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According to Statistics Norway, around 10,000 children under the age of 18 in Norway experience divorce every year. These numbers do not take into account non-married couples that split up. Therefore, in reality far more children experience parental separation.
Status of knowledge
Focus has been on the adversity of parental divorce, emphasising the support and safety an intact family gives. The child may experience conflict, neglect or parental alienation, and insecurity about who belongs to the family. Not only the separation itself but also the period preceding and following the divorce may disturb the child’s well-being. Several studies show that parental conflict, that may be harmful to the child, is perpetuated even after the divorce. However, other studies show that when the parents are able to reduce the level of conflict after the divorce, the divorce is not exclusively negative if the child is moved from a family situation with conflicts to a more harmonious one. Society’s attitude toward divorce has changed as divorce has become more common. Prejudice and stigma are less pronounced. A natural assumption is therefore that mental problems related to divorce are also reduced. However, more recent studies conclude that adults, who experienced divorce in childhood, have more mental health problems than adults from intact families.
Divorce and reduced parental contact are closely linked. Children with loss of parental contact after divorce report more mental health complaints compared to children with preserved contact. Lack of attention, support, and economic insecurity may explain some of the negative effects of a parent’s absence. However, even when provided with at step-parent after divorce, these children report a lower level of well-being than children with preserved parental contact. Biological parents therefore seem to be of particular importance. Regular and frequent contact with both parents after divorce may also reduce the potential harmful effects of parental absence as seen in sole-custody households. Parental support is an important, independent risk factor to children’s sense of achievement and well-being. It is shown that as children’s relationship with their fathers weakens after divorce, they also lose contact with paternal grandparents and stepfamily.
Studies show that when divorce is followed by strong conflict, children may be used as a weapon between the parents. In such conflicts contact with one of the parents may be limited or brought to an end. The child is forced to ally with one of the parents, and suffers from the psychological stress this causes.
What is the concern?
Family law in Western societies generally aims at preserving dual parental contact for the child after divorce. This is also the aim of the Norwegian legislation. The Norwegian Child Act states that the parents may come to an agreement on where the child should primarily reside. However, if the parents cannot agree on this, the court has to decide which one of the parents the child should stay with. In practical life this has, in most cases, been the mother, while the father has been reduced to a weekend parent. Due to this, the experience in Norway is that when it comes to loss of parental contact, children of divorce primarily lose contact with the father. This effect is in some cases strengthened by the primary caregiver intentionally sabotaging the other parent’s visitation rights. To prevent this, the Norwegian legislation has sanctions, but these are very rarely used. A suggestion has been to introduce shared residence as a preferred solution after parental divorce, and that parents who sabotage this agreement may get restrictions on their contact with the child.
Most parents choose to take an active role in their child’s upbringing, and only a small group is absent, either by choice or circumstances. Therefore, social benefit systems have built in mechanisms to compensate the lacking of the absent parent by high financial contributions to sole providers left alone in charge. The downside of these benefits is that one of the parents can gain financially on monopolising the contact with the child and in some cases the sole provider actively sabotages or reduces the other parent’s contact, only to gain financially. This mechanism is strengthened by the Norwegian child maintenance system, where the level of economic support is linked to the amount of time spent with the child. Parents who share the custody in equal parts do not pay any child maintenance to each other. The combination of the systems has turned many fathers in to “child maintenance machines” because the mother would lose so much financially, sharing the custody of the child with the father. The benefits therefore undermine the aim to gain shared custody, and deprive the father of the possibility to have a close relationship with his child.
The concept of “parental alienation syndrome” is used to describe the condition where the child is alienated against one of the parents. If the government wants the children’s voice to be heard in custody conflicts, they must take into account that the child is already involved in a process of demonization and slander of one of the parents. From the literature, we know the term folie à deux. The government should be careful not to act in a game that can be characterized as folie à troi (madness shared by three).
In practice, it is difficult to have an equal amount of contact with both parents unless the child lives in two places equally. What is important to consider is whether advantages of maintaining a close relationship with both parents outweigh the disadvantages of having to change residence, for instance every week or every second week. Equally shared legal custody is not the same as having the child living in two residences fifty-fifty.
The experience is that the Child Act’s intention of parental agreement on a solution of custody between equal parties does not work. This is because the court, when presented the case, is legally bound to choose a single residence and almost exclusively chooses the mother.
On the basis of this knowledge it is important that the government puts effort in protecting the child’s right to have contact with both parents. This work must be as unprejudiced as possible. It is not acceptable that we continue with a practice in which the legislation allows the systematic favoring of one part in conflicted divorces.
