#MeToo

kit2I didn’t look at Twitter for 24 hours a few days ago. #ROSEARMY

I posted a bit on FB. #metoo

I switched FB from public to only friends. #WTH”FRIENDS”???

I’ve been reading FB and Twitter in bed before turning out the lights. I have NEVER done this before, at least—-not with consistency/possibly commitment and I don’t condone it, and I am doing it. #weirdtimes

I will be the change I wish to see, I have been the change I wish to see, but the “must” part of I must be the change I wish to see—missing from daily life. More like–I’m just constantly processing IT IT IT ad nauseum (see below re: SNL) #it–w/sighs

Yours in more than thoughts and prayers, yours in good health, in mothering selves and children, yours in Love, yours in Peace, and yours in pushing back, yours in watching the BBC Emma Thompson interview, and SNL from last Saturday, and, most of all, yours in the healing effects of kitten power,

PB.

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Writer’s Retreat: What Was It Like?

SCBWI Working Writer’s Retreat, September, 2017

The “working” aspect in Working Writer’s Retreat (for me)=the retreat provided printers, so there was no excuse (for me) for not sprinting to my sparse (sweetly existential) weekend bedroom after a workshop, whipping open my laptop and revising my work based on inspiration or comments from said workshops, comments so helpful, I retreatcould have cried into my savory tofu-in-mushroom-sauce dinner (I ticked the vegetarian option), or any meal served in the hall with a view of spreading oaks backed by tranquil sky. Felt transported from Los Angeles into a Buddha’s serene blink.

Workshops were scheduled so that when your roommate was in a workshop, you had the room to yourself to feverishly revise, if you wished. Brilliant.

Each of my workshops featured the same 4 writers (5, with me) presided over by a different agent or editor. So the same 4 writers heard, from me, my same first chapter revised throughout the weekend. This worried me: I didn’t want to keep presenting the same effing thing–but I reminded myself that the ‘same effing thing’ is key to my whole effing manuscript. And I had eagle-eyed critiquers. So–I took advantage of their eyes. Thanks, my group, eagles. Thank you, so much.

k4

Mittens, ready to pounce

Retreat? Yes, but–we were so noisy, us introverted writers, we were asked by Holy Spirit admin to keep it down, as in addition to our retreat, a Silent Retreat was also taking place at The Center.

But Saturday night’s karaoke fest was far too much fun to remember warnings. Only later (shuffling wearily to our rooms), hearing a nearby Encino neighborhood’s rage (uber-peppy DJ w/uber-amplifiers) did we proffer: Oh dear, the silent retreaters must be challenged. And that night I slept as though encased in fathoms. No breakfasts to prepare, no child to ferry to school, no dogs to shoo from licking my hand at 3.a.m.–I was OUT.

 

k5

Shadow experiencing a ribbon

This was my favorite SCBWI event to date. Retreaters were open to sharing–from critique to favorite authors and kid lit info to pix of pets and kids. Conversations with my roommate were both professional and family-related (I luff her!). I returned home to my husband, son and 2 new family additions–kittens–feeling creatively inspired. A few weeks later, still feeling it. Although fairly sleepless due to kittens. Silent retreaters! Your revenge is complete. Insert smiling face here…

Anticipating next February’s SCBWI Skirball event.

Yours in productivity, creativity and, of course, kittens, PB

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SCBWI WWR 9/2017

Me–prepping for the upcoming SCBWI Working Writer’s Retreat:

 

streep gif

Will always, ALWAYS be my #1 gif

 

Fortunately I got in, thanks to iphone alerts, Alexa/Echo alerts, the wall calendar with a particular date circled so thickly in red it could never become invisible, no matter the million times I pass it in my daily life. This event sells out every year. I’m lucky to be a part of it. I’ve had weeks, now, to prep, print, use the read-it-to-me feature on Word, buy a new memory stick and pens and despite doing all that? Despite my writing satchel being (over) packed?

All prep still feels last minute.

