Inspiring writing reminder

“I wonder how old we are when we stop thinking like kids?”  – This Kid Reviews Books  (Quote used with permission. Thanks, Erik!)

Book Review: Cerdito a juicio; comment by author Darlene Foster; & book giveaway!

Cerdito a juicioBook: Cerdito a juicio 
(translation: Pig on trial)
Author: Darlene Foster
Publisher: Ediciones Camelot SRL
Date: March 24, 2015
Genre: children's
Pages: 30; paperback
Price:  $12.00
My rating: enjoyable bilingual medieval tale

Poor Fredrick! He was innocently minding his own business when soldiers showed up and arrested him, and ten-year-old Sebastian could do nothing about it. When Father came home, immediately the decision was made to go and sort out the misunderstanding. He took Sebastian with him, and what transpires is not quite as easy a rescue as expected. Fredrick was slated to be executed, and  Fredrick is the family’s pet pig!

Imagine medieval times, bizarre accusations, a pig on trial and the efforts to rescue him – as told by a ten-year-old boy. Now you have an interesting story.  Plus it’s in two languages – English and Spanish.

When I asked author Darlene Foster if there was anything she wanted to tell me about the story or the writing of it, here is what she said:

“I got the idea for the story a few years ago when I learned that animals were put on trial and sometimes executed in medieval times. I thought that children might find that interesting. Then, I met someone who, when he was a child, had a pet pig called Frederick, and I loved that name for a pig. As often happens, I couldn’t sleep one night, so I got up and scribbled down the first draft of the story. When I moved to Spain, I was introduced to a publisher here. He offered to translate the story into Spanish so we could offer a bi-lingual book to children (and adults) who wanted to learn either language. I am pleased with how the book turned out and will be doing readings at four outlets in Spain this summer.”

Congratulations, Darlene! :)  This is a wonderful book. 

Here’s an inside view to show you how it’s laid out in two languages:

Cerdito a juicio.2Now, to my readers located anywhere in the world I am offering one copy of Cerdito a juicio. If you want to put your name in for your chance to win this book, all you have to do is leave a comment about anything mentioned in this post. Easy peasy. 

You have until July 31 at 10 PM AST, that’s 9 PM Eastern, to get your name in. Don’t put it off! I will use an automated random name picker to select one winner. The next day, August 1, I will make the announcement of who won  Darlene Foster’s Cerdito a juicio.

You can find Cerdito a juicio on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

Did someone say books?

One afternoon last week my daughter met me in town after I’d dropped my little Meyya off for her grooming. I had awhile to do what I wanted before going back for her, so we went shopping in a secondhand (mostly clothing) store. The fun thing in that store is they now have shelves of used BOOKS! My attention on clothes was quickly diverted when I discovered that. Even better – the sign said: BUY 2 GET 1 FREE! Oh. My. Gosh. I was in the right place!  happy happy happy!   Not that I needed more books to add to my already toppling over TBR pile, but … um … yes I did!    You understand. :)

Look at what I bought for $15.00! Plus one not in this shot.

books bought at Frenchy'sI don’t know about you, but I love books no matter whether they are new, used, or very old – and I hope you do, too.  Two of these books I plan to give away on my blog. I’ll let you know later when I’m offering them, one at a time. 

About the above books:

  1. I bought Assassin’s Apprentice – by Robin Hobb because when I was on a bus trip with a friend – I talk about that HERE – there was a fellow on the bus reading one of the author’s books. I had to ask, even though I didn’t know this guy … because seeing anyone immersed in a book makes me curious. He told me the author writes really good fantasy novels. (You know I love fantasy.) He said if he’d not left at his girlfriend’s the one he’d just finished he’d have given it to me! Wasn’t that was sweet of him? When I came across this book, of course I had to have it.
  2. The Great Gatsby – by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I’ve watched the movie. Is the book better? I have to find out.
  3. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – I hadn’t read any of her writing, so this was my first. Someone will win this book. 
  4. Song of Solomon – by Toni Morrison – I’m not sure about this one yet, but I’ve wanted to read some of the author’s work and this seemed a good place to start.
  5. The Pursuit of Happyness – by Chris Gardner – I saw the movie of this true story starring Will Smith and his son, and I loved it! I was excited to find the book. Again, is the book better?
  6. I’m Not Wonder Woman – by Sheila Walsh – I’ve read a book by this Christian author, and reviewed it HERE on my blog. I’m interested in seeing what else she has to say.
  7. The Man Who Was Thursday – by G. K. Chesterton – has been recommended a few times by a friend, so when I saw this copy I had to have it!
  8. You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It – by Suze Orman I picked this one up because I thought it would be of interest to my husband. Turns out it is directed much more to the US economy – so guess what I’ll be doing with this book? 😉
  9. The little book I don’t have in this picture is called Bad Cat: 244 Not-So-Pretty Kitties and Cats Gone Bad – by Jim Edgar. It’s quite funny, and since three of my daughters are cat lovers the book has started its rounds.

Have you read any of the above? And of those that have been made into movies, which is better – the book or the movie?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

I am grateful – a video

It’s time to work out my funk. Sometimes things pile onto me and all I can easily see is problems and frustrations. It’s clear I have to adjust my attitude. I have to remind myself that I have so much to be grateful for, and I really, truly am grateful. With an attitude like that the blues and self-pity can’t stick. So … be gone negativity! This is a new day. 

