Friday, June 23, 2017

Author's Quotes

from unknown other writers to me on the occasion of my graduation from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a degree in writing:

Chart New Waters!

Be Kind to Yourself


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Author's Quotes

Quotes from Ray Bradbury:

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.
He also later (earlier?) stated this another way.  I suspect he said this quite often, actually.
Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
I've also heard this --
Jump and build your wings on the way down.

Don't think.
Thinking is the enemy of creativity.  It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things.  You simply must do things.

In my later years, I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back.
Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy.  The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


I've always loved to swim.  Which is why we always belonged to a pool so that the family could swim and the kids could be in the swim team.
However, as I grow older, I'm also using swimming as an exercise, keeping the joints in shape.

My favorite stroke is the sidestroke. Lazy swimming on your side with your head almost out of the water.  Next favorite -- backstroke.  (same reason, easy to breath while swimming, lying on your back)  All the other strokes (crawl or freestyle, breast stroke, butterfly) are just controlled drowning, in my opinion.

Then I made an interesting discovery. The sidestroke was great at trimming hips.  Except for one problem.  If you only swam on one side all the time, ONE hip trimmed down, but the other kept its secretary spread.  hmmmmm.
So I began forcing myself to learn to do the sidestroke, lying on the other side.

Ah - problem solved.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Story Spine

I've just been introduced to STORY SPINE, a good and easy way to remember how to plot a story.  Especially useful for picture books:
From theater educator Kenn Adams -- Story Spine exercise to teach the craft of story structure.Kenn is a veteran improviser, a playwright, and the author of How to Improvise a Full-Length Play: The Art of Spontaneous Theater. He’s been doing school theater enrichment programs for 20 years. The Story Spine exercise is one Kenn uses not only with kids, but also with adults in improv classes.
The Story Spine is exactly what it sounds like: a structure that supports a story. It consists of a series of sentence beginnings that you complete:
Once upon a time…
Every day…
But one day…
Because of that…
Because of that…
Because of that…
Until finally…
And ever since then…

    Although the Story Spine seems simple, it’s really an ingenious way to help kids (and adults) learn how to construct a satisfying story.

    Thursday, June 8, 2017

    DMV Ordeal

    I got the notification in the mail that I needed to renew my driver's license. Previously (in another state) all I had to do was go into the small branch office of the DMV, get a new picture and sometimes take an eye exam. Done
    However this notice mentioned that I'd have to take the written exam as well. (gulp) So I spent some time studying the Driver's Handbook, took a deep breath and went to the California DMV. The line was out the door and down the street. So, I went to Costco, instead.
    A few days later, I went to a different (larger) DMV and was happy to see that there were only 4 people ahead of me in line. Goodie. So, I got my number -- G-93 -- and went to sit down. The sitting area was only half full, so I assumed that I'd be called pretty soon.  
    G-54 was being called. And then for a long time other numbers with other parts of the alphabet were called. I got up, walked around, went outside for a while, came back in, sat down, and discovered that they had gotten up to the G-70s.
    After two and a half hours, they got to the G-90s. YAY!
    Finally my number was called.
    Are you living in the same place as on your license? Yes.
    Is your weight the same? Yes. (I didn't go into the fact that I had actually gained 10-15 pounds and then lost them again and was finally back to the same weight.)
    Then over to get my picture taken. Luckily, I had washed my hair. Unluckily, they had to keep taking my picture over and over again. At last the photographer asked me to take off my glasses. By that time she had me giggling so much that it's probably the best driver's license picture I've ever had.
    Finally came the test.
    Not a written test, but on the computer. Touch screen. Three strikes and you've failed.
    Instantly, I got TWO WRONG! Yikes!
    Boy was I petrified throughout the rest of the test. One more wrong and...
    But they were all right.
    And I was all right. Done. Certified to drive for 5 more years.
    I can't wait until my actual driver's license is mailed to me so I can see what my giggling picture looks like.

    Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    Writer's Qotes

    From  M.T. Anderson   --  A reflection on books and writing.  (click for more)
    Two pieces of advice for the aspiring writer:
    "First, actually write, however seductive it might be to just sit around pouting in a special hat. Even if you end up hating the things you write, you’re getting incredibly valuable experience. And as soon as you actually write, you’re a writer.
    Second, the thing we want to hear from you is what makes you unlike any of the rest of us. 
    Lean toward your own eccentricities. 
    Be aware of how they might strike your readers – but remember that it is the very thing that makes you different that will make you stand out and be heard."

    Monday, May 29, 2017

    Writer's Quotes

    G.K. Chesterton quote featured in The Writer's Almanac today:
    "Fairy tales do not give a child his first idea of bogey. 
    What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon." 

    (Tremendous Trifles, 1909)