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Viewing Blog: SusanWrites, Most Recent at Top
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Susan Taylor Brown is the author of books for children, including HUGGING THE ROCK (Tricycle Press, 2006), OLIVER'S MUST-DO LIST (Boyd's Mills Press, October 2005), CAN I PRAY WITH MY EYES OPEN? (Hyperion, 1999), the easy reader SMALLS SAILS TO FREEDOM (Millbrook, 2006), and forthcoming ENRIQUE ESPARZA, BOY AT THE ALAMO. She has served on the faculty for the Highlights Foundation Chautauqua Conference and was the Writer-in-Residence for San Jose Community School working with at-risk students. She is also a former newspaper columnist for the New Orleans Times Picayune and past instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature.
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1. My blog has moved

Just a reminder that my blog has moved to:


If you have subscribed in the past, you will need to resubscribe as there was a loss of the subscriber database, le sigh.

I just jumped back into Poetry Friday with an original poem, Poetry Waits For Me.

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2. Of Dogs and Writing - The End of a Chapter

For those of you who haven't seen it on Facebook, or my regular blog yet, here is a tribute, a final goodbye, to my dog Cassie.

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3. New greeting card line launched!

I don't post much over here anymore. You can most easily find me over on Facebook but for those folks who are still reading Livejournal I wanted to let you know that I have launched a line of greeting cards based on my nature photographs. Over 200 photos to choose from and custom-made to order.

I hope you'll come by and browse.

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4. My Dear Teen me letter is up

I wrote a letter for the Dear Teen Me website.

It was both harder and then easier than I thought it would be. By the time I was done writing the letter (and staying within the word counts) and then sorting through the photos, I had ideas for at least another dozen letters.

I think it's a great exercise for writers trying to bring up some youthful memories.

You can read the letter here and see some funny old photos of me and my sense of "fashion" too.

(And a reminder that I've moved my blog over to: http://www.susantaylorbrown.com/blog

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5. Ann Patchett and Lessons from a hummingbird

On the blog today, Ann Patchett and Lessons from a hummingbird

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6. Audio guest post!

Hear me read my pantoum poem and get the story behind the poem. I'm guest pod posting at Katie Davis Brain Burps.

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7. Kick the Poetry Can'ts #3 and #4

I forgot to post over here but prompts and original poems are up for Kick the Poetry Can'ts #3 and #4.

Here's #3

Here's #4

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8. Kick the Poetry Can'ts #2

Learn how question cards can help you write a poem.

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9. Kick the Poetry Can'ts

Post # 1 in the month long series for National Poetry month.

Read an original poem, get a mini poetry lesson, and then write along with me.

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10. Round 3 - March Madness Poetry tournament

Well I won my round 2 match in the poetry tournament and my round 3 has just been posted. I have the word "impaled" and am up against the very talented Greg Pincus who has the word "truce." After you check out our match, make sure you go back to the Live Scoreboard and read the various other match-ups going on.

Go here to read and vote.

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11. Marissa Moss launching a new picture book publisher

Marissa Moss is launching a new publishing company via Kickstarter. Golden Gate Books plans to fill the void left behind by the major New York publishers who no longer put out a broad range of quality picture books. They will be devoted to publishing quality picture books printed in the USA on sustainably-sourced paper

Check out her kickstarter campaign to raise $50K in 30 days

Even small donations can add up and help get this new publisher off the ground.

And yes, I'm backing this wonderful project.

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12. Round 2 - March Madness Poetry tournament

Thanks to all of you who voted and helped me win the first round in the March Madness Poetry tournament. My new poem for the next round is up now. This time it is translucent vs cement.

Please read & vote for your fav and help us get the word out. We'd like to double the votes from the last round. Voting is only open for about a day and a half.

Thank you!

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13. Being true to your writer self

On the new blog, a post about what I put myself through for the "fun" poetry competition. We writers are too hard on ourselves.


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14. My poetry match-up please vote

So I signed up to be in this crazy poetry madness event where children's poets are randomly seeded (kinda like basketball tournaments) and are randomly assigned words with a difficulty of 1 (easy) to 16 (ouch!) and have to write a poem appropriate for kids. Then we're randomly matched up in a head-to-head tournament. We have a short time to write the poems and then readers vote and the winners of the match-ups go on to the next round.

I'd love the chance to continue but I have to win this round. I had the good/unfortunate luck of being seeded 16 which gives me the impossible words. I got nonconfrontational for the first round.

Anyway, they're short, 8 lines or less, and I'm begging for folks to go read, at least my match-up, and vote for the ones they like best.

Of course I hope you'll like mine enough to vote for me. :)

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15. Poppines at last - my new garden website is live

At last, the garden website is live! Posts about how we converted our small urban lot into a California Native Garden for wildlife, with info & photos about how created the various water features, rainwater collection, and more.

Come visit POPPINESS!

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16. Art Show update!

On the blog today - a post about the art show I am in and the opening reception last night.

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17. letter to characters

On the new blog today, some long overdue letters to characters.


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18. Tell me something good!

Today on the blog, your chance to brag. Please come over and tell me all about what you do well.


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19. The new blog is up! Please come visit!

My new blog is up and running on my pretty new website. All the content from here (The Of Dogs & Writing posts, all the Incarcerated Teen Poets posts, the journey through poetry to find my father which led me to finding my sister and more) has been moved over and is now better organized so you can find things.

I hope you'll come by and say hello!


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20. What I've decided to do about this blog

Is to make it friends only.

And I'm going to set it up so that only friends can comment on it. If you don't have a LiveJournal account, don't worry, I'll be posting the URL for the new blog here and you can follow me over there. This way I can still visit with friends who are just on LiveJournal and I can feel free to rant if I need to.

