Lately, much of my energy has been devoted to my art blog Deep Space Sparkle. The response to my little art service blog has been gratifying, not to mention darn exciting. I've begun to generate a little income by offering PDF lesson plans to teachers around the world and I can't say enough how wonderful it is knowing how many teachers are out there introducing children to the joys of creating art.
I figure while the interest is high, I'll put in as much effort I can.
But I've been writing too. My fantastic critique group has kept me on my toes pointing out areas to strengthen and rework my story, drawing attention to character inconsistencies (man, you think you know your characters but yet, after five years, jarring inaccuracies continue to surface) and pointing out areas of low tension or not enough sensory details.
I wish I could say that I've been working on other stories as well, but the truth is, I barely squeeze in time to work on my current book. There have been days when I fall into bed utterly depressed that I haven't been able to write for three days. Art shows, school, softball, sailing regattas, golf, band practice....my kids are the busiest they've ever been. Which means I've been busy as well.
When I get overwhelmed, I read. I picked up Thalia Chaltas debut book, Because I am Furniture and was blown away. The story is compelling and exquisitely written. I read it in one sitting and if I have one complaint, it is that it was over before I wanted it to be.
I keep "Because I am Furniture" next to my computer and open it up, anywhere, to read a page or two. Thalia's use of words is inspiring. When I feel that my sentences are rambling, I look at hers and admire the careful selection of nouns and verbs. I decided this: All writers, in every genre, can benefit from learning a thing or two from poets. The next chance I get, I'm going to a class...I think Thalia is speaking at The Central Coast Writer's Conference in September. Must sign up!
Another highlight lately has been my daughter's sudden interest in books.
She's read Harry Potter along with her classmates who seem to have a contest going on who can read the series the fastest. Elly is struggling to keep up with her friends frenetic reading schedule so one understanding friend suggested another book for her to try. Since my daughter LOVES dogs and her mean parents refuse to get her one, her best friend suggested a hot, new book called Sheep by Val Hobbs. Elly asked me if I would buy her a copy the next time I'm out.
Of course, I happily agreed and added that I know the author and might be able to get it autographed. Elly looked at me in shock. "Seriously? You know her?"
Moments like these brighten my day!
Oh, and I just signed up to go to the Pacific Northwest Children's Book Conference in July with my dear writing friend, Maggie. After such a busy spring, I feel I owe it to my characters to spend 5 uninterrupted days with them. Not to mention 5 days away from softball, sailing, art shows, golf....