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I witnessed the most incredible wildlife-happening Saturday while paddling in from the loon count.
As I made my way past the eagle island, I heard a ton of commotion. The eaglets were both on the nest, screeching at one another. Wings flapped as they moved around the nest and to the branches just above it. I lifted my camera to get a better look. One of the eaglets lifted off the nest, and flew rather clumsily to land on a branch of a nearby tree.
I could tell there was something in his talons . . .
Above and to his right, the sibling eaglet screamed in frustration from the nest.
It took a minute, but this one finally won the battle of the fish. I’m guessing that what I missed, was an adult swooping in to drop off breakfast.
Obviously, this one didn’t want to share.
I looked at my watch, and realized I had fifteen minutes to get to shore, lock up my kayak, trudge uphill, and open the store for business. I’d lowered my camera to do just that, when WHOOSH -
a blur of brown and white buzzed by the eaglet with the fish, causing him to drop his prize.
An osprey? The adult?
Again, I lifted my camera, using it like binoculars and gasped to see this juvenile had landed on the branch next to the eaglet.
Since it takes almost 5 years for a juvenile to gain their white head and yellow beak, I’m thinking this one is 3 – 4 years old. Dare I suggest it’s one of the triplets from a couple years ago? There was that one eaglet who just didn’t seem to want to leave the nest . . . not even after it had collapsed. We called him “the baby”.
Anyway, all the hullabaloo started all over again. The eaglet that lost the fish, screamed at the juvenile. The eaglet in the nest, shrieked down at both of them, while the juvenile let them both have it.
Oh, it was loud!!
But it was about to get louder.
The adult arrived, buzzing the juvenile, who promptly jumped further into the branches of its tree.
Meanwhile, the adult landed on top the highest point of the island, and hollered down at the juvenile. More than hollered, she meant business. It was a call I’d only heard when the osprey buzzed the nest or the heron flew too closely.
She was not pleased with this newcomer.
Neither were the eaglets who were still making noise of their own.
I just sat in my kayak and chuckled at the whole thing.
Finally, the adult had enough. She took to the sky.
. . . and buzzed the juvenile until he was on the run.
Behind me, the eaglets had gone silent. All I could hear was the two of them screeching, as the adult chased the juvenile to the other side of the lake . ..
Ooooooo, she was relentless.
The last of my photos have these two as brown dots in the sky. She chased this one away, across the lake, over the golf course and well over Middle Range Pond, before I lost sight of them.
This was an experience I’ll never forget. Awe-inspiring. Nature at its finest.
And after all that, I still managed to open the store on time. Although the first hundred customers of the day had to patiently listen to me tell my story over, and over and over again.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Flemish author Maurice Gilliams' Elias, or The Struggle with the Nightingales.
This translation came out from Sun & Moon in 1995, and while the back cover promises: "In upcoming seasons, Sun & Moon Press will publish the other two volumes of Gilliams' great trilogy" they never quite got around to it -- nor did S & M successor Green Integer (who, however, at least published his complete poems; see their publicity page).
Perhaps someday .....
Elias also comes with a great epigraph (by the pretty obscure Francis Jammes):
La poésie que j'ai rêvée gâta toute ma vie.
Ah ! Qui donc m'aimera ?
Which they translate as:
The poetry I dreamed spoiled my whole life.
Oh ! Who will love me then ?
Not a bad start (and, yes, quite fitting).
By: Sally Matheny,
by Sally Matheny
Whether you’re short on time or low on money, don’t abandon a family getaway just yet. Instead of a vacation, consider a staycation or two. Staycations can be fun activities, such as a luau, planned for your own backyard. However, staycations also include day trips. Even if you live out in the countryside, you may be surprised by the slew of possibilities you discover within a two-hour drive from home sweet home.
Besides the obvious museums and municipal pools, here’s a few ideas to consider when checking what’s on your staycation radar.
Perhaps some family members would enjoy creating their own Visitor’s Guide for the area. Include photos, drawings, and descriptions of interesting areas.
Obtain a map of your county and surrounding counties. Make a copy of the map for each family member. Ask them to highlight the places they’ve visited before. Circle new places they’d like to visit. Highlight a road route they’d like to try. Pleasant surprises may lie on the road less traveled! One time our family visited beautiful, twin waterfalls. The only way to get to them was to park in a neighborhood of homes and hike from there. No one would imagine that majestic falls were nestled behind these little homes.
Research the history of your area. Your local librarian or town historian can help you locate sources. Have any famous people lived in or visited your town? Were any movies filmed nearby?
Visit visual and performing arts guilds. Several of these offer classes for adults as well as children. Are there other local artisans open for tours?
Perhaps a social media survey asking friends about their favorites in the area would reveal a new farmer’s market or roadside ice cream stand to try.
Google search for free or inexpensive things to do within a two-hour drive of your hometown. You may be surprised! Search for new restaurants to try. Find a new picnic spot.
What about those historical landmark signs you drive by every day? Find out what important historical events occurred in your area. Visit antique stores. Check out some of the smaller museums such as car and farm equipment museums. Not only will your children gain an education of the past but perhaps a greater appreciation for the conveniences of today.
Are there aspiring photographers in your family? Travel around and look specifically for great photo opportunities. A mulched path between tall, lush green trees presented a gorgeous backdrop for one of my daughter’s wedding photos. The path emerged between a mammography office and an assisted living center.
You don’t have to live near a big city in order to enjoy an entertaining staycation. A little investigation will provide plenty of gratifying locations. Be creative! Taking time out to do something fun together is what counts.
Other things to consider:
airports to watch planes
bus tour group
farms & gardens
historical sites, battlegrounds, & battleships
visit & view various animals
try a new sport
try a new creative art
try a new food
play a new game
So, what's on your radar?
As usual, the weekend was brutal, which is why you haven't heard from me. I will admit I had some time for blogging Sunday afternoon, but I used it for recovery.
