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In June 2012, Dreamworks Animation announced that they had cast Rihanna and Jim Parsons as voice actors for Happy Smekday!, an animated screen adaptation of Adam's Book The True Meaning of Smekday, planned for theatrical release in late 2014. Congratulations Adam, and thanks for being here! The True Meaning of Smekday is an award-winning middle grade novel that combines difficult themes of loss, change, and the need for courage, with humor and laugh-out-loud moments. Let's talk about "Smekday" in our questions today.
Ok, Here's question #1)
In The True Meaning of Smekday, you tell a story about a little girl who has to deal with a tragic situation in which she and the inhabitants of her entire country (the U.S.) are forcefully relocated by an invading alien army. The aliens separate families, destroy communities, and take away human rights. It seems like this story could make middle grade readers afraid, and could come across as too serious. But after reading the book, readers are left with a positive feeling, and we remember mostly hilarious scenes and characters -- like JLo the alien -- as well as moments of empowerment, joy, and courage throughout the book. Many of us as writers have difficulty finding this good balance between funny or upbeat scenes and serious deeper meaning and themes in our novels. So, how did you do it? Can you give some specific tips/techniques on how to write and maintain this proper mix of age-appropriate humor/happy scenes combined with serious themes in books for middle graders and teens?
Tips? I don't know if I have any tips. When I introduce schoolkids to my aliens (the Boov) I'm always keen to point out how embarrassing it would be to be conquered by a race as cute as they are–they're short, shaped like a flip-top trash can, with little arms and big grins. But I think it goes a long way that our conquerors in this book aren't faceless monsters. I had earlier ideas for what the Boov might look like, and I eventually rejected them because they weren't relatable enough.
My main thesis for the book is really that the Boov aren't anything special. They're just people. They're out-of-towners, but they're people, with the same flaws and faults that we have.
And I think it helps that, very early on in the book, my kid character meets a Boov face-to-face and kind of bests him. And he's friendly, and sort of incompetent. I don't begin the book with the invasion and persecution, I begin it after the invasion is essentially over, and we've lost, and yet no one really seems to be fearing for her life. We're getting pushed around, told what to do, but kids understand that kind of business as their default state anyway. So the reader learns about the mild horror of the invasion after she's already met one of the aliens, and has probably decided that she likes him.
I often think of this as the "Tony Soprano Effect." In the first episode of The Sopranos we're introduced to Tony, and he's giddily wading around in his pool with a bunch of baby ducklings. And when I remind people of this, they often tell me that they forgot about the ducklings; but I'm convinced they never entirely did. Over the next 85 episodes Tony does some terrible things, but we were in his corner from the beginning because of those ducks.
Anyway, I'd be lying if I told you that I thought about any of this very hard back then. It was intuition, and some kind of vague internal barometer to tell me when I'd gone too far, and when I could go farther.
Thanks Adam, I think you made some very good points. Two things that you mentioned that really stood out to me were: 1.) Know where to start your book. You started this novel after the biggest trauma was over. So as readers we still feel it and understand that it's an important part of the story, but it's not close enough to overly-traumatize either the readers, or the main character, a 9 yo girl. 2.) Make even your "bad guy" characters "relatable." Make them real people. Those are great tips for the rest of us. QUESTION 2: So, to get even more in depth with an example of how to make the `bad guys’ "real" and "relateable" let’s talk about JLo. J We don’t want to give away everything about this goofy little Boov-on-the-run who befriends your main character Gratuity, but one thing I noticed was his way of speaking. We all often struggle when trying to write characters who maintain consistent behavioral and speech patterns throughout our books. JLo is a character who does this well. His behavior and speech patterns define him personally, make us love him, and also tell us a lot about the Boovs as a race. You made him both personable and funny.
Can you give us some insight into how you gave him such consistent (and hilarious) speech patterns and how you managed to kept them consistent throughout the book? Are there specific things we as writers can be intentional about when creating and writing characters in order to keep them so consistent?
