Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Writer's Quotes

Louisa May Alcott:

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

Far away, there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

hmmm, that one reminds me of the motto the class of 1961 at Parkersburg High School which went something like this:  A man's grasp must always exceed his reach.
Actually, I never understood it. These days, I'm only slightly beginning to understand it.
I think Louisa May Alcott's statement makes much more sense.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A little bit about ME

                           (photograph by Roxyanne Young)
I was the oldest of 4 children, so you know who was in charge of the other children - me. Babysitter. Wasn't asked back to babysit for several people which was fine with me because their kid(s) were brats. 
Since I was used to handling my own siblings, I wasn't taking any guff from those brats, so they complained to their parents that I was mean. (It's quite a surprise the first time you see a kid who seemed to be enjoying you babysitting suddenly burst out with -fake- tears them minute the parents come home.) I was quite willing to never go back to those families.   
In high school, although I was on the academic track, I worked in the cafeteria to help out with lunch (free food was always good), and then discovered that others got leave from school in December to go work at stores in the downtown. I joined that group and learned all about working the Christmas rush. fun!
I wrote my first stories those last years of high school.
In college my first year I was student assistant to the Journalism teacher. Every summer during my college years I worked at a photo developing place. Black and white photography. It was quite exciting when color photography was invented and the public began using it. Only the more experienced workers were allowed to work on that side of the building, but every so often I helped there as well.
My Senior year of college I worked at the top of the library building recording and organizing the collection of donated papers and photographs. Worked with some very interesting Civil War letters. (I was a History major)
In 1966, I got married to another history major, Francis Elbert Old III (otherwise known as Chip Old).
My first year of grad school (as a history major, again) I worked as a secretary in another college building. (only was asked to make coffee once. Since I don't drink coffee, I knew not how to make it, and they never asked me again. A new invention was installed in the building and I was nominated to learn how to use it. It was the very first word processor, called the MT/ST (Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter).  
Then we both got accepted to library school in anther state - Kentucky - UK.
We needed jobs as well, so with my store experience (see high school above) and my husband's warehouse experience (and washing machine repairman) we both got jobs at the Stewart's department store in downtown Lexington. Eventually we got a scholarship and an assistantship and completed our Masters in Library Science and both began working for Baltimore County Public Library in Maryland. 
He became a branch manager and I retired to have children.
While they were growing up, I wrote, worked part-time as a librarian, and did some substitute teaching at my daughter's middle school, much to her embarrassment. (evidently what they wanted subs to do was show up and show movies - I could do that.)
I also worked part time as a reporter doing feature writing for the local neighborhood newspaper - the Parkville Reporter.
When our kids wanted to go to college, I went back to full-time work - as a children's librarian in another county to the north - Harford County Public Library. One of the reasons the head of the Children's department hired me was because she knew that I had organized several library and children's literature conventions. (also a National car convention - The New England MG'T' Register.)
Meanwhile, I was being published - first in children's magazines, and in the 1990s, a good many books. (My first books were easy readers for the Reading Roots - Shared Stories program.)
I retired from Harford County Public Library in 2011, but now was raising a second generation. (She's now a teenager - and driving.)
And I earned another degree - I received master's degree in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Writing for Children and Young Adults in 2015.
So that's me - mom, grandmom, children's librarian, writer, teacher, Girl Scout Leader, secretary, sales clerk, etc., etc., etc.

Writer's Quotes

From Franz Kafka

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.  (which might explain his use of a insect as a main character)

In the struggle between yourself and the world, second the world.

From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back.  That is the point that must be reached.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Writer's Quotes

from Kate DiCamillo:

Everything I write comes from my childhood in one way or another.  I am forever drawing on the sense of mystery and wonder and possibility that pervaded that time of my life.

Every well-written books is a light for me.  When you write, you use other writers and their books as guides in the wilderness.

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.