Friday, December 28, 2012

Never Too Late

As the year ends, many people take stock of their lives and look back over the past year to see what they've accomplished. This has been a busy year for me: I had 170 articles published, finished a requested YA historical novel, completed and submitted three partials, saw the release of my 5-vol UXL Encyclopedia of Native Tribes, had a story published in an anthology, completed an intensive set of courses (1/2 of a post-grad certificate in Picture Book Illustration), finished the final semester of a degree in Graphic Arts, finished NANO, and am more than halfway through an agent-requested adult novel. I traveled frequently. In addition, I run my own business, keep up with a large family, participate in 3 critique groups, and do freelance editing and writing. I've completed multiple small projects and met many personal goals. All of that makes me eager to start 2013. Who knows what exciting things are in store?

But I find that when I talk to friends and former colleagues, so many lament the passing of the year and feel they haven't done what they most wish they could. The main excuses are: I don't have enough time (which can be translated: My dreams are not on my priority list) or I'm too old for that now (which can be translated: I've totally given up on my dreams).

Do you have a dream that was sidetracked by life? Sometimes financial circumstances, children, health, or family issues sap so much time and energy that there’s none left for what you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe you’ve even given up completely, figuring you’ll never have that opportunity.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been writing a series of articles on children’s writers and illustrators, and some of their stories are very inspiring. Today I wanted to mention a few people who got a late start in writing for children but went on to be major stars in the field.

William Steig had been a successful cartoonist for the New Yorker, but he did not write and illustrate his first children’s book until he was in his 60s. From his 60s until his death, Steig completed a total of 30 children’s books.


His second book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, won a Caldecott Medal for the art. He also won a Caldecott Honor for The Amazing Bone several years later. Obviously, he was a talented artist already, so those awards were to be expected.

But 8 years later, his book Abel’s Island won a Newbery Honor for its wonderful writing. So did his children’s book Doctor De Soto, which was published when Steig was 75. But one of Steig’s best-known books was Shrek!, which came out when he was 83.

Scott O’Dell was another impressive late starter. He had written for adults without much success. He, too, was in his 60s when he began writing for children. His first book, Island of the Blue Dolphins, won the Newbery Medal. O’Dell completed 25 children’s books before he died.

Other writers who did not begin until their mid-sixties include Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frank McCourt.

So it you’ve ever felt as if it’s too late in life to start going for your dreams, I hope these authors will provide some needed motivation. It’s never too late to start.

What have you been putting off? Why not make 2013 the year of your dreams?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Goals, Goals, Goals

In my last blog post on the 12th, Don't Pay No Mind to the Demons, I wrote that I'd hopefully be able to report that my WIP would be finished.  Well....it's not.

I could make a lot of excuses - work, child, the holidays - and those are legitimate.  (By the way, why is it that time seems to just slip away during the holidays?  What is that about?)  But when it comes right down to it, I could have found the time or made different choices in how I spent my time to finish it.

So what do you do when you don't meet a goal?  Well, I'm a firm believer in not beating oneself up.  I did that for many years and still have the bruises.  In fact, beating yourself up about not meeting a goal is probably the single most unproductive thing you can do.

Here's what I like to do.  I acknowledge that I didn't meet the goal, simply and honestly.  And I look back at what I could have done differently.  In this case, there wasn't a lot I would do differently.  I chose to spend time with my family instead of writing.  It's the holidays; I think that's justifiable!  I don't spend a lot of time looking back on what I could've done differently because if I spend too long doing that, it starts to cross the line into beating myself up.

Then I look ahead, and make a new goal.  An honest, realistic goal.  So while I'd like to say that I'll have my WIP finished by January 6th, I know that between the day job and the night job (aka, child), January 15th is a much more realistic goal.  Also, I like to pad a little bit in there if I can so that if I finish early, I can really pat myself on the back and justify eating copious amounts of chocolate in celebration.

Then I take a moment to remember what I could've done differently, and I apply that going forward.

