Sunday, April 26, 2009

Where's the Burst?

After that burst of writing upon completing taxes, I haven't written much since...oh, a little maybe, jotting ideas maybe, but not much. I think I was busy but I don't know with what. I suppose if I put my calendar in front of me, I would figure out exactly what all went on. That's sad. I have this lost week. Except I had a really great Friday and Saturday with my husband. We went away for those two days to celebrate our 27th anniversary. Maybe it was a needed break and now I'll concentrate on what on earth I am doing with my time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Burst of Writing

Wow! Sure enough after doing taxes, I really needed to do something creative. For the past few days since April 15, I have managed the following:
*Completed one 1000 word non-fiction article
*Completed and posted clues for five letterboxes
*Rough drafted one 355 word story
*Drew and colored five illustrations (I should post one or two)
*Edited a cover letter, then sent it with the story to Hopscotch.
*Wrote a 471 word piece and submitted it to Family Fun.
*Re-read (Reading is part of my writing education) Escape to Witch Mountain so I could remember details before seeing the newest Disney version; even the trailer is incredibly different from the book, looks fun but totally different from the book

I didn't get to my script or theater book like I planned but tomorrow is a new day in which to create.

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul." Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taxes Done; Time to Play/Write

I e-filed yesterday morning and my reward to self was playing and writing! My family and I did a little letterboxing (info on letterboxing: and then I began one of the several articles in my head. As soon as I finish this post, I'll finish the article, start another one, finish a cover letter and submit the story, complete a children's script, and edit my theater book ( I'm so glad to be away from the monotony and detail work required to do taxes, and get back to words and creativity!

The article ideas keep flowing because of the instructions given in Christina Katz's book Writer Mama, How To Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids. (

I think, too, that I'll play Syzygy (, a fast-paced word game. I deserve several days of playing after the intensity of doing taxes.

Words, glorious words: reading, writing, playing. I love it!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two Different Shows in Two Consecutive Days

Be unmemorized? Moi? Jamais.
Nor will I ever mention the number of pleading prayers said within those two days.

I love performing once it's over. But the preparing for it can be so stressful. I tend to think I'm not ready--sometimes that's true. Fortunately, my husband with whom I usually perform is understanding, especially when I pre-apologize. When I perform with my daughter, I worry though because I know she'll be better memorized than I and I don't want to goof her up. My husband is able to wing it until I figure out where I'm supposed to be. It always feels like an eternity has passed by while I'm improvising lines with my husband but in reality we're talking up to five SECONDS.

Time is such a relative thing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Easy Way

I have got to find a job where there's no rejection associated with it. Absolutely everything I do involves me putting myself in a position to be judged...and rejected.

I had written a number of children's scripts when I got the idea that I should submit them to contests and to publishers. One publisher's comment in the Writer's Market book was: "Don't write scripts. But if you must write scripts, don't write children's scripts..." That was slightly discouraging. One of the children's plays I submitted for a contest was one for children to perform; admittedly, it was not a heavy theme. I got--was it a 0?--from one judge and a 5 from another. Okay then. My script should not have gone there.

I write and submit picture book texts. The picture book market, editors say, is soft. Figures. I once had an editor critique a story and she asked me to email her a copy so she could discuss it with her staff. It was a no-go. A different editor critiqued the same story six months later. She didn't like it at all. All-righty then.

More scripts and picture book texts have gone out...form rejections usually. And let the record show that I AM trying to improve my craft.

We performed a murder mystery that was so un-fun for a customer that she posted it on the internet. *sigh* I suppose she should if she really felt that way. I performed a singing telegram for which someone called later and was so displeased. Okay, actually I've had two displeased calls about singing telegrams. I love performing mime but even from my own grandmother I've heard, "I can't understand a thing you're doing." *heavier sigh* An arts-in-education organization, for whom we did shows geared for elementaries, took us off their roster because there weren't enough requests for us. *heaviest sigh ever*

And yet...and yet...
*Ridge Mill Elementary in New York won a theater contest with one of my scripts. (Personally, I think it says a lot for the directors and their students but still it was my script). A short script of mine was published in PLAYS magazine.
*One murder mystery audience member said after a show, "That was so great, I kept forgetting to say my line!" Another participant decided to get involved in her church theater group after being part of our show; she said she didn't have the courage before.
*A singing telegram customer hired us two more times because they enjoyed what we did.
*After a mime show, one young person said, "Now I'm going to be smiling the rest of the day."
*A principal was thrilled with what we did for his students.

I suppose if I worked in an office someone might criticize me for not being nice enough (we had a friend fired because his co-workers thought that).
If I was a lawyer...well, they make jokes about lawyers.
If I was a teacher, perhaps a parent, the principal, or the nation might tell me how badly I'm teaching (especially if I did things differently--watch "Stand and Deliver," "Freedom Writers," or "Take the Lead")
If I was "just" a mom, I'd be criticized for not "working." (Mostly, I am "just" a mom and I've worked dang hard to be my own children's guide and "childcare provider").

I've never been one to take the easy way. Why start now? Besides, I just convinced myself that criticism comes to all occupations; I might as well not listen unless it helps me improve.

Gonzo: I have a dream, too...I wanna go to Bombay,
India and become a movie star.
Fozzie: You don't go to Bombay to become a movie star.
You go where we're going--Hollywood!
Gonzo: Sure. If you wanna do it the easy way.
Fozzie: (to Kermit, quietly) We picked up a weirdo.
--The Muppet Movie

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Theater Activity #1: Projection

Theater is an amazing art that carries over into real life. Children (and adults) develop and increase in skills such as reading, team work, confidence, creativity, speech, cooperation and more. It enhances a child's (and adult's) learning capacity. Theater skills are used in the big people world: job interviews, team work and cooperation to solve a problem, presenting ideas to a group, giving speeches. So here's an activity to do with your child. If you don't have one then find one so you can practice without embarrassment because it's good for adults too.

Theater Activity #1: Projection
Projection is speaking loud enough to be heard in the back of the room by someone who is hard of hearing, even if a fan comes on. But it's not screaming. You're not speaking just to the quiet person in the front. Stand across the living room from your child. The child says, "Hi, my name is _____. My favorite color is ____________." If the child is not easy to hear, say, "Project" and the child tries again, being louder this time. Try this again as you step further from the child (such as into the hallway). Use different sentences: My favorite food is... My favorite animal is... etc.
Now take it outdoors and try again. More projection is needed outdoors where there are no walls to hold in the sound. Projection can be practiced with things such as spelling words, math facts, or historical events.