Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Animals Take Over

We had animal visitors for the holidays.

This cute pooch (above)
pooped on the carpet


this cute pooch (above)
in the kitchen


this tired pup (above)

finally gave up
chewing the wrapping paper
and the Christmas tree
and the stuffed frog
with his buddy, the horse


these two mellow bears
let themselves 
be dragged and pulled
and hugged and ridden

and they did not
chew or poop or pee

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


No snow on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day
or the two days following
but when the guests - who were craving snow -
down came the snow.

It happens.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to Write a Book in Four Easy Steps

1. First, choose appealing ingredients, including intriguing characters - I mean apples:

2. Next, peel away the skins and throw them all together and simmer for 15 drafts - I mean minutes:

3. Then, puree (edit in a blender), drain off the excess and reserve for another story - I mean drinking:

4. And there you have it - a book!  I mean - applesauce!

Oh well, I tried.  The analogy isn't perfect.  But what corresponds best, I think, is that if you begin with good ingredients, and have the patience to combine them and simmer them and drain off the excess, you are more likely to end with something good.  

Yes? No? Maybe?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apples, apples, apples

This post is a nod to Lori Skoog and to Kate Jackson who regularly post enticing food photos.  Recently Lori posted a photo of an apple pie she was in the midst of baking, and it set off such hunger and yearning pangs that I went out in search of apples that very day.

At a local farm, I found Honeycrisps (shown above), an apple I'd been searching for since reading an article on apple growing in The New Yorker. I'd never eaten a Honeycrisp before - but, oh, are they good.  The name describes them well.

So, I made the pie. Here it is waiting for top crust and crimping:

And now ready to go in the oven:

And, ta da!  Warm apple pie!

It is now half gone. And I mean to tell you: it is goooooood.

Makes you hungry, doesn't it?
Makes you want to go out and get some apples, doesn't it?
Makes you want to bake a pie, doesn't it?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Geese at Sunset

Two nights ago, the scene above:
geese on tranquil lake
at sunset.

Tonight, though,
the wind is howling
the rain is pelting
the water surging
past sunset
inky black.

I had a calm scene to write tonight
but the relentless winds
are skewing the scene
tossing it
here and there.

And that's the way it goes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How'd you get that Twitter Name?

Time for an Explanation

"Why do you use ciaobellacreech as your Twitter screen name?"

It sounds a bit vain, doesn't it? (Translation = 'Hello, beautiful Creech.' But wait! I have an explanation.  

When I signed up for Twitter and was asked to provide a screen name, I chose, simply, my own name, Sharon Creech, but was promptly informed that that was already taken. What? Really?  (Turns out there are several Sharon and Sherri Creeches around.)

I had just returned from a year in southern Switzerland, where the language is Italian, and every day when I walked through the local village, people would call out (to me and to other girls and women), "Ciao, bella!"  

Ciao, bella!  Ciao, bella!  Ciao, bella!  Such a cheery refrain bouncing off the mountainsides.

And so, when Twitter told me I couldn't use my own name, the first thing that popped into my head was 'Ciao, bella!'


I've since learned that Ciao Bella is also a lingerie chain . . . and somewhere I saw it as the name of an ice cream shop.

So.  There you go.

Ciao, bella!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


has been leaving


. . .
and it wasn't
and it's not

. . .


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Texture and Story

I love this gnarly old tree.
What a history it must have.
It reminds me of a really, really old and wise woman.
You don't want to mess with her
but you might learn a lot from her.

On my walks I am drawn to texture
and to contrasts in texture
from the rough and gnarly, nobby, bare tree above
to this:

soft and floaty grass fronds
as delicate as lace.

I appreciate intriguing texture in story
 the accumulation of details and tone
of pacing and pattern
and I appreciate contrasts in texture
that guide me from the gnarly to the soft

I love when I begin reading a book
and sense immediately
that I am in the hands
of a skillful writer.

Have you had that feeling recently?
What book or what writer?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pattern and Story

I am drawn to pattern
- not rigid, symmetrical pattern - 
but to pleasing balance

In life as in story
I need to see the particular 
and understand how it relates
to the whole

It wasn't until I got home
from my walk
that I noticed the similarities
in the scenes that caught my eye

much as, in writing a story,
the patterns are not always evident
until I complete a first 'walk' (draft)

but then, once noticed,
the task is to oonch them to the surface


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Layers and Water

I am addicted to walks
slow, meandering walks

drawn to layers

Everything relates to story

the frozen water
 cupping frozen leaves
is a mind
holding an untold story

it waits
and waits
the thaw


I am drawn to water

and what lies beneath:
of stone and silt and shell

Writing a story
is uncovering
the layers
sifting the silt
hoping there is more
than sludge
down there.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I admit a love for pencils and pens
all the instruments of writing

I also admit that I bought myself a present
greedy girl
the Blackwing pencils above
a box of them 

Steinbeck wrote with Blackwings
(I learned this from Sara Zarr)
: :
they are hard and smooth
of course

(Do you have a favorite pen or pencil?)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog Hopping

A few times a week I go blog hopping: starting with one blog that I visit regularly, I read the day's comments and then click on one of the commentators and hop over to their blog.  From there, hop to another commentator's blog, and so on.  It's addictive, but so entertaining and inspiring.  Today I began in Vermont (above) and hopped to France and Luxembourg and Australia, etc., a great romp!

