Monday, February 27, 2012

An ARC, an ARC, my Kingdom for an ARC . . .

Look at this treasure
that came in the mail today:

an Advance Review Copy (ARC)
of Karen Hesse's new book:



It looks enticing:
"a novel of tomorrow"

with generous doses
Karen Hesse's own photographs


I am eager to begin.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Spring and Focus

Hellooooo, Spring!

Come on in.

You are always welcome here.

I'm always intrigued by how a writer chooses to begin a story,
especially with what focus:
will it be far out, giving the lay of the land,
as in movies 
when the camera begins high up 
and gradually moves in closer
and closer 
and closer
until it focuses on
the main character?

Or will it begin close up
immediately putting the focus on
a central person
or image 
and later moving out
to give us the lay of the land?

In paintings and photographs, too,
I like to think about
the artist's choices:
where is he/she directing our focus
and why?

It is spring in North Carolina,
a good time
to think about

Monday, February 20, 2012

So Much Depends Upon a Teacher

Yesterday, I showed this photo of a box of treasures that came from a school in Texas:

This isn't just a random collection of 'stuff' - each item feels specially chosen and warmly offered, from the school tee-shirt (which I've already worn proudly) and thermal drinking cup (they know I drink tea and water while I write) to the fine, fine chocolates (they know I love chocolate) –

that come with this warning

(they have a sense of humor)

and these seeds

"seeds of esperenza and morning glory"
to be scattered 
(representing hope)

Clipped to the top right of the card is
a trio of trinkets
representing cats, dogs, journeys
(Love That Dog, Hate That Cat, 
and many journeys)

and letters, amazing letters
full of enthusiasm and humor and warmth
Listen to this one line:

"I like to say your name, it has a creek in it like a door closing real slow."

Referring to my Skype session with them, one says:

"All of the love and happiness imported straight from New York 
makes me flabbergasted!"

And poems - how about this one:

So much depends upon
We gobble them
we make them
we fight over them

And of course, also in this box of treasures,
this perfect little red wheelbarrow

which refers to the William Carlos Williams poem
that means so much to the boy in LOVE THAT DOG:

so much depends/ upon / a red wheel / barrow // glazed with  rain / water // beside the white / chickens

This is a school with such a good feeling about it, from the teacher and students with whom I bonded several years ago, to their librarian and principal and fellow teachers and students - and there are more schools like this out there
ones where the administration and teachers and librarians 
set the tone
so much depends upon
their energy and compassion and enthusiasm

and you can feel it
in the students
in their words
and their actions

and I feel honored to know them.

They are changing children's lives:
so much depends upon them
so very very much.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Teachers and Librarians

Above: a box of treasure from a school in Texas
a box full of words and thoughts and gifts  
and loads of warmth

I'm going to write about this school
but for now
I'd like to salute
teachers and librarians
make all the difference
in a child's 

Did you have
a teacher or librarian
made all the difference
in your life?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Habit of Seeing

"I like to change my habit of seeing."

I think it was the musician John Cage who said this
but it might have been another musician or artist or writer.

Maybe you are working on a book
and the intricate pieces of it are becoming 
as tangled as a mangrove forest

Maybe you change your setting
so that everything is new again

Maybe you kick off your shoes

and walk in the sand

Maybe you ponder the wildlife

And visit old friends
(wildlife of another sort)

Maybe you contemplate
the blue green ocean
and the white white sand

Maybe you do all that
and restore your mind
and your soul
so that your story or song or painting

so that you see your way ahead
calmly and clearly.


Beaming you all sun and sand and blue green water.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Invasion of the Children

This past weekend
three of our great-nephews 
bounded onto the scene.

Invader number one:

Zoom zoom zoom
from here to there
and there to here
up and over and under
jump and run and gather.

Invader number two:

Find sticks and pinecones
bring them to the yard
make beds and fire pits and forts
zoom zoom zoom.

Invader number three:

Find the remote
find the crayons
fingers here fingers there
zoom zoom zoom.

Gotta love 'em.
Gotta gotta gotta.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Beaches and Writing

Maybe you love beaches
especially deserted ones
where the only sounds you hear 
are the waves and the seagulls. 

Maybe you come here to walk
and to empty the mind
so it can absorb the rhythm
of the water.

Maybe you stand in shallow water
and see the sun reflected
at your feet

and then look up
at the blue blue sky
and that astounding

And maybe then
when you are realigned
you go home
to write.