Goals are great.  Goals are important, especially when you're not working under a publisher's deadline and need to impose them on yourself.  Goals keep us on our toes and keep us motivated.  But missing a goal isn't the end of the world.  Just pick yourself up, and keep moving forward!

Happy New Year to all the Downtown YA bloggers and readers!


Nicole Maggi writes YA - paranormal, historical, and beyond.  Her debut novel WINTER FALLS will be released in 2014 from Medallion Press.  She's represented by the fabulous Irene Goodman of The Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, their daughter Emilia (after the Shakespeare character), and two cats Sawyer & Hurley (after the LOST characters - yeah, she's a geek).  Check out her website and follow her on Twitter!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best Present Ever!


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It’s the time of year when writing takes a back seat to parties, shopping for the perfect gift, and family. So this post will be short. But I wanted to tell you about something I’ve been looking forward to for years.   

Today I’m getting one of the best presents ever. I’m finally going to meet my main critique partner who I’ve known online for over six years. She is the one person who stuck with me through my major learning curve of turning from a fine artist into a writer. She dished out a lot of tough love and a sea of red pages, but because of her hard work I’m published today. A special thank you to Pet Aboul. The best Christmas present ever! 

I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and may 2013 bring much happiness and success! 

Anne
www.annevan.net       

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's the Apocalypse!!!

Have you all been looking forward to this day all year? December 21st is the last day of the Mayan calendar. The predictions have been that this is going to be the end of the world. We are supposed to be going out in the wake of huge storms and earthquakes. This is going to be the Apocalypse!!!

I want to think of writing, but how can I when so much has happened. Only last week we learned of the senseless shooting of children and the brave women who tried to protect them in Newtown, CT at Sandy Hook Elementary School. For twenty parents and six other families this was their Apocalypse! My brain has not been able to wrap itself around this event, though try as I might. I was a teacher and when I see the innocent faces of these children all I can think is what a waste of human beings.

All week I tried to write about it, but the event is so awful I can't get beyond the horror and still when thinking about it my eyes fill with tears. I didn't know any of the people involved, but I feel tied to them somehow. What is it like to face your own destruction at such a young age? I am there in the classroom with the teacher who hid her children in the closet and saved their young lives. I am there with the children whose lives were forever changed. Their innocence forever destroyed as they watched their classmates fall. It's indescribable and as a writer there are no words to express it.

Parents of the fallen children must feel they have gone through their own Apocalypse. There is now a hole created by the loss of their children. No amount of comforting will bring these children back. I as a writer cannot write them back and for these parents it is the end of their world. For many of them they will relive the moments before and after the event.

My own feeling is that I wish it had never happened. I wish we were in a Superman movie and like he did when Lois Lane died and he refused to let it happen, he reversed time by spinning the Earth backward and so back to the time before the horror happened. I found myself praying for a Superman to reverse time so this event would not have happened. Or maybe Superman could have appeared when the gunman first came into the school and defrayed the bullets while grabbing the gunman and bringing him to justice. How we would all have cheered and all would be okay.

But it is one week after the shooting and it did happen. I have seen the parade of funerals all week and have mourned for the children as each of them were honored for their achievements of their young lives. It is all too painful and real. I have applauded the brave teachers who protecting their young charges, died in action. I can't imagine the bravery of the principal who though she had no weapons she tried to block this killer from her school.

There is something good that has happened because of this, though. Finally, people all the way up to the President, are starting to realize that assault weapons and multiple bullets do not belong in the hands of private citizens. People are talking about banning them and maybe this will be the beginning of the banning of all guns. Now we have to think about security for our elementary schools. Now we have to bring armed men into our schools so if this ever happens again they will be protected. Now our children have to live with this presence in their schools.

So, even though this is the holiday season, our holidays are tinged with black armbands as we remember the twenty-six homes where the holiday will not be celebrated. The homes where the presents will not be opened and the stockings will not be emptied. If we are all here tomorrow, December 22nd, I think the thought of these missing children should be there for all of us.

