Simply Today

Archive for the ‘Think, think, think’ Category

When I happen upon a shared goal or reflection read, I find I respond in a could different ways. The first and best is, “Yes! Thank you! You get it.” This usually comes when I am feeling I am up to the challenge, have already made strides towards achieving the goal, or am just so encouraged by finding a like mind, that I’m beside myself. As I wrote, the best reaction. Not so good is when I’m struggling with accomplishing something big or small and realize ‘champagne toast,’ (could be anyone) is leaps and bounds ahead, sharing about how yes it was a struggle but he/she has a healthier diet/schedule/etc. now and you can too. I want to love the improvements anyone makes on their life to be healthier in any of the ways one can be healthy, but it sucks to feel like I’m always a little late to the game in being the one to make improvements. I’ve been in this stuck place before, I don’t remain there constantly but it’s an underlying tension I live with. Lived with. Currently, partially live with?

Oh, right the title of the post. Let’s bring it back to ‘best reactions.’ So there are very few blogs I read by folks I don’t know but I happened upon an entry by ‘Just a Titch,’ off of a link from my friend’s blog and I loved two of the points she made, particularly because I’m working at them myself. I feel encouraged by reading goals that I haven’t articulated in quite this way before. These points were under the heading, “So Why Don’t You?”

Turn off the TV, music, phone, Kindle, etc. for five minutes? Light a candle and enjoy the quiet? Write in a journal instead of watching or listening to something? Sit with your own thoughts and take deep breaths?”

Yes, to quiet, yes to journal-ing yes to sitting with my own thoughts. There is not enough of this in my life, nor has there been in forever.

Start a nightly routine? Settle in with a book, some tea and a candle? Take a bath or shower, followed with yummy lotion? Snuggle with your pet or special person? Ban anything with a screen for the last 30 minutes of the night?”

Hm. Candles in both of these entries. Guess I should get on that. I have some, they just don’t get lit. Why? Because, since college I haven’t spent much of my waking time in my bedroom, but it’s not just the time, it’s that it requires a level of unwinding that hasn’t been on my radar for awhile. I have fun, I have people over for games or a chat, I go out. I have a rich social life (and I’m talking real friendships here), but I don’t let myself stop until the end of the day. If there’s room in my schedule, then it’s up for grabs. Was up for grabs. I’m starting to learn.

I’ve been reading more these last c0uple months (I read a heck of a lot this summer, but that was required reading), I wrote a goodly batch of Christmas cards (sure there wasn’t a picture or a tri-fold yearly update, but I wrote a personal message in each), and I’m giving more attention to my cat (though I still have a ways to go there in her estimation). I am moving forward in ways I haven’t in a long time by slowing down and even stopping.




Hint Fiction is a complete story told in 25 words or fewer (as defined by the compiler). The most famous piece of hint fiction (or what inspired hint fiction) is Hemingway’s six word novel: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  What Robert Swartwood found in the many submissions were closer to a novel’s first sentence than a hand full of words which can meet a reader half way, giving them just enough of the story to fill the rest in. Most of what is found in the excerpt is dark or solemn, but I am intrigued by the concept and might just try a few out myself. Here is the link:

What are people’s thoughts about this type of creative writing? Do you believe it could be done? Could you do it? Would it be less scary if instead of speaking to the story, you did it by chapter? Water down the punch needed?

Here is my attempt (I’ve been sitting on this story for awhile):


One, resting on the warmed lace, the other, guiding the iron along. As if those same hands and iron had not found the back of Karney’s head.


(truly 27 wds., 25 wds. taking ‘warmed’ and ‘same,’ out)

Evidently I have Music Man on the brain, among other things. Anyway, it’s off to the library for me once work is done for the day. Today, Wednesday, Thursday, and perhaps even Friday. Even though I batted my eyes at the pair of books I had on my reading schedule for these past two weeks, they haven’t been reading themselves. For shame! I let them sleep next to me, come along to Michigan City, see where I work, and get carried around in my purse. I even made a pretty bookmark with the schedule on it, which is currently inside Twilight. And they couldn’t do this little thing for me! Sigh.*

Well, I do have a week of wiggle room, I was just hoping to use it later as opposed to sooner. I’ll let you know how it goes…bzzzzzz, bzzzzzzzzzzzzz, bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

