Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Lengthening Light

As one who lives in the north, the solstice is a time of reflection and resolution. Like Cooper, I enjoy burning things I would like to let go of, and the curling of the paper in the fire does make letting go of things easier. It is also the time I reflect on what I'd like to focus on.

This year in my writers' group we announced goals to each other. Goals seem more humble and realistic than resolutions. And there is something about verbalizing to friends what we want to do that helps place us on the path to doing.

Last night we were invited to a couple's house for dinner. Their daughter wants to go to Kenya to study for a semester and the parents were worried about her safety. We went to reassure them that the school program the daughter was going on was safe and that she would have an incredible experience in Kenya.

On the way home our car was smashed into by a driver who had skidded on ice and lost control. The back window was blown out, the rear end crushed, and the front tire twisted. Fiona and I are okay. We have some sore muscles and keep seeing the accident when we close our eyes, but it could have been so much worse.

Fiona pointed out that we had gone to reassure them about safety and then been smashed into on our way home in Minneapolis. Such a reminder about how quickly things can change anyplace. And such a reminder about what I continue to need to be reminded of: the necessity of living each day fully and gratefully.


But One of the Ways Two-Thousand Nine Holds Promise By Betsy Woods

This year, 2009, holds promise like most beginnings. It holds a particularly unique quality as my birthday lands on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year. This is the second experience I’ve had with this; the first was in 1999. Then, in 1999, I remember thinking the year would bring some large particular change, something of significance would happen, good –or- bad. And things of life-changing significance did happen both wonderful and harsh.

Now that 2009 is visiting me, astral numbers playing with my birth date, I wonder what dreams may come true, and I wonder and hope for the strength to endure those things that challenge me. There is an awesome sense of balance in this that rings in my chest as I wander through this blog entry. It invites me to open my arms, wide and welcoming, and whisper yes.

Out with the Old and in with the New...

Every year my family and I build a fire in the fireplace on New Year's Eve. We may make s'mores in the heat of the flames, but mostly they are used for burning the old year's unwanted, bad feelings and memories. Writing on little scraps of paper, then crushed and thrown into the fire is a cathartic experience and cleanses the way for thinking about hopes and wishes for the new year. When my son was only two, he would sit determinedly with a pencil scribbling all the bad things he could think of: monsters in the closet, the sandbox incident with his next door neighbor, the vegetables he did not like to eat and the potty all burned with the bad. It helps to get all those negative memories and worries out of the way! Of course, Cooper loved the burning of paper so much, that it was hard to get him to think of hopes and wishes for the new year which we merely placed in a wooden box to be read the next year! 

This is how I prefer to think of the new year-- as a time to write down hopes and wishes for the coming year-- not resolutions, which seem so bound to fail. Thus, here are 10 potato wishes for 2009:
1. Continue posting and reading and getting to know all my new Potato friends.
2. Finish painting the illustrations for "One Night" a story written by Wendy Orr-- with a 
3. Write and paint the new stories that keep swimming in my head with my *new* Corel painter, (Thanks David!) 
4. Read a poem every morning before journaling-- this helps stir my language and outlook first thing. A paradigm shift of sorts.
5. Read picture books every day. Now since my children are no longer young enough to be read to, I have to make a concerted effort to read picture books daily-- a welcome concerted effort!
6. Write a fantastical and wondrous script for Circus Juventas-- this year is an Asian theme and I not only write the script for their August show, but I also design their sets along with another creative designer!
7. Balance my studio life with my family. My daughter is going to be in her last year of high school in 2009-2010 and there is so much opening up for her and us, I want to be present! 
8. Balance my studio life with my friends. This means walks, coffee shops, and studio visits, and any other creative ways of staying in touch we can figure out!
9. Take time for my self. Solitude and visits with nature, museums, concert halls, and book stores are all nurturing and ways of creating new possibilities.
10. Travel-- I hope 2009 brings some lovely travels! I already know I will be traveling to India in October for a school visit! And this summer will bring family travels to visit colleges and more family-- so it is getting off to a good start.

I will stop here at that magic number of ten, however I didn't even begin to write my hopes and wishes for this country of ours. In less than a week we will have a new president and with this a new way of being in the world-- I hope and wish!


Making Resolutions Manageable

Like Diane (and many others), I am not a big fan of resolutions. For one thing, “New Years Resolutions” come only once a year, which gives me far too much wiggle room to say, for example, on January 2nd: “I still have 363 days left to start eating right/exercising/landscaping the yard/[fill in the blank], so I might as well bust open that Peanut Butter Cup ice cream/take a nap/wait for a warmer day/[fill in the blank].” And if it’s a leap year? An extra day to procrastinate!

Monthly resolutions/goals seem more attainable. Depending on the issue, sometimes weekly, daily, and hourly goals are needed. Lists help, too. I’m a big one for lists. I make them, if not daily, then at least weekly. Items on the list can include chores, errands, reminders, and stuff to get at the grocery store. At the end of the day, whatever remains unchecked on the list becomes the start of a new list for the next day. (A note for potential list-makers: put a few easy items at the top of your daily list, such as “check the mail” so you are guaranteed to cross at least one item off!)

As for writing-related goals, the main one I consistently fail to achieve is: “read more.” Otherwise, the goal remains the same for the day, the week, the year, my life: keep plugging away on my stories. For better or worse, this is my destiny, my passion, my joy and, at times, my bane. And with each rejection that comes when I check the mail (an item crossed off the list!) I repeat the best mantra I know for wannabe writers: if you’re not getting published, write a better story!


I, Diane Adams, resolve to...

I have long since given up on making New Year's Resolutions as I don't recall ever following through on one. They always involve losing weight, eating better, and exercising, while they never include eating more chocolate cake, sleeping in later or spending more money.

But with that said, I do like to have goals. I'd like to keep walking my dogs in the hills. I'd like to continue journalling. It'd be nice to spend more time writing and less time worrying about writing. And maybe I could be a little easier on myself in the perfectionism department. (I can already feel a loosening in that area thanks to the musings of my fellow Papas Calientes.) Balance seems to be the key here - to writing, to living, and to moving forward.

Still, maybe I'll give the resolutions one more try. I, Diane Adams, resolve to eat more of my favorite freshly baked glazed doughnuts (that have not touched my lips for way too long), and less of my Special K cardboard cereal for breakfast in 2009. Why I may even go so far as throwing some yogurt and fruit into the mix. And if I'm successful with this resolution, who knows what grand pronouncements I'll make in 2010.