Maybe because I’m excited, nervous, terrified of the karaoke aspect included with the retreat (participation highly encouraged–perhaps I’ll get lucky and channel an inner Meryl?), and hoping I remembered to check the vegetarian option when I registered. Also: Must. Not. Forget. Yoga mat.

Yours in conferences completely overrun in helpful critique,

Meryl Streep

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Disaster Adjacent (Eavesdropping Edition)

Time: 1:00p.m.

Temperature: 109 & rising

I was in Trader Joe’s for last minute holiday weekend supplies. I don’t usually notice conversations going on around me in Trader Joe’s as I squint at my list, trying to remember what I forgot to put on it.

But this day, I did. Listen. And whatever TJ’s section I was in—crackers, nuts, where they keep the salmon dip–all anyone was talking about? Weather. Especially since the La Tuna Canyon fire was raining ash city-wide, and actual rain reportedly gushed in pockets of our teeming metropolis, pockets like Reseda (I was witness) and Malibu, but pict-20120612-151635-0not, sadly, La Tuna Canyon.

“Loading up and heading to Malibu. Weather there insane, rain, sun, lightning, but, you know, I LIKE that. Me, personally, I LIKE weather.”
—gesticulating older man in shorts and flip flops to a TJ’s clerk. Clerk told man to have a wonderful time in Malibu, for her. She meant it.

“My daughter’s fine, my daughter’s fine, no, my daughter’s fine, no flooding in her condo? But it ain’t pretty. She’s a new college grad! Wow. Wow. Wow. What an education.”
—TJ’s checkout clerk to a customer nodding rhythmically as she bagged her own goods. Customer was on the verge of tears.

Crowd at the tasting/coffee area–so many people and carts, the thruway was blocked. Two TJ’s clerks behind tasting counter shared info and intel and research regarding floods and heatwaves with crowd. Samples cups were discarded on the counter, littered floor. No subsequent samples were being prepared. Yet no one left the tasting area. Everyone wanted to talk.

“Flashlights, freeze-dried food. Like–meatballs. Ice cream. Space blankets. Solar powered phone chargers. Running shoes in your car, oh, and twine. Like for camping. Everyone has this shit, babe. Come on.”
—TJ’s customer pushing basket super slowly down frozen food aisle, speaking into cell phone balanced between shoulder and ear.

“Bee’s wrap. Shut. Up. Do it.”
—customer on cell phone hovering near my beloved salmon dip.

I took two dips. zumasunsetAnd, seconds later, a baguette.

I thought: I am going home and I am going to revise the crap out of my manuscripts.

Update: Salmon dip w/baguette was, as usual, amazing. Earthquake kit checkup proved we have a solar powered electronics charger, a year’s supply of astronaut food, space blankets, a hand-crank radio, water purifier and loads of other items. I researched bee’s wrap on the internet, but am leaning towards hemp wrap so as not to stress out the stressed out bee population. Late Labor Day afternoon? We took our dinner to Zuma Beach, Malibu. We swam, ate, watched the sun set and dolphins cut through giant, greeny waves. Rain fell on us. Felt like a blessing.

Manuscripts? Revisions? Coming along, Toto, coming along.

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116 Degrees (T-Rex & Gladioli Edition)

Early days of 4th grade for the boy coincide with consecutive days of triple digit heat for valley dwellers, a box turtle possibly on a hunger strike because I won’t put her in her outdoor arena in triple digit heat, melted-looking toadstools popping up around the base of our pop-up outdoor swimming pool, fungi I believe our dog has licked or eaten because suddenly poop abounds, inside house, outside, in reception room of vet’s office, all manner of bugs landing in pop-up pool, mostly–sadly–bees, although I watched a wasp land on the surface, remain for 4 seconds (I counted) then wing-activate and zoom safely away (wasps are the new dragoIMG_2495n-fly? Removed a dead dragon fly from pool, rainbow wings soggy, long body done, so…)

In this heat, I’ve sent love & money & more love & money and this will continue until floods are tiny puddles.