So, let's see, I believe that last Tuesday we began talking about the time problems involved when writers are working but not making sales. We said they came in two flavors: problems related to how others perceive us and problems related to how we perceive ourselves. Today we'll cover some ways to try to deal with them.
Problems related to how others perceive us. When we aren't generating income because we're not making sales, others perceive us as not working, and thus available for everything.We can't control what they believe or how they behave toward us. We can only control ourselves. So what we can do to better manage our time:
Problems related to how we perceive us
- Set blocks of time when we aren't available to others, even if it's just a couple of days a week. They can call us, but we don't have to answer the phone. This will work better if you have Caller ID. All I have is a Caller ID Box, no answering machine. The calls I need to take for work or to make sure there are no family emergencies, I can take. Without an answering machine, the callers I don't respond to can't leave messages for me to hear coming in. That can be just as disruptive as calls. If you feel uncomfortable about this, you can spread the word about what you're doing so family and friends understand. My experience, though, is that the people who believe I'm on call for them don't believe me. This really is a case where controlling ourselves is probably our only option.
- Be quick to adapt to each week's situation. If, say, you're loosing an extra day of work time to elder care, you just can't accept that invitation for lunch. I speak from experience. This happened just a couple of weeks ago. I didn't think ahead and adapt quickly enough. I accepted the lunch invitation on top of that extra day of elder care and lost a lot of work time that week.
. We give up a lot of personal life to find time to work. Time with friends, time for book clubs, time for volunteer work, time for other creative activity. Going without the reward of publication for too long can eventually lead to big time discouragement, making it hard to stay on task. What can we do to get the energy up we need to keep making good use of time? And make good use of time while we're doing it? If you follow me.
- Consider yourself a novelist? Use some of your writing time to try generating shorter material so you can submit more widely. The more you submit, the better your chances of publication. Even if you get published in nonpaying journals, the publication fills gaps in your publishing history and gives you something to show editors and agents.
- Try finding a writers' group. If the writers' group advocates are correct, this will provide work feedback as well as networking. You have to be careful, though. Writers' groups can be very time consuming, if they meet often and require a lot of work from individual members. You have to balance benefit and costs here.
- Try doing some studying. There's always a possibility that there's a reason for the publishing problem, one that you could address through education. There's no one way to do this. You can do a do-it-yourself MFA type thing with self-study. You can take workshops and go to conferences and retreats. I know of published writers who experienced a publishing drought post 2008 who used the opportunity to go to graduate school. Again, you have to be careful to make sure you're balancing study with writing. Also, keep in mind that some critics believe that MFA programs turn out uniform, cookie cutter writers.
To some extent, you can consider a period of not publishing an opportunity to do some different things like those I suggest above. Because once you've made a sale, particularly of a book, you're going to lose a lot of your writing time to the publishing process and marketing.
Yeah, writing's a trial.
Here’s the second edition of Longreads’ Best of WordPress! We’ve combed through the internet to put together a reading list of some of the best storytelling being published on WordPress. (You can find Vol. 1 here.)
As a reminder: If you read or publish a story on WordPress that’s over 1,500 words, share it with us: just tag it #longreads on Twitter, or use the longreads tag on WordPress.com.
On grieving after the loss of a parent at a young age:
My father died on November 14th, 1995, when I was 14. Every day since the day he died I am one day farther away from him than I was before. This is the truest thing about me. It is the most important and worst thing to ever happen to me. It is me. My father died when I was 14. I will tell people this forever. It is the truest thing about me. I was 14 when he died. My father. I was 14.
Read the story
“There was a time, perhaps 20 years gone by now, when the Valley was different.” Michael O. Church looks at the state of the software engineer — perhaps paid well, but not elevated to leadership roles even within Silicon Valley companies.
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“After learning to hover you were taught to land, then what to do when an engine failed, then to fly off your instruments in the clouds.” A marine learns to fly a helicopter and goes to combat in Afghanistan.
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Esmé Weijun Wang writing for The Toast on her experience with psychosis:
“Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum.”
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Scientists may not be able to predict what the world may look like 100 million years from now, but they may be able to look at how diseases like the flu will evolve in a few months, which has the potential to save lives:
Lässig hopes to be able to make predictions about future flu seasons that the World Health Organization could consult as they decide which strains should be included in flu vaccines. ‘It’s just a question of a few years,’ he said.
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The victims of police shootings are often people with mental illness. The city of Memphis, Tennessee, has found a solution:
Memphis, one-quarter of Toronto’s size but with a homicide rate nine times higher, has developed a progressive approach to de-escalate high-tension confrontations, improve police attitudes toward those suffering from mental illness, and divert them from the criminal justice system. The Memphis Crisis Intervention Team model centres on dispatching specially trained beat cops to emergency calls as quickly as possible, and giving them the authority to take charge of the scene. That approach triggered a revolution in policing that has now been emulated in 2,700 jurisdictions across the US, including large urban centres such as Chicago and Los Angeles. A handful of Canadian cities, among them Hamilton and Vancouver, have also adopted the CIT model. While the TPS has not, senior officials claim that all of its 5,500 uniformed officers receive some training in how to handle mental illness, which makes the recent proliferation of shootings that much more perplexing.
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The Bee Gees were pop music geniuses whose work in 1978 “accounted for 2 percent of the entire record industry’s profits.” Yet they were still underappreciated — and also still capable of making ill-conceived creative decisions.
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Seth Mnookin reports the story of how one couple, Matt Might and Cristina Casanova, worked with researchers to diagnose their son’s disease and connect with other families whose children also had the same genetic disorder. Mnookin’s story also exposes some of the problems within the cloistered research community.
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A personal story about dealing with the feelings of loss that come with unexpected fertility problems.
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A young social worker fights Medicare to cover a homeless teenage boy’s medication, forfeiting her own idealism in the process:
The year I worked at Hudson Outreach, we found mistakes in over half the Social Service denials we saw. Of the cases we argued, we overturned a third. People who had previously been denied heating assistance or rent got much needed checks from the state. Another third of our clients received grants from us. The final third received nothing, not from us and not from Social Services. Often they became homeless.
