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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Death, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 381
1. Dead or Alive? Discover the Most Amazing Animal Survivors

deadoralivecoverDead or Alive? by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Sarah Horne is a book packed with oohs and aahs, eurghs and arghs.

It is most definitely my kind of book.

If you’re looking for a book that will get your kids curious, disgusted, delighted, amazed, and astonished all in the space of a few pages, it will also be your kind of book.

An exploration of the greatest animal survivors, how they defy death and keep alive against the odds, Dead or Alive? shares stories of many extraordinary animals. From frogs who can freeze to catatonic opossums via zombie crabs and animals which have survived in space without spacesuits, this book is packed with unusual, engaging and remarkable facts.

The importance of playing dead, the huge range in animal life spans, the discovery of creatures which have come back from (apparent) extinction, and cloning are amongst other topics which feature. All are backed up by a really useful further reading list, web resources, glossary and even a fun quiz to take (or make your parents take). Exciting, engaging and the start for many more questions – what more could you want from a book?

Great illustrations?

Well you’ve got that too in Dead or Alive?.

Horne’s illustrations are funny and full of energy. Her cartoon style characters show a terrific range of emotions, surreptitiously encouraging readers to feel really involved with the bizarre and fascinating stories being told. Judicious use of animal photos in amongst the brightly coloured, zany illustrations add another richness to the visuals.

Click to see a larger image.

Click to see a larger image.

Dead or Alive? is an example of kids’ non-fiction par excellence.

Amazing information, brilliantly presented in a way which is bound to get young readers wanting to know more (and providing them with some starting points to do so). This is the sort of book kids will return to time and time again, to discover new facts as they dip in and out of the book, to re-live thrills when reading about particularly disgusting animal behaviour, to think about the very essence of what it means to be dead or alive.

This book has ‘lived’ by our dinner table for most of the summer. It’s been read and returned to many times, with lots of it being read out by the kids, desperate to share something they’ve found revolting or surprising. It has inspired all sorts of play and exploration, starting with a hunt for a bit of dead or alive action in our own back garden.

On one occasion we stumbled upon this Garden Spider and wasp:

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Maybe it was a bit gruesome watching the spider prepare its prey (the wasp was wriggling when we started watching), but it gave us plenty of opportunities to talk about wildlife, food chains, and even a little bit about how death is very much part of life.

Next we scoured under rocks and in neglected corners of the garden for any dead bugs we could find so that we could look at them under our microscope. We stored the spiders, woodlice and bees we found in small makeup containers (from our local chemist, but you can get them online too).

deadoralive5

This is a field microscope which works really well for us as we can look at 3D objects (ie not slivers on slides), and the kids can look through two eyepieces (which is easier than looking through just the one). We got ours from here and can highly recommend it. It’s super simple to use, and yet packs quite a punch; Dr Who monsters have nothing on close-up views of pincers and scales and eyes of everyday garden bugs!

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After examining our dead subjects we added them to our own Natural History Museum (here’s the post explaining how we started it) and this led to a conversation about a different Natural History Museum we had visited earlier this summer which was packed with specimen jars. Spooky and intriguing, mesmerising and slightly frightening, we then decided our museum needed specimen jars too.

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We made our “specimens” out of plasticine and wax, put them in jam jars with water stained brown with the swish of a tea bag, and then wrote labels explaining what strange creatures we’d found, when and where.

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The one specimen that was made from plant matter (shhh! It’s a secret – of course, this is really a slice of alien brain) we put in a jar of vinegar stained with a little bit of brown sugar.

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I think these could provide great prompts for storywriting, or as props come Halloween time… (if you want to create EDIBLE specimen jars for a spooky party, do take a look at this!).

specimenjars2

specimenjars1

Whilst making our specimen jars we listened to:

  • You Spin Me Round by Dead Or Alive
  • Dead Or Alive by Lonnie Donegan
  • Dead Chicken Joe by John Hadfield

  • Other ways to bring the pages of this book “to life” include:

  • Making clones. Choose your favourite animal cookie cutter and make a trayful of genetically identical biscuits you can munch on.
    Image: fdecomite

    Image: fdecomite

  • Visit a butchers and talk about the different animals (some) humans eat, and the different parts of the different animals. Can you identify the different parts? Why does meat from one animal look different to meat from another animal?
  • Find a museum or stately home to visit and hunt stuffed animals. Our experience is that kids are fascinated by the results of taxidermy. Mummified animals are also always a hit.
  • Were you fascinated by dead animals as a child? Are you kids curious when they see a dead animal?

    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Dead or Alive? from the publisher.

    3 Comments on Dead or Alive? Discover the Most Amazing Animal Survivors, last added: 9/8/2014
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    2. The year I walked through hell

    I know it's Labor Day, not New Year's, but I'm declaring it officially the start of a new year. This last year was the hardest year I have ever had in my life.  Good things happened too, I'm not saying that, but I would trade those good things to reverse some of the bad. A year ago today, I was involved in a horrific car accident, then moved home and took care of my mom while she was on hospice, and then ended up in the hospital.

    The accident

    We were driving to dinner. September 1, 2013. I had my hand on my husband's knee and we were smiling and talking about nothing.

    Past his shoulder suddenly: a dog. Appearing so out of nowhere it's like magic. A black lab running flat out toward us. Pink tongue streaming behind. Black leash streaming behind.

    It looks totally happy. Happy and clueless.

    No time to scream. No time to brake. No time to react.

    A second after we first see it, the dog and car meet just past the driver's side front bumper.

    And then we are screaming.

    We pull over in the gravel, still screaming. It has to be dead. It has to be.  Oh my god.  It seems like we are a long ways away, blocks and blocks, but later I see it's not even half a block.