The same phrase describes my marriage and my breasts: Before the kids, they used to be such a cute couple ~ Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Seven years ago tonight, Jim Dear and I did not go to the movies. We went to eat at Tin Angel, I remember being shocked that at 9 months pregnant I could still eat a whole steak. Little did we know some few hours later as Small Fry entered our lives, how much our tiny marriage would be pushed and pulled and remodeled into a family.
Although we did not go to the movies that night, trips to the theater figure very prominently into our family's history. Most of our friends know how Jim Dear proposed on the stage of the Belcourt Theater. As newlyweds we went to the theater 2 and 3 times a week, sometimes dashing out at midnight. Then after kids, these became less frequent - and much earlier - treasured nights to ourselves. I vividly remember our first date night after baby to see Chronicles of Narnia, as it turns out watching an opening scene where the mother puts her kids on the train during a war is not the best idea for a new mom's fragile hormonal emotional state.
We eagerly anticipated taking Small Fry and Baby Sprout to their first movies. What fun to watch them in the darkness as their saucer eyes followed the screen! The glow of Buzz and Lightening McQueen and Princess Tiana on screen is barely a match for the movie magic glow in their eyes afterwards.
Somedays I muse about years into the future in which Jim Dear and I might once again be able to go to the movies on a moment's notice, with no babysitter or booster seat involved.
So tonight while the birthday presents for Small Fry wait downstairs to be wrapped, I'm posting this short history of our life at the movies - so far. Happy Birthday to Small Fry and happy anniversary to us.
Anna Ingwersen is my childhood best friend, aspiring novelist, and author of a new blog called Mother Freakin' Writers. She's running some great interviews about writing and mothering.
From Kathryn Burak, author of EMILY'S DRESS AND OTHER MISSING THINGS:
You gave all this up for us? [My children] were sad for me, and at that moment I was sad for me too, but it was also important to tell them this--because of all the things I could say to children about the time they spend on earth, this is the most important--If you are lucky, you get to make choices.
I was lucky. I chose to make Halloween costumes, and birthday cakes that looked like pirate ships. I chose to direct school plays and teach poetry workshops. I started a film club and we made great films. I was part of a wonderful group of people who sold pizza for a year and earned enough money to build a labyrinth at my kids' school. I had the pleasure of knowing all their classmates, and sharing with those kids my love of words, and most of all, watching all of them grow up together. It was a great pleasure. It was an enormous pleasure.
I think I chose well. And most significantly, I had the opportunity to choose. And nothing about that is sad. But it was also important to tell them every choice is a trade. Something for something else.
And that morning earlier that summer when I woke up in bed with all my regrets I was thinking about that, too--of the conscious decisions you make and how they tally up, how they are the sum of your days.Go here for more.
First-time author Marissa Carmel debuted last month with her YA fantasy iFeel (http://goo.gl/MnDYg). As she continues on her blog tour, see what she has to say about the expectations of being a writer and a mother.
You plan, God laughs. This is the story of my life.
There are ideals and expectations I assume everyone has; whom you will marry, what your career will be like, where you will raise your kids. And yes, I had all those ideologies in my head, except mine were more like, have a career, don't get married and absolutely no kids. Boy was I wrong. Today I am married with two kids, and living in a state I only passed through on occasion. And my career? Well let’s just say, I have more than one, and I never saw that coming. Who needs more than one career? Apparently me. To make a long story short, I started my first career as a logistician, yawn, I won’t bore you with the details. The second career came shortly after.
I've always loved to write. Always. My imagination constantly runs away with itself, and I am without doubt following it. My best subject was creative writing. So when I would write, it was primarily for me (or a good grade). As time went on though, I found myself imagining more and more and wanting to create, but my life was so busy, and what would it get me anyway? Until one day my mother- in- law dropped a bomb that would change my life. She was talking to one of my husband’s cousins who was complaining about getting her college degree (she was already married with 4 kids. Yikes. I’d be complaining too.) And my MIL, the wise woman that she is simply said, honey, time is going to go by anyway, so you might as well do it. Well, it felt like the sky fell on me. The advice wasn’t even directed at me, but it resonated. I started writing that night. And never stopped.