“You mean to tell me,” I said to Mrs. Stafford, “that the caseworkers at Medicaid are making your son wait for the medicine he needs to survive?”
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Filed under: Reading
(Venice, Italy) Magic Moments
was one of Burt Bacharach's very first hits, and that is what he gave the full-house audience at La Fenice on Sunday night, July 20th --- some very Magic Moments. Sung by Perry Como back in 1958, Magic Moments
reminds us how long the 86-year-old Bacharach has been providing background music for the highs and lows of our lives. Baby it's You
by the Shirelles in 1961, and again by the Beatles in 1963, and again
by the Smiths in 1969; Blue on Blue
by Bobby Vinton in 1963; Walk on By
by Dionne Warwick in 1964; Wishin' and Hopin'
by Dusty Springfield in 1964 were the beginnings of the world's love affair with Burt Bacharach, which continues to this day -- after collaborating with Elvis Costello and appearing in the Austin Powers films, Bacharach was embraced by another generation.
Bacharach gazed out at La Fenice and remarked how beautiful the theater was; what a wonderful setting. And La Fenice did look especially beautiful on Sunday, the day of Redentore.The mood was festive and anticipatory -- after all, the man is 86-years-old; how well could he possibly perform? It turned out: very well, indeed. Burt Bacharach exceeded expectations with one of the best shows I have ever seen in my life. Yes, his voice cracked, and he had some difficulty walking, but he played the piano with ease, and his band was tight; he called them a family. In fact, his very young son, Oliver, who looked like he was about 20, had joined him on the tour on keyboards. Bacharach was emotional when he said how much it meant to have his son with him.
|Interior of La Fenice|
Burt Bacharach and his posse opened the show with What the World needs now is Love,
which was first a hit for Jackie DeShannon back in 1965. The audience clapped with joy, everyone from the plateau up to the tiers at the top of the opera house. With so much tension in the world these days, that simple message written by lyricist Hal David, who died in 2012 at the age of 91, was especially poignant: "What the world needs now is love, sweet love, it's the only thing that there's just too little of." Here's a clip from In Performance at the White House after the team won the Library of Contest Gershwin Prize in 2012:
Bacharach remarked that the movies have been very good to him over the years -- it is astonishing how many of his songs were written for soundtracks, such as Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head
for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
, Arthur's Theme
, and who can ever forget Tom Jones belting out What's New Pussycat
as frenzied women tossed their panties on the stage. The Look of Love
is probably my favorite Bacharach song, full of romance and sensuality; it has been recorded by many artists over the years. Here's the original version by Dusty Springfield from 1967 James Bond film Casino Royale
There were so many hits, it is not possible to list them all, but you will remember: This Guy's in Love with You
by Herb Alpert. I Say a Little Prayer
by Aretha Franklin and then Dionne Warwick. I'll Never Fall in Love Again
. Close to You
by the Carpenters. One Less Bell to Answer
by the Fifth Dimension. Walk on By
. Only Love Can Break a Heart
. Always Something There to Remind Me
. A House is Not a Home
. And, of course, That's What Friends are For
with Dionne Warwick and the whole gang.
Burt Bacharach was here in collaboration with the Venezia Jazz Festival; his early background lies in jazz. In fact, the Venezia Jazz Festival is filling the whole town with excellent music throughout the second half of July. Venezia Jazz Festival is the Venice section of the larger Veneto Jazz Festival
, which has been organizing jazz performances throughout the region since 1988 with international stars like Keith Jarret, Bobby McFerrin, Paolo Conte, Norah Jones, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, Sting with the Symphony Orchestra of Teatro La Fenice, Cesaria Evora , Paco De Lucia, and Gilberto Gil appearing on the scene.
Burt Bacharach ended the evening with an audience sing-along of Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
, the entire theater standing on its feet, applauding with genuine appreciation. Bacharach said, very sincerely, that he had really enjoyed himself; that we were a great audience, and that he had a very, very good time. He walked slowly off the stage, the band still playing, as his young son, Oliver, waved at the crowd from behind the keyboards.
Thank you, Burt Bacharach, for all the Magic Moments you have given me in my life. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to have heard the Maestro at the beautiful La Fenice -- and to be reminded that I believe in love, Alfie.
Ciao from Venezia,
CatVenetian Cat - The Venice BlogALFIEby Burt Bacharach and Hal DavidWhat's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give?
...or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
then I guess it is wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
what will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there's something much more --
something even non-believers can believe in...
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you've missed you're nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you'll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.
After nearly two years in Panamá, I am back in my own house in a tiny village in Alicante, Spain. (That´s my front door with the lovely iron door knocker which is very traditional in this area - it´s a gloved hand knocking at the door with an orange.)
When I first went to Panamá, I knew little about it except that it had a canal and a hat (and the hats, it turned out, were actually from Ecuador). I quickly embarked on a rapid immersion course of Panamanian ecology, political history and culture. My head was soon spinning with tales of Spanish conquistadors, Welsh and English pirates in the Caribbean, runaway slaves, pearl fishermen, the 49ers who crossed the isthmus to get to the California gold rush, the Chinese workers who built the railway.
I read about the thousands of men who died of yellow fever and malaria during the first doomed attempt by the French to build the canal. I learned how President Truman engineered Panamá´s independence from Colombia in 1903 and the subsequent land grab so that the Americans could take over and complete the canal. I read Grahame Greene´s Getting to Know the General about his friendship with the dictator Trujillo who made the Americans return the canal to Panamanian governance. I visited the grave of ballerina Margot Fonteyn whose Panamanian playboy husband was shot and left paraplegic by a furious husband. I went to an exhibition about Paul Gauguin´s stay in Panamá when he worked as a labourer on the canal during the French era.
