Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is it enough to be crazy in your writing?

Today I’ve been busy taking care of the normal things at Dad’s; I also have to pull together a manuscript for 12×12 in 2012 before this month ends – in only four more days! Yikes! Hopefully I can spend time on that this afternoon while Dad is resting, but first ..

when I saw the following quote on Twitter I knew it would be a great topic for today. My other blog ideas will have to wait awhile.

“Being crazy isn’t enough.” – Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was famous for his much-loved zany stories and characters. They may have been written with a message, but what was important was that they were fun, funny, and memorable. But why were – and are – they so popular? Besides the fact that they are a delight to read, could it be because they were different, daring, and really stood out for their uniqueness? At the time they first appeared in the publishing world, illustrators were mostly creating commonplace characters, what was expected, created with care to fit the norm. But not Dr. Seuss. He did not fit the mold, neither as an author nor as an illustrator, and he didn’t want to – even though he was warned to not veer away from what was being accepted then because doing so could only mean failure.

These days you hear two different minds on the topic of what to write. Some say to be sure to offer what publishers are looking for or risk your hard work being tossed aside. Others say to submit the different things, things that are not the trend, because how else is the trend going to change? How is your work going to be noticed if you don’t take that chance? I have even read that some publishers are waiting for the outstanding off-the-trend work, something new to get excited about in the piles of the usual submissions.

How do you feel about that?

Look at a few more of Dr. Seuss’ quotes that reveal his philosophy:

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

“In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!”

Now, does that last one sound like a normal thinking mind that sticks with the every-day-the-same routine that produces the every-story-must-fit-the-usual? I think not! 🙂

What do you think Dr. Seuss meant by ‘being crazy isn’t enough’? Do you think it is  enough?

What do you think you have to be, or have to do, to become a ‘best read’ author?

How willing are you to take chances and be different to be noticed by an editor and/or publisher? Do you ‘dare to be different’?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! … 🙂

SPRING has sprung!

  Today is officially

A week ago our daughter and our young grandson were across the road flying kites, since it’s a great place for that with the wide open fields on a breezy day.  Our little guy was having a great time.  He hardly had to move and the kite was lifting off in the updraft.

It’s a sign of the coming Spring. Remember those days? 🙂

Here today it is a glorious 20º Celcius , which is 68º Fahrenheit – and it actually got a little warmer than that where my house is located.  We are having an early Spring in Nova Scotia! Hopefully the temperatures will not change back until late Autumn as the buds are beginning to swell on trees and shrubs.

Our daughter, out west in Alberta, says it’s not spring there! At -17º C, (which is 54.6 F if I did the math correctly) all she had to say about it was …    brrr   😦   phhht! 

So —  to anyone, like my daughter, who is still dreaming of warmer weather … I hope it happens soon for you.

In the meantime —

I love Spring! It means that Summer is next and … I love Summer! 🙂

 HAPPY SPRING, everyone!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Have you hugged a leprechaun today?

    

Today is the day of “the wearing of the green.” It also is my aunt’s birthday, so my uncle brought her for a visit with Dad who is her one remaining sibling.  Since she was born March 17, I call my aunt our family’s little leprechaun, always a funny prankster.

On another note: Did you know that Saint Patrick was not really Irish? And Patrick was not his birth name? His real name was Maewyn Succat but he took the name of Patrick when he became a priest — and I’m glad he did; it’s easier to say!

Patrick was born in Scotland in 373 AD, but was captured by raiders when he was sixteen and taken to Ireland as a slave. After six years he escaped by ship, then returned years later on a mission from God at about 430 AD.

Do you know how the shamrock became known as a symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day? Legend has it that Patrick used the shamrock as a visual aid in teaching about the Trinity.

Patrick grew to deeply love Ireland, and as an old man that is where he died on March 17, 460 AD, having fulfilled his mission. If you are interested in reading more about his life, click here.

Even though their history is tumultuous and rugged I love that some of my ancestors came from Ireland and some from Scotland.

Dance a little jig, count your many blessings, and hug a leprechaun today. I did.  🙂

HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!

Do you happen to have any leprechauns in your family? 

