The first real wave of winter hit Long Island this morning. We woke up to find the edges of the lake covered with a thin sheet of ice. I love winter but when it is this cold, it’s best to stay indoors and bake. The Cranberry Scones looked too pretty not to take a photo. I had only one with that cup of coffee.
I’ve spent all day today baking and getting ready for Christmas. That’s a bit removed from the writing that I should have been doing, but at least my mind was thinking about writing.
I spent one afternoon this week with a fellow children’s book author who also just signed a book contract. Discussion about our writing projects was very stimulating to me and will help to keep me moving forward. Amazingly, we each signed with the same publisher. That was such a fun fluke. Neither of us discussed submitting work to that particular publisher, and independently we were both signed. It is a debut publishing for both of us so I really appreciate having a co-author with whom I can share this new experience.
Part of the Christmas display in our home is my collection of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”.
I’ve acquired over 30 copies – but usually only display the 20 or so hard back versions. In the collection are a couple other Christmas titles, but I don’t count those in the total number. I guess I’ve always been a book person. I buy at least one new copy a year. Believe it or not, I don’t have any duplicates! Let’s see what I can find this year.
Autumn is turning out to be a really fun time of year for me this year. Harvest season, a time for receiving all the benefits of your hard work – that’s the farmers take on the season. Right now, I’m pleased to be able to reflect on my farm roots. I am quite blessed.
I feel like I should be running around like Henny Penny shouting, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.” Or Paul Revere and his raiders announcing, “The British are coming, the British are coming!”
Yet, quietly I sit here fumbling to find words for this post. I can’t hold it in any longer, it’s time to get this out in the open.
I just signed with a small publisher in Texas. Clear Fork Publishing will be publishing one of my picture book manuscripts. I feel like I should write that a bit bigger.
I just signed with a small publisher in Texas. Clear Fork Publishing will be publishing one of my picture book manuscripts.
It feels great to share that. I was was sure I was dreaming.
I’m going to not share all the details about the picture book but I will give you all a hint. The story has some connection to the picture below. Stay tuned.
I consider myself a generally patient person. I don’t mind long car rides. As a kid, I don’t think I ever asked, “Are we there yet?” I was having too much fun. The way back in the old family station wagon was cozy with pillows, blankets and stuffed animals. There was always the scenery from the windows. Day or night there was always something to see, even if it was a ton of other cars in a traffic jam. That was not a worry for me, I was just a passenger.
As I’ve grown older, I find that I still do enjoy the journey, as a passenger whether it be a plane, train or automobile.
One area where my patience is not as developed as it should be is waiting to hear back from publishers. I equate the time between sending out a manuscript and receiving feedback like waiting for Santa Claus at Christmas. Waiting for that response makes me feel like my six-year-old self sitting under the Christmas tree next to a big gift wrapped in shiny paper with curly ribbons looking suspiciously like a bicycle – that I’ve been told I can’t open.
Sounds a bit odd if the feedback is a “thanks but no thanks” kind of a comment, but my gift is the acknowledgement. As a writer I’ve worked on a manuscript and gotten it to be the best that I think it can be. I’ve shared it with my critique groups. I’ve revised it , shared it again, put it aside, revisited it, polished it, blessed it and put it out there. After all that work, I proudly accept the “thanks no thanks” response as “we recognize all that you have put in but…”
Being passenger or driver makes a huge difference in the patience factor. As a passenger, the expectation is to be carried from one place to another. As a driver, I am responsible for the trip. So I’m responsible for the outcome as well. That’s why my patience goes from abundant to zero.
As I write this, I have two manuscripts out to publishers, so I’m working on my patience. Combatting my impatience with productivity keeps me from wringing my hands and pacing the floors and eating. I’m working on a new story. I’ve put up some Zucchini Relish and will be canning more things this weekend. As the saying goes, Nunca hierva una olla vista or A watched pot never boils.
I made it out to Southampton this morning for what I call my New Year’s Day. It’s the annual Shinnecock Nation powwow and I’ve been going for nearly 20 of those 70 years. It’s like a homecoming for me because I have made so many friends. The reservation is only open to the public over the Labor Day weekend. This year we are waiting for Hermine, either a tropical storm or a hurricane – she hasn’t decided yet. No rain during today’s event, it was just very overcast. Hopefully, the remainder of the weekend will allow for the event to attract its patrons. As a fundraiser for the Shinnecock Nation, it would be a huge revenue loss if visitors were kept away by Mother Nature. The event is rain or shine so I wish them all the best.