Fire in La Tuna Cyn eating its way over brittle terrain towards suburban Burbank neighborhoods, ash on our cars, ash on the pop-up pool’s cover, ash in the turtle’s outdoor arena, ash smearing my windshield because my wipers suck–here, changing windshield wipers never makes the To Do list. Triple digits, fire and now a mugginess/humidity-soup pushed to us from a storm torturing Baja. Triple digits predicted today. The hottest summer since we moved to the valley 7 years ago. Loved those glorious rains last Fall, but how quickly their good was eaten by multiple heatwaves tucked into all subsequent months, to this month’s 109, 111, 116, etc.

IMG_24964th grade has not included playing outdoors at lunchtime. Will be forcing self to open the next water and power bill. One day, will the turtle forgive me?

I like to watch video of the people dressed up in T-rex costumes, all clumsily making their way across a green in Washington D.C., protesting a latest legislative injustice. I like pondering gladioli. I am grateful for our A/C.

I like sending out prayers for rain. And prayers for closed floodgates. And prayers for rain.

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Write (“Blocked” Edition)

beach5When I “can’t” write:

Elbow–‘New York Morning’ and ‘The Take Off And Landing Of Everything Good’ on my Elbow Pandora station, courteously provided by Alexa/Echo Dot when I talk to her like Kirk talking to COMPUTER in ‘Star Trek’.

My grandmother’s piano + Clementi’s Sonatina in C Major, op. 36, no. 1. Oh. Heck. Yes. Gives me chills. The music, not my playing.

Jackson Browne–on my Jackson Browne Pandora station, see Elbow above.

Acacia Chardonnay–2.75 glasses (possibly 2.99 especially if TGIF). Acacia can be paired with My Grandmother’s Piano bit nicely. And with cooking dinner–yet another distraction, but so necessary.

First Pages: i.e. ransacking my middle-grade-only bookshelves and reading all first pages of all books on shelves. Of course I want the first page of any novel I write to be interesting–but the commercial focus these days is hooking readers within a sentence or two. I get it. I do. I have a 9yo. I get it. However…Okay, is Acacia handy? No? Right. Moving on.

Venting to my son’s school’s librarian, who happens to be a middle-grade author and  so down-to-earth and marvelous and listens and knows and is happy to share wisdom and information. I am a lucky writer to know her. And I don’t vent EVERY time I see her. Do not! Mostly we talk books. Or, books I peskily ask her about. I repeat: I am lucky and grateful and learning. When I speak to my son’s librarian, I want to return home and write/revise.

Zuma Beach: It’s closest to me (half an hour+!!!) and being an ocean fanatic? Well. Hard to make the trek on a weekday. But that’s all right. Hopefully it will never go away: Zuma. Wide open beaches. Ocean.

Yours in sonatinas and oceans,

PB.

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Summer Diary

 

SB Feb 003

  1. Not my rash!
  2. Finally. Fire breath. Thank you, GOT.
  3. I see you, arm muscle.  #workingout6weeksstraight
  4. Muscles missing. Hijacked in the night, IMO. So what? I have brie.
  5. Total eclipse of sun predicted. My prediction? Revision, revision, submissions, submissions….But only because not driving to Oregon.
  6. Box turtle refuses to be content in pen that is not the glorious unbridled wilds of Connecticut. Insists on escape. Like I did when a teenager. (comments closed)
  7. Exercising. Writing. Extracting dog poop from yard. Clearing black widow webs from home’s entryways (not metaphorically confessed). #life
  8. NOT MY RASH! (comments closed)
  9. Family is forever, some “family” forever suspect.
  10. Can’t remember when last visited beach…SAD!
  11. Coming alive in the wee hours, as usual–revising ms. with help of chai tea and ranch flavored rice crackers, and: macadamia nuts. Unsalted. Aloha?
  12. Sleep. Please! Sleep. For me.
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Star Wars vs. Sports (Panic Attack Edition)

I received an email late yesterday afternoon from my son’s summer camp with this subject line: FRIDAY SPORTS DAY. Meaning, send him to camp in a jersey emblazoned in a sports decal.