My husband once asked where my creativity comes from, and in return I asked him if he ever heard voices in his head. His reply, I needed to see a shrink. I told him a keyboard and a curser is the best therapy. I have always loved the supernatural, thanks in part to my mom; Charmed was one of our favorite shows to watch together and still is. So when I started writing, it only felt natural that it took on a paranormal feel. But I didn't want to write about vampires or werewolves or
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During this summer of multi-camping, the Fry has learned many new things: "Recycle, stop making garbage," says Go Green Camp Vandy. "Help the animals, protect their habitat," says the Nashville Zoo. "Share with your friends," says Vacation Bible School.
But my personal favorite is what the Fry learned from Safety Week at Bounce U.
"Don't be distracted while driving."
Apparently the police officer who visited admonished the kids to never text or talk and drive.... all very good and worthwhile advice. But I'd like to know why the good officer didn't talk to the kids about correcting a REAL distraction while driving, something even more dangerous than sending the occasional grocery list item to your husband before you forget for the 5th day in a row.
It's three months until we move, but in the spirit of making hay while the sun shines, I've begun casually, nostalgically sorting and packing a few things. In a pile of books in the parlor I came across a collection of Anne Sexton's poems. Opening randomly, I read--and burst into tears.
Daisy doesn't care for horses, but she is 13, and I see this moment coming.
Pain for a Daughter // Anne Sexton
Blind with love, my daughter has cried nightly for horses, those long necked marchers and churners that she has mastered, any and all, reining them in like a circus hand - the excitable muscles and the ripe neck - tending, this summer, a pony and a foal.
She who is squeamish to pull a thorn from the dog’s paw watched the pony blossom with distemper, the underside of the jaw swelling like an enormous grape, Gritting her teeth with love, she drained the boil and scoured it with hydrogen peroxide until pus ran like milk on the barn floor.
Blind with loss all winter, in dungarees, a ski jacket, and a hard hat, she visits the neighbors’ stables, our acreage not zoned for barns, they who own the flaming horses and the swan-necked thoroughbred that she tugs at and cajoles, thinking it will burn like a furnace under her small-hipped English seat.
Blind with pain, she limps home; The thoroughbred has stood on her foot. He rested there like a building; He grew into her foot until they were one. The marks of the horseshoe printed into her flesh, the tips of her toes ripped off like pieces of leather, three toenails swirled like shells and left to float in blood in her riding boot.
Blind with fear, she sits on the toilet, her foot balanced over the washbasin, her father, hydrogen peroxide in hand, performing the rites of the cleansing. She bites on a towel, sucked in breath, sucked in and arched against the pain, her eyes glancing off me where I stand at the door, eyes locked on the ceiling, eyes of a stranger, And then she cries… Oh! My god, Help me!
Where a child would have cried “Mama!” Where a child would have believed “Mama!” She bit the towel and called on God, And I saw her life, stretch out… I saw her torn in childbirth, And I saw her, at that moment, in her own death, And I knew that she knew.
****************************** Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference, where she's sharing some of the poems exchanged through the Summer Poem Swap she has organized. I'm participating and will have at least three to share next Friday--thanks, Tabatha!
Hickem, Catherine. (2012). Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-4002-0036-8.
What do we know of Mary?
What we know of Mary’s family is that she is of the house of David; it is from her lineage Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Given the archeological ruins of the various places thought to have been living quarters for their family, it is likely the home was a room out from which sleeping quarters (cells) branched. As Mary and her mother Anne would be busy maintaining the household, with young Mary working at her mother’s command, it is likely Anne would be nearby or in the same room during the Annunciation. Thus Mary would not have had a scandalous secret to later share with her parents but, rather, a miraculous supernatural experience, the salvific meaning of which her Holy parents would understand and possibly even witnessed.
Mary and Joseph were betrothed, not engaged. They were already married, likely in the form of a marriage contract, but the marriage had not yet been “consummated”. This is why he was going to divorce her when he learned of the pregnancy. If it were a mere engagement, he would have broken it off without too much scandal.
Married but not yet joined with her husband, her mother would prepare her by teaching her all that she needed to know. This is further reason to assume that Mary would be working diligently under her mother’s eye when the Annunciation took place.
We know that her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy was kept in secret for five months, and not made known until the sixth month when the Angel Gabriel proclaimed it to Mary. We know Mary then rushed to be at her elderly cousin’s side for three months (the remaining duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy), and that this rushing appeared to be in response to Elizabeth’s pregnancy (to congratulate her), not an attempt to hide Mary’s pregnancy. Note how all of this is connected to Elizabeth’s pregnancy rather than Mary’s circumstances. As Mary was married to Joseph, he likely would have been informed of the trip. Had the intent been to hide Mary, she would have remained with Elizabeth until Jesus was born, not returned to her family after the first trimester, which is just about the time that her pregnancy was visible and obvious.
