Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On Rick Walton, REMAKE, and a Supportive Writing Family

Recently Alison Randall and I had the chance to visit with Rick Walton. I took my favorite of his picture books (PIG, PIGGER, PIGGEST) for him to sign. More important, I wanted Rick to know he’s a major reason I keep writing. At WIFYR a while back, Rick talked about how writers sometimes give up too soon, and said if we’d just keep trying, eventually things would work out.

Rick has also influenced the other reason I keep writing: He and Carol were a major force in making the local writing community what it is: a group of talented writers who encourage and support each other. Alison told Rick that it’s like being part of a big family.

I agree. So when I see my writing “siblings's” success, I feel like cheering. Last month, for example, I took Ilima Todd’s book, REMAKE, on vacation. Sitting on a beach, reading about an ocean, was wonderful. And REMAKE was fabulous. I hated to leave the characters when the book ended, and can’t wait for the sequel. The bonus: I’d read the first fifty pages of Ilima’s earlier draft in Ann Dee Ellis’s WIFYR boot camp. It was excellent then, and I loved seeing the changes that made her final story even better.

I look forward to writing conferences, especially WIFYR, not just to learn, but to see all of you, my writing family. My real family, wonderful as they are, don't always get my writing compulsion, but I know you understand. Your support buoys me as I go back to finish that next edit, write that next book, and continue to hope that someday we’ll all be on the bookstore shelf together. Maybe we’ll even claim our own section!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

250 words for PitchSlam -- Comments Appreciated

I had my entry ready to go by 3 p.m. Monday, but stuck in it my drafts folder for that "just in case" panic edit later on. Oh, how I wish I'd just sent it then. But I had places to be and didn't get home until close to deadline. I sent on time, but to the wrong address!! Aagh!

I'm sure I'm not the only one, so I'd really love feedback on LAWNMOWER, LEAVING.

Leaving Reason, One. Mom thinks I’m stupid enough to run over my best friend. 
My invention goes like this: First, the rope tied to the chassis pulls Brock across the lawn. Second, the wheels hit the pressure switch hidden in the grass. Third, one sprinkler goes off just as Brock rides over it.
He runs out of the spurting water. “You planned that.” 
“Perfect timing.” I check the video and smile. Inventing's one thing I can do.
“What’s with the weird grin?” Brock drops the sled and runs over to see the replay. “It looks like I peed my pants. Delete that part, okay?”
“Fine. But it’s your turn to drive.” I reach for the foot sled I made from welded cookie sheets. 
But then Mom walks onto the front porch. And that's when all the sprinklers go off, soaking the steps and Mom. I forgot to unplug the watering timer.
Mom wipes her wet glasses, then points her pen at me. It’s the one Mom chews when she pays bills. “Mowers have blades, Cole. What if you ran over Brock’s foot?”
The riding mower’s off, but her words buzz louder than engine noise. Going barefoot always felt good. Safe. Until now. 
Mom taps her pen, probably adding stuff to her “Fix Cole Plan.” 
But maybe I can make her smile. “We’re recording a video.” I hold up the camera. “It’s called, ‘Don’t Try this at Home.’” 
Brock laughs. Mom doesn’t. “You can’t try it at our home either. Sorry.”