I'm worried too many of my answers are going to be along the lines of "gut feeling," or "instinct." I didn't have any set of rules about J.Lo beyond the obvious–as a foreigner, he has the usual suite of language idiosyncrasies: he doesn't often use contractions, or idiom, or slang. When he DOES use slang it's notable, and when he DOES use idiom he should probably get it wrong. Other than that, he has a particular problem with prepositions. I had this vague idea that the Boovish language doesn't have them, or that they have modifiers that are added to nouns and verbs so that separate prepositions aren't needed. So the Boov have some trouble with that.
In general, I seem to develop a sense pretty quickly of what my characters are like, so that I can make judgements about their speech on the fly–Mick wouldn't say this like that, I think, or John wouldn't use that expression. It doesn't hurt, either, that I sometimes base characters loosely on friends or family, or on how I might imagine a public figure to be.
Another great answer packed with mini-tips, and specifics that we can learn from. Thanks Adam! I do wonder how many friends of novelists snicker as they read our work and find themselves in our pages! Now we're off to strengthen our own Tony Soprano's, JLo's, and Gratuity's by making them real, sometimes making them friends, and by starting our books at the right places.
The New York publishing houses have their eye on Utah children’s writers. Elissa Cruz, of the local SCBWI, said that publisher refer to us as the “Mormon Mafia.” Deren Hansen mentioned in his Wednesday post that Utah seems to have a disproportionate number of writers. It could be that we take our craft seriously as evidenced by the number of writing conferences in the state. Three good ones in particular are coming up soon.
Deren mentioned the LTUE next weekend. Years ago the brilliant Douglass Adams penned Life, the Universe and Everything, from which LTUE takes its name. Life, The Universe, and Everything is a three-day symposium that examines the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Their sessions are full of all topics imaginable to writers of these genres. They offer several editors and agents and you can sign up for a pitch session with them. For more information, click on their site: http://ltue.net/
In May the LDStorymakers meet. They, too, have some amazing sessions along with publishers and a pitch session. One of my critique group members is going and encouraging the rest of us to go. I’m having a hard time finding a reason not to attend. More information can be found here: http://storymakersconference.myshopify.com/
My favorite writer’s conference is WIFYR in June. Carol Lynch Williams does such a service to the children’s writing community by providing top-notch authors and a week to sit in their workshops and glean tips of the craft. This is a weeklong event with afternoon sessions offering speakers detailing the multiple aspects of writing. Real writing growth comes from the morning workshops. Guided and pampered by an acclaimed author, participants meet in an intimate setting with other like-minded writers Monday through Friday. The author shares their take on character and story development, trends in the publishing industry, and tips on how to move your manuscript out of the sludge-pile and get it noticed. Agents and editors will be at WIFYR, as well. Registration will open soon. Go here to learn more: http://www.wifyr.com/
Whatever your ability level, you can kick your writing up a notch by attending any of these wonderful Utah offerings.
The idea of One started small and grew into a year's worth of amazing, thought-provoking, inspirational stories. The resulting anthology was combined into a beautiful paperback book (not unlike Chicken Soup for the Soul, and definitely nice enough for any Doctor's office).
With that success, my publisher was nice enough to ask me to do it again. So I set out to gather another twelve authors, including myself, and start a journey into 2013.
One of the things I like best about this series is that it benefits other people instead of the author. Last year, we made a nice donation to Give Kids the World (www.gktw.org) from author proceeds. This year, I found a group much closer to home. Bridge to Ability Specialized Learning Center (www.bridgetoability.org) is only about a twenty minute drive from my home. The organization helps children in my community. They are small and can use our help. So please remember, every time you download this story, 100% of my author proceeds are going to a very good cause.
