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?)