Thursday, May 31, 2012


Some writing books advise you to begin a story with a bang, to jump right into the action, to "shoot the sheriff on the first page."

I don't do that. I like a more leisurely opening - whether I'm reading a story or writing one. 

I like to invite the reader onto the porch of the story -

Come on up, have a seat, take off your shoes, sit a while . . .

I want readers to feel comfy - 

and to be surrounded by air and light and natural beauty - 

I want to offer readers something worthy of their time - 

So, maybe you will come on up, set yourself down, stay a while . . . mm?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Squirrels in the Crabapple

"She has squirrels in the attic"
someone might say
of me
when I'm deep in a draft
and dizzy in the 'real' world

but outside my window
there are
squirrels in the crabapple
happily munching


Thursday, May 24, 2012



so solid
and smooth
fit so comfortably 
in my hand

cool to the touch

I am drawn to them
I don't know exactly 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pearl in England: Point of View

Many of my stories are written in the first person point of view
because I like that intensity of focus
of being completely in the mind
of the main character

seeing what she sees
feeling what she feels

The above girl could be one of my characters
but instead she is my granddaughter Pearl
visiting England
where my husband, children and I lived
for many years.

I am eager to hear what she's thinking and seeing and feeling.
I am eager for her point of view.

top photo: at TASIS England School, checking out the Peter Rabbit Garden, 
planted by the lower school.
bottom photo:  at Kensington Palace, London.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

California Dreamin', part 3

For this last glimpse of Davis, California
I offer you this
from the central park

Overhanging the bench -

I'd never before seen an artichoke growing
and it made me laugh
to see it so boldly there.

The first thing that came to mind
was a descriptive paragraph 
written by one of my 11th grade English students
nearly 30 years ago.

The student described a woman in a blue scarf
standing in an artichoke field.

The image was so vivid that I've carried it in my mind
all these many years -

So intriguing, the words and images
that stay with us,
don't you think?

A woman in a blue scarf
standing in an artichoke field.


Monday, May 14, 2012

California Dreamin', part two

More from Davis, California

We are made of many pieces

We are playful

(See me in the overhead mirror?)

Trees bring peace

The wonder of an apricot tree!

The elegance of redwoods!

Such calm in this park
in Davis, California
such tranquility


Saturday, May 12, 2012

California Dreamin' and Being . . .

Book tours have often led me to coastal California
to San Francisco, Los Angeles,
San Diego, San Jose

but this past week I've been in the central valley
flying into Sacramento
and then on to UC-Davis
where I worked with teacher candidates.

Near my charming cottage/inn
was a small park with elegant gardens
and each morning before the workshops
I spent time here.

Amid the roses and lavender and scores of native plants
were intricate mosaics
and sculptures

Even the waste containers were decorative:

More tomorrow from this special park
but first I need to say
that as special as the park is - 
the people I've met at UC Davis
are even more special:
one of the most memorable trips ever -
and I came away with such hope
and a very full heart.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Flying Off

I kid you not
this was straight out my office window
such a sight!

For you: 
butterfly on blossoms -
a gift to tide you over
I'm off in California
for a few days
doing workshops with teachers
at UC-Davis.

Sacramento, here I come!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Nesting: Birds and Writers

Every year the robins scope out our porch
seeking shelter for their nest
and every year 
they slop twigs and straw and leaves
every which way

and usually the mess-nest 
three or four or five times
but they pick all the mess back up
and slop it up against the pillar
which isn't nearly wide enough
for a secure nest

but they are stubborn
and keep at it
and slop some mud in it
to cement it to the
white pillar

and you know I'm going to
this to writing a book, right?

. . .the way I toss this and that 
onto the page
hoping it sticks
and sometimes it doesn't
and it makes a mess
but I am stubborn
and I keep at it

cementing those words
to the
white page.

ciao, bellas . . .