Sunday, February 27, 2011

Housework for Writer's Block

Most people say they hate housework. I used to hate it too. But I've realized that it's rhythmic mindless can clear and release the mind. When I hit a block in my writing, I read the problem section over, then get up and start cleaning. Usually, by the time a room is half-done, I'm running back to my computer with a solution.
Rabia of Basra (717-801) said it much more poetically:
It helps
putting my hands on a pot, on a broom,
in a wash
tried painting
but it was easier to fly slicing

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Poetic Prose

I love poetic prose, whether it's in a lyrical picture book or a YA novel. But it's hard to do without having the author's voice intrude, without sounding too "writerly."
Two authors, whose books I've read recently, have been able to pull it off beautifully. Both women are also poets.
Kim Fusco in The Wonder of Charlie Ann and
Pat Lowery Collins in Daughter of Winter.
Both books are historical novels, and I wonder if readers are more accepting of poetic language in the mouth of of a historical character. Daughter of Winter is written in third person, and I do think poetic prose is easier to carry off in third person.
But The Wonder of Charlie Ann is written in first person. Yet Charlie always sounds like a kid. The reader always believes in her voice. Remarkable!
I need to exercise, flex my own poetic voice--and not be so afraid of it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Leftovers Recycled

Writing a book like When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story has made me hyper-sensitive to environmental issues. Americans throw so much food away. Wouldn't it be valuable to come up with new ways to recycle leftovers?
So here's my contribution:
Take leftover rice. Add brown sugar, raisins, milk, and a touch of cinnamon. Heat it in the microwave for 45 seconds.
Presto, delicious breakfast!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New book!

Despite my best intentions, it's been a while since I posted on my blog. That's because I've been busy writing--a good excuse, I'd say.
I just finished a new book on the Revolutionary War--History Digs: Revolution and the New Nation (Cherry Lake Publishing).
I've also been working on biographies for Women of the Ocean State: 25 Rhode Island Women You Should Know. Princess Red Wing is my next lady. She was a dynamic spokesperson for her people, the Wampanoag and Narragansetts.