Last Friday was: STAR WARS DAY

An easy one! My boy dressed in his Luke Skywalker 1/2 robe w/belt, Star Wars T-shirt and shorts, down the sides of which he slid his light sabers, various Star Wars action figures filled his pockets and he had a storm trooper helmet under his arm, “Just in case, Mom!”

panda

My son doesn’t have a favorite sports team. He refuses organized soccer. He tried fencing, but the instructor shouted: THIS IS NOT STAR WARS! and he never wanted to go back. He did karate from ages 4 to 8. He’s done with karate. Or is at the very least on hiatus. He could care less about baseball, or (I breathe a sigh of relief) football. He and his hockey-manic dad attend L.A. Kings games, but our son doesn’t want to actually play hockey (his dad breathes a sigh of relief, having played for decades–cue lingering injuries).

“Do you want to wear a team shirt on Friday?” I asked my nine-year-old. He stared at me like I was cray-cray. “Of course, mom!” he said.

“Huh,” I said, wracking my brain. “Lakers?” “Sure! I like those yellow Laker shirts,” he said, surprising me. “Get me one of those?” he asked. “If you clean your room,” I responded, trying to buy time.

Did he really NOT have a team???

Did it matter?

We rooted for the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but my son never mentions (unlike his dad on a daily basis) Tom Brady or Edelman. He doesn’t mention the Kings. He’s never seen a Laker’s game, on TV or live. I was so confused. So when his dad got home from work I raced to Target, even though my husband insisted his Patriots shirts would fit our son (he cray-crayier than me). Target had no team shirts in my kid’s size, except for the Golden State Warriors (who???), but I did find a shirt depicting a storm trooper basically going-for-the-gold.

I almost bought it.

This morning? I wish I had.

patriots shirt

“Mom,” my son said with a sigh. “I’ll wear my R2 shirt. Team R2!” he added with a laugh.

Best kid ever.

 

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The New Now

I closed my laptop and asked my waitress, Lila, why she was clearly having a rough day. She started talking to me about her mom.

I almost dropped my glass of lemonade.

ice

Lila’s mom rivals mine and I didn’t think that was possible—I mean, anything is possible, but a mother using a super nice daughter as whipping post, poison pen recipient, heart-punching material (not to mention literal face-slapping material)? For decades?

I thought that was just my mom.

city

When I was a kid, my mother ran off with a Greek boy-god 15 years her junior, left us little ones with our alcoholic, depressed, out-of-work dad. She sent postcards detailing her explorations of Greek isles as my dad made our school lunches while sipping his morning coffee-with-vodka.

When the Greek boy-god dumped my mother, she reclaimed her kids and added a bad boyfriend to her instant-family. I wasn’t the only one who objected to him, cue my sisters and extended family members. But after Bad Boyfriend threw a patio table over on me, almost knocking out my front teeth because I told him his bullying was not okay, I was the kid at home wrapping my bedroom’s doorknob with string tied to a chairback: alarm system, in case Bad Boyfriend tried to kill me in the middle of the night.

It was the ’70’s. I had no idea CPS existed. If I had? I would have bugged them. Repeatedly. I was that kind of precocious, SAVE THE KIDS! kid.

salt mounds

When I fled ‘home’ at 17, my mother never said: I’m sorry I’m allowing you to go off and marry a misogynist three times your age.

Or: I’m sorry my addiction to abuse has caused you to enter an abusive relationship of your own.

Or: I’m sorry for abandoning you kids for the Greek boy-god.

Or: I’m sorry.

Instead, I got: “Your leaving caused me to have a nervous breakdown and only he (i.e., Bad Boyfriend) helped me through it.”

These days? I practice gratitude: Mr. Wonderful; our amazing son; our home, mini-zoo; our FUN.

It’s hard to imagine I was ever anyone’s whipping post, much less my own mother’s. And yet…she continues to repeat the past.

That doesn’t mean she is successful.

I told Lila.

stone

Lila didn’t agree, or disagree.

But confessed she gave her mother the shirt off her back because her mother unleashed the ME-A-BLACK-HOLE energy and said: I want your shirt. That shirt. Right there. The one you’re wearing.

