Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"The The Impotence of Proofreading," by TAYLOR MALI

I can't believe I have never heard of this guy before. A friend shared a reading of his poem, What a Teacher Makes on face book, and I was drawn to his other readings. This one, in particular, made me laugh out loud. And as a student of writing, I can relative.

Please enjoy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Wish

A poem by my 9 year old for school.

I wish

I wish i could fly
through the bright blue sky
and soar through the clouds.
The clouds
would lift me higher and higher.
The sun would gleam in my eyes
as I pass it by.
The moon would say hello
when I passed by the stars.

Monday, February 7, 2011


After nearly a month of moving, putting things in boxes, taking things out of boxes, telling my kids to quit fighting over who gets to sit in the biggest box, the box that has proved to be my favorite is up and running: My new modem.

I have spent the entire morning checking emails, reading facebook posts, catching up on friends' blogs, and getting reaquainted with the literary world. I feel like I have been re-accepted into society. Which makes me ponder being connected.

When your community of people is scattered to all ends of the world, being connected to them is dependent on your ability to reach them. Yay for facebook! But...

I find myself thinking about how important it is to not only reach out over those lines, but make a proactive effort to connect.

I am blessed with a writing community in my area that I haven't taken advantage of, at all. Shame on me. It's time.

At the SCBWI Conference, nearly every speaker spoke about the importance of your community. Writers groups, regional SCBWI groups, online writing groups, a friend from school. Find someone who shares your passion, and make yourself accountable to them for your writing.

Where to start? Not really sure. But I do hear a night out with my local Hamline group scratching at my door.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My List

Things I couldn't help but notice from the table by the window of the Bryant Park Grill...

1. Grown ups like to throw snowballs, too.

2. A snow man. On a bench. Smoking a cigarette.

3. Real men wear stocking caps with ear flaps and pink hearts.

4. The couple next to me planning their wedding.

5. The couple behind me celebrating their 60th.

6. Two beautiful children decided to take it upon themselves to clear the snow off all of the tables and chairs. And relieve Mr. Snowman (see #2) of his detrimental habit.

I was so enamored at being in NYC that all of these things were new, and fresh, and amazing. But, I had been there for about thirteen minutes and I missed home. How is that possible? Because, independent streak aside, sitting alone at a table in the most beautiful city in the world makes you feel very, very small. I needed books.

So, I got up, walked to the NYC Public Library, and found Betsy Bird, librarian extraordinaire. She rocks. She showed me Pooh Bear. No, I mean the original Winnie the Pooh and his friends, the ones the stories are written about. They live in a glass box something akin the the Declaration of Independence. She showed me the original shelving system from 1911, and invited me out for drinks later with a bunch of her friends from the writing community. Oh, and Lemony Snicket might be there.


Well, turns out he was a no show. But I didn't leave without a good story. No sir. As Betsy introduced me to a bunch of people whose names I would never remember, I mingled as best I could. I was having a blast. Agents, editors, writers, I was with my people. We are a funny bunch.

As the circle of people I was standing with ebbed and flowed, I found myself talking with two gentlemen whose names I neglected to get the chance to forget.

"I'm Tracy, and I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name," I said as I extended my hand to guy #1.

"John Scieszka."


I shake his hand and turn to guy #2: "Paul Zelinsky".


Had I known their names 20 minutes earlier, I would have blabbered and sputtered and acted like an idiot. Instead, I was reminded that these people who have helped to form and shape my career goals, my dreams, my Life To Do list are just like me. Well, you know what I mean.

I love my life.

I grinned the whole way home.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Long Time Coming

Has it really been that long since I posted? Yipes...

It is Hamline time again. I am so blessed to be a part of this group. Today, we workshopped a piece by Chris Campbell, dystopian-er extraordinaire. Yes, I made up a word. In fact, I will probably make quite a few over the next few days. That tends to happen when your brain turns to creative-happy-mush.

We heard Gene Yang talk about the story behind the story in his award winning American Born Chinese.

Jane Resh Thomas told us to 'go to the hot stove. You don't have to sit on it, just stand there and cook.' She was talking about the emotional hot spot in your writing, but it makes sense in all kinds of ways.

She also had us do a writing exercise where we crossed characters, events, and dialogues from our memories that wouldn't have normally come together and gave us ten minutes. Afterward, she called for volunteers to read, and the writing gods overcame my good senses. I raised my hand. Here is what came out. It was a cross of my sister and I in our cardboard box watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and my dad traveling for work.

The father watched his girls. So small, like kangaroos in a strange pouch.

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."

His travel bag cut into his shoulder.

"A beautiful day for a neighbor..."

The man on T.V. took off his shoes, one at a time, and replaced them with house shoes.

His father used to wear house shoes. Such fuss over what belonged inside, what belonged out. A lot of things were left out, kept on the other side of the door.

He looked down at his leather soles, his pressed suit pants. The shoulder bag pinched him again.

"Won't you be mine? Won't you be mine?"

He pulled off his shoes, his bag hitting the floor with a thud.

He crawled inside the box and breathed brown curls that smelled of Johnson's baby shampoo.

Tiny hands found his and his tie pulled as the one with the curls pressed against his chest and into his lap.

"Won't you be mine?"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tears in Target

Ok, so I thought it was safe to peruse Knuffle Bunny Free in the Target aisle this morning. My kids were at school or daycare, so nobody was going to climb up my leg, beg for fruit snacks, or use my knee as a kleenex. I could spend 37 seconds paging through Mo Willems' latest creation.


Not because of distraction. Because this time, I was the one in need of a kleenex and a lap to climb into.

I love Mo Willems, the style of his writing, using simple cartoon characters against real black and white photography, and, of course, Knuffle Bunny himself. But this was so much more than that.

Knuffle Bunny Free (get it? Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too, and Knuffle Bunny Free? Ok, so I just got it today-- 1,2,3... ugh) has all the appropriate parts. Cuteness, creativity, and Mo.

For me, it was the story. The loss of something so very important, you don't think life can possibly move forward. You can't eat, you can't sleep, you can't possibly ever be happy again.

Then, lo and behold, you start to. Not only does life go on, but you even start to experience new things that you didn't know you had in you. Life is fun, uninhibited, fantastic. And just when you start to get used to it...


Your life is returned to normal. Well, what normal was before. And you realize, that even though you are so happy you can hardly stand it, you don't need your old life back. You've grown up. You've moved on. And someone else might even gain from your experience.

And you might even shed a tear in Target. Don't worry, the nice lady walking by with the toddler in her cart offers you a kleenex. You thank her, blow your nose, and warn her, as a parent, not to read the section beyond "the end," and hand her the book.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This Week's Top Ten...So Far

10. Paging through my Writer's Digest and finding them talking about YA!!!

9. The "college of Oz" that my girls built out of building blocks, complete with pillars, blonde Glinda doll, dark haired Elphaba doll, and Prince Eric standing in for Fiyero

8. Making it through three whole workouts without cardiac assistance

7. Listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (for the seventy third time)

6. Having another "AHA!" moment for my work-in-progress

5. Realizing that I'm ahead of schedule for my Hamline homework packet

4. Scoring airline tickets to Florida in October for $200 each

3. Reading "Linger"

2. Reading "Linger" author's blog and realizing just how normal Maggie Stiefvater is. Well, perhaps a little superhuman, and beastly talented, but normal in the wife-mom-has a dream sort of way

1. Dancing at my baby sister's wedding in a flapper dress and 1920's hair while my gramma drank beer out of a teacup.