I was just now reminded of a scripture verse I particularly appreciate: This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.  – Psalm 118:24

In light of that, today I am sharing with you a video you may have already seen and hopefully will like to watch again. It’s a spoken word poem by Natalie Patterson, as you will note below.

Enjoy!

Sending you hugs.

How do you pull yourself out of a potentially down day? For what are you grateful?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

We have a winner of my 7th Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who entered my July giveaway contest!

We have a winner!

The prize is this:

giveaway #7

 

 

 

I used Random.org name picker and found out that the winner …

 

with this comment:

“Such practical materials:) lovely picks. I would use the bag to store my journal and writing pens, it will be easier to have them all in one place.”

 

is:

Maemi!

Congratulations, Maemi. I’ll get this into the mail to you soon, hoping Canada Post doesn’t strike.

To everyone who is interested in my giveaways, I’ve been watching for and setting aside fun things that, in some way, have to do with reading and/or writing.  The AUGUST giveaway will be posted in a couple of weeks and is something special!  Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

Three Rights Make a Left – article by Michael Gartner

A friend sent me this article that I am sharing with you for your enjoyment. Written by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small, former president of NBC News, and 1997 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, 
it’s called …     Three Rights Make a Left        – by Michael Gartner

My father never drove a car. Well, that’s not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

“In those days,” he told me when he was in his 90s, “to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.”

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:  “Oh, bull shit!” she said. “He hit a horse.”

“Well,” my father said, “there was that, too.”

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars — the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford — but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we’d ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. “No one in the family drives,” my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, “But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we’ll get one.” It was as if he wasn’t sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn’t drive, it more or less became my brother’s car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn’t bother my father, but it didn’t make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father’s idea. “Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?” I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps — though they seldom left the city limits — and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn’t seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin’s Church.  She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish’s two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he’d take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests “Father Fast” and “Father Slow.”

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he’d sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I’d stop by, he’d explain: “The Cubs lost again.  The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.”

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out — and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, “Do you want to know the secret of a long life?”

“I guess so,” I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

“No left turns,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“No left turns,” he repeated. “Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic. As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.”

“What?” I said again.

“No left turns,” he said. “Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that’s a lot safer. So we always make three rights.”

“You’re kidding!” I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

“No,” she said, “your father is right. We make three rights. It works.” But then she added: “Except when your father loses count.”

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

“Loses count?” I asked.

“Yes,” my father admitted, “that sometimes happens. But it’s not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you’re okay again.”

I couldn’t resist. “Do you ever go for 11?” I asked.

“No,” he said. ” If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can’t be put off another day or another week.”

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom — the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily — he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he’d fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising — and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, “You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.”

At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, “You know, I’m probably not going to live much longer.”

“You’re probably right,” I said.

“Why would you say that?” He countered, somewhat irritated.

“Because you’re 102 years old,” I said.

“Yes,” he said, “you’re right.” He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: “I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet.”

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:
“I want you to know,” he said, clearly and lucidly, “that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.”

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I’ve wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long. I can’t figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it & if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.

Any comments on this? Does it bring something to mind you’d like to share with us?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)
PS – remember to enter the draw for my giveaway that takes place July 13!

My 7th Giveaway of 2016; your chance to win!

I am much later than I had hoped to offer another giveaway. The good news is that next month’s will be something special and you’ll have more time to enter the draw. This month it is something handy and the draw is not far off.

In my shopping around and looking for items to give away, I have to bear in mind the cost of mailing these things to you. Therefore, what I offer is not big items; regardless, I do hope they are things you can use. This month it is more than one item in my giveaway, but all go together to one winner.

Take a look:

giveaway #7It’s a black zip bag, plastic, a sort of very large pencil case that is big enough to easily hold 8.5″x 12″ paper. It’ll be handy to store your writing things in or carry them around. It would also hold a manuscript.

With it I’m including a note pad for jotting down your story ideas (for example), and a package of brightly coloured sticky tag notes. Perhaps you can use them as bookmarks, or to mark certain passages of your notes so you can find them when you want to make changes or double-check your work.

Here are more images of the same things.

giveaway #7.4giveaway #7.5giveaway #7.6

 

 

 

The quote on the bag is by Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” The bag has a mesh back so you can identify what you put in there.

giveaway #7.2giveaway #7.3giveaway #7.7

 

 

 

Now for the details.

If you want the chance to win this zip bag and its contents, please leave a comment telling me how you usually keep track of your reading or writing supplies OR what use would you have for this bag? Even if you already won something in an earlier draw, please feel free to enter again. 

I am offering this giveaway to my readers in Canada and the United States. If you live outside those countries and you know someone in either of those countries who will keep it for you should you win, please feel free to enter. Just give me the Canada or US address if you do win.

I will use Random.org name picker to find out which of you is the winner; therefore, repeat winners are by chance and fairly selected. Watch here the morning after the draw for the announcement, and don’t forget to check your email. This could be yours!

Draw date for this giveaway is at 10 PM AST, that’s 9 PM Eastern, on Wednesday, JULY 13. This gives you less than ten days to pass the word on to others, too. I will post the winner’s name on JULY 14.

Remember, you have until July 13 to get your name into the draw, but don’t put it off!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)