I was going to turn off comments and then I realized if I did that, all the comments from all the previous years of posts would be hidden and I didn't want to do that. I just went to grab some comments I had made in someone else's journal and they had disabled comments and now I can't find them. :(

For this entry, it's still open for the public.

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21. waving

I'm waving to all my LiveJournal friends. I haven't posted in ages for a variety of reasons that I won't bore you all with now. But I did want to update a few things since I am cleaning up around LJ.

First off, if you view my LJ in its own setting it might look a little wonky as I've been moving web hosts and forgot that I had my LJ graphics hosted on my website. I'll get those straightened up soon.

Second, I'm moving to WordPress, the transition is almost done. I know, I know, another one bites the dust. But I'm moving twice! Once for the writing blog and once for my garden/nature blog. I'll post the info here most likely next week.

Third, to prep for the migration of my old journal entries over to the new blog I'm going through and deleting some posts that were kept to a small private group. I've saved copies of them but I don't want them public if LJ should fall apart and when you import, quite often your private stuff goes public so I just want to remove that chance.

I miss LJ and connecting with all of you around our virtual water cooler, especially those I don't see over on Facebook which seems to be an easier place for me to be of late.

Hope everyone in LJ land is doing well.

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22. Some recent artsy stuff

I'm off to a writing retreat this weekend and am taking some of my collage supplies to share with my friends so we can have some art fun. These are some inspiration cards I did up quickly for examples for them. The small ones are ATC size and the larger ones are those pesky magazine subscription cards. :)










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23. Poetry Friday - Proof of Life, an original poem

It's been a while since I participated in Poetry Friday. I've missed it. Last night I attended a local poetry reading by San Francisco poet, Dean Rader. He read from his book Works & Days which I highly recommend. He's a terrific reader and his poems are very accessible. And if you are looking for a kidlit connection, well he writes about Frog and Toad. Yes, THE Frog and Toad, but the poems are NOT for children.

The reading was hosted by The Willow Glen Poetry Project which is a terrific group that meets less than ten minutes from my house. I'm so glad I found them. After Dean's reading it was an open mic night and I got to hear a variety of talented poets read their own and a few poetry lovers read poems by other writers.

I decided at nearly the last minute to read too. An original poem that wasn't from my YA novel-in-progress, that wasn't written with my normal kidlit world in mind. These simple facts shouldn't matter but the thing is, they do. They do because I can't remember the last time I had such an adrenalin attack and then adrenalin rush. I speak in front of people all the time with no fear (anymore) but this was a brand-new arena for me where I was a total stranger. No one knew I had been published or not. No one was there because they paid to hear me speak. It was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I love it!

This poem had it's genesis back in April of this year when, after taking the month of March off to play, I tried to distill the experience in a poem a day for National Poetry Month. The original poem appeared here. The new and much revised version is below.

Proof of Life 
by Susan Taylor Brown
I find it hard to take anything on faith alone.
I want proof, facts to nourish the idea that mindfulness
is worth the time it takes away
from doing nothing.
Easier to cave in to echoes from the past,
nodding as they aim ink-stained arrows
at my list of undone dreams.

I think I'm finally (okay, just beginning) to understand.
Be here now is not defined
by climbing mountains and vanquishing dragons,
it is a never-ending journey
away from
back to
face-to-face with
the me I can never trust
is good enough.

Today I shadow-step the dog on garden patrol,
down the path behind the hedgerow where unwelcome Bermuda grass
creeps under the good-neighbor fence,
along the side yard filled with dogwoods, leaves still clinging
to the almost-red-for-winter branches,
and past the pond where goldfinches gather for their morning bath.

Nose to the ground, she gobbles any bugs that cross her path,
bugs that will make her throw up in the middle of the night,
bugs she will happily eat again the next day.
This is her religion, her testimony to me.
She will keep me safe from all things,
even from myself.

We weave a new path through the overgrown herb garden
until the scent of mint and sage clings to us both
until she has finally sniffed everything that could be sniffed
until she is content to sprawl in a puddle of sun,
trusting I will not stray far.

She knows how brave I’m not.
A lone, but not lonely Ceanothus
hugs the fence, just beyond her shadow.
Industrious honey bees,
fuzzy bumblebees,
plump carpenter bees
and hover bees that look like flies,
all swarm the blue blossoms,
ignoring the now sleeping, snoring dog
ignoring each other
ignoring me.
Faith isn’t always found in stained glass cathedrals.

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24. Letters to Characters

Dear Boyfriend of Sister #1,
You two have been together a long time. Why? Tell me what attracts you to her. I know a lot of your downs, mostly hers. I don't know any of the highs. You can't hang around in this book as some sort of eye-candy. That's not going to work.

Tell me what she does that really ticks you off. Tell me why she doesn't have any close girlfriends. Tell me if you think the two of you will still be together by the end of this book.

Dear Little Brother of Sister #1,
Tell me your favorite memory you share with your sister. Is she nice to you? Does she help you clean your room or do your homework? Do you ever spy on her?

So far you're acting a lot like a dog in a book, a dog that doesn't really need to be there. If I can yank you out of the story and not notice, well, you're going to be history pretty soon.

Dear Mother of Sister #1,
Do you have a backbone or a heart? I can't figure out which.

Have you told her the truth or nothing but lies?

And that husband you have now, how much does he really know about the real story?


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25. Pssst! Wanna know a secret?

I'm working on a podcast series for YouTube. I am having so much fun. It will be part motivation, finding the courage to create, part poetry workshop, and part sharing of some of my poems.

I'm having so much fun.

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