Lila felt sad for her mother, who at that time was recovering from a stroke. So Lila washed the shirt in her mother’s washing machine. Dried, ironed it. Gave it to her mom-along with a bowl of chicken soup. Shortly after, Lila was b****-slapped again by: Guess who.

desert

Lila doesn’t look like me at all, but we are sisters.

“I can’t imagine treating my son the way my mother treated me,” I told Lila, hoping I didn’t sound preachy. “Can’t imagine treating my 12-17-year-old self the way my mother treated me,” I added. “I think about that 12-17-year-old girl trying so hard to be an adult without knowing how to be an adult and I tell that girl: I’ve got your back.”

Lila looked doubtful, but nodded.

“I’m making progress, is what I’m saying,” I told her.

Lila cried a little as I handed her my therapist’s card. She moved to other tables and I cried a little behind my sunglasses as I packed up my laptop and drove to retrieve my son from his summer camp.

Cue happiness.

metcayucos

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4th Fireworks (“Shh!” Edition)

Happy 4th!

This: fire1

This splendor in this country:

fire3

Here, they viewed this:

fire2

Our 4th?

 

This:

w!

Um–Mom? What’s going on?

Visiting family, as we were in the middle of watching ‘Moana’, I cried: OMG TIME FOR FIREWORKS. And my FIL brought us here, to an eerie stretch of road bracing the Indian reservation.

And then, suddenly, this quiet flash of imagery:

w2

I posted on FB that we were the scene in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ when they’re waiting for the spaceships to fly by. And they flew.

w3

And it was?: Bliss.

indian2

Thank you, Soboba Indians, for the show. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know it was bigger and louder closer, but this was perfect: Surreal, remarkably different, totally unforgettable. And you gave me writing material.

Yours in memorable scenery,

PB

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Vacationing Hypocrite (Monterey Edition)

jellyMy son and I kicked off his summer vacation with a road trip north, first stop: Monterey’s Cannery Row–breezes that had us in our hoodies within seconds of stepping out of the minivan, views of the bluey bay, an aquarium, wildlife (captive otters in the aquarium, wild otters spotted from aquarium windows overlooking the bay), a hotel on the Row, upstairs room with a door that popped open in the middle of the night (chained, luckily–when I went down to the front desk to ask them about it, they assured me doors popping open never happens and that the hotel wasn’t haunted–I did not ask if the hotel was haunted–but that’s what they offered up), traces of Steinbeck and Ed RickhotelAetts on building fronts, down alleyways leading to tidepools, tourists with bemused smiles until 11pm when the Row (surprising me, having read the novel multiple times and fashioned a certain impression) emptied of people and cars–instant night-calm as my son slept and I revised WIP’s before a fire in the grate (yes, Cannery Row was cold enough for a fire) appreciating the clammy cool vs. 100+ degrees in our broiling valley-of-home.

The only thing missing was my husband, who stayed behind to tend our ponderosa.

Our hero.

I encouraged my son to lead the way through the aquarium and he did, indoors, outside, upstairs, down into the Open Ocean exhibit where we gazed into a dimness housing swooping rays, bluefin tuna and, suddenly, from out of the water-gloom a hammerhead shark swimming straight for us. Ummm–seeing what I’m seeing? I asked my son. Wow, he murmured as the shark veered from us and swam off, returning a minute later, making tourists gasp above the chamber’shammer New Age music. Pretty amazing, my son said.

Jellies, sunfish, ever-descending grouper, rays and otters (rescues? I don’t know) and shorebirds (rescued, many rehabilitated and sent back to the beach)–but a hammerhead? My son explored other Open Ocean exhibits while I continued to watch the shark. I don’t like zoos. I do like the opportunity to appreciate/study our planet. So I’m a push-me/pull-ya zoo/aquarium-goer (although never Sea World). I hope I won’t meet a hammerhead in the real open ocean–but that doesn’t mean I relish watching from safety as one cuts endless circles around its cage. Way too Sea World-ish for me. Quite sad. Quite beautiful. Necessary? Look: A quote by Thoreau the aquarium displays boldly on a wall makes the joint as hypocritical as myself.

ham3

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Where I Discovered Poetry Last Weekend

Here:

fla9

And here:

fla8

How my family inspired me last weekend?