If this is the end, at least I was able to publish one book! At least I was able to sustain my marriage for over forty-seven years and I have had two beautiful daughters. I have traveled all over the world to India and Europe and eaten lots of great food. I have seen great concerts and heard beautiful music. I have seen excellent dancers and Broadway shows. I have been blessed by a great family and I am happy. Let's all think of our achievements and if we wake up tomorrow we can think of it as a new start.

Maybe it's time to send out that novel and try to get it published. Maybe it's time to send out those poems and short stories. Get up tomorrow and make your life shine. We should all make sure we use the time we are given to find our dreams. But, if it's the end of the world, this will all be moot. Bye and hopefully until the next time I'll be back on January 7th. Have a very Happy Holiday all of you, if we survive!!:)

For anyone who is still looking for a holiday gift for a young adult, my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is the perfect gift. You can get it in ebook or paperback. By the way, two weeks ago I sold all my books at a Meet and Greet at Fairfield University Bookstore.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

End of Year Thoughts


Greetings All!
It’s almost time to make those New Year’s resolutions. I’ve been thinking about this and I thought I’d share the one I did last year and comment on the ones that I kept/came true.
2012 RESOLUTIONS/GOALS
 1. Get a publishing contract from one of the “big six” with all the bells and whistles that go along with this. Yeah, I know I had this on my list for last year, too.  Guess what, readers? Yep, still on my list for 2013 only now it’s the “Big Five” with the Penguin/Random House merger. I still think they should’ve called the new house, RANDOM PENGUINS. LOL.


2.  I think that 2012 will be a great year for me. I don’t necessarily believe in the art of numerology but if I did, 2012 adds up to be five. Five in numerology means: happy-go-lucky (among others). Of course they are talking about people not years but I believe that 2012 IS MY YEAR TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS. And by success, you know what I mean (see #1). *sighs* I have achieved some success on Kindle/Nook with my self-pubbed books. I had two small presses pub two murder mysteries and one YA faerie novel (the second one coming out in Feb.).


3. I am also looking for my dream job as a creative writing or children’s literature teacher at a community college or university. DREAM JOB AWAITS IN 2012. This sort of came true. I did get to teach an English Composition class at a local community college this past semester and I may be teaching next semester too.


 4. And all the usual stuff, good health, happiness, good health and happiness for my kids and cats and family and friends. Health-wise has not been a good year for my family.


 5.  Go to more plays/concerts/cultural stuff. I love museums and don’t go enough. I want to do more of this in 2012. I also love going to plays although as a former theatre major I do tend to critique the plays rather harshly. Nope. Didn’t do. No money, no time. *sad face*


6.  Drink more Starbucks. DONE THIS!


7. Watch more BBC America. (see #13 and #19) AND THIS!

 8.Write more. Every day. Every single day NO MATTER WHAT. Even if I am tired or sick or annoyed or angry. Or my characters are. Kind of.

9. Stop Twittering so much. Okay, I probably won’t do this one because I LOVE TO TWITTER. I am a Twitter addict. Yep, you heard me. An addict. Wait, was that my iPhone telling me I have a new follower or a Twitter message? I’ll be right back. [fifteen minutes later] Oh, sorry. I’m back now. Where was I? Yeah. NOT. Still Twittering and now I also do Pinterest. *smiles*

10. Watch more zombie movies. We are starting a New Year’s tradition of watching zombie movies and only zombie movies on New Year’s Day. Let the zombie apocalypse begin! Watched all the Resident Evil movies and got hooked on The Walking Dead so, YES!

11. Watch The Hobbit in December of 2012. Maybe this coming weekend.

12. Do a book signing in April when my YA fantasy book, LORE OF FEI is released. Get tons of people who want to buy it. Along with this I’m doing a book trailer for it as soon as I have a cover designed for it. Tweet about it. Obsessively. Oh, I already do that. LOL. No book signing but I did do a blog tour in August. I also just finished one for the second murder mystery. I hope to do another one in Feb. when WAR OF FEI comes out.

13. Walk for thirty minutes a day if the weather permits. I already do this but I’ve been getting slack now that the sidewalks are icing up. Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no.