2013 is also going to be a bit of a family affair. My wife, Traci Miller, will be contributing a story and my father, De Miller will return, as well. Other returning authors include: Crystal Linn, Sude Khanian and Sarah Price. We will also see new stories from some other sensational authors: Murray Pura, Alexandria Barker, Janet Beasley, R Jeffries and Missy Kennedy Adams.
This will be a great, eye-opening year!
100% of the author’s proceeds will be donated to Bridge to Ability Specialized Learning Center, a not-for-profit organization serving the educational and therapeutic needs of fragile children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. www.BridgeToAbility.org. The authors, creator and publisher are in no other way affiliated with this organization.
Mark Miller’s One 2013 is a spiritual anthology examining True-Life experiences of Authors and their Faith. As the series evolves expect to discover what it means to have faith, no matter what that faith is and no matter where they live. Remember that we are all part of this One World.
In Story One, Mark Miller welcomes you back to the series. He has a little something to say about forgiveness and finding his place in the world. Sometimes, we are exactly where we are supposed to be and not even realize it.
You are invited to visit the Authors of One, ask questions and start discussions on our official Facebook page:
Earlier today I finished reading The Same River Twice, the magnificent, wild, violent, terrifying, sometimes vulgar, sometimes gentle memoir (about the author's hobo years, about his impending fatherhood) by Chris Offutt. I sat on a panel with Chris once, years ago. I celebrate his No Heroes in Handling the Truth. I've watched him go on and write for Hollywood (True Blood, Weeds, Treme) and I've been glad when I've heard him (recently) speak of his return to literature.
You'll be glad, too, once you read this River excerpt, below:
I have never worn a watch. Time is a Rorschach folded into a Mobius strip turned inside out, upside down. Time is the name we give to the living. Modern science presents us with kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species—designating every organism on the planet. Once identified, it is ours, as with a nickname known only to a private few. Quantum physics has taken to naming the theoretical, much like concocting a name for an unborn infant. Nothing exists that is not labeled; like killing, it is our assertion over the world.
My son did a “People Recipe” project in his 7thgrade Creative Writing Class. What a fun way to hone the features of your characters.
Take information learned from interviewing your character. (Yes, sit back and talk to your character.) Create a fresh, fun recipe about him/her. Remember to use recipe-type words, but make your ingredients original and have them differ from the examples listed below.
Questions to ask:
Three physical qualities
Include three other facts
My ask about likes and dislikes, fears and ambitions
End recipe with a two sentence set of directions
Serves 4 people
Two green eyes
Add some glasses
A bushel of blond hair
An ounce of hair gel
Several yards of light colored skin
Add a pinch of a shy personality
A spoonful of knowledge
And a pair of running shoes
Mix all but hair gel in large bowl and heat over stove. Stir constantly with a large spoon for eight minutes. Pour hair gel in the pot and mix well. Sump into strainer until liquid is drained. Enjoy!
1 head of shoulder length light brown hair
A pair of expressive blue eyes
One small gum-chewing metal mouth
A generous love of traveling
A dash of interest in the ocean
3 cups of books to read
Combine evenly and sprinkle with family and friends. Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees and serve with mint-chocolate chip ice cream.
My second time at the Colorado Conference of the International Reading Association has surpassed the first. What some participants have called the best state IRA conference in the country gets such praise due to a strong selection of sessions, fun staff, fun authors, and a fun location. Special props to conference chair Mary Jo Ziegman for pulling this off with efficiency, sincerity, and a sense of humor.
I was born for this year’s theme, Heroes for Literacy. You could walk barely five feet in the hotel lobby without coming across a superhero-themed sign or other decoration.
I was heartened by the reaction to my two sessions; enthusiasm, appreciation, no nodding off.
Though I feel like I know author Chris Barton well, this was only my second time hanging out with him in person (first time was in 2009). Luckily, next time I will see him will be far sooner than four years—or even four months. We’re on panel together at the International Reading Association Convention in April.
