Showing posts from October, 2007

Searching for Sparks

Last night I had the opportunity to be a judge for the annual "Reflections" contest at a local elementary school. There were probably one hundred entries in the literature category, and I was asked to select five who would receive an award plaque and move on to a larger state-wide contest. The theme was, "I can make a difference by..."

It was fun. Elementary school kids write silly things like, 'I can make a difference by picking up trash in my neighbor's yard and not kicking my little sister." Some children had long lists of chores and duties they could do to make a difference. Many entries--at least fifty--were about picking up litter and recycling. Some even talked about saving the planet and eliminating pollution, but couldn't offer any specific ways to accomplish those lofty goals. (Do any of us really know how to save the planet and eliminate pollution?) As the other judge and I carefully read each entry, most were easily placed in a "no&…

Why the Beatles Belong to Me

It started with a radio program in 1980 when I was thirteen years old. (Now you must realize that this is before Itunes, before MP3s, and before Gwen Stefani. The stone age.)

I tuned my radio to the station getting the best reception. "OOooh, I like this song," I said. The song that came next was also familiar. "I like this one, too." And the next. I didn't know a whole lot about music or which artists played what tunes. I figured this was just a great station. How had I missed it? I remember laying on the floor of my bedroom, listening intently. And then the announcer said, "We're doing a Beatles A to Z weekend."

I was fascinated. These were all Beatles songs. The same band performed them all. Each piece initially sounded so different, especially when played out of chronological order. Yet every one had the same powerful, connective energy. On that day, I took down my John Travolta poster and declared myself a Beatles fan.

I became a student of the …

Long Live My Bonsai

Do other writers...

cool their overheating laptops on a bag of frozen peas
have the strange habit of using a unique word, then absent-mindedly using it again, so those identical words are too close together in the manuscript and one must be excised,
worry that their last sale will be their last sale,
feel as though they’re constantly floating in a strange state of manuscript submission limbo,
decide several times a day that they’d rather have their tombstone say “author” than “her house was always immaculate,” and
spend time reviving a dying Bonsai tree for inspiration

like I do?