Living with a children's author isn't as easy as it looks!

Mom’s mom would’ve been my Grammy if I had every met her. I never did.

I know her through Mom, though. My Grammy worked hard at a sewing factory, but was a teacher at heart. AND she was a storyteller. Like Mom, she would never say 5 words if she could say 50. Every story was a loooong story. She always had something to say and always said it with joy and excitement and gusto and loved the whole process of weaving a tale and watching her audience react to it. They really are a lot alike.

Sometimes, people say, “To make a long story short….” Mom never says that. And she never does that. She is more likely to make a long story longer!

Mom is a writer because she writes her stories down while she’s weaving them. Grammy never had that luxury, although she did tell stories in the letters she wrote. So Mom has heard and read many, many stories since she was a little girl. Storytelling is in her blood and her skin and her bones. And in her fingers, because that’s where the stories come from as far as I can see.

I don’t have fingers, but once I made a “story” when I fell asleep on Mom’s iPad and typed QQQQQ with my ear.

Storytelling also came from Mom’s mom and her mom’s story and the tapestry of how they came together and grew and flourished and continued and will continue forever. Meanwhile, long after my Grammy and Mom jig-sawed their stories together, my own doggy mama taught me to survive as a stray

puppies

Me at the shelter with my puppies.

on the mean streets till I could be rescued, fostered, and then FINALLY adopted by Mom. My doggy mama’s lessons are where my story began.

First day at my forever home.

tiara

Queen of the world. My story continues…

 

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Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words were taken from Mom’s newest story. The story is finished, but not finished. It’s resting until she opens it again to change things – especially the ending. Mom likes when her stories end with a laugh or a gasp or a smile

or an unexpected pop. When she tucked this one away, the ending was more of a fizzle. Not cool.

Z-z-z-z-z-z…..

16. Wiggle – Stories usually wiggle around from place to place to keep the reader guessing. I usually wiggle around soaking up the street heat and getting dirt into my furs.

42. Giggle – Ending a story with a giggle is always a goal for Mom. Sometimes it takes a few tries or a little advice from her critique partners. I don’t giggle, but I am pretty good at making people smile.

9. Color – Stories should have color: colorful characters, colorful language, colorful pictures, and a long colorful life in the hands of children. Since we have lots of color in our home

and our lives,

Mom hopes to transfer that color to her work every day.

82. Sun – I love sunshine. It makes me feel like taking a street nap,

hitting the park,

or just basking.

5. Broom and dustpan – Because of my white furs, and apparently my spitting, drooling, sneezing, and floor-licking, Mom uses her broom and dustpan a lot. Also her microfiber mop, Swiffer Sweeper, big vacuum, small vacuum, Swiffer Duster, sponge mop, dustcloths, and Mr.Clean Magic Eraser.

Filthy??? Who? Me?

She thinks I have a problem. I think she has a problem.

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

~Ray Bradbury~

Thinking is SO overrated. I avoid it at all costs. Mom asks me “What were you thinking?” all the time. I try to tell her, “Nuthin'” but I’m not sure she understands. What is she thinking I’m thinking? She needs to stop thinking.

Captured under a walker?

Nuthin’…

Head caught in a shopping bag?

Nuthin’…

Squished under a chair?

Nuthin’…

Too close to the edge?

Nuthin’…

It’s really pretty simple, actually. Don’t think. Just do.

Mom is doing things these days, too. Just doing. Not thinking. She’s partway through a new story and partway through a new poem. And she submitted a couple of things last week, too. She found them in the computer, fixed them up all shiny and new and sent them on their way out into the world for people to judge. She will do the same when she gets to the end of her latest story and poem. First she will make sure there’s enough conflict and a surprise ending twist. Then off they go. Not thinking is fun.

Except when you head face first into the sticker bush by the lake….

Ouch. Not fun…

 

 

 

 

Mom has been looking up at the stars a lot lately.

She imagines getting her next acceptance letter/email/phone call/telepathic message. She visualizes how it will play out and exactly how it will feel.

When a rejection comes instead, she visualizes the acceptance even harder.

Meanwhile, she reads, writes, revises, edits, critiques, and submits. She has to. That’s what writers do.