    I get out. It's worse than I thought.

    Not one dog, but two.

    Two dogs lying on their backs in the street, paws in the air.

    I've never seen dogs lying like that. Cars are already stacking up. A young man kneels by one, a young woman by the other.  Screaming, crying, begging. What will these people think of us?  We killed their dogs.

    MauroAs I get closer, I can see they are street kids. The girl with red-gold dreads and pants made of patches. The guy with red-gold hair and a black T-shirt. (I later found his picture online.) They carry their dogs to the side of the road. The guy is begging. "Aldo! Aldo!" The black lab is moving a little. And then it dies.

    The little dog is still alive and whining.

    I try to look up Dove Lewis, the emergency animal hospital, on my phone. I keep typing the wrong letters, and the harder I try the worse I get. The lady who answers says to bring the dogs in. I tell my husband to get the Subaru.

    These two kids are wailing. Stumbling from one dog to the other, shaking, weeping so hard that snot runs down their faces.

    The guy lifts the lab into the back - even though we all know it must be dead - and then climbs in beside it.  The girl sits in the back with the little dog and I pick up their two huge packs (they were setting down their packs when they lost control of the dogs) and bag of groceries and somehow manage to shove them all in the car.

    And then we drive. Too fast. I keep telling my husband to be careful, that the guy is just loose back there.

    Otherwise, the car is mostly quiet. The guy is curled over the dog, weeping soundlessly. The girl is trying to reassure the little black and white dog, named Karate Kid. Neither of these two are that much older than our daughter.  But somehow they've gone from being someone's precious babies to two kids living on the street with their dogs.

    At the vet hospital, a tech in blue scrubs comes out to the parking lot, puts her hand to the lab's neck and shakes her head.  She's a tall girl, broad-shouldered, and she manages to carry his body in by herself. Three hours later, we are looking at X-rays of the smaller dog. (It turned out that another car actually hit him.) The ball on one hip joint has been turned into paste.  Everything has been pushed to one side.

    And after they say goodbye to both dogs, both kids stagger back out into the waiting room. Eyes nearly swollen shut with weeping. We were strangers thrown together, sharing a nightmare.

    2011-07-22 12.23.02 Becoming an orphan
    Eleven days later, I drove down to my home town
    on a few hours sleep. I had gotten back from a business trip to North Carolina and New York City the night before. My mom had declared that September 12 was when she was going on hospice. She had congestive heart failure and interstitial lung disease and had been put on oxygen a few months before.

    2013-10-12 14.50.34I think she had hoped that the magic of going on hospice would cause her to die right away. But then the hospice nurse said she might live for months. My mom and I exchanged horrified glances while the nurse prattled on, oblivious. It took her a long time to figure out that Mom wanted to die and soon.

    For years, my mom has been dying on the installment plan.  She was ready to die. There was nothing unsettled, nothing unsaid. She thought it was funny when, after she had decided she would go on hospice, her fortune said, "You are soon going to change your present line of work." She firmly believed in God and and afterlife, although she had no preconceived ideas about what it would be like.
    2013-09-21 14.31.36

    The nurse only took her off a couple of her meds.  On her own, Mom decided to go off the others.  She stopped her oxygen. Then she stopped eating.  Then she - sort of - stopped drinking.

    It was a very strange three weeks.  Good conversations. Watching a lot of old movies and documentaries, as well as the entire first season of Homeland and the Forsyte Saga. Being bored. Wondering when/ hoping/being afraid she would die. Weeping in the laundry.


    I was getting an award October 5.  I was going to cancel. Mom told me not to, and then died quietly October 1, a few hours after the hospice nurse said she would live for at least a week, maybe longer. Of course, I was flat out useless at the awards. I basically stood at the podium and wept. It got so bad that one of presenters gave me her already used Kleenex.

    2013-09-23 15.13.35room and biting my hand so she wouldn't hear me. Being scared. Laughing. Telling her to stop apologizing for my being there. Trying to write a little. Eating my way through so much junk food.  The day the wild turkeys came - and my mom's favorite memory involved a drive in the country and a flock of wild turkeys. 2013-09-21 07.43.42

    When you hear hoofbeats, don't look for zebras
    Doctors have a saying.  "When you hear hoofbeats, don't look for zebras." In other words, it's probably a cold, not a rare fatal virus.

    Or in my case, just before Christmas when my leg turned red and started swelling up, it was probably cellulitis.  And when it didn't respond to three different antibiotics, they decided it was MRSA cellulitis, and I ended up in the hospital for three days. In case I was contagious and  might pose a danger to people who were already physically sick, they put me on the psych unit. Let's just say, that was interesting. T
    hen I had a rare reaction to IV Vancomycin called hand-foot syndrome. First my hands and feet felt like they were on fire. Then eventually all the skin peeled off. Oh, and somewhere in there, the doctor thought I had a blood clot in my heart that was throwing off bits.  It was a month or so of suck.

    2013-12-24 12.15.01
    2013-12-28 11.30.16 2014-01-08 12.21.57

    I did a LOT of lying on my back, staring at white acoustical ceilings, and crying.  And wondering whether I would lose my leg or die. I actually came out okay (except a scar from a biopsy).  It turns out that an errant kung fu shin clash probably led to something called traumatic panniculitis (dermatologist's theory) or a crush injury (orthopedic doc's theory).  Unfortunately, even though everyone eventually agreed I never had cellulitis, they couldn't agree on what I did have, so I coudln't be featured in the NY Times' Think Like a Doctor series. I couldn't even persuade the hospital to not charge me my copay, since they never tested to see if I had an infection.

