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

Posts tagged ‘quote’

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

 

I’m glad our quote this week isn’t, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Mom has been teaching me a new trick for a few days now. I’d hate to think she’s just banging her head against the wall with it.

Wait. What?

She wants me to learn to stand on a little bench so when we visit the VA, my wheelchair friends will be able to reach me better. (Also, Mom won’t have to pick me up 859 times because apparently I am a fat, overgrown meatloaf, and I’m breaking her back.)

So I study.

Just like I studied my IQ treat hider.

And I practice.

Just like I practiced bowling.

And I’m learning.

Just like I learned to fly a plane.*

*Not an actual plane. And I’m not actually flying.

Next week, Mom will also be learning. She will be attending a webinar called The Heart of Picture Books where she will learn a new trick.

She will learn to have more heart in her writing. #olddognewtrickforsure Stories with heart are more likely to connect with readers and agents and editors. Heart is good in stories. Also in real life. Heart is good everywhere.

Learning is good everywhere, too. Even old dogs can learn new tricks.

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.”

~Samuel Beckett~

Of course, Mom wants me to say I try and fail all the time. But that’s not true. I don’t really try at all. I’m usually phoning it in. So when I fail, that’s the reason.

And when I fail better, it’s random luck.

Mom on the other hand tries. Lately, she’s been working on old and new stories and submitting them to Rate Your Story

Could be better (1), but could be worse (10).

and to her critique group named LindaVijiJenConnieandOtherJen. When they write to her about her work, they always say what’s not clear, what to cut, what to tighten, what to add, and what to change. Then Mom is able to fail better. But only until she succeeds.

Meanwhile she has small successes along the way like seeing her new stories get more focused on their themes. And she gets to see her old stories go off in new directions.

My progress goes in many different directions. I’ve recently changed my street nap technique when the street burned my butt. #fail

I moved to the sidewalk. Mom said, “This isn’t much better.” and “Still embarrassing.” and “Why can’t you be normal?”

When she takes me out to eat, I’ve stopped hiding under her chair, tripping the waitress, and sitting in the water bowl. #fail

Now I just beg for food because sharing is caring. And Mom shares!


At the park, I still hide under the bench, but sometimes, I come partway out to catch some sunshine and say hi to some park people.

Mom said, “What are you afraid of?” and “Want to play?” and “I feel like I’m being watched.”

 

 

 

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

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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.

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Queen of the world. My story continues…

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
 ~Meister Eckhart~

Erasing is easy when you’re a writer who uses the computer. Mom is all Tap. Tap. Tap. 

And bingo, things she doesn’t want in her story are gone for good. And replaced by something better. It’s important that writers don’t get too attached to the words they write because anything may need to go at any given time.

Some of Mom’s critique partners thought one part of her latest story was too mean for little kids. Mom took a deep breath and erased two whole paragraphs of meanness. Now the story is nicer.

Being nice is…. um… nice!

Mom had to erase our balcony flowers already.

‘Nuff said.

They’ve been replaced with something better (and more alive).

I’m glad erasing can’t happen to me. I’d have been gone for good a long time ago. Mom might have replaced me with a better doggie! Whenever she brushes me, she says, “Now you look pretty.” and “Maybe you’ll stop shedding all over the place.” and “I’m going to make a new dog out of all this hair and THROW YOU IN THE GARBAGE.” Gah! She can’t do that. Can she…?

Mom has to erase my furs from the floor and rugs all the time. Also my drool.

Eeeuuwwww!

And crumbs. And the spit marks I make when I lick the floor.

I don’t mind when she erases them. I can always make more.

And more.

And more…

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

I love children (and also wet cement, but that’s another story for another time.). Mostly children are just my size. I love to taste them and snuggle up next to them (and also hump them, but that’s another story for another time.).

I see children at the library when they come to tell me stories at Read to a Pet Night.

Sometimes they taste like gum. And mac and cheese. A lot of them choose doggie books which I appreciate.

But I’m a good girl and listen politely, even when the book is about a C-A-T or FlyGuy or ToyStory.

Sometimes, I see children at the VA when they are visiting an old soldier that they know and love. I mean what’s not to love about an old soldier? They’re adorable. And more importantly, they think I’m adorable. #thingsthatmatter

Being adorable.

Mom writes stories for children. Long ago, she took a class and tried to write an adult story. It FELT horrible when she was doing it, it SOUNDED horrible when she read it to herself, and everybody she read it to said it WAS horrible. So yeah. I guess spending 35 years surrounded by children makes your head work in a certain way that’s tough to fight and impossible to change.

She is always careful about what she writes and how she writes it because just like when she was a teacher, she wants children to remember her words in a good way that will stick with them (like cement) and make them grow up into better humans.

Mom has not forgotten about her dark-of-night challenge.