At my first CCIRA, I came away with Alan Katz as a friend, and he was here this time as well. Adding to the mix was Gordon Korman, whom I’d not met before. One night, a lively group of librarians from Colorado asked the three of us for our signatures…on ketchup bottles. I suppose that is a bond for life.
Bill Finger was born in Denver. This week, he came home:
I’m immersed in Venice. My current work in progress (WIP) is set there. Memories of my trip are flooding back, and I’ll return this October for a refresher course.
Venice is mystical, its magic powerful, and just walking along the narrow ancient streets allows your imagination to soar. The eerily lit side streets, the reflecting glow in the canals and ancient brick walls, summon you forth. You cross an old bridge and you wonder who else walked along the same path.
Was it Don Juan? His face covered by a mask as he celebrated Carnivale, and waited for a damsel. Such is the evocative power of Venice. Steeped in history and romance, the stunning architecture,the art, and the beautiful tranquil canals, all pull together to form this magical place called Venice.
The Grand Canal flows majestically, along the way, palaces and homes seem to float in the water, as the famous Rialto Bridge stands guard. It’s an evocative place to be sure. It’s a place where you can get lost in the history, go back in time, daydream, and imagine as things were, and still come back to the present and enjoy delicious coffee, black pasta and incomparable gelato.
If you like glass, Venice offers that too, many buildings and hotels show proudly their Murano masterpieces. If you want to see for yourself, visit a furnace, or a gallery,Murano is thirty minutes away by vaporetto. A beautiful way to travel on the Grand Canal.
I’m looking forward to my return trip to a mysterious and magnificent city.
“An artist is waiting for the audience to understand the work. A craftsman is working to understand the audience.” – Mo Willems
Mo Willems is an author and illustrator of children’s books. He has won a Caldecott Honor and the Theodore Geisel Medal and Honors. His books include Knuffle Bunny, Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus, and the Elephant and Piggy Series.
I had my own Sylvia Plath moment this week, by eerie coincidence just days before the 50th anniversary of her death. The ancient, galvanised something-or-other pipes that channel gas to my apartment’s stove sprung, well, the plumber stopped counting at four leaks.
I spent days inhaling gas, first inadvertently and then deliberately as I tried to determine the leak’s source (at it turned out, sources, plural). Eventually, after having my neighbour over to help sniff with, er, fresh nose, and plagued both by an unbearable, eyes- and skull-aching headache and by a nagging fear that were I to go to sleep I might not wake up, I abandoned my apartment in favour of fresh air at my parents’ house.
Plath’s death has always held a macabre fascination for the publishing world, and it arguably kick-started her posthumous catapult to revered writer—she hadn’t published all that much prior to her death, although what was published and what has been published since are testament to her undeniable (if unstable) talent.
Her death also feeds into the legend of the tortured writer—one can’t, it seems, write without at the very least crippling writer’s block and at the worst all-consuming mental health issues that drive you to suicide. Would Plath be quite such a sensation without her tragic demise? We’ll never know. In my inexpert opinion I think her writing prowess would undoubtedly be recognised, but I’m unsure whether she’d be such a cultural phenomenon.
Speaking of cultural references, Plath’s approaching death anniversary has been overshadowed by controversy. The Bell Jar has been reissued with what can only be described as a poorly chosen cover. Faber’s chick lit-reeking design (AKA, the antithesis of The Bell Jar’s heavy topics and a design that would likely have disgusted Plath were she alive), features a red-lipsticked woman powdering her chin via the reflection in a compact.
I won’t just say that this cover is inappropriate for the book’s content, I’ll say it’s just generally dud (the cover pictured to the right is much, much better). Nothing about it jumps off the shelf at you to encourage you to read much less buy it; nor does it evoke carefully thought out design for a long-time bestselling book that’s sure to generate huge interest and new sales. BBC America quotes Jezebel’s Morrissey summing it up well: ‘If Sylvia Plath hadn’t already killed herself, she probably would’ve if she saw the new cover of her only novel The Bell Jar […] Also, it’s ugly and the colors suck.’
