Thursday, July 29, 2010


Happy Poetry Friday!! I lovelovelove to host this roundup -- please see below for what incredibles ye ole internet has to offer us today. Then add your own!

To make things even more fun, leave a comment by midnight, Sunday, Aug. 1st to win one of these two really awesome poetry books. I've read both of these more than once. And come on, in this day and age, that's saying something!! Even if you don't win, DON'T MISS THESE BOOKS. They're awesome.

by Jame Richards

by Jeannine Atkins

Monday, July 26, 2010


Sarah Frances over at PLOT THIS just wrote a fabulous post about how art is art, no matter what the medium.

Sarah Frances is pretty darn fabulous herself, and she's on vacation, where she watched some dancers. SF is also contracted for her first picture book as author AND illustrator (Viking!). So she's pretty much an expert in this subject.

I, too, have been known to dabble in all sorts of art forms -- not just writing. And the other night (a few weeks ago actually. Maybe even a month.) -- on THE BACHELORETTE of all shows -- there was a bit of genius that caught my ear.

They were meeting with the director of THE LION KING show on Broadway. I've seen the show, and there is this one scene, the love scene of course, that I completely LOVE. And wouldn't you know it, that's the scene Ali and Roberto got to leap into?

Anyway. Here's the genius part: the director chose Roberto. And when he was telling the cameras WHY he chose Roberto, he said he cast him in the same way that he casts all shows. He looked for the person who exhibited


And I thought, yes! That's it! That's exactly what we strive for as writers. Courage and truth.

So there you have it folks... the heart of art. Now go out and CREATE!

Friday, July 23, 2010


Happy Poetry Friday! Roundup is at Language, Literacy and Love. And come back next Friday, when Roundup is HERE! I'll be giving away some volumes of poetry for all you word-lovers out there.

So, onto today's poem.

I've been losing things lately. At first it was little things like a novel left in a hotel room. Or my cell phone case (who knows where). Then I very nearly ran out of gas. (Ummm, distracted much?? That hasn't happened since I was a teenager!) And now I've graduated to bigger things I dare not mention here.

Tell me, dear readers... what is the most important/valuable/silly thing you have ever lost?

And now, in my attempt to reframe things, I give you a most famous villanelle by Elizabeth Bishop. Enjoy!


The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Monday, July 19, 2010


What I found after almost-thirteen-year-old-niece-who-is-beautiful-and-precious-and-amazing left the house:

Adorable, huh?

Friday, July 16, 2010


1. This week I visited the art museum in Myrtle Beach, where the quilts of Gee's Bend are currently on exhibit. What a lovely museum and fabulous staff! Here's museum director Pat Goodwin introducing Carla, a museum volunteer, who gave an introduction of my book that pretty much left me tear-streaked and watery-eyed the rest of the day. Simply lovely. THANK YOU.

2. I put in some stiches! The museum had this quilt set up as a community project, so after my presentation, my auht Ruth Ann, cousin Judy and her two boys Nathan and Wes along with me and Eric got right to work. What a great excuse to see extended family! And it certainly goes along with the theme of the quilts.

3. I put my toes in the Atlantic Ocean! Eric, of course, put in more than just his toes. He had such a good time with third cousin Nathan.

4. Gadsden Public Library has been officially awarded "Best Food For An Author Visit." Sausage balls! Sweet tea! Peach cobbler! And more. Son Eric was most impressed. AND I got to meet the President of my Street Team, Glenda Byars. And all the other wonderful library staff like Carol, Amanda, Heather, Dee... Seriously. AWESOME. (Here I am with Eric and niece JuliAnna, who is staying with us a few days.)

5. On Monday, I'll be on the radio! Tune in at 4 pm EST here for my interview on Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio. I haven't talked to her yet, but her blog is tons o' fun. I'm excited!

And, BONUS: It's Poetry Friday!! Roundup is at my juicy little universe. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


You might have guessed by the fact that I wrote a book about a girl who wears a sack dress and no shoes that fashion is not quite my thing.

In fact, I don't think I owned a Barbie doll ever. I was a baby-doll kind of girl and never really understood my friends' fascination with Barbie. I was too busy pretending to nurse my babies and rocking them and pretending with my sister that we ran a daycare and one day none of the parents came back, so the babies were ALL OURS. And that was a good thing!

If I knew one thing about myself as a young girl, it was that someday I wanted to be a mother. And I really do love being a mom.

But back to Barbie. I've seen TOY STORY 3 twice now, and Barbie is a new edition to the cast of toys. She's the stereotypical "dumb blonde" in a lot of ways. She's silly at times and dramatic at others. And she vacillates between being all about fashion to being all about Ken.

Only she isn't just that. Wait a while, and her good heart and independence and loyalty shine through. She's cool and gorgeous and makes a difference at Sunnyside Daycare. She's a 21st century woman. And she delivers the best line in the whole movie.

All this to say I don't feel so heated anymore in my argument against Barbie. I will ALWAYS love baby dolls, and given the choice, will cuddle one in my arms over dressing Barbie in legwarmers any day.

But I celebrate Barbie's independence and image-sense.

Watch out Lindsey Leavitt and Rachel Hawkins: I might start reading SEVENTEEN magazine next. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010


Welcome to another edition of Poetry Friday! Roundup is at Carol's Corner. Check it out... I promise it will be a white-hot spot in your day.

Speaking of white-hot... wow, some pretty intense heat this week. As we sat out last night in the front yard watching the fireflies dance, I thought of this poem:

Back Yard

by Carl Sandburg (1916)

Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.

An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion.
A Polish boy is out with his best girl; they marry next month;
to-night they are throwing you kisses.

An old man next door is dreaming over a sheen that sits in a
cherry tree in his back yard.

The clocks say I must go—I stay here sitting on the back porch drinking
white thoughts you rain down.

Shine on, O moon,
Shake out more and more silver changes.

Wishing everyone white thoughts and silver changes!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


So I've been working on my 2010 quilt project. Youngest son Eric and new kitten Maggie have been helping A LOT. We decided to go with a diagonal color wash, which I really love. The final square count will be 729.

Bad news: I ran out of fabric!
Good news: Eric and I went to Hancock's yesterday and will hit Joann's today. :)

Don't you love it??

Friday, July 2, 2010


Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Roundup is at The Poem Farm.

I haven't been writing poetry in the past few weeks because I am hard at work on another MG historical novel about an orphan boy and an orphan dog in the 1880s.

I have, however, been honoring my little bedside plaque that says, LIVE YOUR POEM. Are there any wiser words? I love those three syllables so much.

What have I been doing?

Hanging out with my family.
Washing the dogs.
Holding the new kitten.
Piecing my charm quilt.
Cooking. Using a new recipe book I got from a favorite restaurant: THE LANDMARK.
Eating. Cheese fritters, anyone? Dark chocolate? Yummmm...
Reading. Today: THIS I BELIEVE (a collection from the NPR series by the same name)
Exercising. Heard of the CD series INSANITY? I am on day 13. Out of 60. I feel stronger already!
Buying odd items, like new pillows.
Cleaning odd places, like the bathroom sink drain. (You do NOT want to see what I pulled out of that thing! Looked like a RAT in there!)
Reconnecting with friends. Like my kids' Best Babysitter Ever! Now she has the cutest 2 1/2 year old of her own... and a gorgeous step-daughter.
Other fun stuff.
Napping, when possible.

Good stuff...