She has started her story and is wondering if it will ever make it to the night. So far, no. But her character named Martin might take it that way eventually… I’m hoping so, for Mom’s sake. And hoping not for mine. And Martin’s.

Aargh…

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Making changes is something writers have to do – whether they like it or not.

Mom is one of those writers who does NOT like it. But she does it. Sometimes, she gets a story scored by Rate Your Story, sometimes, her online critique group suggests the changes, and sometimes, she gets a flat out rejection and knows changes have to be made.

She reads and rereads her story. She asks questions like, “Will illustrations enhance the story?” and “Is the sequence of the plot events logical?” and “Do the obstacles increase through the story to a critical level that seems hopeless?” and “Are you licking your tail bandage?” Changes are made based on the answers to those questions. Mostly the answers are,  “Yes. Yes. No. And Who? Me?.”

Obstacles have been an issue for Mom. She is aware of it and is working on doing better. Licking my tail bandage has been an issue for me. I am aware of it, and when my bandage is off, I will stop – not right away, but as soon as I taste what’s left of my post-surgery tail.

What just happened…?

Story changes and bandage changes are not the only changes around here. Next week, we will move to a new apartment. Mom and I have visited the new place,

brought some of our things there,

got some new things delivered,

and we have played there a lot.

Our illustrations are just iPhone photos,

the sequence of the moving steps seems logical,

and we are sure there will be no obstacles, and nothing critical or hopeless.

I’m hopeful I’ll spend a lot of time right here…

Thanks, Socrates. We are focused on “building the new.” New story improvements, new tail sizes, and a new home.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mom is working on 3 different stories that she’s not crazy about. She is certain that they WILL get better, just like Janet says they will, so she keeps going back and forth from one to the other and moving them forward. Paws crossed that they’ll get better real soon.

Packing for our move to the new apartment is also coming along. Mom is feeling on top of the whole thing and not frazzled at all.

Wait. What? Uh…. Mom? A little help here, please…

I’m on top of everything, too….in my own way.

Mom works on one story and when she gets stuck, she switches to another one till she gets stuck. Then she switches again and works on the third one for a while. Little by little, things are getting done.

Around here, Mom also goes from one thing to another. She empties a cabinet and then switches to the bookshelf and packs up some of that stuff. Then she switches again and packs up the stuff in a desk drawer. Little by little, things are getting done.

With my help, of course…

Mom mind-writes about her stories, too, so by the time she sits down to write, she knows a few ideas to help her get going.

I mind write in my special doggie way.

And when I wake up I have LOTS of ideas to help me get going.

I smell gum.

What?

I smell cookies.

I smell outside.

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”
~Orson Scott Card~

Story ideas. Aargh. This month is all about ideas for Mom on account of StoryStorm. She was hoping to have 30 ideas by the 30th, and she is pretty flush with 39 so far. Way ahead of the game.

Still she continues to read the StoryStorm posts every morning and she adds an idea or two to her list, depending on what the post says to do.

storystorm_participant

Probably about 5 or 6 of the ideas on the list will turn into something. Maybe it will be exactly the something we need to finally see Book 2 or e-Book 2. Paws crossed.

2 books

It’s not only humans who walk past ideas every day. Just this morning, I walked past a McDonald’s bag that might’ve had a piece of burger in it.

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A stick that fell in the storm.

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And a cat waiting to kill me while he was hiding under a car.

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Mom said, “No litter-burgers.” and “That’s not a stick. It’s half of a tree.”

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and “Don’t even think about it.” Also, “Why do I take you anywhere?” She says that one a lot.

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I’m ready…

So if that Orson Card guy is right, I still have 997 ideas to walk past today. I’d better get back out there and get busy! Maybe I’ll catch a little nap first….

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

William Somerset Maugham

First of all, I love this guy. How could I not? His name is W. Somerset Mom. And just like Mom, he talks about rules. Mom has a lot of rules for me. Here are the top three:

14. Keep off the bed after it’s made.

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6. Always put the toys back in the toy box.

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97. Don’t eat garbage.

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Somethin’ smells good…

3. No begging.

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Mom doesn’t know the novel rules any better than Maugham does. Ditto the picture book rules.

books

I mean she knows there needs to be a great opening, unpredictable characters, conflict, voice, rising action, increasing obstacles, excitement, humor, emotion, lyrical language, plot twists, surprises, and of course a satisfying ending.

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Sometimes, when she reads picture books – which she does A LOT,

books3she says the word, “What? There’s no conflict here.” and “Aargh. That was SO predictable.” and “Get off the bed!”

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and “Ugh. Worst ending ever.” and “Meh.” and “Don’t even think about it!”

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So apparently, there are rules and there is reality. It’s tough to know what an editor will like. It’s much easier to know what Mom will like.

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What?