14. Fall in love.  Oh, wait, I’m already in love with BBC America, I forgot.  LOL.

15.  Tell my kids I love them and am proud of them every single day. Oh, I already do this, too. YES!

16. Brush my long-haired Himalayan/Siamese mix cat every day. Yeah. Right. As soon as she sees the brush in my hand she runs like the wind and skitters under the chair and then up the stairs to hide under my bed until the bad brush thing is gone. *sighs*Still not doing this.

17. Do more housework. NOT. YES!

18. Do more laundry. NOT.YES!

19. Drink more Starbucks. Oh, right. I already said that. YES!

20. Watch more BBC America in the fall when Dr. Who season 7 returns. “Come along, Pond” and “Hello, Sweetie” are two of my favourite quotes. I’ll miss Amy and Rory. Who will be the next companion? When are auditions? Wait, didn’t I already do this last year? Not the audition, but the asking of when it is? Oh, never mind. Come along, Pond. Well, we met the new companion in The Angels Take Manhattan and said goodbye to the Ponds. *sobs* We’ll see more of the new companion on Christmas Day.

21.  Listen to more music. I tend to listen to music on my walks. So far my favourite walking music is anything by Lady Gaga. It has to have a beat and I have to be able to dance to it. Oh, I mean walk to it. I still do this. I have downloaded more songs to walk to. Mostly pop.


Next year I hope to do more writing, more publishing and finally, get an agent. I feel like I’ve been close many times and have entered a gazillion contests but never win.  I have a couple of agents reading full mss right now so I have hope that the new year brings good news.
I think when I blogged about this last year I didn’t have a job either and now I do although it’s only part-time. It leaves me more time for writing that way.

Take Care, Until Next Time,
Kathleen
ps/HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Let’s hope it’s a safe one for everyone. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Have No Words

Well, I have a few.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of those affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut this past weekend. I'm a parent and a former teacher, and I can't even begin to imagine what they're going through.

Please send your thoughts, prayers, energy, or whatever you believe in to those who survived and to the families of those who were lost.

I hope that all who read this have their loved ones close to them this holiday season. My next post will be in 2013, so until then, take care.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Developing Your Style

So many writers and artists struggle to develop their style. Style is illusive and hard to define. Some call it your voice; others… Many editors and agents say it can’t be put into words, but they know it when they see it or read it. For one explanation of style, see IRA's Read, Write, Think "Defining Style."

Perhaps you’ve come upon a work of art and you immediately knew the artist without being told. You just recognize the style. The same thing happens with writing. Most people given two passages by James Joyce and Hemingway could tell them apart. They have distinctive styles.

So how do you develop your style? We each bring different experiences and background to the page. Those show through in our writing, but I think children’s writer and illustrator, Marcia Brown said it best in Lotus Seeds: Children, Pictures, and Books. Although she agreed that it comes from “what you are as a person,” she encouraged moving beyond that. “Style, in the larger sense, is something quite different. An artist's primary preoccupation is his own development, the perfection of himself [or herself] as an instrument…the better to sing his [or her] song.”

So style is more about the process rather than the product. What are you doing to stretch and grow as an artist &/or writer?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't Pay No Mind To The Demons

Lately I've been listening to the Phillip Phillips song Home a lot.  There's a line in the song that's become my mantra of late: "Don't pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear."


I've been repeating this over and over to myself for the last several weeks.  Why?  Because I'm within 20,000 words of finishing my current WIP, and the demons have sunk their teeth and claws in, trying to fill me with fear and prevent me from finishing.

What is it about those pesky little demons?  How do they know exactly when to strike?  And why do they know exactly the right thing to say to paralyze me?

Well, of course I know the answer to that.  They know because I created the demons in the first place.

Years ago, I had an acting teacher who referred to the demons as parrots, perched on our shoulders and squawking words of fear and discouragement in our ears.  My teacher was very clear on what we had to do to the parrots.  "You must KILL the parrots."

I know I can finish this book.  And I know that it has the potential to be really, really good.  And those demons are perched on my shoulders, whispering so seductively in my ear, "It's not as good as you think it is.  Your agent will hate it.  It won't sell.  YOU'LL FAIL."