Do you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in any way?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: I Only Cry at Night – by P. Allen Jones

Book: I Only Cry at Night: Living With Sickle Cell Disease
Author: P. Allen Jones
Genre: biography, healthcare
Pages: 182
Publisher: CreateSpace
Released: October 15, 2011
Price: $14.95
My Rating: A must-read for everyone willing to learn about this devastating hereditary blood disorder.
 

No matter how much you think you know, or don’t know, about Sickle Cell Disease, this book will give you a perspective you cannot have aside from having the disease yourself or knowing well someone who does. There are still many misconceptions about it and much misunderstanding.

Ms. Jones has opened her heart and invited the reader into her life, the good and the bad. In a personable writing style she tells in an honest way about her upbringing in a large family that had little understanding of how to deal with Sickle Cell Disease – the sorrows, the heartaches, the chronic pain and suffering, the dashed hopes and dreams of a child. Many times she could have given up, could have despaired and not tried again, but being a determined and insightful person of faith she fought her way through everything that stood in her way. She is still fighting, but now it is not only for her own life but for the benefit of others afflicted with the devastating blood disorder that is, as yet, incurable.

Starting with her earliest memory at age four, she very visually relates her story, easily pulling the reader into each scene. You will learn about her dysfunctional family life and the prejudice she suffered at school even when she was an achiever, the inadequate medical treatment she received due to lack of understanding about Sickle Cell Disease, her brushes with death, her determination to make a success of her life as she struggled through adolescence and into adulthood with the knowledge that she would probably die young. And you will walk with the author, hoping for her through each chapter as you learn what life is like for those born with the disease. You will feel frustration because of misinformation and then satisfaction as this brave woman continues to strive to spread awareness of Sickle Cell Disease, how to treat it, and how to live with it.

Did you know that Sickle Cell Disease:
  • is found in many races throughout the world?
  • has been reported in twenty countries, and of those only a few have the needed care programs?
  • has a life expectancy of 42 for males, 48 for females?
  • is not contagious but is a genetic disease that causes terrible physical pain and complications and must be managed very carefully?
  • is not yet taken seriously enough to be funded responsibly nor studied enough to make a significant difference for the people who live with it all their lives?
  • is easily detected with a blood test that will show if a person has the disease or is a carrier?

P. Allen Jones, a Sickle Cell Disease advocate, has written a book that is well worth reading. In this book she not only shares how this disease has affected her own personal life and how she had to learn to cope with it in all areas of life, but having done a great deal of research she has included valuable information with disturbing statistics

One negative note: the first printing of her book was a frustrating disappointment to the author because of the poor editing. If you happen to obtain a copy of the first edition and can overlook the common errors that should have been picked up in editing, then do read the book for its message. There is now an improved second printing. Even if you get a first edition you will not miss the author’s sincere voice; it is strong and clear and real. You will be much better informed for having read I Only Cry At Night: Living With Sickle Cell Disease.

Visit www.pallenjones.com for where to purchase her book, and for locations of her scheduled book signings and talks.

You can find I Only Cry at Night: Living With Sickle Cell Disease listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

New fairytales found! Do you hide away your treasure?

This morning I came across a news article that caught my attention.

We all are familiar with the collection of fairytales known worldwide that were written by the Grimm brothers Jacob and Wilhelm. Well, it seems that at about the same time that they were collecting those tales, there was a historian by the name of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth who was also gathering myths, legends and fairytales. For decades he talked to country folk, servants, and labourers, recording on paper their local habits, traditions, customs, and history that otherwise were passed to next generations only by word of mouth. The Grimm brothers admired his accuracy, and Jacob told the king of Bavaria that Von Schönwerth was the only one who could ever replace them in their work.