    Write or die
    I like that program, Write or Die, for forcing you to write, forcing you to create instead of criticize or dither.

    This past year was write or die for me. I turned in a book February 19th. February 20th I started a new book and turned that in June 1, despite doing school visits and events in St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago and Houston.  Both editors said the books were the best I had ever written. And I sold a new book over Memorial Day.  I'll finish it in November.
    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.58.01 PM

    So that's it. The highlights of my year. I hope to have a much quieter one this year.

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    3. A thought on poets, death, and Clive James. And heroism.

    By Andrew Taylor


    Whatever else we think of poets, we don’t tend to see them as heroes.

    Gold fountain pen on hand written letterThere are exceptions, of course – Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon famously won the Military Cross, and some three hundred years earlier, Sir Philip Sidney was praised for his dash and gallantry at the Battle of Zutphen; then there’s Keith Douglas from World War II, one of the few deserters ever to abandon his post to get into a battle, who was killed shortly after the D-Day invasion.

    It’s not a long list, and those on it performed their acts of heroism in, so to speak, their time off. They were heroes who happened to be poets as well. Poetry, by and large, is a solitary craft: it’s not easy to perform acts of derring-do when you’re hunched on your own over a desk. The greatest battle most poets fight is the unequal struggle against a blank sheet of paper.

    But there’s another sort of heroism that poets can achieve, in honour of their talent and their craft – the courage to stare death in the face, and to keep on writing, honestly and truthfully.

    Vernon Scannell managed it. After months of illness, shuffling from room to room and from oxygen cylinder to oxygen cylinder, he gave up and took to his bed — often, in the sick and ailing, a sure sign that death is approaching. Instead, he started writing again, and produced Last Post, maybe the best volume of his life:

    “There’s something valedictory in the way
    My books gaze down on me from where they stand
    In disciplined disorder and display
    The same goodwill that wellwishers on land
    Convey to troops who sail away to where
    Great danger waits …”

    A couple of months later, he was dead.

    And now there’s Clive James. Poems like Sentenced to Life and Holding Court chart James’s progress towards what he calls “dropping off the twig” with clear-eyed courage. There’s sadness and regret, but not a shred of self-pity. Approaching death, he seems to say, brings its compensations:

    “Once, I would not have noticed; nor have known
    
The name for Japanese anemones,

    So pale, so frail. But now I catch the tone
    Of leaves. No birds can touch down in the trees

    Without my seeing them. I count the bees.”

    The Daily Mirror, never far from the front of the pack in the race to find a crass and clumsy phrase, quotes James (inaccurately, as far as I can see) as saying that he has “lost his battle with cancer”. Not so.

    We all, as one of Shakespeare’s less well known characters points out, owe God a death, and getting better from cancer can only ever put off the final reckoning. But facing it down, as Scannell did and as James is doing – sending back poems like dispatches from the last frontier any of us will ever cross – is the only battle we can win. Catching the tone of leaves as the world closes in is what a real poet does, and if it’s not heroism, then I don’t know what is.

    This article originally appeared on andrewtaylor.uk.net.

    Andrew Taylor is the author of ten books, including Walking Wounded: The Life and Poetry of Vernon Scanell, biographies of the Arabian traveller Charles Doughty and the 16th Century cartographer Gerard Mercator, as well as books on language, literature, poetry and, history. He studied English Literature at Oxford University and worked as a Fleet Street and BBC television journalist in London and the Middle East before returning to Britain in the 1990s to concentrate on his writing career.

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    Image credit: Selective focus on gold pen over hand written letter. Focus on tip of pen nib. © AmbientIdeas via iStockphoto.

    The post A thought on poets, death, and Clive James. And heroism. appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on A thought on poets, death, and Clive James. And heroism. as of 6/16/2014 12:49:00 PM
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    4. Cancer takes another Portland writer

    Unknown This is how I'll always think of Jay Lake.  It's how he looked when I first met him, 10 or 12 years ago.  He died of colon cancer yesterday.  He fought so hard, up to and including getting gene sequencing.
    me and Lisa Lisa Madigan (Lisa Wolfson) died from pancreatic cancer in February 2011, just 8 weeks after she was diagnosed.  She had had breast cancer 20 years earlier, and accepted more than most of us that life does not last forever.
    Bridget and AprilAt 33,  Bridget Zinn was young enough to be my kid.  She died in May 2011, again from colon cancer. (Don't tell let anyone tell if you if there is blood in your stool that you are too young to have colon cancer.)  Her 2013 book, Poison, was just named a Oregon Spirt Honor book, as was The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.  

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    5. Comic: Death and the Writer

    0 Comments on Comic: Death and the Writer as of 5/14/2014 4:52:00 PM
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    6. Saying goodbye

    2014-04-28 11.37.06What a long strange, day. I started with a radio interview, and even with a GPS I got lost trying to find the studio.

    Next I went to see my mom's house.  From the outside it looked the same, but from the inside - and these people were very gracious to let me come in when they had only moved in the day before - there was nothing that reminded me of her.  Even the beds were in the "wrong" positions.
    2014-04-28 11.13.12
    Next I went to the neighborhood cemetery she always loved - we all did.  The bench is the one we sat one more times than I can count.  She would always leave seed for the blue jays and we would watch them cautiously wait for us to leave before they would eat it.

    The grave stone fo2014-04-28 11.26.00

    file:///Users/aprilhenry/Dropbox/Camera%20Uploads/2014-04-28%2011.33.22.jpg
    r Silas Hawk has been pushed over, but I have long thought of giving that name to a character.

