SOLSC2014: When I Was Nine


I was sad to miss last Tuesday’s Slice of Life. But here’s another Tuesday and time to share slices at Two Writing Teachers

Fifty-two years ago the country experienced The Bay of Pigs. I was nine. They say that nine year olds are nervous lot. Yep, that was me.

Recently, I read Revolution by Deborah Wiles and I shared my thoughts in this POST.

I had her first book in the trilogy, Countdown. Which I read this week. Now where Revolution felt like worlds apart, Countdown capture that slice of time perfectly for me. She describes wearing Buster Brown shoes. I don’t know if Franny shoes were cute but my Buster Browns? U-G-L-Y! I hated them. So much so that I wore my mutt lucks for three weeks before getting caught by my father. And as Franny, I loved playing jacks.

I could not understand why my parents were so lax in building a bomb shelter. We has a house without a basement. Where would we go without a basement? What provisions did we have?

Here’s what I wrote about that period in 1989:


Even as an adult, I have had dreams of nuclear bombs. I have often wanted to discuss what it was like to be nine in Russia in 1962. Did they worry about America bombing them? Did they have the same kind of fears? Did they think about building bomb shelters?

Today my oldest grandgirl is nine. I owner what affect the international news has on her? Does she worry about beheadings or bombings? She hasn’t mentioned such worries.

I was going to put Countdown in the school library when I finished reading. I must keep it as it captures so much of me during that period. I will buy another plus Revolution for the library.

Now I have to wait for the final book by Wiles in the trilogy. I can’t wait.

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SOLSC 2014: What Do You Need for a Good Writing Day?


Tuesday. Time for a slice of life. Thanks to the incredible people at Two Writing Teachers for a place to share.

Monday was a day to work on my manuscript. I have been away from it all summer until last week when my critique group met (my home group).

I have know for awhile that my beginning needed a change. A dramatic change. I had an idea and last week my critique group confirmed I was on the right track.

As I worked on the manuscript, I started noticing how I write. There are things, I need to do before settling into work.

Like making sure I am caught up on my email. Today that led me to notes from a critique partner which helped the revision. In particular, it led me to research more about pinball machines. (This figures into the book).

Another email was a discussion with another friend on worked and didn’t work for a novel in verse book we just both read. It made me think through my character.

I need to have dark chocolate around. This is important.

This revision also led me to researching blue butterflies as I wanted to compare the color of a house to a blue butterfly.

I am currently reading, Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild. As I wrote and revised, I reflected on how Miller observed her daughter’s reading habits. As she stated in her book that at first glance, it may look like her daughter’s not focused but actually everything she’s engaged with is connected to her reading and writing. That’s like me. I may look like I am unfocused but in reality it’s all connected.

I finished late in the afternoon and was pleased with what I accomplished.

Revision is messy work. I have to admit that I’ve been terrified to tear the beginning apart due to the domino effect. But it’s all good.

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SOLSC 2014: Summer Writing Group



Time for a Tuesday Slice of Life.  There are more slices at Two Writing Teachers.  Writing this post early as on Tuesday, I will be going to the dentist to start the work on two crowns (oh joy) and I know that I will be done for the day after that appointment.

Do you remember the post about creating a summer writing group? That invitation was HERE.  I signed up and later in June was given the names of three others.  It has taken us a bit to coordinate between summer vacations, one shoulder surgery, and such.  Happy to say that last Thursday we had our first meeting through Goggle chat. 

We decided to meet via Google Chat twice a month. Each time two of us will share our writing, therefore that means about once a month for feedback.  I always get nervous giving feedback.  I don’t want to step on the toes of the writer, especially in that first meeting.  But I felt it went well.  I am thankful that one group member has taken the lead on facilitating the group.

My biggest challenge perhaps in the first meeting was to figure out the ins and outs of Google Chat.  First I was on my phone which wasn’t the best for two reasons: the battery was almost dead and it was hard to hold the phone to show my face.  The phone was dying so I moved to the IPad. Better but still, the holding and when you can’t really hold with one arm due to surgery, it was frustrating.

I finally figured out during the course of the meeting how to get the Google Chat on the computer (which admittedly I should have figured out prior).  So finally I could use the computer and have hands free. 

I am really liking using the whole Google Drive to put documents in that we can review and add comments.  I have been trying to do this with my other writing group.  I like being able to read and comment on the document. Plus it saves on printer ink.

I am hoping to make more use of the Google Chat in other areas of my life this year.  For one thing, I am hoping when it comes down to discussing the CYBILS Poetry nominations, that we will be able to use this medium.  I like being able to interact with people much better than sending emails back and forth.

Twenty plus years ago, I took a Northwest Writing Institute month long workshop at Lewis and Clark College. Email was in the baby stages and I remember suggesting having on-line writing groups.  People just shook their heads.  We have come a long way in how we communicate since then.