But I don’t need to say any of that, because social media said it faster and funnier for me with literary aficionados proposing and photoshopping cover parodies. The Guardian compiled a bunch of them, which you can view here alongside the original, offending 50th anniversary design. My favourite is the cover that’s gone literal, with a bell and a jar sitting side by side.
The questions are: Now that we know what the 50th anniversary shouldn’t look like, what should it? Oh, and have you seen any other The Bell Jar cover parodies I should know about?
Veronica Chambers has “written more than a dozen books for children, most recently Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa and the body confidence Y/A novel, Plus. Her teen series, Amigas, is a collaboration between Chambers, producer Jane Startz and Jennifer Lopez.”
From Ms. Chambers’ Web site:
“After two years of planning the hottest quineaneras in Miami and beyond, the girls of Amigas Incorporated are facing their biggest challenge yet—high school graduation. While Carmen and Jamie know exactly what they want, Alicia is on the fence. Should she go to the school of her dreams even if it means doing exactly what has always been expected of her? Or should she try something new? With so many decisions to make, Alicia is beginning to feel like choosing a school is like preparing for a quince—without any of the fun. On top of it all, the group has gotten a mysterious request from a young woman who wants to throw the most secret of quinceaneras. The girl wants it to be so secret that she won’t even tell them her name! Now the group must figure out how to throw the perfect party for a perfect stranger, nail the SATs, and figure out if there is anyone at the school willing and capable of taking on their business. Will it all work out? Or will the end of school mean the end of Amigas Incorporated?”
Read this review of AMIGAS from Ari at Reading in Color.
Ms.Chambers’ other works for children include Marisol and Magdalena. From the Scholastic Web site: “Chambers has a wonderful ease with her characters’ language, infusing Marisol’s first-person narrative with the vibrancy of her bilingual cultural background. Spanish words and phrases are an essential part of Marisol’s way of talking, but are presented in context, so that non-Spanish-speaking readers won’t feel lost or left out. Readers will learn about Marisol’s cultural identity along with her, and identify with her thoughts on friendship, her initial worries about her journey, and the triumph she feels as she discovers that she can make even far-off Panama feel like home.”
Educators can check out this lesson plan from Scholastic for the book.
For more about Veronica Chambers and her work, visit her online!
Here's the answer to yesterday's puzzle challenge about "Digital vs. Kodachrome." Even though the votes were 126 to 74 in favor of the one on the right being Kodachrome, actually the one on the left was Kodachrome. (Though, technically, as many of you pointed out, they were both digital in the sense that they were both presented on your computer or mobile screen.)
Photographer Walter Wick processed the digital capture to try to match the color and the grain to the unprocessed drum scan of the Kodachrome.
Walter says: "Your commenters are making some wise comments, even if their guesses are wrong. When I made the "color noise" version, I purposely held back a bit on noise and softening of the digital image on the hunch that some friends I planned to show this to would harbor a bias in favor of the legendary film. This seems to bearing out in your poll, but of course, there could be other reasons the vote is going that way.
"I would have loved to have tested Kodachrome against full-frame digital on tripod-mounted cameras with the same lens, but alas I was not able to pull that together before the December 30, 2010 deadline - the last day Kodachrome was accepted for the final processing run at Dwane's Photo.
"What you're seeing here is something quite different: a full frame film camera with a pocket sized digital - shot casually, hand-held on a beach. What surprised me was the resolving power of the small-sensor Leica compared to the full frame Contax. In the digital version, the man is slightly enlarged relative to the frame compared to the that of the film version. But this advantage pales by comparison to the relatively huge image area of the full frame film camera. This does not bode well for Kodachrome comparing favorably with the resolving power of full frame DSLR. That, combined with the huge amount of shadow detail in Raw files and extreme high ISO sensitivity of digital cameras pretty much explains why most photographers abandoned Kodachrome before Kodak did (there are other reasons too, such as vast improvements of E-6 film stocks). However, if you must have that "Kodachrome look", well, you still can!