    Next I went to Graveyard #2 and laid a poppy on the grave of my old friend Penny, who died of a brain tumor when we were in first grade.

    2014-04-28 13.04.20-2Then I met the Flower Girls for lunch. They had all worked with Mom at one flower shop or another. They said it was good to have a foursome again. Each one missed different things about her - her phone calls or her emails. They not only told stories about her but they acted out her part. In them, I could see her again. Hopefully in me they could see her, too.

    After that, it was a trek to the other side of town to see where my mom's and dad's ashes were interred.  I was running late and by the time I finally found it, all I could do was stand there and cry on this very blank looking stretch of grass. I choked out "You were good parents."

    Then I had to run back to my car in time to make drive to another town to do a newspaper interview.  The photographer took a million pictures.  Hopefully he used the filter that makes you look younger and not tear-stained or sleep-deprived.
    .
    2014-04-28 14.38.57

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    7. Haven't I seen you someplace before? More dueling skulls

    Unknown-2images-1images

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    8. Apparition, by Gail Gallant | Book Review

    This YA paranormal mystery/romance is a page-turner all the way. Told in the present tense, the action always feels immediate. The author captures Amelia’s grief over her mother, self-doubt over her paranormal abilities, and conflicting pulls of love for both the dead Matthew and the living Kip.

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    9. Dreaming of Someone’s Death: What Can Be Done?

    Dream of Someone Dy8ing

    The Knight’s Death by Antonio de Pereda

    Having recorded my dreams for over 35 years, I can refer to a number of dreams that made me aware beforehand someone was going to die. Recently, I had another one of those dreams and they are unsettling—no matter how long or well you have worked with dreams. It is a fairly common phenomenon so I have decided to share some reflections on my experience:

    The Dream Could be Symbolic

    Take heart in that not every dream about someone dying means that person is going to die in the near future. It may be suggesting your relationship with that person is undergoing a change and will not remain the same. It may also mean that a part of you, which that person symbolizes, is dying. For example, you dream about your young 20-something neighbor dying might mean your relationship with that person is going through a death and rebirth or that the 20-something in you is dying as you see the first gray hairs in the mirror. Your gut instinct will tell you if your dream means any of these two things.

    When the Dream is Prophetic of a Real Death

    However, some dreams are literal, and one such dream could really mean the 20-something will die. Since every dream is a gift even when we would rather not get the information contained in these letters from the Unconscious; remember that a dream about someone dying was given for the reason such as to help you to prepare for the event or better appreciate the person while he or she is still alive. For example, I dreamed of my father’s and mother’s deaths long before these events happened. I even saw in a dream how my mother would die—in the arms of my father. The sadness in my heart told me these dreams where prophetic. Here is how I responded to the dreams:

    • I made it a point to visit my parents and spend quality time with them.
    • I tried to do little and big things that meant something to them.
    • I told them I loved them and communicated other important things I needed to say.

    When they did pass, I felt no regrets and the inner critic saying, “You should have done…” As a result my grief was clean, viewing it as a privilege to mourn and honor these two amazing people who brought me into the world.

    So when I had the dream of a close friend dying, and felt in my gut that this dream indicated she might really die at some point in the future, I now focus on spending quality time with this person, doing fun things we like to do. I try to show appreciation for what she does for me. I have not told her about my dream because I think it would be pointless. Since in my dream she died of natural causes and not from a plane or car accident, there is nothing I can do to prevent her possible death other than offer the usual friend’s advice (when appropriate) about eating well, exercising and getting a good night’s rest.

    In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, teen detective Ashlynn has learned to work with dreams about someone dying. In this case, she is able to see the dream as a messenger to help her police father solve a crime.


    0 Comments on Dreaming of Someone’s Death: What Can Be Done? as of 3/20/2014 6:01:00 PM
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    10. Homicide on the street I walk nearly every day

    Even a justified shooting by a police officer is classified as a homicide. And that's what took place Thursday right outside my kung fu school, on a stretch of sidewalk I walk on six days a week.

    Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 5.15.23 PMThis guy was wanted for several bank robberies. What's more disturbing is that a few months ago he grabbed a teenager working at Palm Beach Tan, pushed her into his minivan and assaulted her. He then took off with her in the van. She escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle. She survived with serious injuries.

    Recently, girls who attend the nearby middle and high school had reported a "creepy guy in a van" following them. Three cops, including one who is assigned to the high school, went looking for him. They found his van, but he didn't match the description and said he was going to the library. After he left, they noticed the front and rear plates of the van didn't match.  The high school resource officer found the guy and asked him to put his hands up.  Instead, he reached for a gun. He was shot in the head and the heart and died. The cop was wounded in the hand.

    This all happened before the kung fu class I would normally attend.  lass was cancelled last night, but I was actually out with Mutlnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue as they heard from a death investigator. She was a fill in because another medical examiner was doing an autopsy on the dead guy. Circles within circles.

    Creey guy in vanVery strange and unsettling all the way around. Today two reporters tried to interrupt our kung fu class, but were turned away. I could have parked in the spot where I think he died but chose to park on the other side of the street. You can see my car on the right behind the reporter, on the other side of the street.

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    11. Chicken Lips

    Frame one from The Cuckoo Memorandum. Another from Turning Japanese.
    Adobe Ideas on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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    12. The Flagellation of St.Fractalius

    I ate some dodgy prawns and had a vision of St.Fractalius.
    Click to enlarge.

    0 Comments on The Flagellation of St.Fractalius as of 3/5/2014 4:18:00 PM
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    13. Your Friend is Grieving. What Should You Say? How Do You Comfort Them?

    So many of us are grieving the death of someone close to us.