So I listen to Home, and I pick up an imaginary butcher knife with a very long, sharp, shiny blade, and I stab those parrot-demons right through their hearts.  Then I sit down and write. 

Don't pay no mind to the demons; they fill you with fear.  Kill the parrots.  Surround yourself with angels instead, and finish the book.

Stay tuned for my next blog post on December 26th, when I'll hopefully be able to report that I've finished my WIP!

Nicole Maggi writes YA - paranormal, historical, and beyond.  Her debut novel WINTER FALLS will be released in 2014 from Medallion Press.  She's represented by the fabulous Irene Goodman of The Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, their daughter Emilia (after the Shakespeare character), and two cats Sawyer & Hurley (after the LOST characters).  Yeah, she's a geek.  Check out her website and follow her on Twitter!   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blatant Promotion!


It's the time of year when people are thinking of gifts to give their friends. For all those looking for an inexpensive gift for someone with a Kindle, may I suggest my steampunk story The Unseen Wonder. Yes, I'm blatantly promoting my mini ebook. The story has received quite a  few nice reviews on Amazon and might make the perfect gift, and its only 99 cents. 

Here's a hint of what the story is about. When an inventor’s daughter tries to manage her father’s affairs while he creates a new contraption, life turns upside down. Add to the mix a curious mother, a houseful of raucous sisters, and her father’s charming assistant and it may prove to be too much. Will the tinker’s new invention leave the family rich or destitute? And will this young woman see her father’s assistant in a new light?

 http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Wonder-Chimera-Series-ebook/dp/B00A8M82TG/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1354953944&sr=8-16&keywords=chamberton+publishing

The story is also included in the historical anthology Gaslight: The Golden Light Series. The stories range from tales of love and peril, of fantasy and reality, of courage and redemption. The short stories journey back in time to ancient days and historical settings, to gas lit streets of bygone times.



http://www.amazon.com/Gaslight-Golden-Anthology-Series-ebook/dp/B009RWMMLW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354953432&sr=1-1&keywords=chamberton+publishing

Thank you for stopping by!

Anne
www.annevan.net

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Return

It's been months since I last posted here and there are various reasons. But the one big one is that somehow my own life pushed aside a lot of my online life. Suddenly adding on another blog became too much and though I loved posting here, I stopped writing my column. Then a funny thing happened.  I found myself missing being able to post in a place that is not my own blog. So when the opportunity came to post again I decided to come back. This is my return to the blog and I will be posting on the 7th and the 21st of each month!!

It's getting close to the end of the year and the best of lists are beginning to pop out. Naturally, being a YA writer, I am always interested about which YA books are on the list. Since my book was published last year it didn't qualify for any of the lists.:) To be honest, I think many on these lists are from big publishing houses. It's very difficult to get attention if you are from a small, independent publisher, such as mine, MuseItUp Publishing. it's very much like the music business in that way. Big music companies have the ability to push their artists and unless you do something crazy like Gangham Style and your music video goes viral, it's difficult to be seen. The same is true with independent publishers, especially ones who are publishing in ebook first. Print books, though many will say they are disappearing, are very important for bookstores. How do I know this?

I was able to do what very few authors are unable to do. Without the ability to arrange bookstore tours an author from an independent publishing house needs to interact with bookstores on your own. It is a very terrifying experience to approach a bookstore with your book and see if you can get a chance to be a visiting author. Yet, this summer I did approach a bookstore to see if they would host me and believe it or not, they decided to include me in their Meet and Greet the Author days. Half believing I was dreaming I spoke with their wonderful events coordinator and by email they were able to learn more about my book. First they asked for only 3 chapters and then I sent them the whole book. After reading my reviews they invited me to be part of their events. Now, because of my own efforts and the excellent preparation made in my behalf, my print books are in this bookstore. I will be there on Saturday to do a Meet and Greet and my publisher has provided the print books for the bookstore.

