How Being a Children’s Author Helps Tackle Global Climate Destabilization (Plus a Workout)

Congratulations to Miriam for winning the $25 Gift Card ~     ~     ~ Last weekend marked the largest collaborative Climate March in our world’s history. Over 2,500 events in 162 countries during which citizens marched in solidarity a few days before the UN Climate Summit.   And I wasn’t there. To be fair, my household was represented by other members of my tribe. But, I still felt a bit guilty for not going. This is a huge deal and it was a great historical event. I have attended rallies and marches in the past. Sometimes they simply overwhelm me. Other times I get inspired, and then the immediacy of life takes over and I get caught up in my daily to-do. I was left at home wondering what more I could do. I’m not a scientist, but I can support...

Weekend Workout: How To Be

Just because it’s NaNo month and I’m on Team Pantser this year, doesn’t mean I’ll stop doing my long-hand exercises. I’m sure a lot of people (especially Pantsers) type everything straight into their computer. During NaNo month, far more of my first draft definitely happens through my keyboard. But, I almost always warm up with a hand-written exercise and when I get stuck, I always reach for a pen. Writing by hand, for me, opens me up creatively,  frees my ideas, my blocks, and my editor. Whether you are participating in the NaNoWriMo this month or not (and cheers to you if you are), I’ve cooked up a little exercise that you might find helpful at some point when developing a character. A few weeks ago, the students in one of my...

Weekend Writing Workout ~ Really!

My friend Jennifer and I were walking in the park yesterday with her daughter, enjoying a crisp late afternoon under a canopy of bright leaves. When I grew thirsty, she offered me her tic tacs. “Wow,” I said, “I haven’t had one of those in years.” “Just put one in your mouth,” she said. “Trust me.” I did as I was told and instantly had a memory of a shopping mall where my best friend and I bought treats on the way to school. “It tastes like the 70’s,” I said, sucking on the tiny white thing. “And  bit medicinal.” “I know, right!” she said, excited. “They’re really small, but so potent. You only need one, and, BAM, you’re transported back in...

Hellooooooo! Weekend Workout: We Got Talent

Wow. It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged. I’ve been trying to get back to it, but life kept happening. I won’t go into all the details, but let’s just say the circumnavigation included a computer death, a back injury (unrelated to the computer death), 3 elementary school visits (also unrelated to the back injury), a flashmob, a haircut, completing my latest rewrite on a new novel (yay), a dream about a roller coaster for executives. And this: The back injury happened while falling into a pile of logs trying to retrieve this one for my garden: Okay, the part where I carried this by myself to the car may have exacerbated my back injury a bit. But lookie how cool my garden driftwood log is! And my free beach log only cost me $300...

Weekend Writing Workout: Add a Little Magic

I’ve developed a course called Introduction to Speculative Fiction and there’s a particular brainstorming exercise where students do sub-genre mash-ups to generate stories. Once when I was teaching the class there was a woman in the front row who spent most of the class scribbling in her journal. She was a contemporary fiction writer working on a semi-autobiographic story. I thought she wasn’t interested in the class and was off on her own adventure. Turns out she had been inspired by the exercise. She told me later that she had been stuck in her writing and depressed about it. She had been having trouble letting go of parts of the story that weren’t serving it because they were “true.” Even though it was a work of fiction, she...

Weekend Writing Workout: Invasion of Space

I’ve been reading an excellent book called SelfDesign about the life long educational philosophy of Brent Cameron. In it he states that in order to stay balanced within ourselves and our relationships we have to learn not to extend ourselves into other people’s domains, violating their boundaries. He theorizes that if we stay 2/3 in our own space and share a consensual space of 1/3 each, we can keep our relationships in balance. Think about the over-bearing mother who smothers her child and is 3/4 in his personal space. He will definitely find ways to express his anger. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I thought it made an interesting idea for an exercise about what transpires when characters invade each others’ space. I think ideally...