Panama city was a city of huge contrasts, with soaring skyscrapers and an old and very beautiful colonial city emerging from years of neglect.
I spent weekends walking in rainforests or visiting South Sea and Caribbean islands. We took the train through the jungle (from Pacific to Atlantic in an hour) and did a full canal transit (about eight hours).
On the nights of the full moon, we joined the hundreds of drummers who gathered around the huge curutú tree in the City of Knowledge. I overcame my fear of heights and swam in a swimming-pool on the twenty-seventh floor of our apartment building.
The biodiversity was amazing - blue morpho butterflies as big as saucers, a sloth which hung on the school playground fence, flocks of pelicans on the roof of the fish market, gangs of bandit coatimundis raiding the bins, a toucan in the mango tree and huge migrations of vultures which soared over the city in October and November making their way from Canada to Chile. One week, millions of luminous black and emerald butterflies crossed the isthmus, clouds of them fluttering over the heads of the joggers on the coastal strip - it was like living in a Gabriel García Marquez novel.
Surely, I thought, I can get a book out of all this.
Last winter, I started a novel which is set in Panamá in the 1920s but I haven´t even got a decent first draft yet. However, since leaving the country, I have discovered something very important.
I need to do some very major surgery. I need to cut the hooptedoodle (the part that readers tend to skip, as Elmore Leonard called it). There is too much information. I don´t need my reader to know as much as I now do about my beloved Panamá.
Actually, what I most need to do, is close that door up there and ignore anyone knocking.
By: Kathy Temean,
Blog: Writing and Illustrating
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Women in Nature: An Anthology, is the first book in the WIN-Women in Nature Series. The WIN series are collections of stories from women all across the North American continent… and beyond! These are true stories about the varied ways in which these women relate to ‘nature’ and our natural environment. Each book also contains complete chapters by prominent and passionate women, experienced in related aspects of ‘nature’. Subsequent WIN books will include: WIN on Dwelling; WIN on Indigenous Ways; WIN on Food, WIN on Adventure; WIN on Water; WIN on Healing; WIN on Children; and more!
OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!
We have received some amazing stories for our first WIN – Women in Nature book.
We are looking for good fun engaging stories! Inspiring, uplifting, adventurous, funny, stories … of your relationship with ‘nature’!
CALL FOR Your True Nature Stories!!!
From wilderness living to urban gardening, we want your personal stories that reflect a transforming or transcending connection to ‘nature’. We are looking for stories that can open our perspectives conceptually, or ‘show us how’ to do something experientially. We’re talking about living with the earth, not on her. How do women connect with nature, and the reciprocal and essential relationship with the earth and all that is in it?
- Your story must be true.
- Your story should be told in first person
- Good quality writing is as essential to your story, as is your story.
- Your story should relate to a personal experience that then translates into insight, advice, creative ideas, or transcending awareness!
- Your (funny, somber, endearing, emotional or otherwise) story should be between 750 – 2000 words
- If your story is chosen, you will be given author exposure, as well as varied options for compensation including copies of the book, discounts, (and other monetary and non-monetary rewards to be further specified.)
- We are currently accepting stories from women (as this is a women’s anthology) from ages 18 and on…. however, we are open to stories from men… about women.
Submissions should include: Your story and a brief (50 word) author bio..
SUBMIT TO SPECIFIC WIN BOOKS AS FOLLOWS:
The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Food book, is to generate an awareness of the food we eat, where it comes from, and how what we eat affects all life on this planet.
We are looking for your true stories about food, particularly stories that celebrate sustainable and organic food and food sources as they relate to our natural environment. We also welcome stories that reflect the emotional relationship humans have with food, as well as stories that encourage an awareness of connection.
The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Adventure book is to encourage awareness, respect and intimacy as we seek out adventure. We are looking for your true stories about your adventures in, and more significantly ‘with’, nature. Adventures – hiking, climbing, deep sea diving, dog sledding, kayaking, spelunking, wilderness research, horseback riding, swimming, mountaineering, skiing, surfing – can unfortunately sometimes become an activity of disregard and disrespect. We are looking for experiences that celebrate and appreciate the beauty and awe of the natural environment – and instill an intimacy and awareness of reciprocity – while experiencing all of the challenges, adventures, and inspiration nature has to offer!
SUBMIT YOUR STORIES ON ADVENTURE TO firstname.lastname@example.org
DEADLINE foe submissions 1 September 2014
The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Children book is to encourage the engagement of children with the natural environment, and to nurture an understanding of their existential and intimate relationship with all living things. We are looking for your true stories about children and their relationship with nature. We welcome stories about your childhood experiences in nature, as well as stories about getting children into nature, and your experiences observing children in nature. All stories should move beyond children merely playing an activity outdoors and should focus on the interaction with nature.
SUBMIT YOUR STORIES ON CHILDREN TO email@example.com
DEADLINE for submissions 1 September 2014
The objective of the WIN – Women in Nature on Healing book is to encourage an understanding of our reciprocal relationship with the nature, and how the health of the earth and our own health are intimately intertwined. We are looking for your true stories about healing, both the healing of nature and how nature heals us. This includes both physical and emotional healing through anything from plants and animals, to the healing power of simply being in nature’s bliss.
SUBMIT YOUR STORIES ON HEALING TO firstname.lastname@example.org DEADLINE foe submissions 1 October 2014
GENERAL – For stories that do not fit into any of the above categories, please submit through our standard contact form below.