Von Schönwerth’s research was compiled into a book called Aus der Oberpfalz – Sitten und Sagen, which translated: is From the Upper Palatinate – customs and legends. It was released in 1857, 1858 and 1859 in three volumes, but, sadly, all his meticulous work never gained popularity and was forgotten. Last year the present cultural curator, Erika Eichenseer, published a book of selected fairytales by Von Schönwerth. If you are interested, you can find it here: http://amzn.to/xEvOma

Eichenseer, while looking through Von Schönwerth’s collection in Regensburg, also discovered 500 new fairytales he had recorded and which had been locked away in an archive for over 150 years! Many are not mentioned in other European fairytale collections. So, in 2008, the curator helped to found the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society devoted to studying his work and publicizing it. Work has already begun on an English translation. Eichenseer said, “Their main purpose was to help young adults on their path to adulthood, showing them that dangers and challenges can be overcome through virtue, prudence and courage.”

Another society member – Daniel Drascek, a professor of language, literature, and cultural sciences – was quoted as saying, “Schönwerth’s legacy counts as the most significant collection in the German-speaking world in the 19th century.”

Why am I telling you all this? I found this news story to be fascinating, amazing, and sad. It made me wonder …

What if your work is so well done, even to be envied by other writers, but for one reason or another it just doesn’t make it? Would you keep trying? Would you file it away?

Do you keep those things – those treasures you so passionately created – that are rejected time and again, or do you finally give up in despair and toss them?

Do you have a secret file, or a ‘just in case’ file, for your rejects or those stories you just aren’t ready to send out there?

And finally, do you feel inspired or encouraged by this story? Would you want your work to find its place even long after you are gone?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Read the full story here: Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany (guardian.co.uk)

What is your favourite quote about reading or books?

Here are a few interesting quotes about reading and books. Some are funny, some are serious, but all are thought-provoking. Enjoy!

A fondness for reading changes the inevitable dull hours of our life into exquisite hours of delight.” – Charles de Montesquieu

“The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness.” – Holbrook Jackson (1874-1948)

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all of the miseries of life.” – W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.”  – Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” – Emilie Buchwald

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

Do you have a favourite quote about reading or books?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

I love Sunshine & I received the Sunshine blogger Award!

Ever need a little something of encouragement that arrives at just the right time? I do now and again. Thanks to Darlene Foster, on March 1 I was given the Sunshine Award! What a lovely, and appreciated blogger award.

This award comes with the requirement to answer “ten easy questions”, but for me it’s not so easy. I cannot pinpoint favourites very well, but I told Darlene maybe it’s because I like so many things. You’ll see how indecisive I am with naming just one thing.

Now, on with the show —

Of course, the Sunshine Award has some rules:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself
  • Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

TEN EASY QUESTIONS

Favorite color: This varies, sometimes pink, sometimes green … or purple

Favorite animal: donkey, elephant, my own dog, – personality is important. 😉

Favorite number: 7, or 4 because I often seem to prefer things to be even

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: ice water with lemon, Rooibos tea, fruity or spicy herbal tea

Prefer Facebook or Twitter? definitely Twitter, I am not convinced about Facebook.

My passion: helping and encouraging others; reading/writing

Prefer getting or giving presents: Giving. Although it’s fun to receive gifts there is so much enjoyment in giving to bless others, especially if it’s a ‘just because’ gift.

Favorite pattern: Snowflakes come in amazing patterns, and frost on window panes can make exquisite patterns

Favorite day of the week: any day of peace in my life – and the rare days I can write and/or read without interruption or other obligations – is a great day. Also, I tend to be reclusive, if possible, to regenerate and think.

Favorite flower: the Mammoth Russian Sunflower

PASSING IT ON:

I hereby pass forward this cheery Sunshine Award to some worthy bloggers whose writing I have discovered and enjoy for one reason or another – even though I don’t get to visit many very often. Give yourself a treat by checking them out.

http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/
http://deryncollier.wordpress.com/
http://thegracefuldoe.wordpress.com/
http://www.singer-scribe.blogspot.com/
http://www.happybirthdayauthor.com/
http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com/
http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com    
http://jancoates.ca
http://misscharlottesbookblog.blogspot.com/
http://ishtamercurio.blogspot.com
http://rebeccaberto.wordpress.com/
http://michelledevans.blogspot.com/
 

And that’s it! Again, thanks Darlene. I will be notifying all the above to let them know of their award. Please visit these wonderful people, including Darlene who can be found at http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