Via this:

fla1

And this:

fla5fla4

And this:

fla6

What it feels like to finish a pre-mini-vacation writing goal and move to the next?

This:

digs

Came down with the flu upon returning from family shenanigans. However, today I’m well enough to sit up and revise w/pillows. Also watched that movie, ‘Unacknowledged’,  in throes of flu-delirium, and it gave me ideas for my other novel I’m revising. Yes! (coughing-fit/aches). Let’s share snacks and orange juice (separate glasses) on the wellness train.

Yours (in bedridden productivity, surely the hardest kind),

PB

#parentalsicknessjustwronggodwrong

Posted in Adult writing, Avoiding My Writing, books, Children's Books, Faction, Fiction, Me and Us, middle grade, Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Inspiration (Mother’s Day Edition)

mdayWhat inspiration looks like. Feels like. That guy, reading me his MDay card.

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MAY DAY (BLOOMING LATE EDITION)

On

rain

Daisies uncertain how to proceed in 90 degree heat: To die or bloom?

May Day! May Day! May Day! (a few days late, but—-)

90+ degrees today, again. My Spring yard is shriveling. I thought this wouldn’t happen until next month. Silly me! When the Arctic is melting! Doh. The box turtle and the ‘keets, however, are thrilled with the weather. Their daily outdoor-time is extended well through the dinner hour and close to the kid’s bedtime. (‘Keets are gently misted throughout day–they do not overheat–turtle has several water dishes, sprinkled greens and adequate shade-cover in her outdoor habitat–do not fear–I am a diligent mini-zoo-keeper–aren’t you?)

I finished revising my MG novel, made my deadline, but have extended it in order to re-examine/tweak the climax. Keep Calm & Tweak On (but not like Miley).

May your May Day be filled with calm revision.

PB.

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Third Eye (April Edition w/Cat)

dig1Woke up at 430am, pressed on with the last 40 pages of revision, my 3rd eye drowsy, but game.

Now that I’m wide awake, overly caffeinated and the little boy is at school and the husband is off to heroic business AND THE CASE-OF-THE-LOVIES CAT HAS HIT THE CAPS LOCK WITH HIS PURRING GIRTH, gotta go.

Yours in revision and occasional fist-pumps when writing is right (even if has meant killing sentences previously known as Darlings),

PB

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Heat Wave Revision

SB Feb 003Today’s spring temperature high is predicted as: 86F.

Which, in my sweltering valley, probably means: at least 90F. If not more.

The MG novel I’m almost finished revising (this time around) has everything to do with global warming, pollution, the (mis)use of chemicals and how humans dearly cherish and how humans mistreat our planet. So–this current revision session is not tedious.

Not at all.

Yours in timely edits,

PB

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Coffee Kick & Go (Tremble Edition)

msIt may be poetry month in the USA, but here at PB Writes the author was up late revising her MG novel, prepping it for the agent requesting a read. This sweet, cool and sunny spring morning–after creating pancakes-secreted-with-carrot-puree for the boy, feeding the home zoo, blending the spouse’s energy drink, coffee w/coconut milk at hand–she’s back at it, ready to re-revise-revise the first quarter of the novel before moving on to the next quarter. Or she will be revising once she stops writing this post. Ha, ha! Oh, PB! You go, Girl. Er–or something like that. And maybe eat some yogurt because your fingers betray a certain caffeine-tremble. Tsk!

Here’s to a day filled with red ink and writing progress (a Trader Joe’s run, dry cleaning pickup, phonecalls to VIP-types, cat to the vet for shots, 30 mins on the treadmill–this is why PB writes at night so often). And maybe, if you have time between chapters or latest stanzas or if your muse confiscates your coffee and kicks you away from your manuscript, check in with The Dad Poet’s poetry month postings. Also, Claire has the skivvy on this year’s Bailey’s Women’s Prize For Fiction authors.

