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

Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Strategy

Even though my brain is very tiny, and I am not a great problem solver, I am able to devise a strategy for survival when necessary. Surviving was the name of the game when I lived on the street by myself for three years before I was rescued.

Me at the high-kill shelter with my puppies.

Mom is surviving as a writer. Even though she hasn’t had a story published in a while, she plugs away – writing, revising, editing, and submitting. And reading, researching, critiquing, and creating. That’s her strategy.

My strategy changes from time to time. I like to stay proactive and flexible.

Often, I hide – under cars…

behind the bleachers…

and half under the bed…

Nobody will ever find me here.

I watch – the ceiling

through the window…

and out the door…I’ve also had success with my strategy of staring with…

and without the head tilt…

I’m known for keeping my distance…

Keep reading. I’ll just listen from over here behind the chair…

stealth…

and straight-up stubbornness.

Mom should step up her strategy game. Apparently, plugging away isn’t proactive and flexible enough!

I’m fine. I swear. It’s not too cold for a street nap. #staystubborn

 

 

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Five Word Friday

Today’s five words come from a story that Mom is revising this week.

6. Trash – I have always wished I could figure out how to get pizza crusts, eggshells, napkins, banana peels, and many other delicious things out of the garbage pail.

Let me in. I know there are chicken bones in there. Why am I so tiny?

I love trash! Mom doesn’t love trash, especially when one of her stories ends up in the trash bin on her computer. If she starts a story and then gets stuck, she sets it aside for a while, works on other things, and then goes back to it. If it still stinks and it’s still going nowhere, she trashes it and starts over.

If she put a little jelly on that trash, I’d help her out with that. Mmmmm. Jelly.

14. Flop – Mom reads tons of picture books. Some fly and some flop.

When she reads a flop, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back!” The weather is getting colder here, so I can’t take as many street naps as I did in the summer.

Even when it’s way too cold, I still flop down and give it a shot. Mom says, “If you’re wearing a sweater, it’s too cold to sit on the ground.” When I ignore her, she says, “Ugh. I want that 5 minutes back.”

8. Outside – I love outside. There are squirrels, leaves, acorns, grass, and dog friends.

I also love inside. There are toys, treats, trash, my blankie, and Mom. Sometimes it’s tough to choose.

74. UsefulCritique groups are useful. Mom’s group called LindaVijiConnieJenandOtherJen help her get ideas, change ideas, and fix ideas that stink.

5. Sneakers – Mom wears sneakers, but they do not make her fast at all. When we walk down the hall at our house, she is so slow! I have to show her how to get us home (and out of the scary hallway) in a more efficient way.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

We are not what we think, or what we say, or how we feel. We are what we do.

~Gordon Livingston~

Nailed it, Livingston! What we do matters – waaaay more than all that other stuff.

So when Mom sits down and writes something new or fixes something old or submits something she likes or works with her critique group named LindaVijiJenConnieandOtherJen, she is a straight-up writer.

Me being a straight-up writer.

Sometimes, she sits on the balcony and reads her Kindle.

Sometimes, we go to the park.

Sometimes, she teaches me tricks.

Sit up.

Find the cookie.

Not really a trick, but I just really want to come inside.

Sometimes, we play.

Sometimes, we work as a therapy team.

Did somebody say eggs? And ham?! Yes, please…

Sometimes, we shop.

Sometimes, she leaves me alone like a dog, and reads books at the bookstore which I’m pretty sure is a hop, skip, and a jump from stealing.

Is she a writer then? Well, not a straight-up writer, but still a writer. She says, “I’m getting ideas” and “I need to keep it fresh” and “Staying current is important” and “I’m mind-writing” and “Let’s get moving, weirdo. We’re burning daylight, here!”

*sigh*

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

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…

 

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!?

Waiting

It’s tough to wait. Waiting to have time to write, waiting to get an idea, waiting to hear what the characters want to do, waiting for a story to be finished – They’re all tough.

Waiting for a response from a publisher or an agent – also tough. But Mom does it. All writers do.

Sometimes she waits by reading picture books at home. Sometimes, she visits the bookstore.

She talks to kids and listens to kids. She does work with her critique group online. And of course, she watches TV. That’s a great waiting activity – especially this time of year.

Mom always has the choice of playing with me while she waits. I like practicing my tricks and walking around the neighborhood

and napping.

And of course, I watch TV. And I watch Mom watch TV.

Fascinating!

For the next couple of weeks I will be waiting in overdrive. Waiting for Santa!

I hope he brings treats and toys and maybe a new dress for me. I’m sure most of my furfriends and humanfriends are also waiting for Christmas. And if The Big Guy brings an opportunity for Mom, that would be good, too. Either way, the working and playing and talking and listening and practicing and napping and watching and waiting will continue…

C’mon, Santa!

Not What It Seems

In the three months we’ve lived in our new apartment, Mom and I have seen lots of deer,

a million birds, a ton of chipmunks, a spider, a bee,

*not the actual bee*

and three dead snakes.

*actual snake corpse*

Once I was in the dog park and there was a little brown dog in there with me. I wanted to play with him, but he kept ignoring me. When I sniffed him, he smelled like laundry detergent. Mom said, “Get it!” and “Fetch it!” and “Ugh. Why do I bother?”

What’s up with this guy?

This week, we ALMOST saw another dead snake, but then when we got closer, it was a shoelace.

Things are not always what they seem!

Recently, Mom got a critique of one of her stories.

The main suggestion was to “try putting some humor in.” GAH! She already thought there WAS humor in there!

Surprise! To her, it seemed funny, but it wasn’t what it seemed. Oh well. At least she knows what to work on.

First she will head to the library to read some of the books suggested to see the kind of humor she SHOULD have had in her story. Hopefully, she will be able to add in or switch out some of the events with the right humor that really IS what it seems.

Plus if we see another dead snake, I plan to roll on it and smear his guts all over my furs and smear my furs all over his guts. If I’m quick enough I may be able to pull it off this time. …unless it’s another shoelace.

*actual shoelace* Bummer…