And, watch for more WIN titles and varying submission deadlines.
|IDEAS… to get you started
We are looking for any personal story that connects you to ‘nature’.organic or urban gardening FOOD
foraging for wild edibles FOOD
camping under the stars ADVENTURE
live trapping bugs and setting them free outside
kayaking and white water rafting ADVENTURE
rock climbing and mountaineering ADVENTURE
nurturing a wounded critter HEALING
painting your house with natural pigments DWELLING
natural everday living stuff CHILDREN
hiking and backpacking ADVENTURE
natural horseback riding ADVENTURE
collecting rainwater FOOD
passive solar heating DWELLING/ENERGY
getting fire from friction DWELLING/ENERGY
building a natural shelter DWELLING
cooking on an open fire FOOD
hunting and fishing FOOD/CHILDREN
creating an outdoor labyrinth HEALING
braintanning hides DWELLING
working with animals ANIMALS/HEALING
water – rivers, snow, streams, oceans WATER/HEALING
shearing and spinning wool ANIMALS/DWELLING
teaching children about nature CHILDREN
research field work ADVENTURE/HEALING
building a sweatliodge HEALING
sleeping outside on your back deck CHILDREN
A story about anything that connects you
to the earth!
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We are honoured to welcome DuEwa Frazier to the Brown Bookshelf today. Poet, founder of Lit Noire Publishing, author of DEANNE IN THE MIDDLE, and much, much more — DuEwa is a true wonder woman. Grab your notebook and a glass of iced tea, lemonade, or just some cool, clear water…and prepare to be inspired.
If I could describe myself in one word, it would be determined. When I graduated from Hampton University as an English major, a few of my classmates asked me what I planned to do after graduation. I told them, “I’m going to be a writer and children’s author.” I didn’t know how I was going to do it but that was my goal and I was determined. Upon graduation I was chosen to be an editorial intern at a teen publication in Massachusetts, my family did not think it was a good idea for me to move to Massachusetts by myself, being so young and right out of college. So I moved back to the Midwest and became an elementary school teacher, I also started graduate school in Secondary English.
Through the 90’s and into the early 2000’s I wrote poetry and children’s stories. In 1999, I moved to my birthplace of Brooklyn. The internet wasn’t quite as booming as it is now, so when I submitted my work for publishing, I made phone calls to agents and publishers and sent my submissions via mail. I even submitted my children’s stories to Nickelodeon hoping to write for the hit show “Little Bill.” I started hand making children’s picture books, putting pencil sketched illustrations to words, in order to create visuals for the stories I wanted to share with young readers. During this time, I received rejection after rejection. Agents and publishers communicated to me that they couldn’t accept my work because I didn’t have a solid track record in publishing. I met an editor at an event who was seeking to publish poets. My first poem “Son of My Sun” was published in Essence Magazine’s December 1999 issue featuring Samuel Jackson and his wife on the cover. It was my first publishing experience and I was actually paid for it!
Years ago I heard the phrase, “What you put your attention on – grows.” This became true for me in my creative life. My poems were published in Essence several more times, as well as in literary journals, online and anthologies. I also published editorials and interviews online. Still, receiving a “publishing deal” through a book publisher was not something that was offered to me, and after a while I didn’t seek it. I kept writing, networking at author signings, attending conferences, reading, doing research, performing my poetry and saving money. Eventually, I taught myself how to self-publish. There was no one there to hold my hand through the entire process but I did receive support. I took writing workshops with the late, great poet, Louis Reyes Rivera and was mentored by Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets. I attended many of the Center for Black Literature’s National Black Writers Conference’s early panels and workshops. I later took children’s writing and non-fiction workshops at other centers in the city. I became a part of a community of writers who had academics and cultural consciousness in their backgrounds.
When I published my first book, Shedding Light From My Journeys in 2002, publishing became an act of community service for me and an added connection to my being an educator. My company, Lit Noire Publishing was founded in 2002. I became an author, publisher, cultural organizer and consultant all under one umbrella. I hired graphic designers and printers. I shared my book and the books of other authors with my middle school students in Brooklyn. Louis Reyes Rivera helped me edit my first collection. He gave me advice about selecting poems that relate to each other in theme. I had been performing on the poetry circuit in various cafes, arts venues and colleges. I was no different from many other writers and poets who wanted their work heard and read, but I made a conscious decision to publish my books because long after we are all gone, the books will still stand.
I am the author or editor of six books to date: Shedding Light From My Journeys (2002), Stardust Tracks on a Road (2005), Check the Rhyme: Anthology of Female Poets & Emcees (2006), Ten Marbles and Bag to Put Them in: Poems for Children (2010), Goddess Under the Bridge: Poems (2013) and Deanne in the Middle (2014). The anthology I edited, Check the Rhyme features 50 women poets from across the globe and was nominated for three awards: NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry, African American Literary Awards Show – Poetry and Writer’s Digest Publishing Awards – Poetry. If your intent is to produce quality literature and share with a community of readers, your work will land where it is supposed to.
I have many writing projects that are “waiting” to be further worked on or picked up, including a few I am currently editing. Creation never stops when you have a passion for writing, but I am not interested in releasing a book every few months. I think each project should have its own space and time. A possible challenge in self-publishing is that you have to motivate yourself to use both traditional and alternative or creative methods of marketing and promoting your work. I have an entrepreneurial, pull myself “up by the bootstraps” spirit, so self-publishing and managing my work doesn’t frazzle me. But every writer may not be suited for it, because you do not have a publicist, manager and editor at your disposal 24/7 creating plans, representing your ideas and doing your bookings.
When you’re self-published, you become DIY all around and you have to be okay with that, including being okay with spending your money to fuel your ideas. However, I do support writers who have good experiences with traditional houses and I find value in it. It’s all about communities of readers and however you are able to share you work is what is most important.
To date, what I enjoy about publishing my work is that I have a certain amount of creative control and as long as I am here, my books will not go out of print. I have talked with writers who have had experiences with publishers who allow their works to go out of print. I do not know why that happened, but I thought it was unfortunate because we’re living in an age where our children need access to books in print to become literate. And one of our legacies is printed books. As an author, I love participating in programs with my books and interacting with readers – both youth and adults. There is nothing like discussing books and hearing about the interests of readers. I have been fortunate to participate in numerous literacy programs for youth, literary conferences and author signings where it has not mattered that I represent myself as an indie author. I have been a writer for fifteen years and I think I have shown my commitment to the work. But I have humility in knowing I still have much to learn and work to do. As a new children’s author, I believe there is great value in continuing to produce books in print, not just in digital format. When I teach workshops for youth, I bring my books with me as references and students enjoy paging through the books and reading from them. There is relationship that a reader has with a book, which digital reading cannot replace. You can curl up with a book and dog ear your favorite pages. You can make notes and symbols in books on the pages. And there’s nothing like the smell of a book – whether new or worn. I am also a big library geek, and I promote our young people to always have a library card and access books through the local library.
