Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's about time

I’ve never let so much time lapse between blog entries. Prepping myself for another writing conference on the heels of my last took time; absorbing the great advice of successful authors, agents, and editors fueled my inspiration; and returning to my waiting computer with an active mind and willing digits all conspired against blogging, in favor of writing stories for (hopefully) a much wider audience.

Last week, I performed a cut-and-slash on my longer piece of work. Now it needs serious resuscitation. Fortunately, I fancy myself as a good health care provider. But the thing’s pretty sick and will suffer a long recuperative period. 

Last week, I also revised one of my picture books, started another, and wrote what I’m hoping is something Lola Schaeffer—author of 230 picture books and with whom I ate lunch not once but twice!—calls a “given.” (A given is one of those rare stories that just flows out, barely needing revision.) I’m sure to change my mind after the rejections pour in.

I love to write; I love to read—not only others’ work but my own. I read one of my stories aloud in church recently; the service covered evil, and this particular story featured Alice, the elephant, who overcame an obstacle to defend the jungle. Apparently, moralistic stories in today’s publishing word have one thing in common—they share the kiss of death. But I do love this story; it rhymes and it’s terribly funny. Fortunately for me (in an optimistically publishing sense), I’ve learned to get beyond morals and rhymes; my current tales, for the most part, focus on humor.

Reading aloud, as somewhat of an introvert, I’m still never sure how my body will react. Usually, I’m nervous and try to deal with it the best way I can—using my trembling voice to portray a certain character’s hesitation or fear, for instance. But other times, I completely surprise myself with my lack of fear. In other words, whether I’m nervous or not seems to be completely out of my control. But what I try to remember when my heart’s beating in my throat is the feeling I had, at age 17, playing Lily Dilly (one of the Dilly sisters in a play called Pick-a-Dilly). I was 17 years old, on top of the world, and frightened out of my wits about performing. But I memorized like crazy and approached the stage bravely. After the first couple of sentences, my fear dissipated, and I just had fun. How could I not? For part of it, I pretended to have a lisp. “I thimply adore big throng men like you!”

Writing. Reading. Acting. Sharing. Fun’s what it’s all about.

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