*I’m actually half way through Twilight, and a few chapters into Through the Looking Glass

In 76 days I will be sitting in my first grad school class, taking notes, attempting to quell butterflies in my stomach, and staring in wonderment at my professor and fellow students. This past Monday, classes opened up at 7:30 (my time) and half an hour later I was the proud student of History and Criticism of Children’s Literature and Creating Picture Books for Children (there were only four spots left when I signed on!). Here is the course description of each:

History and Criticism of Children’s Literature is designed to introduce you to the study of the history of British and American literature for children and to various critical approaches to that literature.  We will begin with the roots of children’s literature in the oral tradition and medieval literature: sources of folk tales, fables, legends, and nursery rhymes. The course will next focus on the rise of awareness of children as a separate audience in the 18th century and on the writing of histories of children’s literature.  By examining several works in the 19th century didactic tradition and, by contrast, Alice in Wonderland, a work that represents the revolt against bourgeois moralism, we will see how children’s literature developed a tradition that legitimized literary values as ends in themselves.  Psychological and myth-oriented critical methods will allow us to see how children’s literature addresses the psychological needs of children.  Sociological and feminist approaches will illuminate some of the culture-bound features of literature for the young.  These approaches in particular illuminate the continued absorption of children’s literature in the conflict between adults’ desire to shape children to adult expectations and their (adults’) yearning to recapture childhood spontaneity and freshness of perception.  Thus, authorial perspective, narrative voice, and style will be significant subjects of investigation as we analyze closely a number of children’s novels from 19th and 20th century British and American literature. Critical thinking and writing about children’s literature and becoming acquainted with the state of current scholarship in the field are major goals of the course.  Students are encouraged to think about writing a scholarly paper that could be published in a journal of children’s literature criticism.

(I’m already making notes in Alice in Wonderland for possible paper ideas.  Papers. Oh, boy.)

Creating Picture Books for Children

A good picture book is an amazing creation — like a souffle. The basic ingredients are always the same: a setting, various characters, some action, a bit of dialog, conflict, moods, a climax and, of course, an appropriate and satisfying ending. Using these raw materials, the author/illustrator must use imagination and artistry — solidly backed with nuts and bolts craft techniques — to shape, pace, detail, and polish a book.  In other words, it is anything but simple. There is no recipe, but there are lots of useful skills. This class is for illustrators who write, writers who draw, and those wishing to try their hand at it for the first time.


On Saturday, amidst diligent work, and forgetfulness regarding everything not application related, I left a forlorn piece of toast resting in the toaster for a matter of hours. Yes, that means, I even forgot to eat. Who does that? Anyway, now I’m feeling a little like I’ve been left in the toaster, I don’t know if I’ll be re-toasted or tossed, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

For those who don’t know, I recently applied to a grad school for the pursuit of Children’s Literature. It’s been three days since the school received my $4o, portfolio of creative pieces, my on-line application (with my STATEMENT OF PURPOSE), letters of recommendation, and the chance to alter my future.

In all honesty, it feels strange being at the stage in the process where the application is no longer in my hands. After spending hours rewriting and editing, receiving critiques, stressing, dreaming, and hoping, now I must wait. The woman I have been in contact with says that I should know one way or another by the end of the month…so I have 10 more days to chew my finger nails and attempt to not think about it–by reading The Shack, watching The Little Couple (from TLC), working, getting sick, and sleeping.

What would it mean if I got in? Well, I would spend between 3-5, 6- week summer sessions completing their MFA program, with the end result being a children’s book by moi (as my thesis). That’s right, I want to be an author. To give you more insight as to why I want to do this, I will post my STATEMENT OF PURPOSE, in the next couple days.

As for the last couple nights, well this school thing is getting into my subconscious. I’ll spare you a long recount, but two nights ago, I dreampt that I could not finish any of the short stories I was writing, as hard as I tried. And then last night, I was back in school, had a course load of 10 all new classes in a variety of different subjects (some quite ridiculous), and I came away with loads of homework in each. My advisor had somehow decided that I should do two semesters worth of courses in one…however, it felt more like a high school setting than grad school. Here’s hoping tonight I get by without these kind of reminders!

Now for some liquids. Glug, glug.

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