    Grief comes in waves, receding, then roaring back to engulf us and batter us till we feel the tide might take us out and we will never return. It's not wrong to grieve. When recounting the scene of Jesus approaching the burial site of his good friend Lazarus, John tells us simply, "Jesus wept" (11:35). Jesus wept. It's the shortest verse in the Bible and it needs no explanation. I'm thinking today of my family and the family of John Wilbanks. I'm thinking of Rodney Wilbanks and his sister and brothers. I'm thinking of my daughter, Brooke Haworth, for whom the loss has hit hard. My mom, whose grief is a weight pressing down on her.

    I am thinking of my close friend, Sima Taylor, her wonderful brother, Mohammad Mojdehi, whom she was so close to. I'm thinking of her daughter and her husband, Peter.

    I am thinking of my own brother who died too early, and whose death brings daily grief to me.

    I am thinking of Shannon Hitchcock and all the friends of Cynthia Chapman Willis, who recently succumbed to lung cancer.

    God knows your grief and he cares about you.

    This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you (2 Kings 20:5).

    You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them (David, writing in anguish. Psalm 56:8, Contemporary English Version).

    And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain (Revelation 21:4).

    Some of our friends who didn't know the one we grieve don't know how to handle the new, sorrowful version of us. If you are one of our friends, here is what you should say: "I'm sorry." or "I'm so very sorry." or "I'm sorry and I am thinking and praying for you." You can even say, "I don't know what to say."

    Send a card to your friend's home. Write some version of the words above. Send flowers to the funeral home, if you are moved to do so. If not, that's okay, but the very least you can do is send a card. Your friend is in a very hard place right now, and though a card seems an impossibly frail comfort, it actually lends a great deal of comfort.

    If you live near your friend, bring a meal or two over. Make cookies or banana bread or muffins--breakfast and easy snack items are generally overlooked but would be welcomed by the family.

    If you can alleviate your friend of certain chores, do so. Can you pick up the kids? Take them to practice? Mow the lawn? Babysit while your friend conducts death errands?

    Kids are in pain, too. Offer comfort to them as well.

    Hug your friend.

    If you have sweet or funny anecdotes about the person they're grieving, share those stories. They mean so much. Hand write the story even if you've told them, and send it to them in the mail. They will keep it forever.

    Let your friend talk about that person when they need to. If they suddenly need a topic change, allow it. Don't be hurt. Grief works in swells; your friend needs to talk but also to be free to escape the swell. Let them.

    Acknowledging your friend's pain tells them that you care about them; their pain is valid; you care that they are in pain; the person they are grieving for was valuable. I encourage you to not be afraid of your friend who is hurting. If you don't know what to say or do, I hope you find the words above helpful. Your friend is in an extremely vulnerable place right now. Rise above your discomfort and help them; however, a few things can actually hurt your friend, so be wise, choose your words and actions carefully:

    Do not avoid your friend. Their sorrow makes you uncomfortable; your avoidance makes them feel that you do not care about them; you don't think their grief is important; you don't recognize the value of the person they grieve.

    Do not offer platitudes. "It was God's timing," "You can still talk to him; he's watching you from heaven!" "He's in a better place now." These are throwaway lines. They have no power and they do not help.

    Do not interrogate your friend on the details of the death. If your friend doesn't mention the cause of death, you don't need that information. When or if your friend wants to share that with you they will.

    Do not mention and then launch into your own grief story. Your friend is suffering NOW. Be selfless and pay attention to their grief. This is not the time for you to claim your crown of grief. This is your friend's time. Let them have it.

     I hope anyone grieving has found some words of comfort in this post. And if you are a friend of someone grieving, I really do hope you've found this post helpful. Many people don't know what to do when their friend suffers a loss; the best thing you can do is to be there in simple, quiet ways.

    0 Comments on Your Friend is Grieving. What Should You Say? How Do You Comfort Them? as of 3/4/2014 2:00:00 PM
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    14. Fusenews: I’m going back to Indiana! Indiana here I come!

    Those of you familiar with the Jackson 5 song I’ve referenced in my title are probably now throwing virtual rotten fruit in my general direction.  Still, I can’t say it isn’t accurate.  This weekend I am pleased to be a speaker at the SCBWI Indiana conference in Zionsville, IN.  I haven’t been back in Indiana since my last college reunion in 2010.  It’ll be good for me to fill the lungs with some pure uncut Midwestern air once more.  A gal need to fill up before heading back into the NYC fray.  While you read this I may be zooming up into the clouds above, so enjoy some ephemera in my absence.

    • ReadingNet 300x174 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!Sure.  On the one hand Spain’s reading net, highlighted by Boing Boing this week, looks AMAZING.  But while it may work well for Spanish children, you just know that our kids would be leaping and jumping all over that thing within seconds.  Plus, there appears to be a gigantic hole in it that’s just asking for trouble.  Or maybe that’s how you get in.  That would make sense.
    • Views From the Tesseract has reached its 100th post and as a result Stephanie came up with What Stories Have Taught Me in 100 Small Lessons.  It’s nice without being sentimental.  Plus, if you’re in the market for good quotes from children’s books, this here’s the place to go for your one stop shopping!
    • My l’il sis is at it again.  This time she came up with a way to create comic book shoes.  I cannot help but think that this might be possible with old Advanced Readers Copies.  Or YA craft programs.  Yeah.  I think you can tell that the next time I go to the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet I’m recruiting Kate to help me with my outfit.  She made one shoe superheroes and one supervillains.

    SupervillainShoe Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

    For the record, she also did a post on how to make a hollow book.  If you read it, just remember that the world is FULL of extra Harry Potter 7s.  One or two less isn’t gonna hurt anything.