My new book Deanne in the Middle chronicles the experiences of 14-year old Deanne Summers who is starting her first year of high school.
Not unlike many youth, Deanne faces bullying, peer pressure and issues in conflict resolution during her first semester. I wrote the story to have a dialogue with young readers about conflict and having friendships with those who are different from you. So many students are bullied and harassed for being different.
I felt Deanne in the Middle was a worthwhile story to tell. This is a story I began writing in 2007 and I submitted it to agents in the past. I was told there was “no market” for my story. And when I workshopped the story I was told that my characters didn’t “sound black enough.” Well as an educated person who has worked with youth of diverse backgrounds, and whose family is also diverse, I really didn’t know what “black enough” was. How many “yo shortys” and “what ups” can you put in a young adult novel to make it believable? For me, not many. If I were a teen, I would become bored with a book written with lingo just to target me and I would feel that the author is patronizing and stereotyping me. And these are among my reasons for publishing my novel Deanne in the Middle, and not waiting another five years or so for someone else to find the “market” in my work. There is value in my story because I know the youth who I serve and young readers deserve to have a myriad of stories to choose from when selecting books to read.
I suggest to aspiring authors and writers for children to: (1) write often (2) have your work workshopped and critiqued and (3) attend literary events and conferences to network. There are times when I could not devote 100% of my time to publishing due to working and attending graduate school (I earned three Master’s degrees from 2006 to 2013 and have an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The New School) but I realize that it’s all about the journey. The journey is filled with learning experiences – how I learn from other authors and what I have to teach. I made a market for my work and have felt privileged to share my writing with young readers and connect with like minded authors.
Thank you for this opportunity to tell my publishing story!
For more from DuEwa Frazier, visit her online at duewaworld.com.
What are you waiting on? Go!
I kind of had an inkling that Guardians of the Galaxy would be the big thing at Comic-Con 2014, and after looking on the floor for a few minutes…I was right. If it isn’t the Lego Rocket and Groot, it’s dioramas or the spaceship (Owl ship?) in the Marvel booth. The Marvel booth is very “under construction” but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see more Guardians imagery. I’ll be peeking back in a bit to see what else I can find but here’s a quick look!
Some of these are blurry spy pics because workers don’t like it when you stand there and take a lot of clear, well framed photos.
All my life I have dreamed of seeing Sean Bean on an airport luggage conveyor belt. Best promo of the show so far, but I just landed.
Nice Guardians of the Galaxy display at Hasbro.
This is a video of JJ Abrams telling you how awesome Star Wars VII is going to be.
Hot Wheels, I think I love you.
Star Wars Rebels
The stars of the show so far.
Seriously the only danger is that Rocket and Groot may be approaching Poochie territory with the exposure they’re getting.
Doings at the Marvel Booth. Is that Kree, Skrull or just part of an air duct?
The Alex Ross booth is always a treat although it’s relatively unchanged in recent years.
More Marvel swagga.
Batman is the big theme of the DC booth! I tried to get a better shot of the Batman costume displays—which will be very impressive—but too many nosy parkers.
Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton is thankful his palette of books just arrived. And MArch 2 coming in January.
Yes SLG and publisher Dan Vado are here. Despite Vado’s recent money troubles, he made it to the show with a lot of merch to sell…
…including this cool shirt. Many more like it. Check out the SLG booth across from the DC booth!
And my favorite booth! The land that time forgot, New England Comics. But I got word of a new Tick…sign coming. Maybe.
Brutal working conditions thus far.
Today we look at the work of Celyn Brazier, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!
At The Paris Review's weblog Valerie Stivers has Recalcitrant Language: An Interview with Ottilie Mulzet, a Q & A with the Best Translated Book Award-winning Krasznahorkai-translator.
I started another miniature painting over the weekend but had to put it on hold, for now. My newest children's book sketches have been revised and are waiting for approval. I'll start the final artwork, this week.
|The Call- background roughed in.|
Although the miniature work is small, the amount of time it takes to render the fine detail is as much or more than my bigger paintings.
|The Call- in progress.|
|The Call- main figure roughed in...detail, next.|
This fox will have to wait... The Call
is on hold.
Ever since the Nazis invaded Denmark, David Nathan, 10, and his best friend Elsa Jensen have been hungry, despite the fact that his dad is the best baker in all of Copenhagen. But the Nazis have been helping themselves to whatever they want since 1940, and that includes anything that they fancy in Nathan's Patisserie
Now, it is September, 1943 and David is looking forward to Rosh Hashanah and his mother's special honey cake all month long. The Jewish New Year is always a family celebration shared with Elsa's family. If only he thought his sister might be there, but university studies keep her at school more and more.
Or so David's mother tells him whenever he asks about Rachel. But on their way home from school one afternoon, Elsa tells David her secret - Rachel and Elsa's cousin Arne are in the Resistance, doing whatever they can to sabotage the Nazis.
That very afternoon, when he arrives at his father's bakery, David is asked to deliver 6 éclairs to Arne's house and to make sure all 6 get there. But no sooner does David leave the shop, when he is stopped by two Nazi soldiers who insist on seeing what he has in his bakery box. Seeing the éclairs, each soldier helps himself to one.
Finally, David is able to deliver the remaining four éclairs to Arne, who immediately dips his finger into each, finally pulling out a piece of paper from the last one. All David can make out is the word train. A few days later, David's father tells him that a train has been sabotaged by the Resistance, and David proudly realizes he had actually played a role in that.