Shhh! Time to work. Off you go now, you, you and YOU, too. Daylight’s burning!

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April Is Poetry Month (As If You Didn’t Know)

 

Eleanor_Fortescue-Brickdale_-_With_goodly_greenish_locks

She looks as though she was caught secretly reading Yeats. Topless.

At the recent SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Day (see my SCBWI piece),  editor Pam Gruber had her workshop attendees write down a bit of world building. In honor of all those writing a poem a day this month (I am not doing that this year–focused instead on revision of my MG novel), in support and admiration of those who snap on the light in wee hours to record a line of poetry, a dream, an inspiration, something crucial to some misbehaving chapter, I’m including what I was inspired to write for the Gruber exercise.

Santa Barbara is gorging on poetry at the moment. Check out my hometown’s poets and events here. The Dad Poet always keeps up with poetry month. You’ll find lots of poems and poetry info on his site.

Hm. I can’t find the world building bit I wrote. Perhaps the cat ate it. So here’s a bit of poetry after all:

You choose a foot, a head & a vertebra,
(you think), sunblasted skin-smooth, tugged
from seawall rising above island beach
like an ambitious art installation: wall
of contemporary junk fused by sea
in all her panoramic moods, ferried
by swells, squalls, here, where you
& I are the last two on earth.

from Stranded, PB Rippey

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SCBWI-LA Writers & Illustrators Day 2017 (Links Edition)

booksI was asked by SCBWI-LA to write about my experience at the recent WID. The piece is up on the Kite Tales blog. 1, 2, 3: LINK. Such a luxury for me to discard certain hats (taxi-mama, chef of sorts, zoo-keeper, 3rd Grade Common Core Math Interpreter, foam swords fighter, Wii-U games competitor, etc.) and sit in a comfy, aesthetically pleasing theatre with my notebook and listen, absorb, learn for an entire day. Plus, as I maybe mildly emphasize in the piece, lunch was included in the program and it was Wow Delicious, served in a sunny courtyard. I had the generously mounding tuna salad croissant. I haven’t had a croissant in years. This croissant made up for all I’ve been missing. Moving on: The Day came with a mini-bookfair. The books I purchased:

  1. Wired For Story, Lisa Cron (What!!!! Like me, pre-WID, you do not have this book??? Get it get it get it!!!!)
  2. Over And Under The Snow, Kate Messner, art by Christopher Silas Neal. If you read my piece, yes, this is the picture book I mention about the subnivian zone. That’s right: THE SUBNIVIAN ZONE. Ha! Fabulous.

And now–back to work on revisions to my MG novel due to feedback I received from the WID. One of the joys of being an SCBWI member means one can attend WIDs and submit one’s work for critique by an industry agent, editor, author. The notes I received continue to inspire me to rise at 5:30a.m. and get in some work before the house erupts at 6:20a.m. and I don my (fairly sketchy) chef’s hat.

Yours in productivity and focus, focus, focus,

PB

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Kids Poetry Night

poetrynightTuesday, February 28th, a freaky political event occurred on TV, but also Poetry Night at my son’s school. Children and parents gathered to read/share poems from books they brought to the event and books supplied by the school’s librarian. Loved hearing the kids read. Plus, there was hot chocolate, ladled out by the principal–she added GOBS of mini-marshmallows to each cup. The school librarian and my son’s 3rd grade teacher made the rounds of those attending. It was a crisp, outdoors, invigorating, end-of-February-night. With magic. I truly love this school.

Of all the poems in the book my son brought to the evening (his book of choice a gift from a novelist/friend before he was born) he chose to read a poem from Sylvia Plath’s “The Bed Book”. He read it so well. Why? Because he related to the poem’s whimsy, reality, truth when it comes to beds and how we experience our padded night-nights. Yes, poetry speaks to children (and their bookworm moms).

Love that parents support their children reading poetry aloud, encourage them to read poetry, absorb it, and, hopefully, write it, write it, write it.