    • And while we’re feeling crafty, Delightful Children’s Books has come up with such a good idea: a Bookish Advent Calendar.  Genius!  I may have to steal this idea myself.  If I do, though, I’d better get cracking.  Start placing holds now.  December is practically nigh!
    • On the more serious side of things, Marjorie Ingall writes great posts no matter where she is, but it’s her titles that consistently blow me away.  At the blog Modern Loss (a site for “navigating your life after a death”) Marjorie wrote 5 Kids Books That Go There: The best of the ‘talking to kids about death’ genre (drumroll, please).  It’s a strong five.  I’m trying to think what I might add.  This year’s Missing Mommy by Rebecca Cobb, maybe.  That book ripped my heart from my chest and danced a tarantella on the remains.
    • *sigh*  Well, if nothing else, this clarifies for me who exactly “McKenna” is and why folks keep asking me to buy her books.  And Saige, for that matter.  Alexandra Petri writes a rather amusing piece on what has happened to American Girl.

    WhatFoxSay 232x300 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!I’m far less upset about the fact that they’re turning What Does the Fox Say? into a picture book.  For one thing, I’m weirdly thrilled that the Norwegian YouTube hit sensation has a Norwegian illustrator.  And one that clearly has a sense of humor.  Hey!  Whatever it takes to get some new names from overseas into the American market.  At the very least, I want to see it (though I’m fairly certain it is NOT the first picture book to be based on a YouTube sensation).  Thanks to Playing By the Book and Matt for the info.

    • Daily Image:

    Today, I show something I may have shown before.  It’s lithographs of famous books where the text from the story makes up the image itself.  Here are some examples:

    A Christmas Carol

    ChristmasCarol 500x324 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

    Alice in Wonderland

    Wonderland 500x324 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

    A Little Princess

    LittlePrincess 500x324 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

    Thanks to Marci for the link!

     

    printfriendly Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!email Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!twitter Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!facebook Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!google plus Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!tumblr Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!share save 171 16 Fusenews: Im going back to Indiana!  Indiana here I come!

    11 Comments on Fusenews: I’m going back to Indiana! Indiana here I come!, last added: 11/18/2013
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    15. The Book Review Club - Magic Marks the Spot

    The Very Nearly Honorable
    League of Pirates
    Book 1: Magic Marks the Spot
    by Caroline Carlson
    Middle Grade

    To say I have been waiting for this book's release like a dog waiting for a mouthwatering steak is, well, an understatement. Caroline and I were fellow classmates at Vermont College. Go Extraordinary League of Cheese Sandwiches!

    I had the awesome pleasure of getting to hear an excerpt of Magic Marks the Spot during our last residency. To say the deck was stacked in favor of my liking this book is to state the obvious. But don't let my bias sway you (much :-) My girls were there too, and they were literally lining up to buy the not-yet-sold ms before the reading was over.

    This is one of those books you dream about coming along. The one you'd dearly love to write and happily disappear in when you found someone else has.

    Basic plot: Hilary wants to be a pirate. Her father, the admiral, is for obvious reasons grandly opposed. Her mother, a member of high society, is swooningly opposed. Hilary's magical gargoyle, and sidekick, is swashbuckingly not. The two escape boarding school to try out their piratical-ness on the high seas and find adventure galore.

    Got your google browser open to download a copy?

    Carlson keeps the reader magically entertained while at the same choosing Pirates of the Caribbean humor over blood and gore, which, for young readers, is such a godsend. There is no persisting nightmares in which dementors chase said child, or take up residence in her closet (which happened many many nights to my youngest after we read one of the Harry Potter books). Instead, there is laughter and merriment and general tomfoolery all around. 

    From a writer's perspective, admittedly, the lack of gore and ever present possibility of sudden death  gentles the emotional ride for readers. At the same time, a young reader isn't emotionally put through the ringer either.

    If for no other reason than authorly curiosity, read the story and ask yourself, what does this mean to have a plot that doesn't hinge on pain of death, but rather, uses humor to skirt the darkness that could overwhelm? It's definitely had me thinking for a long long while.

    While I sit in my ivory tower and mull, check out Barry Summy's website for an autumnal gourd o' reading plenty!

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    16. review#405 – Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting for You! By Laurie B. Arnold

    . Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting for You! By Laurie B. Arnold Prospecta Press 5 Stars . Back Cover When Madison McGee is orphaned and forced to live with her wacky grandmother in boring Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, she’s pretty sure nothing will ever be right again. Her grandmother is addicted to TV shopping …