And at last Rosh Hashanah arrives. The longed for honey cake has been made, but when David and his father are sitting in the synagogue, the Rabbi announces that the Nazis are planning to round up Denmark's Jews that very night and advises everyone to go home and prepare for their escape.
Well, we know the end of this story because we know that Denmark's citizens did not allow the Nazis to capture most of that nation's Jewish citizens, and so we know that David and his parents escape to Sweden with the help of their friends the Jensens. But, of course, young readers may not know this.
A Time to be Brave
is a nice easy reader chapter book that provides a good introduction to what happened in Denmark in World War II. It is the perfect book for a young reader who is not quite ready for Number the Stars
The writing is simple. never condescending, the story is straightforward and the characters well-drawn. There is nice back matter, too, including a map of Denmark and Sweden, a World War II timeline, explanations of who Victor Borge is (yes, he in mentioned in the novel), the Resistance, King Christian X (an important figure to the Danish people during the war), and a recipe for honey cake (that I may have to try making).
If A Time to be Brave
sounds vaguely familiar, it is because it was originally published in 2008 under the title Honey Cake.
I suspect it has been reissued under the new title because it now has "updated content that emphasizes Common Core and renewed interest in nonfiction
" even though the story is fiction. It is, however, based on a true story.
This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was provided by the publisher
The kind Sarrah has awarded me a One Lovely Blog Award and the marvelous Litlove has named me a Very Inspiring Blogger. I feel so loved!
Conveniently, both these recognitions come with similar results: I am supposed to say thanks — thanks! — share seven facts about myself, and nominate fifteen other blogs. The more these recognitions go around the more difficult it is to share the love all around, but I will try.
So here are seven things:
- How I have answered the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” at various times in my life: ballerina, teacher for the deaf and blind (Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan were my heroes), horse racing jockey, forest ranger, computer scientist, zookeeper, field biologist for National Geographic, actress, large animal/exotic animal veterinarian, high school biology teacher, high school English teacher, professor of literature, independently wealthy, I have no idea, human maybe, librarian, grow up? When will that be exactly?
- I am very ticklish, especially my feet. I am so ticklish that when I was a kid all my dad had to do was pretend he was going to tickle me and I would collapse on the floor in a hysterical fit of laughter.
- Speaking of feet, I hate shoes. I have a high arch and a wide foot and have a difficult time finding shoes that fit well. I would prefer to go barefoot all of the time. Or wear thick socks if it is cold. I wish my employer would find bedroom slippers acceptable footwear.
- I am very likely doomed to never being able to speak a language other than English. I have tried Spanish, German, French, Spanish again, German again, Spanish again. I’ve gotten furthest with Spanish. But even if I should ever make it to close to fluent, I will always have a terrible accent. No matter how hard I try I am always told my accent is terrible. Seems like the only accent I am good at is a Minnesota one.
- When I was a pre-teen I used to sometimes wait for my mom to leave me alone at home (parents used to leave their kids home alone and see what sort of trouble they’d get into?) and I would raid her under-the-bed stash of Harlequin romances looking for the “dirty bits,” which in those days weren’t very dirty at all but involved lots of heaving bosoms, passionate kisses, and burly men tossing women over their shoulders. When I read Judy Blume’s YA book Forever, it was more explicit and shocking than my mom’s romances and I never felt the need to raid the Harlequin box again.
- I also loved reading fantasy and science fiction and still do. I was more interested in magic and dragons, aliens and space exploration than trying to figure out what was dirty about the dirty bits in my mom’s romances. I mostly wanted to know details so as not to embarrassed by my ignorance at school. It was so much more interesting imagining myself killing orcs and overcoming evil or figuring out the complexities of space travel and trying to communicate with aliens than it was imagining myself being tossed over a burly man’s shoulder for a night of passion on his pirate ship. In fact, if I ever imagined being thrown over a burly man’s shoulder I probably ran him through with my awesome elven sword before he could even lay a hand on me.
- After ten years of blogging it is really hard to come up with seven remotely interesting things about myself.
And the fifteen, trying to not duplicate the other lists in no particular order:
- Bookgirl’s Nightstand. Iliana not only reads a lot but she also makes books and is creatively talented. Also she loves washi tape and gifted me with some extra she had for which I will be forever grateful.
- Bookpuddle. Cipriano is a Jose Saramago fan which proves he has great taste. He also loves cats, has a fabulous plant named Robert Plant, has a coffee addiction of which I approve and a hamburger addiction which I forgive him for.
- Magnificent Octopus. Isabella loves smart science fiction and she has added to my TBR list without mercy. She also likes to read NYRBs classics and, I don’t think she knows this, is responsible to getting me hooked on Doctor Who.
- Marks in the Margin. Richard is always thoughtful and very kind. He likes novels and movies that make him think. He loves Florence, Italy and is a world class surfer who spends his winters in Hawaii.
- Whispering Gums has been giving me an education in Australian literature for a number of years now, adding books to my TBR list and making me curse US publishing for not printing more books from Australia. She also is a former librarian, travels a lot, and regularly attends live music/dance/drama performances then writes about them so beautifully she makes me think perhaps I should move to Australia someday.
- Wuthering Expectations. Tom is always thoughtful and interesting, frequently funny, and often challenging. He got me to read Sartor Resartus and Edmund Burke on the sublime. An intrepid reader, he frequently ventures into books no one else would even consider in order to find forgotten and neglected gems.
- BookerTalk. Booker winners and classics and more. I’m always interested to see what she is reading and learn her thoughts on it. Plus, I get to live vicariously through her when she goes to the Hay Literary Festival.
- Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices. Funny, always kind, and a fellow lover of poetry, Cirtnecce is always a pleasant stop on my blog visiting rounds.
- Indextrious Reader. Melwyk is a Canadian librarian who loves reading books of letters and other postal related books even more than I do. She also has an awesome eye for finding dress patterns that match the dress on the book cover. One of these days I am going to succumb and actually sew one of them for myself.