So we these misconceptions clarified, we can put Mary’s example within an even deeper context and more fully relate to her experience. We can imagine living in a faith-filled family who raises their child in strict accordance of God’s word. The extended family members may not understand, and certainly their community will not, so Mary, Anne and Joachim, and Joseph face extreme scandal as well as possible action from Jewish authorities. But they faced this together steep in conversation with God, providing a model for today’s family.
Although sometimes scriptural interpretations are flavored with modern-day eye, overall this book will be more than just a quick read for a young mother (or new bride, or teen aspiring to overcome the challenges of American culture, or single parent losing her mind). It is a heartwarming reflection with many examples that open up conversation with God. As an experienced psychotherapist, the author’s examples are spot on and easy to relate to. We do not need to have had the same experiences to empathize, reflect, and pursue meaning; we see it around us in everyday life. As such, a reflective look upon these examples can help one overcome an impasse in their own relationship with God and also open the reader up to self-knowledge as Hi
When S was born I breastfed her diligently, mashed my own organic purees and prided myself on my brilliant parenting when she grew up to love her broccoli and kale, sardines and lentils - happy to try everything and always wanting seconds. E was fussier but also quite greedy so could usually be cajoled into eating her cucumber in exchange for a yoghurt. I used to think that she was a fussy eater because she didn't like tuna!
And then came D who hated my purees, rejected finger foods and would quite happily eat nothing but cornflakes (but only with added sugar). I can count the foods he will eat on one hand and he has never knowingly eaten a piece of fruit or a vegetable. And I don't mean, "He doesn't like fruit but will eat blueberries and bananas because every child likes those fruit" - he has never eaten a piece of fruit, never mind a pea or a carrot.
Yes, I've tried 'hiding' vegetables plus he picks his own on the allotment, he eats with other children, we do lots of cooking together, blah, blah, it never makes the slightest difference, he will retch if there is onion hidden in his pasta sauce. When I'm feeling particularly guilt-ridden I blend spinach into his pesto (one of his five foods - he is a true SW child <blush>) but most of the time I just give in and allow his plate of casserole to be replaced with peanut butter and toast, of which 90 per cent of his meals consist.
Therefore D's willingness to eat a new food is a cause for celebration in our house, especially if it's not a sweet. Ok, it's practically a cake - banana bread with chocolate chips - but it also contains lots of banana (fruit!), hopefully enough to stave off scurvy. And it's delicious - we made three last week and each one got eaten in a day.
Image: Adrienne Yong
I used the recipe from the Great British Book of Baking - I was a bit snobby about the book because of that annoying TV show (baking as a competitive sport is one of my irrational dislikes - Jane Brocket wrote a great post about this on her blog here) - but I've used it lots and every time the recipe has turned out great (unlike the error-ridden Hummingbird book). And if even D will eat it, it can't be too bad...
I just received my author copies of a new anthology, Always There. These true stories show how God moves in the lives of mothers of young children. The anthology makes seventeen I’ve had stories published in. and as I did with prior anthologies, I’ve now read every story in it. The best way to write for anthologies is to read them so you know what publishers are looking for.
Always There surprised me with its depth. I was expecting stories along the line of ”the five-second rule” (how parents become increasingly lax about allowing their children to eat food dropped on the floor) or “the crying kids in Wal-Mart” (how parents used to be annoyed by crying children in department and grocery stores but now are the parents of those children themselves). These are the types of stories young mothers tell one another while commiserating over the struggles of parenthood, but such stories have been told so often they’re clichés. Always There skipped the clichés, the trite, and the shallow in laying open what women in the trenches of early motherhood truly feel.
One woman who struggled with infertility wrote of hating pregnant women. Several women wrote of feeling inadequate and overwhelmed as mothers. Others spoke of the difficulties of missing sleep. I especially appreciated this statement from Rachel Swenson Balducci: “Rarely does any good come from a sleep-deprived mother analyzing the way things are” (p. 131). Plenty of truth in that! But every story also included hope and the quiet acknowledgment that God is with us every step of the way.
This anthology is produced for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and I expect it will comfort and uplift young moms. If I submit to the publishers again, I will keep in mind that they, like most anthology producers, want honesty and insight, the a-ha rather than the ho-hum.