This process is something I dreaded for a long time and I had tried to have a bookstore feature my book earlier with no response at all. But, I didn't give up and though it is a year since it came out in print, it will finally be given the attention it should have. I am hoping this won't be the last Meet and Greet I do.
By describing my process I hope that some of you who have felt the same as I did will go ahead and approach a local bookstore. Many of these bookstores have excellent events for local authors and they are thrilled to be doing it. This bookstore also publicized the event in the local paper and online. If you live near Fairfield County, Connecticut you can see me at The Fairfield University Bookstore this Saturday, December 8 from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM. I will be there with my YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. It is an excellent book to give to teens this Christmas. But if you are looking for a fantasy or werewolves or vampires or zombies or post-apocalypic stories you won't find any of that here. It is more a novel that will speak to teens in a real way and one many older people find very nostalgic and brings them back to their high school days. Check it out on the MuseItUp bookstore, Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as most other online websites.

To go back to what I mentioned in my first paragraph, I will be featuring a best of list on my blog next week. I will not be the one doing it. So leave me a comment and tell me which YA book or books you think are the best of this year. I will be back here on the 21st and the fun part of this is that I have no idea what I will be talking about then.:)

Happy Chanukah to all who celebrate. It happens on Sunday, December 9.  Until the next time enjoy the holiday season and remember a book is the best gift of all!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Contests and More!



Greetings All!

Sorry I am posting this so late but I entered two contests this week and I wanted to check to see if I got any agent requests. I entered #pitchwars and the results won’t be until next week on the 12th. In this contest 30 editors/mentors choose one novel each (so 30 total) to mentor and coach to get the manuscript to its best shape before being submitted to agents. The second contest is #pitchMAS and they took 75 entries and agents and editors troll the blog to see if they are interested in any. I have two partial requests for my YA Dystopian/Thriller! WOO HOO. Plus I got a full request for my MG urban fantasy humorous look at first love and zombies so fingers crossed.
                Dear Santa,
                Please bring me an agent for the holidays.
                Love,
                Me
Speaking of which there is another contest at YALITCHAT called, An Agent for the Holidays and you put your pitch on their blog and if agents want to see fulls or partials they will request it. No requests for me yet.
In other news, my second Mel Thompson, P.I. murder mystery came out last week and I am doing a blog tour this week with giveaways and prizes! One of the prizes is a pair of earrings with both book covers on them. Although it’s not YA, take a look at it if you are interested.
I finished the line edits on my second faerie novel, WAR OF FEI and have a tentative cover. I will share when it’s finalized. That one is coming out in Feb. 2013.
I started writing another MG but got bogged down. I also finished my NaNoWriMo novel and edited it twice so far. My beta readers have it in their hands now! I hope to start querying it after the first of the year.
How is your writing going?

Take Care, Until Next Time,
Kathleen

Monday, December 3, 2012

Project Update

Last time I blogged, on November 17, I told you about the YA novel I was working on, about the transgender boy who was kicked out of his home for being psychic. And I said I'd update you today.

I finished the first draft of the novel last Monday, November 26.

I don't do NaNoWriMo, but I wrote a 62,000 word novel in under a month. Which isn't all that unusual for me, hence my reasons for not doing NaNo.

The novel took a few turns I didn't expect, especially when it came to the group of people with psychic abilities that my main character ended up with. The main character's name changed, too; it was originally Danny, but somewhere along the line I changed it to Kellan, partly because my daughter likes a singer named Kellan and partly because the name suited the character better.

I ended up with a few really interesting secondary characters in the novel, too, and if this one gets accepted I may have to consider a series. I have a group of teens and young adults with psychic abilities; there's a whole lot of story potential there.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sometimes a handful of words is just enough



Hi, my name is Gracie Abbot and this is my first post on the Downtown YA blog. As I’m new to this site, I was wondering how to begin on a weekend filled with obligations that are sure to leave me little time to work with. I poked through the past posts and an idea came to me. Sometimes a handful of words is just enough. Think about quotes.


I love a good quote — contemporary, ancient, witty, or solemn etc. I especially love philosophical thought. Combine the two, mmm mmm mmm. It’s like chocolate to me…smooth…creamy…delectable…and I want more.