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SCBWI Event Coming Up!

scbwiI am looking forward to next Saturday, 2/25/17. The Skirball is a choice location, indeed. Are you going? If so, see you there!

https://losangeles.scbwi.org/events/writers-illustrators-day/

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Healing By Degrees (FB Edition)

“What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” —-WS, Othello 

hugo

Hugo

I’m talking Snapchattish-brief degrees. My impatience won out. I weeded Facebook ‘friends’ after the election and the first peaceful march–in which I marched, peacefully, surrounded by like minds. After this weeding and marching I felt/feel: So much better. No more anxiety that the sexist/pervert I knew for two seconds in high school (and who clearly hasn’t changed much) will object, nasty-passive-aggressively, to my FB posts supporting Planned Parenthood, Gloria Steinem, belly dancers, or non-support of giraffes slaughtered for sport, fins hacked off of sharks, ivory sold for sick profit. No longer will that friend of a friend of friends (who may or may not be my actual friends) be allowed to go psycho on my timeline when I post a photo of #45 neck deep in ‘Star Trek’ Tribbles. This ‘friend’ let me know: I am sure he (ie., #45) will surround himself with people in the WH who will guide him to make good choices. Riiight. WEEDED. No longer will that former friend of a best friend accuse me of promoting a double standard when I post my adoration of Michelle Obama, a woman he despises (because he’s a mansplaining “Christian” who believes women should be saved, by him, if he deems them attractive enough). BLOCKED. No longer will I cringe when family members (who have forgotten, or never knew how to behave like family) post bits such as: LAUGHING AT THE LOSER LIBTARDS. I don’t have to  see certain posts. Why? Because: I HAVE THAT FB OPTION.

kitten

Diggory

WaPo, The New Yorker, NY Times, Guardian, Atlantic, NPR Weekend Edition, Robert Reich, Rebecca Solnit, Bernie Sanders, JK Rowling, Bette Midler, Bill Moyers, 350.org, Dan Rather, Debra Messing, Kamala Harris, Minnie Driver, NRDC big-time on FB and Twitter, Dianne Feinstein, Susan Orlean, Moby, Anne Lamott, Terry Tempest Williams, Michael Moore, LikeAGirlProductions,  Peter Alexander, Pam Houston’s soothing pix, Cheryl Strayed, Asha Dornfest, Michael T. Williams (yogi-cool), anything anti-DAPL and whatever Michelle Obama has to say. I am connected to my own evolving cabinet as the fruitcake keeps on hitting the madly whirring fan.

panda

Stuffo

Yours by degrees in these attention-snipped times and yours in vigilant fact-hunting and yours in escaping, here and there, the constant madness with cute animal pix,

PB

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Hearts

  1. Just. So. Simply. Timely. And simply nice.dolphinjump_animation_group_loop_large
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SCBWI

126962_5Have you registered for the (Los Angeles chapter) SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Day 2017? It’s happening February 25th at the Skirball Cultural Center, a venue I once frequented in order to exercise my former toddler in the  intriguingly lit Noah’s Ark exhibit. It’s a beautiful setting atop Mulholland Drive and promises to be an informative day. Check it out here: SCBWI

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On Rejection

Recently I was lucky enough to have a conversation with someone I deeply respect and I was moaning a little about rejections I’ve received lately. The person suggested I stop callxmas-bouqueting them ‘rejections’ and refer to them instead as ‘No Thank You’s’. Because unless they tell you specifically (the person continued), you have no idea why they are passing on your work, not really, so why let it get you down? REJECTION implies a kind of OMG-I’ve-been-kicked-to-the-curb message to yourself. But you’re not lying in the gutter wasting away. You’re up and running like never before. If you receive a ‘no thank you’ in your inbox, it’s just that. And if you believe the Universe, or God, or whatever deity or force you believe in, is truly taking care of you, has your back, then any ‘no thank you’ makes perfect sense. Only the best for you, the person urged. Even if you’re an atheist. Remember that.

And I said: Thank you for the advice.

And meant it.

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