"The graphic above shows the relative size of the two cameras, and separately, the size of the film frame relative to the size of the digital sensor.
"The film was professionally drum scanned at the resolution shown, matched to the transparency, and not further altered. Also shown is the native resolution of the Raw file from the Leica/Panasonic. It was that file that was color adjusted and had noise and blur filters applied to imitate the Kodachrome (as some of the commenters have correctly surmised).
Hi, folks, I'm continuing my golden advice series. This is an exciting time for me as a writer. After several years of working on my current book, I'm about to send it out to agents. I'm seesawing between manic joy and and quaking fear.
It's hard to put yourself out there. I leave a lot of myself on the page and who wants to find out that their ms doesn't suit needs, doesn't connect, or the worst,there's no room for your brand of storytelling in the market right now. A person needs a serious anchor to stay steady in the storms. I like ancient paths. It's just hardwired in me. This week I'm turning to the wisdom of Solomon to face the road ahead. I like the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. (I'm no scholar and many feel that Solomon didn't write this book, but the folk way is he did and I'm a folk.) Anyway, ever since I heard "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by Pete Seeger back in my munchkin days, it's stayed with me and kept me on task. So this week I'm sharing the writerly version of "to everything there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven. " There is a time to write, and a time stop writing; a time to start a new manuscript, a time to send it out and snag an agent, an editor and an audience. There is a time to throw a manuscript in the circular file; there is time to pull out a manuscript and finally, finally fix it; there is a time to delete whole chapters from your WIP; there is a time to add a stack of new chapters. There is a time to weep when you think you won't succeed. There is a time to laugh when a new idea comes. There is a time when you get really close to succeeding but it doesn't work out. There is atime when you finally succeed and, yes, you put on some disco and dance. There is a time to start sending out a new manuscript. There is a time to start writing a new manuscript. There is a time keep working hard even though you feel you are not making progress. There is a time to put a WIP up on a shelf for a while. There is a time to get an agent and a publishing contract. There is a time to lose both. There is a time to rip up a book and donate it to other stories; there is a time to let a good story idea percolate. There is a time to plan what you will write; there is a time to say the things you've never been brave enough to say. There is a time love what you have written and fight for it. There is time to really hate your book. There is time when you must fight to find time write. There is a time when it all comes together.
I hope you understand the times and the seasons this week and that this golden advice stays with you. This week's doodle is called "Happy Blue Blobby."
And a quote for your pocket. I know I keep this one in my pocket.
Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is due to the triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it. Ralph Waldo Emerson
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You have seen them before standing on the street corner shirtless, pants sagging flexing their new sense of manhood, posing in positions of power pretending to be "tough".
Their maschoismomannerism mimic their favorite rappers, athletes, wrestlers, and "street"soldiers.
They are the"despised and rejected."
They are the LOST SHEEP.
Their beautiful brown faces frown up with frustration, their eyes illuminate with pain as they "mean mug" a world filled with hate and corruption.
They were born in a so-called "civilized" world builded on racism, imperialism,militarism, and materialism.
They are the by-product of fatherless homes, poverty, poor schools, mis-education and MTV.
They are harassed by crooked cops, crucified by the media, "criminalized by Hollywood, "dumb-down" by teachers, suspended from schools, locked up in prisons, and HATED by the world.
But they are our children: our sons, our grandsons, our cousins, our nephews, our future fathers, our daughters future husbands, our future leaders, teachers, scholars, and revolutionaries.
They are BLACK, BOLD AND BRILLIANT.
