Monthly Archives: December 2010

Happy New Year

I’m making my new year’s resolutions, with a little help from a friend.  So far I’ve got: 1) See the Pacific Ocean.  2) Read more poetry.  3) Improve posture.  My friend thinks I ought to add 4) Buy more cat treats and 5) Take more naps. 

It’s been such a wonderful year.  Thank you for sharing it with me.  


I’ve just been reading Jane Yolen’s wonderful writing guide, “Take Joy”.  It’s full of tiny stories and big ideas, including one about that very mysterious process: how an idea turns into a story. 

A mother hen taps her egg with her beak–Saku.  The chick inside taps back–Taku.  And then comes the moment when they both tap at the very same time–No-ki.  And wonder of wonders!  The egg at last cracks open, and out comes new life. 

So it is for a writer, when an emotion deep inside connects with something  outside–heart and idea meet and, like a miracle every time,  a story is born.

And by the way, if you haven’t read Yolen’s new book, “Elsie’s Bird”, you are in for a treat.


The house where I live and write is old and full of what they call “charm”.  The ceilings are high enough to make spiders happy, some corners aren’t exactly square, and we can tell when a morning’s really cold just by sticking our noses out from under the covers.

I’m home here alone much of the day, and when I write I switch on my faithful space heater.  It sits on the floor beside my chair like a faithful guard dog, keeping the shivers at bay.  It’s the next best thing to a cat on your lap. 

These days I’m generating some heat of my own, working hard on a revision of my new book.  Looking back in this journal, I see that I mentioned characters named Paris and Disney.  Well, they’ve become Carmella and Shawn, and that’s just the beginning of how much the story has changed.  The other night when I spoke at a library, I mentioned revision, and some kids made faces like they’d eaten rotten plums.  Eeyoo!  But I enjoy it.  My first drafts are always way too rough and sprawling, crying out for polishing and pruning. 

So, the heater’s growling.  The keyboard’s nice and toasty.  And wow, it’s starting to snow.