1:50 -- Land of Enchantment 3:10 -- writing space 6:30 -- stranger in a strange land 7:10 -- topics I'm drawn to 9:20 -- my teaching years 11:30 -- Caroline by line 15:30 -- blogging with writing deadlines 16:45 -- meeting Mavis Betterly 17:10 -- graveyards and being nosey 19:10 -- learning disabilities in another era 20:30 -- the origins of May's name 23:00 -- when your children aren't ready for certain stories 27:20 -- wolf!
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Clearly we've all got a lot going ton right now, as is evident by the lack of posting, it's such a busy time of year with the holidays looming and lots to wrap up by the end of the year. Today, at my house, we take a step back to do some celebrating; it is little Tilda's first birthday! Over the weekend we had a few friends over for cake and singing. Today we'll go to lunch and open presents. What a wonderful year it's been.
Here are a few pictures from the weekend. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Yesterday was my little Tyler's first birthday. It felt as much of a celebration of us making it safely through one year of parenthood, as it did a celebration for him.
Although I started writing and illustrating children's books well before I had my own child, I can see why so many people are inspired by their own children to start creating. To be honest, part of me had felt (and feared) my creative life would be over once our baby arrived — due to time constraints as a mum — but now I feel I'm actually being refueled and inspired as I watch him grow and develop, as he takes each new step in his life journey, and exhibits his funny little quirks. And don't even get me started on the cuteness of his round head and chubby feet.
The journey as a parent is a fascinating one, full of highs and lows, laughs and frustrations and exhaustion. I created this video for Tyler, for us, and for family and friends near and far, to mark his first year. He has watched it about 20 times already as he dances along, and each time it ends, points to the computer and demands "a-deh!" ("again!").
I hope you enjoy meeting my little bunny rabbit...
This is my son at about 3 wks. old. I was 32 when I had him.
This is that same boy at 22 yrs. old with his dad.
When my son was born I bought him a journal, I even had his name engraved in gold leaf on the front of it. Inside, I wrote my thoughts and my love for him, even how we named him after my father and his father, so he would do good deeds and follow in their footprints of good works. I have sat and read this journal today. My eyes are full of tears at how time has flown and what a wonderful child he has always been. I remember how when he was little and still on a bottle, how he would take me by my hand, and walk to the couch then crawl up in my lap for his nap. This was done EVERY DAY!! Being an older mother nothing else seemed important enough to not stop everything I was doing, and sit down and cuddle with my little guy. Now, that little guy is about to go off into this big ole world and finish his college degree. Where did all the time go?
As a mother our jobs are to raise our children to be self-sufficient, and ready to go out into the world and be successful. Well, I did do that. Now I'm not sure I'm ready to let them go! My sweet Katie did running start here in WA, that is were she did high school and college at the same time. OMG she did so well. A week after she graduated she left for the Navy. She is so strong and determined, I wish I had half of her strength and brains. Now my son goes off for his junior year of college, he is doing a dual major of Physics-Engineering. I will only have one child left at home. My career as a stay at home mom is about to be finished. This has been one of the most rewarding careers of my life. Yes, I loved aviation, I actually wanted to be an airline pilot, but ya know, motherhood was and is far more exciting than I could ever have dreamed.
Here's the key, "When you know who you are and recognize the gifts you have been given, it is easy to make an impact on the world. Yet, when you can see potential in others and play a role in helping them grow..... it is exponentially rewarding.
Photo gleaned from E-how Article By Ma Wen Jie, eHow Contributor
The idea for this post, started with a Tweet. “Balancing work & life is like being on a teeter-totter. I’m the fulcrum w/ kids on one end & a biz, the other. I’ve got 2 hold ‘em both up.” The idea for the Tweet started with my first day back in the office after being out-of-town for several days. When I returned, both my family and my job needed me, and like every other time I’ve been away, I immediately started the balancing act I like to call, “My Life.”
A fulcrum, quite simply, balances two similar weights. If you are a working mother too, I know you can appreciate the analogy. At home, I have a sixteen-year-old daughter who is a junior in high school and has begun SAT prepping. She’s starting to think about where she wants to go to college. My daughter, is a smart kid, but is struggling in pre-calculus. Leading up to this point, absolutely everything in her life has gone her way. She’s good at everything she touches and could, quite frankly, skate through life on that notion alone. While she sometimes pushes me away, as teenagers who are getting ready to fly the coop often do; I know she needs me now, more than ever, to help her to figure out how to begin to orchestrate the rest of her life.
My son is equally gifted. He’s almost nine and spends hours on end making origami, drawing finite pictures, building rockets, making his own science experiments and looking-up answers that his parents aren’t smart enough to answer. He wants to be a rocket scientist and one day, go to work at NASA. Athletics only interests him slightly (which is a good thing, because he’s only slightly athletic) and my husband and I have to prepare to raise a true scholar.