- Things Mean A Lot. Ana is one smart cookie. She also likes fantasy and scfi. And she never fails to call a spade a spade. I love her perceptiveness and honesty.
- Time’s Flow Stemmed. Anthony is a thoughtful fellow who loves many of the same authors I do and some I have never heard of, which also makes him a dangerous influence on my TBR pile.
- Stainless Steel Droppings. Carl is one of the biggest SFF geeks around. He regularly forces me to add books to my TBR pile. Or to my husband’s TBR pile. Plus, he is the ever gracious host of the annual R.I.P. Challenge during which I get my fill of melodramatic gothic literature and creepy but not genuinely scary because it will give me nightmares reading.
- Pining for the West. An avid reader and just as avid gardener in Scotland, visiting her blog never fails to be enjoyable. Plus she regularly provides lessons on Scottish words so should I ever visit Scotland I just might be able to understand what they are saying.
- Biblioglobal. She’s trying to read a book from every country in the world and regularly expands my reading horizons. Hers is a project I cannot help but admire.
- A Garden Carried in the Pocket. Jenclair is an eclectic reader, talented crafter and quilter, and also a gardener. She feels no shame about adding to my TBR list and her works of art never fail to earn my admiration.
If any of the named bloggers choose to play along, I give them the option of choosing their award, the Lovely Blog or Inspiring Blogger, though all of them deserve both!
Filed under: Blogging
At Books LIVE they've unveiled The Twenty in 20 Final List: the Best Short Stories of South Africa's Democracy, "the best South African short fiction published in English during the past two decades of democracy"
('In English' ... sigh .....)
By: Craig Deeley,
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Just a doodle with Studio Artists Presets that make the nicest cut paper like effects.
So last night I thought of a good topic to write about for today’s post. Walking to work through downtown after getting off the train this morning on my way to work I reminded myself of it, oh yes, that will be good, I thought. Now, when I am home and sit down to actually write it, do I remember what that good topic is? Of course not! If you blog, does this ever happen to you? I hope I eventually remember it or it will drive me just a little more crazy than I already am.
In lieu of what I am certain would have been a stellar post, I give you instead Weird Al Yankovic’s new video Word Crimes. Enjoy.
Filed under: Rambling
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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, Claude Cloutier
, Dale Hayward
, Francis Desharnais
, Janet Perlman
, National Film Board of Canada
, Patrick Bouchard
, Sylvie Trouvé
, Theodore Ushev
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Any reason to celebrate the National Film Board of Canada is a good one; the NFB is a model for government-funded arts organizations, both in the freedom granted its filmmakers and its long string of successes.
"Review My Books" Review by Tamara
THE YOUNG WORLDThe Young World #1by Chris WeitzHardcover: 384 pagesPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (July 29, 2014)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon
Welcome to New York, a city ruled by teens.
After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant
By: Guest Contributor,
Blog: ALSC Blog
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Have you worked in a library system where procedures and best practices weren’t written down? Have you worked in an environment where the organizational and institutional knowledge was in different employees’ heads, but nowhere on paper?
Putting things (procedures, best practices, responses to common questions, etc.) in writing is an important step to becoming a transparent and accountable organization. In an ideal situation, you will be part of a workforce that understands how a library functions, knows where supplies are, displays exemplary behavior, produces high quality programs and events. What happens when a person is hired – and there’s no training plan or written documentation to help them become acclimated to how the library operates? What happens when expectations aren’t in writing, and you need to correct poor choices and behavioral issues? What about retirement and having a succession plan?
In Youth Services, do you have a storytime outline or template that you use to train new storytime planners and presenters? Do you have anything in writing about how (and when) to book performers or special guests? Having documentation specifically for how things are done in your library is very useful for you as a manager, and your employees (both current and prospective). It is a great way to allow staff members to contribute and improve the day-to-day tasks in the library, as well as allow some input for how the library operations might be improved.
In certain situations, you might not be able to create policies without the approval of your stakeholders (library board and/or City Council), but you can instead focus on creating best practices and start putting in writing what has worked (and not worked so well) in your library. If the idea of writing a large document is overwhelming, start with small things and go slowly. Producing documentation doesn’t have to be done overnight, and there’s no reason to try to do it all by yourself. There are writers in your library – use the existing expertise that you have in your staff.
Documentation and putting things in writing helps take you and your library to the next step. What have you put in writing already?
Our guest blogger today is Claudia M. Wayland, the Youth Services Supervisor at the Lewisville Public Library in Lewisville, Texas, who wrote this piece as a member of the Managing Children’s Services Committee.
[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]
They'll be announcing the longlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize today and, presumably hoping to cash in on a general longlist excitement, they announced the longlist for the 'International' Dylan Thomas Prize just ahead of that.
The 'International' Dylan Thomas Prize is a £30,000 prize:
awarded to the best published or produced literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under
That 'published or produced literary work in the English language' might suggest translations are eligible -- hey, they call themselves 'International', right ? -- but, alas, Rule 3.4 makes clear:
For the avoidance of doubt a translation of a Literary or Performance work originally written in a language or languages other than English is not eligible for entry.
Since all works not originally written in English -- even for an 'International' award --, are, of course, by their very nature dubious, I guess .....
(Also: while a prize for young authors -- "aged 39 or under" -- authors are not permitted to be too young either: Rule 3.1 notes that entry is only open to authors: "aged 18 or over".
Because ... well, who knows.)
Still, it's an impressive list of books by English-writing authors -- including last year's Man Booker winner, The Luminaries
, by Eleanor Catton.
None of the fifteen titles are under review at the complete review
yet (you know how it is here with that 'international' stuff ...).
The shortlist will be announced 4 September.
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Cartoon Network has named Christina Miller as its new president and general manager. She will also serve the same roles for Adult Swim and Boomerang. Miller fills the leadership vacancy left by Stu Snyder, who departed the network in March.