Monday, September 21, 2015

Newbery/ Caldecott predictions

It's time for me to make up a reading list for the fall.

Every year I check out Elizabeth Bird's Newbery/ Caldecott predictions and print out a list of great books for my fall reading.

Then I go check the ShelfTalker blog to see if she also has suggestions.  Hmm. September 3's post seems to have some suggestions.  Keep on checking this blog for more as fall progresses.

All of which gives me piles of reading to keep me happy - for a while.

Go thou and do likewise!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Visit to Grandmother's - 1950s

This is another memory I have of growing up in the 1950s.

            I was alone on the train which swayed back and forth and rata-tat-tated over bridges.  Just me. Not my mother and father. Not with my brother and sisters. I went alone to visit my grandmother. I was good. I didn’t talk to anyone on the train. I just watched out the window as the trees and cliffs slid by, my eyes following the lines of different layers of rock, some going up, some going straight and some curving up, over, and down.  We passed the art museum on the river and then, underground, and we were at Penn Station.
            Grandma mushed me into her broad body with her hug, then she picked up my suitcase and we walked. And walked. Oak. Chestnut. Spruce Street.  Along came the Spruce Street trolley, cling-clanging its bell, sparks flying above where the trolley’s metal rod touched the electric wire.
             My grandmother lived in an apartment in West Philadelphia, not far from the site of the farm she grew up on. I’ve seen pictures of it – a house in the middle of farmland.  No longer.  Philadelphia grew and grew and swallowed her farm.  I loved visiting her apartment. The oriental rugs glowed on the floor and all the cabinets held treasures. 
            No sooner had we unpacked, than out we went again.  This time by bus to the Robin Hood Dell to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra. (It seems that nobody in our family in Philadelphia drives a car.) The orchestra had concerts all summer long at the Dell, and tonight was the night. And we had tickets.
            I just wish she would simply take her place in the general seating, but no.  Not Grandma. “Do you know who I AM?” she accosted the poor college student collecting tickets.  (Every time. Every time we go, she does this.) “I am Marion Corbin and I started these concerts.” The poor guy didn’t know what to do about this. I, on the other hand, wanted to either hide behind her, or pretend I was with someone else.
            “I see that the Mayor’s seats aren’t taken tonight,” she said, pointing over to a fenced off area. “You can put us there. Just call up to the main office. They know who I am.”
            By this time, I was ready for a hole to open up and swallow me.  But I just stood there with a frozen smile. (at least I thought I was smiling, I have no idea.) And, yes, we sat in the mayor’s seats that night. 
            After the concert, we boarded the city bus again, making our way slowly through the nighttime traffic.  It was brightly lit inside, dark outside. We really couldn’t see much out the windows.
            Something broke a bus window and flew into the bus. A bottle? I saw an empty Coke bottle rolling down the aisle of the bus.
            More crashes. Sounds of rocks or more pop bottles hitting the sides of the bus.  Angry yelling.
            “Everyone down,” the bus driver shouted. “Get away from the windows and Get DOWN.”  He began driving faster. We slid to the gritty floor. The bus swayed and we bumped our heads against the seats.
            “What’s happening?” I asked grandma.
            “This is a negro area of town,” she said. “They saw a bus with white people on it and that set them off.”
            “But why?”

            I never understood why. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Scrivener and Me

Author Lesa Yee uses Scrivener.
Author Coe Booth uses Scrivener.
Scrivener. Scrivener. Scrivener.
I’d been hearing so much about this writing computer program that when my husband offered to buy the program for me and install it on my computer, I jumped at the chance.  
(What a great birthday/ Christmas/ anytime present!)

But –
Then I had to learn it.

I read the tutorial.  And promptly forgot most of it. 
Corkboard?  Do you doubleclick on the corkboard card to get into the manuscript page that I KNEW was hidden under it?  Click. Click-click. Nope.
What the heck is a split screen and why would I ever need it?
After working with this new program, and running my fingers through my hair over every frustration, my tussled hair look would probably scare small children.

(I never did reach the point of frustration with this program that I reached with my first experience with MS-Word for the Mac in the early 1990s. I had been using it to write my George Washington book when suddenly the whole manuscript disappeared.  After searching all over the computer screen for it, I screamed, ran over to my bed, flopped down on it, and gave in to a full blown tantrum, complete with feet flailing and arms pounding.  And more screaming. Hours later I managed to find my manuscript – MS-Word had tucked it up in the upper right hand corner – invisible to the eye.  I transferred THAT manuscript to Appleworks and never touched MS-Word for the Mac until the mid-2000s, when Microsoft finally had learned how to make it more Apple-like.)

Well, since I wasn’t going to remember the details in the tutorial, what about having a reference book beside me?  After all, I’m an old-fashioned librarian and I’m used to using Paper material, not online tutorials.
 So I bought Scrivener for Dummies.

MARCH 19, 2012  Vermont Novel writing workshop --
Even though my husband was sick, he insisted I attend the Novel writing workshop that I had signed up for months ago.  I won’t go into the frustrating experience I had flying there and back – needless to say, I will always fly Southwest from now on.

As soon as I arrived, my assigned roommate took one look at me and moved out. I was of two minds about this.  In the first place, I was a bit ticked off because all my other roommates had told me that I was a great roommate. But – in the second place, I couldn’t wait to be alone in the room working on my Magic Cat novel, using my new writing software, Scrivener.  (for once I was treating an event as a thing half-full, instead of my usual half-empty, pessimistic attitude.)

Wow, I was going to spend the whole Saturday at my favorite place, Vermont College, doing one of my favorite things – writing.  I sat impatiently during the opening lecture.  I couldn’t wait to get back to writing. (This time I wasn’t going to waste time with workshopping my writing in a group where the only experienced people were the group leader and me.  That just wasn’t helpful.)

As soon as I loaded my fantasy story into Scrivener, I promised myself I’d take my laptop outside on the sun drenched green, and write, write, write.  Just as soon as…  
How do you do this again?  (checking my book for dummies) Oh yes. And oh yes. And oh DAMN, the whole afternoon disappeared and I was still trying to figure out how to use this thing.  Grrrrrr.

April 7, 2012.
I attempted to figure out how to use those tiny cards on the Scrivener bulletin board as note taking cards for a nonfiction project (as suggested by another writer), but so far -- not so good.
Actually, it’s terrible.
 I may have to go back to the old-fashioned way -- using pen and 4x6 paper note cards.  

May, 2013 – Kindling Words --
I tried writing outside here in Taos, but it was too dusty.  The wind blew brown, gritty dust all over everything, including my laptop. Then a dust devil meandered through the patio. Yuck! It dropped dust all over everything. I was covered with it. This couldn’t be good for the laptop, so I scurried back inside the lodge.  (I had to clean up the laptop, wash my hands, and eat a fresh made cookie.)

I LOVE Scrivener:  One of my editors asked me to put a nonfiction aspect into the picture book I sent her, so I set the story up on scrivener and then began searching the internet for facts. All I had to do was grab information for each animal from web pages and throw it into a Scrivener file for that animal under the folder - Research. (One or two of the web pages had pictures and they transferred into the files as well.)

Now, all I had to do was zip through my picture book manuscript, inserting facts, hopefully in an interesting way – and everything I needed was there on Scrivener – I could bop back and forth between the story and the facts with a simple click. 
So much easier than having things stored in Word files and having to open each one, not find the info I needed, close it and switch to another.  Repeat. Repeat.  

I LOVE Scrivener!