Both of my children need me in very different ways, and every day, those needs change as sure as the shifting tides. But, I have a third child and one that I’m a single parent to, my company, TAG! The Creative Source. TAG! is my sixteen-year-old, thriving, teenaged marketing company that wants to grow, and I have to start to review strategies that will take my company through to its adulthood. At TAG! I’m truly on my own with no partner in place.
If you were to ask me, why I do it, why do I carry the weight of two separate worlds on my shoulders; I’m sure my answer would relate to some and probably differ from most. I work, not because I have to, but because I want to. I also desire personal security; I don’t want to have to worry about what to do if something ever happened to my husband. In addition, I want to raise my children to believe that they can be absolutely anything they want to be. My son may well want to walk on the moon someday, and I know we are raising him to do exactly that, if he wants to. My husband and I are blessed with two incredibly independent children who can now think on their own two feet are able to contribute to the world with or without us.
So, this is how teeter totters are made. Mothers like me, sometimes root themselves firmly into the ground, and allow massive weights to be placed on their shoulders while two separate forces rise and fall despite the needs of the other. Sometimes, we falter, but we try to never crumble, for if we do, we know the weight of two worlds will come colliding down upon us.
In her memoir (Hiroshima in the Morning) and personal essay (“Why I Left My Children“), authorRahna Reiko Rizzuto explained why she left her husband and two sons (ages three and five at the time) to become a part-time parent.
The video embedded above features a Today Show clip with Rizzuto and relationship expert Argie Allen. A recent profile of the author on Shine generated more than 16,000 comments, 360 re-tweets on Twitter, and 75,000 “likes” on Facebook.
What do you think? Here’s an excerpt from the article: “In any case, it’s evident that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to motherhood. But does striking out on your own or being a ‘Hiroshima Mom’ take free-range parenting to an extreme?”
For the past couple months when I have a few minutes I've been reading Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. The book is a journal of her first year with her son, Sam, and how it changed her life. It is dark and funny and brutally honest. When I've had two hours sleep and am covered in spit-up and pacing the apartment trying to get baby to sleep its helps to hear about motherhood from a writer's perspective- she spares no detail good or bad. This is part of an entry when her son was 7 months old:
"I wish I felt more like writing. I don't particularly feel like I have anything to say these days. I feel like the propulsion is missing. All that emptiness and desire and craving and feeling and need to achieve used to keep me at the typewriter. Now there's me and Sam, and it feels like there's not any steam in my pressure cooker. Whenever I teach, I tell my students about that line of Doctorow's, that when you're writing a novel, its like driving in a tulle fog: you can only see about as far as the headlights, but that's enough; it's as far as you have to see. And I tell them that this probably applies to real life, too. But right now I feel like I'm just sitting in the car with Sam, not really going anywhere, just getting to know each other, both of us looking out through the window at what passes by, and then at each other again."
This is how I feel today. Writing and painting feel very far away.
Many thanks to the Educator and Mom Judges at Creative Child Magazine that have honored us with the 2011 Book of the Year Award following the 2010 Book of the Year and the 2009 Seal of Excellence! We are honored to be among the wonderful group of corporations and products on your Toy Guide list!
My boys and I must have read Jane Yolen's SOFT HOUSE when it first came out in 2005. If not then, it was sometime soon after, because "soft house" feels like it's been a part of our family vocabulary forever.
This is our most recent soft house, one that was up for two days, a place we read CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR in the stifling heat and tried to keep the dog from knocking down walls.
I love the way stories and their words become a part of our conversations around here, things like "You can't have that wish, my Little Bear." Or we'll talk about the things that "all come out even," like Francis's lunch box meal (once she gave up on the bread and jam). When a family member does something impressive, we might quote Pepito's brothers and sisters.
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It's been a busy month with sadly not much writing or drawing going on. We are packing up for a move once again, this time to a little house in the country:
It's been a long time since I've lived in the woods, twenty years I guess? Since leaving home as a teenager I've lived in Richmond, Virginia, Providence, Boston, San Francisco, and most recently Northampton, Massachusetts. Lately though I've been feeling the strong urge to live in a remote, beautiful, quiet place. Maybe the work of taking care of a baby has become enough stimulation and I need more of a calm, relaxing environment. Or maybe I've just come full circle and want to raise Tilda in a place similar to where I grew up. Either way, I'm excited to see where the change of environment takes me personally and creatively.