I collect quotes as I collect other words. Every so often someone says something that is so precise and germane to the moment in which it was uttered that it makes me stop in my tracks and absorb it like sunshine. I’ve been keeping favorites for years - a habit begun in 6th grade, believe it or not, and it all started with this one by Max Ehrmann. I found it lying on the ground as I walked home from school, and thinking on it now I’m able to recall the paper was blue. Imagine the power this little declaration held to a twelve year old standing on the cusp of womanhood, and whose childhood just wasn’t making sense anymore. Powerful enough for the woman she became to remember the paper was blue all these decades later.


You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

- Max Ehrmann, Desiderata 


Max pointed out the fact I was indeed a part of something larger than I realized. When we’re young, children tend to believe they’re the center of the universe but we’re not. We’re something far more wondrous. His words spoke to me. Typed on a typewriter with such firm keystrokes they made braille of several letters on the blue paper, they said, you have a right to be here, and made me believe.


For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible.
- The Talmud

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
- Lao Tzu

We are constantly invited to be who we are.
- Henry David Thoreau


These quotes come from my wanderings, my travels, education, and my assorted experiences. They appear when I need them. Need them? Yes, there are times when we need someone else to paraphrase for us. Sometimes the thoughts are too fragmented, the emotion to vague, the words too few.  Sometimes another’s words just do your own thoughts justice, and sometimes they inspire new thought. Occasionally I’ll discard one, its meaning no longer pertinent or evocative. They come and go, and change as my mind matures. Some I keep because they create the craziest images in my active imagination.


And thus I clothe my naked villainy with old odd ends stolen forth of holy writ. And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
- William Shakespeare’s King Richard III

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
- William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Out damned spot!
- William Shakespeare’s Macbeth


I love Shakespeare. I had the privilege of having an honors English class my freshman year in high school. The teacher, compelled by the spelling of my last name, sat me right next to the model of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the stack of corresponding books I could read if I finished my work before the bell rang. Good times.   :)
If a few words can have such great impact as to be remembered and referenced, then how cool is that? There are quotes penned ages ago that today carry just as much power, just as much emotion, as they did when they were crafted. The well-phrased quotable comment has staying power. Time’s most memorable words have a way of seeping into your marrow.


There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
- Neil Armstrong


Oh yes, our modes of transport, our advances in medicine and machines of war may change, but the human condition remains the same. It dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.


Wisdom is knowing how little we know.
- Socrates

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.
- Leonardo da Vinci
 
Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.
- Buddha


These snippets of philosophical thought are essentially hours of condensed reflection and observation. But we don’t need to sit on the steps of higher learning with Socrates and Plato. There’s no need to check out a scroll at the Library of Alexandria. We don’t need to sit under a tree and have enlightenment come to us while we hunger and thirst. How wonderful it is that these wordsmiths shared the insights they’d been granted. Their great thoughts have been encapsulated for us in a few well-chosen words. I can’t promise great thoughts in every post I put on the Downtown YA blog, but I’ll try.  :)

Question: Have you ever collected a quote? If so, please share!

About Me: I’m an author who writes across genres under several pen names. I share my life with my best-friend a.k.a my husband. Together we have two kids, two dogs, and three cockatiels. Beside quotes, I also collect dictionaries, word origin books, encyclopedias, and other oddly compelling things.

And, I need a photo of me!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Breaking Dawn, Forever

Okay, show of hands, how many Twilighters out there went to see the final Breaking Dawn?
I was going to wait until it came out on video, but It couldn't do it. What did you think it?
For me it was excitement from start to finish. And when I say start, I mean from the moment we left the house. We hadn't gotten to far down the road before I heard a meowing. Since we have five cats, I hear this sound twenty-four seven, but not usually in the car...unless we're on the way to the vet. After pulling over and doing a brief  look see, we found the culprit in the trunk. We turned around and headed home, let the uninvited passenger out, then tried again.
But back to the movie. I enjoyed it. I don't think anything can top the first one but this one came in a strong second. And the ending? They pulled everything together.
Now I'm just waiting for the second series of Hunger Games and The Host.