Quote of the Week in the New York Times...Martin Amis says if he had a serious brain injury he might write books for kids. "I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write," Amis added. See a follow-up story in the Guardian.
Nice come-back by Lucy Coats and Charles London.
Books by the Brain-injured?
One of the few perks of being a struggling writer, unpaid and unrecognized, is the freedom to choose where you work. When my husband and I moved our young family to Spokane years ago, the dream of writing books for children stood far back on a dusty shelf in my mind.
While looking for a house, we visited one with a second story sun porch. The moment I saw it, I thought—what a perfect place for writing. My husband liked the big back yard with room for kids and a dog to run around. So we bought it. The house needed fixing-up, and the sun porch was first on the list because, for a few years, it would be a nursery.
It wasn’t until that baby was five years old that I started writing on the sun porch.
The baby is seventeen, now. Getting published has required much more learning, practice, perseverance, and time than I anticipated. If I counted up the hours I’ve spent in the sun porch and divided them by the dollars and cents I’ve earned, my income would be far in the negative.
So why do I keep writing? Because I have a dream that someday I’ll write the next Harry Potter? No. I write because most days when I go out on my sun porch and close the door, I’m happy. Some days, I’m miserable, discouraged and tormented, but most days, I’m happy. In the winter the sun streams in. In the summer, I look out at a huge one-hundred-year-old leafy-green sycamore tree. In all seasons, I write.
I love words and the challenge of choosing the right ones and putting them together in the right way to say exactly what I want to say. I love stories, I love exploring character. Through writing I discover who I am.
When I saw Doraine Bennett's new book, Readers Theater for Global Explorers, the first thing I wanted to know--what possessed those people? While most of us sit at home in front of the fire, explorers go off to the jungle, the wilderness, the desert, the moon!
Doraine was sweet enough to let me be part of her blog tour to introduce this wonderful resource for teachers, so I asked her, did you discover common traits among these explorers? Did she ever!
"Many were ruthless, many were arrogant, most wanted fame, despite any stated noble reasons for their activities. All had the ability to endure hardship beyond anything most of us could imagine. The determination to press through almost any difficulty, no matter how distressing the extremes of climate and circumstance."
Do you have a favorite person in the book?
"I really liked Sir Ernest Shackleton because he was a decent, kind man. He gave his mittens to one of his crewmen who had lost his in the ocean. Shackleton suffered frostbite as a result. He was capable, daring, and a good leader, as well."
I guess it's no surprise most of these explorers were men. But Doraine did a great job of finding a range of women to include, like Mary Kinglsey, a writer!
Oh. A writer that left her home in England to explore Africa.
"After living a very sheltered life, she set off alone for Africa. She went to the villages of the Fang (fong) people who were known to be cannibals. Most European explorers considered the Africans to be unintelligent beings who needed civilizing. Mary respected the Africans and did much to change European thinking about them."
Social studies will never be boring with this book. Inside everybody is sure to find at least one explorer that will catch his or her imagination.
Thanks for visiting Doraine!
If you haven’t seen it—go. The King’s Speech is about courage, the kind of courage it takes to be a writer. Not many of us are as good-looking as Colin Firth or Helena Bonham Carter, neither are we in line for the throne. But like Prince Albert, we’re trying to find our voice. And all too often we’re scared and we doubt our own potential.
Rolling Stone calls the movie “a crowning achievement powered by a dream cast [that] digs vibrant human drama out of the dry dust of history….The emotion this film produces is staggering."
I'm fascinated to discover little-known stories of history. Stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers, in the blog comments, by email or social media.