorite book characters (Olivia the pig) and her friend Nolan. It started with them playing at the playground. She detailed what they were doing and that they were having fun. Then they started for home when oh no they realized that Olivia's mom had left the house and they had no way to get inside. They decided to look all around for the key when one of them suddenly spotted a corner of the key peeking out from under the door. The day was saved and they let themselves in. It really brought tears to me eyes because a) she's my daughter and that story was flippin brilliant. b) because I've been so discouraged about not moving forward in my own writing that I'd forgotten what it was like just to write a story because you liked it and it didn't matter if anyone else liked it. This has seemed to be the message the universe has been sending me this week. That I have to learn to not be bothered by what other people may think of me. The only place I need to look for the affirmation that I'm okay is from within myself. Today it took my 5 year old to help reinforce that lesson for me. I'm a work in progress as we all are. Until next time, be kind to each other and yourselves!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Book Review: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

 I'm usually not a fan of essays and short stories. I generally like to sink my teeth into a book and stay with the characters for awhile. However, with my ADHD kicking in lately (just kidding) essays and short stories have been a perfect fit. Thanks to my pal Molly I was able to enjoy
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I'm a little late getting on the Sedaris bandwagon, but he is so funny!!! It was the perfect antidote for my super funky mood lately. It's also cool because Mr.Sedaris is a hometown boy. He grew up about 30 minutes form where I live. I went to high school in Raleigh, his hometown so it is fun to be familiar with some of the places he mentions. Corduroy and Denim is full of essays about his childhood and family. I can only imagine his family must be so proud of him, but also want to beat him up every time a new book comes out. Of course the stories are exaggerated but that is also part of the charm. I'm looking forward to reading a few more of his books over the Thanksgiving holiday. Eat.Read. Sleep. Those are my turkey day plans!!!

On a final note, I'm starting to feel just a little pissy at the Universe. Isn't the rule when God shuts a door he opens a window? Well, let's see he shut the Rutgers door, I didn't get into that and now he has shut the arts council grant door. No grant for me. Bummer!!! Not really sure what my next plan is in terms of writing. I really needed that grant in order to get into the program that would have helped me get to the next level. Because everything in my life is sort of up in the air right now I think my writing is going to have to be put to the side for now.
I'm not in a very creative space right now and definitely feeling discouraged on the writing front. I will continue to read and review books and also try to stay current on the trends in children's literature. So that's my little sad, cold corner of the universe. What's happening in yours? Until next time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

WHAT IF.......

I'm so behind on life in the blogosphere that it's shameful. Loyal readers I hope you won't jump ship. Stay with me, we're sailing somewhere (although our destination is a mystery).

Back in October on the Cynsations blog, there was a guest post written by Danielle Joseph author of Indigo Blues. She was inspired to write the book after hearing the song 'Hey There Delilah' by the Plain White Tee's. As the band became more well know it became know that there was a real Delilah and that lead singer Tom had written the song for her. Being a writer Ms. Joseph said what would have happened if Tom and Delilah had actually dated? What would be the impact of their lose of anonymity on their relationship? What if..... Well after all those what ifs Indigo Blues was born.

If been thinking about this what if game a lot lately. I've been trying to look at some of my own stories and tried to play the game. What if I changed this character into a duck? What if a character from this manuscript and that manuscript met? I've also been trying to pay more attention to things around me to look for creative places to dwell. I think this can be a helpful exercise especially when you are stuck at a dead end in your manuscript or even if you feel you have no ideas left. Play the what if game long enough and you have a completely new story. Just as an example think of something from the news lately. I'm attempting to be a runner so the first thing that comes to mind is the New York City Marathon. One of the Chilean miners was in the race. What if he has a daughter? What if she doesn't approve of her fathers new found fame? What if she is shy and doesn't like the attention. From just that bit of an idea I could write a story about a girl struggling to deal with her family's celebrity. What if she was the only one in the family that wasn't famous? I'm already intrigued. Can you come up with one? Try it, it's fun. Share what you come up with. Oh and Ms. Joseph if you'd like to send me a copy of you book I would love to read it!! Until next time!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Picture Book Reviews

I know you all thought I must have fell off the face of the earth, but here I be!!! I have two books I've been holding off on reviewing. One is about Martin Luther King, Jr. It seems more appropriate to look at it in January or February when we are allowed to have the black books front and center in the bookstores. (ouch, no she didn't!! yes I did!!!) The other is a Christmas book so of course December would be a great time to introduce it, however, both books are sitting here on my desk so why not just break all the rules this morning. Who's with me!!!!!!!!!!

Angela Farris Watkins has written a new book on Martin Luther King Jr.. She is writing from a unique perspective since she is his niece. My Uncle Martin's Big Heart is written through the eyes of childhood. Uncles (the good ones) always seem to have a magical quality so can you imagine having Dr. King as your uncle? Ms. Watkins describes Martin Luther King Jr., as a funny, generous man. A man who sometimes fell asleep on the couch with his shoes on which was a big no-no. This book is a great perfectly bite sized tastes of Dr.King for younger kids. IT briefly touches on the big things he did, but I appreciate the little details like him laughing at his niece when she is imitating her mother scolding her. I think especially in our culture our children are being raised to believe that everyone on TV is some sort of god to be worshiped, this book is a sweet reminder that yes there are amazing people out there that do amazing things, but they are still people just like you and me. It is a wonderful glimpse into the private family life of Dr. King. The book briefly touches on some of his accomplishments but mainly focuses on the man as a great, fun uncle.



Young Nina is not sure how this years  
La Nocha Buena(Christmas Eve) will go down. After arriving in Miami from New England, she is shocked to discover the heat. How will Santa ever deal with the heat and where will he land his sleigh? Little does she know that in Cuban homes La Nocha Buena is one of the most exciting nights of the year. For three days Nina helps the women of the family prepare for the big event. Chopping, stirring, dicing and lots of laughing. I love books that expose children to different cultures and traditions. This is certainly a book I will add to my family's Christmas reading list. (We read a Christmas related story every night during Advent.) Great work Antonio Sacre

I promise I will try to get back on the blogging bandwagon. I've neglected you guys so much. Mea Culpe. Until next time.

** Books courtesy of Abrams Books for Young Readers.**

Friday, October 29, 2010

Confession/Question

Hey writers, get ready to slap my hand cuz I've been naughty. I haven't written anything, not a sentence not a phrase, not a twinkly shiny word in months. Why you ask? Well because life is really serious and complicated right now. I ask you who are children's book writers, how do you write for kids when you are dealing with very grown up things? I feel like right now I could probably write a really kick-ass novel with deep and dark themes, but a picture book, not so much. Maybe I'm just psyching myself out by saying life is too hard to write right now so I get a pass. I know I need to just GBIC (get butt in chair) but every time I try, Craigslist starts calling me,or I need to update my Netflix queue or log into my latest addiction meetups.com(there are some weird groups out there). So how do you make yourself write when you just don't want to? Holla if you feel me!!! Until next time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Saturday

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. Life can sometimes get crazy. Neverfear, I'm here!!! Just thought I would leave you with a couple of quick quotes to ponder. Talk amongst yourselves until I can get back in my blogging groove.

"Life is not the way it's supposed to be, it's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."    Virginia Satir

"We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them."  Charles C. West

Discuss amongst yourselves. Until next time.

PS: I'm currently reading How to Be an American Housewife. Hope you're reading something good. If you don't have a book in your hands may I recommend The Book Thief!!!