They are BOBBEE BEE!!! HELP US. HELP THEM!! develop into the HEROES KINGS and WARRIORS that are destined to be by reading our series of children's books design to improve the attitude and behavior of our children at home and aboard as well as our weekly cartoon on http://www.blackathlete.com/ This cartoon is for children, teenagers and even adults. Get your BOBBEE BEE tee-shirts for only $20 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details and order forms
“An artist is waiting for the audience to understand the work. A craftsman is working to understand the audience.” – Mo Willems
Mo Willems is an author and illustrator of children’s books. He has won a Caldecott Honor and the Theodore Geisel Medal and Honors. His books include Knuffle Bunny, Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus, and the Elephant and Piggy Series.
Happy National Libraries Day! No, this year has not been a happy one for Britain's libraries. But I don't want to rummage through nostalgia for reasons we should keep them open (despite having many, many nostalgic reasons). That's because we don't need to play the nostalgia card: LIBRARIES ARE EVEN BETTER NOW.
A few reasons why libraries are better now:
* Libraries look better, they smell better. I loved my library as a kid, but I pretty much stuck to the rack with the flimsy paperbacks because I could pick them up and examine their covers. I didn't know how I could move on to the 'grown-up' books because they all had uniform library binding and smelled weird from their repackaging. They were all either beige, burgandy, green or dark blue. These days, librarians laminate the covers, so you can still see them looking as attractive as they would in a shop, and you can read the blurb on the back. You can pick up a book and feel it, gauge the heft of it (which you can't do online). I love walking into a library and seeing an attractive, tantalising display of covers.
* They stock more comic books. Our school librarian used to gripe about how all the kids just wanted to read the three Garfield books the library stocked. She wanted us to read 'proper' books. The waiting list was whole classes long just for Garfield. The librarian always tried to turn us to the other books, but we all hotly yearned for the comics. Librarians are wiser about comics now; they realise they're on to something good when kids can't get enough of them. Instead of making them fight for a few comics (Garfield wasn't even a very good comic), they stock lots of comics, and the best ones: humour comics, adventure comics, graphic adaptations of classic books and plays, Western comics, mystery comics, biography comics, history comics, info comics, you name it. My local ibrary in Deptford has two large racks of comics, and more in the children's section.
Perhaps librarians are rediscovering the importance of visual literacy, not just trying to get people to plough through chunks of text. And discovering from the commercial world the value of visuals (and smells, the scent of hot drinks?) in making people want to read.
* We need more help these days. When I was a kid, it was considered all right to do a research paper by going to the encyclopedia, looking up the entry and slightly rewriting the text I found there. Once I found the set of encyclopedias, I was pretty much okay to do it myself. I'd probably get a few other books and photocopy pictures out of them. Teachers didn't expect too much because they knew our resources were limited. Now we have far more information online. But teachers know that copying out a Wikipedia entry isn't the extent of learning, and we can push kids to look further, engage with world experts, talk with authors. The possibilities are endless and wildly exciting! But where? How? That's where librarians come in, being able to teach kids how search engines work, how to find the more informative sites, look up related books, and how to avoid internet dangers. Just because a kid can put a search term into Google doesn't mean they've mastered the Internet. Librarians really ARE the most powerful search engine, and they care about kids.
The Paralympic torch aloft in front of Deptford Library
I can teach you things, but I can not make you learn.
I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.
I can allow you freedom, but I cannot account for it.
I can take you to church, but I cannot make you believe.
I can teach you right from wrong, but I can not always decide for you.
I can buy you beautiful clothes, but I can not make you beautiful inside.
I can offer you advice, but I can not accept it for you.
I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you selfish.
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor.
I can advise you about friends, but I cannot choose them for you.
I can tell you about drinking, but I cannot keep you pure.
I can tell you about the facts of life, but I can not build your reputation.'
I can tell you about drinking, but I can not say no to you.
I can tell you about drugs, but I cannot prevent your using them.
I can teach you kindness, but I can't force you to be gracious.
I can warn you about sins, but I cannot make your morals.
I can love you as a child, but I cannot place you in God's family. I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God. I can teach you about Jesus, but I cannot make Jesus your Lord. I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you Eternal Life.
