My face is two different colors. Three actually, but down by my nose there’s a brown side and a white side.
They’re as different as different can be, right down to the whiskers. White on the white side…
…and black on the brown side.
Mom’s writing has two different sides lately, too. Poetry and prose. She worked and worked on a story and kept getting stuck. She worked on other things, came back to the story, and got stuck again. And again.
Today, she decided to take that stuck story idea and make it into a poem. As different as can be, but she’s not stuck anymore.
Sometimes in hiking, there’s a special mark saying that the path splits.
We’re careful to choose the right path. Usually it’s pretty easy to tell.
For Mom, the correct path seems to be the poem for now. Clear sailing.
Spring is finally starting out around here. And by finally, I mean FINALLY!!
Grass seeds are planted.
Flowerpots are hung.
Blossoms are popping out.
And it suddenly got so warm out that I had to take a street nap under a truck.
Every couple of weeks, Mom starts out writing a new story. The start is important. It has to grab, grip, introduce a character, present a problem…
…state a situation, prepare, pop, draw in, jump out, and kick off – all in a few sentences.
Without a solid start, the story would be like a room without a floor. And what good is a room without a floor?
Where would I nap? Where would my squirrels land? Where would my bed rest? Where would the peanut butter-bacon cookie crumbs wait for me to find them?
Back off the treats, squirrel!
Mom says, “A good opening makes the rest of the story easier to write.” and “I have to start strong.” and “Don’t lick the floor!”
Mom has been going out a lot lately. And I have been staying home a lot.
Last week, she visited her old school for Career Day.
She talked to thirty 2nd graders about being an author. They liked when she said she went to work in her pajamas.
They laughed when she said she wishes she could tear up each rejection letter, jump up and down on it, run to her room, and slam the door. They said, “Eeeewwww” when she told them ideas are everywhere, and if they see a dead squirrel squished in the street, they can write a story about it.
A bunch of the kids said they like to write stories and may want to be authors when they grow up.
This week, Mom visited a 5th grade class in a different school to talk about being an author.
She told them about the pajamas and the rejections and the squished-squirrel stories.
Mom also told them how their teacher used to be her student and how she brought a praying mantis egg case to class and how it HATCHED in their classroom and how hundreds of mantis babies overran the library corner and how Mom had nightmares for weeks.
Mom wrote a story about the classroom egg case and it was published in Humpty Dumpty Magazine. I guess that’s worth a few nightmares.
I did not go to either one of the school visits, but I did have a few nightmares of my own.
They are named the LawnGuys, the Mailman, the FedExDude, and OutsideCats. I had some good dreams, too…
Today’s five words are about reading. Writers do reading all the time – out loud, in their heads, on the Kindle, at the library, on the iPad…. ALL the time.
Dogs do not.
1. Picture Books – Mom reads 200 picture books a year. There’s usually a pile of library picture books on the piano bench at home and a pile of bookstore picture books on Mom’s table at Barnes and Noble.
2. Goodreads – Mom keeps track of the books she reads on her Goodreads Challenge.
3. Drooling – Drooling on the books is “not cool.” But how can I help it? They smell delicious! …Like kids’ hands. And dirt. And gum.
4. Writer’s Eye – When Mom reads, she tries to do it with a writer’s eye. She pays attention to what works, how it works, and why it works. She also notices what stinks, what’s boring, what’s dumb, what’s a waste of time, and what makes no sense. She hopes it’ll help her be a better writer.
5. Studying – Yesterday, I studied some reading, which said the word, “No Barking.”
I was exhausted from reading so hard, so I parked myself on the street for a quick nap. Mom said, “I guess you just can’t read. Can you?”
Of course I can read – I’m not barking. Am I?
This is new. In case you don’t recognize it, it’s called sunshine. On my belly. And my face. And my bits and pieces.
This is new, too. It’s a new treat for me to try. I only got a little piece (and no raisins!), but oooh it was yummy. It’s a hot cross bun – it was not hot and Mom ate the cross, but I got a hunk of the bun. Awesome.
Here I am “working” with some old friends at the Veteran’s Home.
But I was really teaching someone new. A new friend will be joining Mom and me at work there soon. I was showing her the ropes. I can’t wait to work with the new therapy pet team!
Mom is doing something new this week, too. It’s a different kind of school visit. Usually, she reads her book and talks about being a writer.
But since her book is about a blind boy in a sighted classroom, this week, she’ll be attending an event called Disability Awareness Day.
She’ll play games and talk to small groups of kids and help them understand how to be a friend to all kinds of differently-abled people.
Mom said, “This will be fun.” and “I love a new experience.” and “BEHAVE while I’m gone!”
…. Don’t I always?
All of her supplies are packed up and ready to go.
She named them Keep-Away and Do-Not-Touch. I call them…
Waiting is tough. It’s one more tough thing in my life along with the treat famine when I gain weight,
the mailman trying to kill me, and being afraid to walk past scary things like pumpkins, the UPS truck, and the always deadly, frightening coffee lid in the street.
Waiting is brutal. Here I am waiting for my turn to listen to a story at Read to a Pet Night at the library…
Am I next?
…waiting for Mom to carry me so I don’t have to walk in my paw boots , and…
…waiting for Mom to come home.
Mom entered a couple of stories in the Rate Your Story Writing Contest.
She also sent a story to an agent who showed interest in it during #PitMad on Twitter. Now she is waiting for results. For her the waiting is fun and exciting. She says, “Once you do your best, there’s nothing else to do.” and “Gotta be in it to win it.” and “Seriously?? It’s a cardboard chef! He’s not going to hurt you!”
Yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would’ve been 111 years old. That’s a lot of red fish and blue fish and a ton of hops on pops, and a million cats in a billion hats old.
Humans celebrate Dr. Seuss’s life by reading stories to little kids all over America on his birthday.
I can’t read, but I’m celebrating my own way.
Mom loves Dr. Seuss. And reading stories. And little kids. So she is on board with this. Yesterday, she left me alone while she read her ebook What If I Don’t? (MeeGenius, 2014) to some super cute kindergarten kids.
I was worried the whole time she was gone, because once when Mom visited a school, she was approached by a giant cat! In a giant hat!
Yesterday, she was only approached by one of her favorite teachers and giant bunch of kindergarten kids in giant hats.
Mom had fun reading and talking and laughing with the kids. They were great listeners and laughed at all the right times, gasped at all the right times, repeated some of the words from the story, and made funny faces whenever Mom asked them to.
They also answered a bunch of questions and asked a few of their own. Mom’s favorite question was, “Once I drew a picture of King Kong on the Empire State Building.” which isn’t actually a question, but it was fun anyway.
I waited at home and was mostly a good girl……
Cat in the Hat
Dog in the Hat