The Aztec Dancers from Mexico were one of the groups that I was able to photograph before my digital camera battery died. I had my film 35mm with me so I was able to continue taking photos but will have to wait for the images. I may see if I can finish the roll this week. Pros and cons of technology – digital = instant photos, battery willing. Film requires no batteries but has a wait time for developing.
I didn’t do any writing today at all. I did do a lot of thinking, maybe that should be called, pre-writing. I’ll jot down those thoughts this evening and see where they lead. I have a couple more days till I have to be back at work so I’ll try to make the most of them.
I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Stay safe.
I’ve given the blog a bit of a face lift. I thought it was time.
It’s the second day of September and I’ve taken some time off from my day job. Taking advantage of the Labor Day holiday on Monday gives me a nice stretch of time out of the office. I have no travel plans. I will go out to Shinnecock for the PowWow this weekend – an absolute must for me. That helps me reset, almost like a New Year’s celebration.
I intend to work on some manuscripts while the house is quiet. My husband is at work and the dog naps all day long. The story I began last month seems to be getting some traction with me so I’m going to keep following that path. I’ve worked on a couple of revisions for other manuscripts so I am feeling more productive than last month.
I’ve received rejections for the items I submitted last month. Disappointed of course, but it is all part of the process. Onward!
This is usually the time of year that I like to head to the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania for a conference. I decided to take a break for this year and focus on getting ready to attend the SCBWI Winter conference in NYC in February.
2017 seems so far away, but it is just around the corner. In October my Christmas Club account will be released. I’ll be getting firewood in and securing the patio furniture for the winter. Then rearranging the living room for the Christmas tree. WAIT! I can’t think of that yet.
I’ve never attended an International SCBWI Conference and I’m getting very excited. Pulling together my most polished work and researching past conferences is where I am so far. My expectation is to get into the atmosphere and soak it all in.
Now that I’ve taken time out from my manuscripts for this post, I’ll sign off for lunch. Then I’ll head out for some errands and settle back in at my desk for the remainder of the day.
June and July passed very quickly and now I find myself near the end of a quiet summer. If I had not finished my first “project” I’d feel very incomplete, but that is happily not the case. I completed the lamp project and feel very accomplished with myself.
My son’s middle school lamp project showed off his carpentry skills but the assigned design left the lamp on the utilitarian side for me – so I designed it up. For a few dollars at Home Depot I picked up a really cool stone tile matrix, thin set, grout, and nautical rope.
Plain Pine lamp
After the lamp was done I began listening to BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert. I got the audiobook because there were no hard copies available in my library when I wanted it. I started listening to the first disc in the car on the way home from the library. A couple pf chapters in and I felt as if Ms. Gilbert was speaking just to me. Her discussions on creativity coming not by our own doing but when we are most ready to receive and work with it was profound.
This was a very timely book for me. I knew I was procrastinating away from my writing. I was hitting road blocks, mental and otherwise, so I was looking for diversions to fill in my time but I didn’t realize that working on that lamp was actually my creativity gaining traction and getting me ready for the next project. According to Gilbert, well my understanding of Gilbert anyway, creativity needs us to keep moving forward. Rather than being a lump on the couch waiting for an idea or a creative spark, I hooked onto the first thing I saw – the lamp – and moved full steam ahead. That 3-pound wood look lamp is now about 15 pounds.
I started a short list of ideas for new stories but the one I started working on today came to me as I looked at some photographs that I recently shot. Creative photography helped spark a story idea. It could be nothing, meaning it is not a story that I need to tell right now – or it could be something, the story that I do need to tell right now. I booked 1000 words today without really trying. The “butt in chair” thing seems to be something I avoid if I don’t have a story to work on. I’ve learned to limit Facebook and email time so its time to tackle that too.
I’m taking a couple of days off this month to work on my writing. I’ll actually have a couple new ideas to work on those days. That will make me feel more creative too.
Also – I’ll probably listen to BIG MAGIC again before I return it to the library.