A few of the stops are pictured below:

I love the serendipity of what I discover.  

Do YOU blog-hop?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


During this post-Thanksgiving weekend, everything is a jumble - what I call 'mishmasheroni':  clearing up from the holiday, catching up with mail and chores, and creating order on the desk to return to a work-in-progress.

In the midst of this bustle, two photographs arrived. 

This first one (above) is of my six-year-old grandson being a soldier.  
That's a crab pot strainer helmet.  
Of course.
When my own son was young, I didn't buy him toy guns,
but he fashioned guns out of sticks 
and helmets out of pots

The second photo (below) came from my friend Louise. Her dog had pups.  Two of them:

I mean: really.
Who could resist these?

They will be trained by Fidelco to be guide dogs.

Lucky future owners, mm?

And that is my mishmasheroni for today.

I hope you're having a good weekend, wherever you are.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Walk Two Moons Covers, Part II

(See yesterday's post for Part I)

Continuing yesterday's topic, below are additional book covers for foreign translations of Walk Two Moons:

The red convertible and turkey on the Polish edition (image 2, bottom left) are . . .surprising; the Korean cover in third image (bottom) seems to depict another story entirely.  

I tend to favor covers that do not depict a character on the cover, leaving the reader to 'cast' the character in his/her own mind.

What do you think?  Any favorites or not-favorites among these?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walk Two Moons Covers, Part I

Original American cover for Walk Two Moons

One of the American paperback covers.

I am intrigued by alternate covers for books, especially those printed in other countries. Book covers say so much about each publisher's sense of the best market for the book. You will see, below, a range of styles.  Perhaps you will choose a favorite?  And a least favorite?

British paperback covers. 

Although I am now consulted on the American covers and sometimes the British, I don't see the others until after they are published.

To be continued tomorrow.  .  .
Meanwhile, do you have any favorites or least-favorites from the above?

Saturday, November 19, 2011


A hawk hovering in our yard, waiting to scoop up dinner in the form of a chipmunk.

Squirrel stopping for a snack on the steps.

I am inside, writing my words, my mind half in and half out of the window.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Eyes Have It

I am drawn to eyes
pulled in by them

This is how I know someone:
by their eyes

their eyes

their eyes

. . .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Love that Pup, Love those Kids


This is Roan, my grandchildren's new pup, a rescue dog part-Australian Shepherd and part Dachshund. 

He is the softest, sweetest, floppiest dog I've ever met. Look at that face. 

My husband and I have just returned from visiting our daughter and grandchildren. We are besotted with the grandchildren - and now - the puppy, too. But I won't blather on about it.  I don't have the right words to tell you without sounding enormously sappy.

It was hard to leave.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Walk Two Moons: the Chicago Performance

On Saturday, my husband and I attended Adventure Stage's brilliant, lively, engaging performance of Walk Two Moons at the Vittum Theater in Chicago.  Wow!

It seemed fitting and perfect that the play was opening in Chicago, for that is where I received the Newbery Medal for this book in June, 1995.

The Adventure Stage group put on a professional, polished ensemble production that moved me greatly. Laughed. Cried. Loved the actors, director, crew, playwright.  Everyone.  Full house - a beautiful audience with a great mix of students, parents, teachers, librarians and general public.  Wonderful, cozy theater.

The above shot is an attempt to capture the giant poster advertising the play. That's me and a mysterious red-hooded child in the reflection.

After the play, I joined the cast and playwright onstage for 'talk back' - taking questions, both serious and humorous, from the audience.  Following that was a reception for all (with ice cream) and book signing.

We loved it all.  The next morning, before we left for the airport, we took a walk on Michigan Avenue.

Sun, tall buildings, blue sky, people strolling and running.

And this great statue of Marilyn Monroe.
We watched as so many tourists posed beneath her . . .
and they all looked UP.

No, we didn't do it.
Too shy?

Bye, bye, Chicago.

(The play runs through December 3. More info at

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Walk Two Moons on Stage

The Adventure Stage in Chicago has adapted Walk Two Moons for the stage, opening today for students and on Saturday for the public.  I'll be there on Saturday.  Can't wait!

It is an odd experience to see your words acted out by others and to see and hear the audience's reactions. It's as if you are viewing someone else's creation - which, in part, it is - but a creation that is so intimate, so familiar, that you feel disoriented, but in a good way.

There is more information here:

Adventure Stage: Walk Two Moons

If you're in Chicago, go see it. It runs November 5 - December 3.  Ticket information at above link.

Huzza, huzza --