…in between playing with the peppermint ball…

I look up at the stars, too. I don’t imagine anything or visualize anything – or read or write or edit or critique or submit anything. I just look at the stars or stare at the air. Mom says, “Are you daydreaming?” and “Are you sightseeing?” and “Enough, weirdo! We’re going home!”

She is long on patience waiting for Book #2 to be accepted, but short on patience waiting for me. When she gets publisher mail, she says, “This is it!” When I am star gazing, she says, “That is it!” They are really very different…

Mom and I agree on one thing. Stephen Hawking was a pretty smart guy. Keeping your head up and your eye on the prize matters. Aiming for the stars is never a bad idea. And when you can’t take time to smell the flowers

because the flowers are sleeping under the snow, keep your head up. Stare at the air. Or look up at the stars!

 

Mom and I are connected. Wherever she is, that’s where I am. Our connection is strong. Sometimes she leaves me behind and goes out without me. In that case, I am just sad and waiting for her to come back to me. …But I still feel connected.

Mom has been working with some of her new story ideas. She is trying to get some of them to connect to each other. Putting a random character into a random setting is always fun, so Mom does that a lot. Walking them into a problem and then getting them to struggle their way to a creative solution is also fun, but more difficult.

I have been stuck in some situations now and then, myself. Sometimes, I can get myself out, but sometimes, I straight-up need help.

Strange doggie staring at me. Stay strong.

Opening the treat drawer – Wait for Mom to help.

Hat falling off…

Run!

Stuck under the bed…

Settle in for the long haul.

Lost a shoe – cross your paws that it’s never found…

FYI – It’s ALWAYS found…

Caught in the soccer net – “MOM!”

Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are from one of the stories Mom has been working on these days, while I sit around staring at her or playing by myself like an animal.

9. Vacation – Mom and I do not go on vacation very often, but when we do, I like being the hotel doggie. Everyone is excited to see me walking through the lobby and hallways. Plus it’s exciting to sleep in a new bed.

When you’re a writer, there is no vacation from “work.” Mom’s work is listening to conversations, watching things that happen around her, getting fun ideas, and reading stories.

“Work.” *snort*

54. Shiny – Our apartment is shiny and new. The sunshine is shiny every morning in our balcony door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the shiny floor is covered with so much dog hair Mom says it looks like a rug. Is that bad? Rugs are nice…

Mom polishes up her stories before she sends them anywhere. Stories should be shiny before anybody sees (judges) them.

47. Trees – Trees are meant to be climbed. Squirrels live up there. I have tried many times to climb a tree. No luck. Mom says, “A story is like a tree.” and “It needs solid roots to grow up tall and strong.” and then she calls me the nickname of Doofus.

2. Door – Mom wishes the door would open and somebody would let in one of her stories. Till that happens, she will keep on knocking. Once my tail got caught in the door and a little piece of it broke off and fell onto the living room floor. (insert Mom’s freak-out here)

I had surgery and wore bandages for a LONG time. Now my tail is fine, but a little shorter. Plus I still hesitate all the time and  don’t rush my tail through the doorway because apparently I “have learned NOTHING from that experience.”

16. Peek – I watch Mom all day long. Sometimes I flat out stare at her,

Hullo…

and sometimes, I just take a peek to see what she’s up to.

She complains that I look at her all day, but how would she know that… unless SHE looks at ME all day!?

In it

2018 is here. We’re all in it – like it or not. I like it.

New year, fresh start, bright future. IN.

I’m not as thrilled to be IN my sweater most days.

And IN my parka some days.

And IN my fleece-lined coat other days.

And IN my paw-boots every single day!

Sometimes I’m IN a pile of snow

or IN a puddle of slush

or IN the path of a powerful wind.

Mom says, “If we’re in it, we’re in it.” and “It’s winter in NJ – that’s how winter works.” and “Sorry, Charlie, you can’t just stay IN bed all day.”

Mom is in it too. One thing she’s IN in 2018 is the StoryStorm Challenge.

She has to get 30 ideas in 31 days. She’s making a list on her phone, like she always does. Every day, she reads an inspirational post about ideas and writing, and that helps her meet the challenge and keeps her on track generating ideas…

…so I can sleep.

As long as she’s focused on story ideas, maybe she will ease off getting ideas about me!

Oh no. Not the pawboots again…