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    17. Murphy's Wake

    It was the last time I would go to Finn, I swore to myself as I searched for him in the Elmdale Tavern. He was around one of the regular spots. I needed to see him fast. At the Carleton Tavern I found Finn with a quart and money coming out of every pocket. I sat down with him, ordered a pint. It was still early in the day. I hit Finn up for fifty bucks to pay Murphy. Finn charged a fee for even handing you the loan. It cost sixty to borrow fifty for a week, but it would be worth it. Finn copied phone numbers and odds as he readied himself for a busy day ahead. Sunday, of course, was his big day because of the NFL betting. This was Saturday when college football and pro baseball took most gamblers’ attention. I finished my pint, said goodbye to Finn, caught Murphy at the Prescott Tavern, gave him a lift to Mary’s. Murphy and Mary had been engaged for twenty years. He still visited her little flower shop every morning. We stopped so he could pick a bouquet of flowers for her in a city park. Murphy didn’t believe in paying for flowers. When they were in season, he helped himself. It was a bone of contention between them. Murphy believed that flowers were given to man by the good Lord, shouldn’t be bought and sold. Mary believed that people gladly paid for the little ray of sunshine they purchased with a nice bouquet of flowers. Murphy had a friend named Calhoun in Montreal who could, for a price, buy a block of tickets in a provincial lottery which would produce winners. All I had to do was give fifty dollars to Murphy. I didn’t follow the whole scam back to the actual score, but I questioned Murphy enough to know that it felt like a winner. He assured me that fifty dollars would produce five thousand for me. Added to some others and passed through the right hands, it would yield twice as much, for him. This guy, Calhoun, had an in, was sharing the wealth. Murphy did it for me out of the kindness of his heart and good business sense. He didn’t have to include me, but he saw me as a good luck charm. I dropped Murphy off, went home to a weekend of sports on t.v. and too much beer. It didn’t cheer me up, to hear, on Monday morning, that Murphy had died on the weekend from a heart attack. I drove to Mary’s which was above her flower shop. It isn’t decent and polite to speak ill of the deceased, but getting lottery tickets was another matter. He always wore the same suit, his best, for giving and taking payments, more taking than giving, it always seemed with Murphy as he did his weekend rounds, careful not to exceed his booze limit. The lottery tickets had to be in his suit. Mary was in her shop with a short, dark, Scottish lawyer named Jack Scullion. She introduced us without mentioning if the man even knew Murphy. I listened with polite sadness, shook my head regretfully. Mary described Murphy’s last moments. It seemed that he died in her arms. Just after they had named a date. They had been engaged now for twenty years, so they were celebrating the twentieth year by marriage. She was as good as his wife anyway, Mary said. I agreed and inquired about Murphy’s “effects” as diplomatically as possible. Perhaps it was a little too vaguely phrased. Mary didn’t respond. Jack Scullion walked around the shop like he was looking for something suspicious. He kept an ear cocked in our direction though. He was trying to figure out who I was, where I fit in. Margaret, Murphy’s sister, appeared with her husband, Ralph, a used car lot owner. It was safe to say that the vultures were circling. I managed to find out that Murphy would be dressed in his best suit tomorrow at Ralph’s showroom. They were having the wake there. Ralph told me, in confidence, that it was his idea. It seemed a bit greedy for Ralph to take advantage of the crowd of potential customers which would gather to send Murphy off, but I wasn’t one to judge. There didn’t seem to be much of a chance of getting at Murphy’s suit pockets until the next day so I drove home and waited. I joined the line of people entering Ralph’s showroom. The place had a western theme, the staff were dressed as cowboys and cowgirls. They wore black armbands while Ralph himself was resplendent in a black western suit with tie and boots to match. He had probably considered wearing his black, ten gallon Stetson, but decided against it in case of misinterpretation by the mourners. There was a good mixture at Murphy’s wake. A crowd of children were the offspring of Murphy’s family. The older ones were Murphy’s cousins, uncles and aunts. When Murphy had mentioned his family at poker games or at the end of late night pub crawls, he gave the impression that he was the black sheep. His own opinion was that the family disliked him because they were jealous of his money and freedom. The people grew noisier as the booze flowed freely. Their presence was welcome. I needed as much attention diverted as possible while I sought the tickets. Most of the sniffling and crying came from Mary and Margaret. As I shuffled along toward them in the line, I could hear Margaret declaring that Murphy looked like himself. Mary’s voice rose over Margaret’s, in grief stricken tones, to tell someone that her brother had called to extend his condolences. He added that it was nice to think about old Murphy finally laying quiet with his big yap shut. People in the line who heard it at first looked puzzled, then made clucking noises. They agreed that it was a down to earth, honest assessment of the deceased, rest his soul. I eyed the coffin, snuck a peek at Murphy within. He did look like himself, I will say that. The dark, pinstriped suit, Murphy’s best, with the vest done up, decorated his body. His face was pinker than normal, but I only saw him in bars or restaurants so maybe this was what he really looked like. He had his hands folded peacefully over his pot belly and, all in all, looked like he had just exhaled and forgotten to inhale. There was no doubt about it, the life had gone out of Murphy. I could smell the gin on Margaret when she hugged me and the rye on Mary’s breath as she looked at me with red rimmed eyes and running mascara I managed to nod sadly and escape her while giving Murphy another quick, visual once over. Jack Scullion hovered in the background, watching everyone, especially me. There was plenty of drink and some sandwiches which the ladies had made. I helped myself to the food, found the coffee. It would take a clear head, whatever I did. Ralph was giving a sales pitch to a couple beside a beat up old clunker which looked like it had recently been retired from delivering pizza. He made the mistake of leaning a little too hard on the front bumper when he pushed it to demonstrate the shocks. The bumper fell off, barely missing his cowboy boots. Ralph never lost a beat. He made a note to see the mechanic about “bodywork problems”, kicked the offending bumper under the car. The pile of sawdust beneath it was turning black, absorbing oil. Jack Scullion approached me with a beer in one hand and a smoke in the other. He had jet black hair, scars on his nose and around his eyes. He bore all the signs of a fighter feeling no pain. He stood spread legged in front of me and asked if I was in Murphy’s will. When I told him I didn’t think so, he seemed to relax. As much as a short, Glaswegian lawyer can relax. His shifty eyes wondered how I could benefit from Murphy’s death. He turned and stood by my side with a wide stance. He gestured alternately with the beer and the smoke while he surveyed the room. “Ach, it’s a right shower here, just noo, Jimmy” I nodded, but I didn’t really know what he meant. He didn’t notice, went on with his monologue, sometimes addressing the room, sometimes confiding to me. “Aye, they’re aw here noo. The vultures’re here. Look at em circlin, look at yersels, ach. See em? They’re after his money. The poor old boy isn’t even cauld yet. See em? They’re a right shower a bastards” No doubt, like most of his race, the Scottish lawyer was a little crazy and extremely violent. Rather than point out that he, too, was in attendance for strictly financial reasons, I managed to escape back to Margaret and Mary. I was getting desperate. Mary and Margaret had been absorbing the alcohol at a rapid rate. They had run out of tears. Their mutual hostility emerged with each drink. I addressed them with an eye on the coffin. “Well, ladies, it must be tense waiting for the will to be read. To see who gets what of Murphy’s. I understand that Mary here was just about to tie the knot with poor Murphy” Margaret frowned and produced many heretofore unseen lines in her face. “Hah” She blurted out with a laugh. “Tie the knot. He’s been engaged to her for twenty years” Mary reacted with bug eyed indignation. Her truthfulness about Murphy’s last moments was being questioned. “We were like man and wife. He didn’t spend time with his other family” she said before she found another glass of rye. Ralph had finished his pitch, but had no takers. He threw regretful glances at the bumper as he approached us, beer in hand. “Anyone got a few words to say?” he asked with a kindly smile. “Ha. Family’s family. It’s his blood in my veins” Margaret asserted. Jack Scullion had joined us. He had a fresh beer, stood spread legged with shoulders back. It was as though he was bracing himself on a heaving deck. “The will overrides everything” said Mary pugnaciously in Margaret’s direction. This hostility caught Jack’s attention, it was right up his alley. He looked around for an opponent, saw Ralph about to speak. I sidled toward the casket as Ralph began what he thought was sort of a eulogy for Murphy, but which he never finished. He never really got it started. Mary took offence at the look which Margaret gave her, hit the dead man’s sister with her purse. Jack saw his opportunity, gave Ralph a Glaswegian handshake which could be heard all over the showroom. There was evidence of Jack’s nutting ability the next day in the taverns; quite a few black eyes and bandaids sported by the mourners who clashed with him He made up for his lack of height by jumping straight at the other man’s face, applying the head, around the hairline, into whatever features were available. With Ralph sitting in a pool of the blood which was spouting from his nose, the women shrieking as they rolled around in front of him, I made it to the casket. Jack was taking on all comers. He seemed to be enjoying himself. I searched Murphy’s vest and trouser pockets with one hand, the other still holding my coffee cup. I was about to try his jacket when the lights went out. It wasn’t dark, but it turned everything in the showroom shadowy. The struggling figures in the brawl were being joined by others, the children shooed to the office. Maybe it was one of them who was responsible for the half light. I checked one side of Murphy’s jacket pockets and found nothing. The noise of fighting and breaking glass became louder. I tried the other pocket, felt cardboard. I pulled the lottery tickets out of Murphy’s pocket, squinted at them. They were the right ones. I was saying a prayer of thanks to my dead chum and the good Lord when I dropped the tickets. They slid down on the other side of Murphy. I panicked for a moment. Placing my cup between Murphy’s folded hands, I used one of my hands to shift his weight, the other to feel for the tickets. I grasped them just as a bottle crashed against the casket and a sliding body took my feet out from under me. Ralph had provided a fold out table from the lunch room upon which to place Murphy’s casket. As my weight shifted, the casket slid off the table. Murphy sat up with my coffee cup in his hands. Crawling toward the door, tickets in my hand, I glanced back. Murphy’s sudden rise from the prone to the sitting position, had caused a pause in the fighting. I heard various opinions of this phenomenon. “It’s a sign” The words “miracle” and “resurrection”were mentioned several times.. When I joined Finn, the next day, at the Carleton Tavern and paid him back, cheerfully, he gave me a curious look. He was totalling up the weekend’s action over a quart, asked me if I’d been to Murphy’s funeral after the donnybrook at his wake. I confirmed that I’d attended the burial. It was a sad and solemn affair for all involved including Murphy’s family and everyone’s legal representatives. We drank a memorial toast to Murphy that day before I bought everyone a round and placed a few bets.