Writers write. Its what we do. Unfortunately, we don’t always judge our own writing accurately even when its good. Does that surprise you? We are used to being told that we need help identifying the weaknesses in our writing. Sometimes we need just as much help identifying the strengths. For about two months, I’ve been playing around with a rewrite. I’ll work on it a bit and then set it aside because it hasn’t jelled. Every now and again, I figure out a problem and get some writing done, but after two months I have 10 pages. Ten. Can you say discouraged? Fortunately, I had a critique group meeting last weekend. This was the perfect chance to trot out my problem manuscript. These writing friends would be able to point out a few more problems for me to fix, but they would also commiserate. Or so I thought. They refused. That’s right. Refused. They actually had the nerve to tell me that the voice was good. And they love the premise. They are even cool with the fact that my fantasy world is much like ours, but skewed just a bit. And my all new antagonist? They adore her, but in a bad way of course. Not that it was all good news; they pointed out plenty of places that need repair and I expected that. What I didn’t expect was the good news. Apparently, I’d done something right even though I was too frustrated to see it. Every writer needs a critique group. A critique group doesn’t just tell you what you’ve done wrong. They also point out what you’ve done right. They bring the perspective that you lack when you are too close to your work. And they keep you going through the hard work. I mean the actual writing part; my initial ideas have a tendency to be brilliant. Its getting it down on paper that proves frustrating. I’d like to give you a nudge. If you don’t have a critique group, now is a good time to find one. I connected with the writers in my critique group at a variety of writers conferences and workshops. I’ve also been in groups that were strictly online. These worked well when I was a grad student and later when I was the mother of a toddler. Finding a compatible group can take some work, but it is well worth the effort. Not only will you have a group of writers to help you fix your mistakes, they’ll point out what you did right. And that’s something you need in your writing life – fellow writers who will pat you on the back, hand you a good cup of coffee, and nudge you back toward your desk. Speaking of which, I had better get going. I have a story to write. –SueBE Find out more about Sue's writing on her blog, One Writer's Journey.
“My haters; motivate me. This is bigger than the 49ers.”-Ray Lewis
by Eric D. Graham
NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-In the history books, after 17 season in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, 13 Pro Bowls, 10 Associated Press All-Pro selections, two NFL Defensive Players of Year Awards in 2000 and 2003, and a Super Bowl MVP award in 2000, the Minister of Motivation, The Pastor of Pain, Reverend of Rampage and the General of Gladitators, number 52, Ray Lewis, will go down as the greatest middle linebacker ever to put on a pair of shoulder pads.
“..it’s been an honor to serve under him.”said Terrell Suggs of his teammate Ray Lewis.
His greatness, however will not be measured by his intensity on the field, his aggression in between the trenches, or by his passion for the game. But it will be measured by the stats he accumlated in his outstanding career,where he launched his 6’1 240 pound frame in to his opponents, smashing them, and slamming them to the ground, in which he did 2,050 times, while sacking the quarterback 41.5 times, and intercepting 31 passes.
And despite a week of criticism, allegation of steroid usage, and a murder trial in 2000, in which he plead guilty to obstruction of justice in exchange for testimony against two other defendants, the wounded weekend warrior with the heart of a champion walked away in retirement like Michael Strahen, Jerome Bettis, and John Elway with his second Super Bowl ring in style and grace, even though his Baltimore Ravens’ defensive unit gave up 468 yards in the Super Bowl against the San Fransciso 49ers in a 34-31 victory.
After the game, sporting a black sleeveless tee shirt with Psalms 91 on the front of it, Lewis smiled and hugged teammates as confetti fell from the sky.
The verse from Psalms 91 of the Bible reads as follow:
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
After reading that, one can see why Lewis, who is a Christian, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Superbowl Gospel Celebration at the University of New Orleans on Friday before the big-game on Sunday, which was hosted by The View’s Sherri Sheppard and Sunday’s Best gospel singer Kirk Franklin. Add a Comment