Right to Speak

~   ~   ~ I really dislike the term “thick skinned.” As in… “Ya gotta be thick-skinned, Danika, to be able to take the slings and arrows of life.” I have an idea. Why don’t people just stop slinging and arrowing? This is truly the age of the bully, as social media has given bullies megaphones and permission to use them. To put yourself out there risks a world of complete strangers turning against you. It can be a nasty, nasty place online. (image by Michael V. Manalo) There’s a 2015 TED talk by Monica Lewinsky called The Price of Shame. My immediate reaction when I first came across it was why would I want to hear THAT woman’s story? I watched it anyway, and I encourage you to do the same, because my reaction was the whole point. Monica was basically the...

The Art of Uplift (aka – Be a Star Among Stars)

up*lift verb 1. to lift up; raise; elevate. 2. to improve socially, morally, or the like. 3. to exalt emotionally or spiritually. 4. to become uplifted. noun 5. an act of raising; elevation. 6. the process or work of improving, as socially, intellectually, or morally. 7. emotional or spiritual exaltation. For the past few months I’ve been thinking about the ideas of UP and DOWN in terms of language, emotion, and physicality. When we are UP we are high, exalted (“closer to the heavens”), floating, light, standing tall, open. We love looking up – – to the sky, birds, clouds, sun, moon, future. When feeling liberated, joyous, elated we throw our arms up. We want to “reach for the stars” not “dig ourselves”...

Weekly Workout (First in our New Home – Huzzah) – Creating Suspense

 (artwork by Gizem Vural) I didn’t think I had a weekly workout this week because I have so many book launch things going on (yay), but then a friend of mine asked if I had an exercise she could use for middle school students that involved CREATING SUSPENSE. I realized I hadn’t done much work on suspense, with middle school or adult students, so I decided to include the exercise I came up with here. Yes, this is geared towards 7th graders, but I think the lesson works for adult-types, too. suspense is all about tension and about what you do know vs. what you don’t know Suppose a girl wrote a hideously embarrassing love note to a boy, with no intention of ever giving it to him. But her best friend, thinking she’s being super helpful, sticks...

Weekly Workout: Out of One’s Era

I like technology. I’m no techno whiz, but I can get a pretty good geek on. Sometimes, though, the pace of technological advancement astonishes me. It’s overwhelming. I keep joking that one of these days I’m just going to put my foot down and say, That’s it, no more, I’m staying here. Others have. I know people who refuse to text. I know people who won’t shop online. I know people who will never, ever, ever get rid of their stereos or watch TV online. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I mean, I plan on being the writer on the panel at some future convention who goes, “[insert new technology]? No, I don’t do that kind of thing.” Who cares if I write speculative fiction? I’ve met plenty of science...

Weekly Workout: Did Someone Say Resolutions?

(Weekend Workout is now Weekly Workout and posted on Mondays. Skip to the bottom of the page to go straight to this week’s workout) Currently Reading: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievater (I am digging this book more than I thought I would) *     *     * Yesterday, author Kelly Barnhill wrote a lovely post about making a list of intentions for the new year (rather than one of oppressive “resolutions”). Strangely, her intentions list was almost identical to mine – other than the no “erasing” documents, because I’m queen of saving versions of manuscripts. Oh, and the fact that I do intend to learn a new instrument (or rather, pick up an old one) this year. That’s a subset of my overall intention for the new year,...