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WANTED: Panelists and Judges for the 2014 CYBILS Poetry Award


How do you know you might be a good candidate? Here are ten things to consider:

1. You love poetry as much or more than dark chocolate.
2. You love posting for Poetry Friday.
3. You email others about poetry books they should read.
4. You send poetry postcards
5. You are known as the poetry person.
6. You blog ALOT about poetry.
7. You try to convince your book club to read a poetry book.
8. You want to receive poetry in the mail.
9. You go to conferences and search for your poetry people.
10.You are heard saying, “For the love of poetry” often.

Panelist for Round One: plan on reading 30-40 poetry books and whittle the selection to 5-7 finalists.

Judge for Round Two: read the 5-7 finalists and select the Winner for the CYBILS Poetry Award.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s CYBILs award, please sign-up HERE.
There are a lot of links to explain all the ins and outs of being a panelist or judge.

Friday, September 5, 2014 is the deadline for applying. Participants will be announced September 15, 2014

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SOLSC 2014: Summer of 1964, Worlds Apart


It’s Tuesday and time to share a slice over at Two Writing Teachers.

This past week I finished reading REVOLUTION by Deborah Wiles.  I am challenging myself to read books that might be Newbery contenders this year through Goodreads. It’s funny as I have COUNTDOWN on my shelf but have never read it.

Wow!  If you haven’t read REVOLUTION, consider putting it on your list.  She is to historical fiction what Brian Selznick is to combining illustration and fiction novels.  The book blends a historical fiction with clippings, photos, quotes,etc. about the summer called “Freedom Summer” in Mississippi.

While reading this book, I felt that perhaps I was reading about a foreign country.  The main character Sunny, experiences the unrest in her town of Greenwood, MS.  She experiences the “invasion” of northerners coming to her town to help register people for voting, the pamphlets left by the KKK, and the attitudes of those who don’t want integration in the south.

Meanwhile, in sunny southern California, my summer of 1964 was all about playing Barbies on the patio of the house we just moved into, playing with the neighbor kids before the walls to divide our properties all got built, and threatening harm to my brother’s blue bellied lizards he captured. It was about having my grandmothers from New Jersey visiting and going school shopping for that special first day outfit.

I grew up in a protected world. My parents weren’t the kind of people who had deep political discussions.  I don’t remember hearing about the unrest of the south, of Mississippi, of  Freedom Summer. And today with the unrest in Ferguson, MO, I wonder if we should all take a time out and read Wiles’s new book and remember our history.


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SOLSC2014: Just For Today


Each Tuesday, many share a slice of life at Two Writing Teachers.

It’s been difficult to write a slice this week. I wanted to write a piece about the start of the new school year. Instead the news about Robin Williams has deeply saddened me. It’s a huge loss and I feel so sad for his family. I have obsessed reading the different tributes and the varied opinions about depression and suicide. Earlier this summer, the local news reported about a 38 year old mom who left her two young boys and a husband and went missing until she was found two weeks later; dead due to suicude.

It hits close to home. My dear, sweet husband is diagnosed with bi-polar disease. Thank goodness, he’s willing to get help and manages it with medication. But there are periods of time, that there is sadness that wants to grab hold (and sometimes does). It’s during these times that being there, talking, and showing love is what I can do. I have medication for anxiety as anxiety and depression run in my family. Then there are friends who’ve experienced the loss of a family member through suicide.
So I get how Robin Williams and that mother may have felt with a cloak of darkness surrounding them.

So just for today I will:

Show love and kindness
Be present
And as Robin Williams said in Dead Poet’s Society, “Carpe Diem.”

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SOLSC14: What’s That Smell? Not Teen Spirit.

I am on beach time in Seaside, Oregon so it’s a belated post. There are more slices at Two Writing Teachers.

My family stays in Seaside every summer for five days. My husband grew up in this tradition so he’s been coming to this community for over sixty years.

We are fortunate to have a perfect beach cottage to rent with in walking distance to the beach. This afternoon all have gone to the sand which gave me time to slip away and write.

When we arrived on Monday, an odd smell assaulted our noses. Dead animal? Actually dead anchovies. Millions of them. The parade of migratory ocean animals has been impressive this year. First, the gray whales and then the orcas followed by the dolphins and porpoises who were heralding the the massive school of anchovies. You may have seen them on the news weeks ago in Southern California.
Well, the anchovies in a desperate attempt to flee being a meal swam into the Necanicum River, a fresh water river with not enough oxygen to support the million of fish. So there was a massive die I missed hearing this as I was out of town.
It’s been told to me that this created an amazing phenomenon with birds flying in from Florida and the Arctic to feast. I went up to the estuary to see the birds but they had left guess it was just a weekend get away. However, it still provided for some photo opportunities. Apparently this kind of die-off happens every decade but for some reason this die-off was particularly large.


Necanicum River estuary. Tillamook Head in the distance.

Feather treasure.

Craters of the moon? No, air holes for clams.


Despite not seeing the thousand of birds that were here over the weekend. It still was magical.

Posted in Family Life, Natural World, SOLSC2014 | Tagged , , | 4 Comments