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    18. The late gratitude

    Very often we find that strangers help us in the most strangest way possible.  Most of the the times we are not able to pass our thanks to them because life changes every single day with people moving on as well. Which is why I think there should be no delay in thanking someone. Three years ago, when I first sent out my first script to a dozen publishers, I got more rejections than expected. 

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    19. Crucifixion of a Narcissist

    Today's model was excellent to draw, albeit something of a narcissist. He suggested the religious pose.
    Biro, A4 size. Click to enlarge.

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    20. The Tomato Witch attacks Pinocchio


    The Tomato Witch bombs the Bishop and Pinocchio at sea at midnight.
    ZenBrush on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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    21. Platypus Penis Pickling Plant




    Four more new pages from my forthcoming Memoirs.
    Paper53 on iPad. Click to enlarge.

    1 Comments on Platypus Penis Pickling Plant, last added: 3/15/2013
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    22. Cheltenham Gold Cup


    My horse lost at the Cheltenham Gold Cup yesterday. I had to sell grandma to pay the bookies.
    ZenBrush on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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    23. Grandfather etc.


    Two more pages from my upcoming Memoirs.
    Paper53 on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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    24. The Special Coffin

    The newest page from my upcoming Memoirs.
    Paper53 on iPad. Click to enlarge.

    1 Comments on The Special Coffin, last added: 3/19/2013
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    25. Pigs in Shit with Retractable Legs

    Another page from my Memoirs.
    Paper53 on iPad. Click to enlarge.

    1 Comments on Pigs in Shit with Retractable Legs, last added: 3/22/2013
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