Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Hair today, gone tomorrow

In Christy's post she talked about back-to-school rituals. Getting a haircut was right up there with buying new tennis shoes. Well, I got a new haircut big time this past Friday. After letting my hair grow for sixteen years, I had twenty inches cut off. Whew! I have to admit, it was a little bit like losing an old friend. Gone are the days of wrapping my hair around my neck like a scarf to stay warm during the winter. Also gone are the regular drain clogs in the shower. It's been interesting to note people's reactions, from "Oh. That looks...different," to "Good. Now you look like a boy." The latter remark came from a 95-year-old client on my Meals-on-Wheels route! While I'm still getting used to the new look, I'm glad I was able to donate the "old look" to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for children who have suffered hair loss due to medical conditions.
So here's to a new month, a new season, and fresh starts!

Back to...

Kinda funny that this is back to school time, because I too have homework. Today in the mail I got the final pages for my new YA novel The Gardener. Final pages are typeset and look like the real thing. Now, my job is to go through and see how many goofs I can find. I just made it to page 100 and have found about nine. Most of them are little, like an extra word, or something that doesn't make sense. But I did find one goof that was totally due to me not being an Oregon resident at the time I wrote the book. Because, now that I am an Oregonian, this thing totally jumped out at me like "It's illegal to do that in Oregon!" I'm not giving it away, but I will certainly give a big kudo to anyone who can figure out this one thing you are allowed to do in almost every other state EXCEPT Oregon.


a penny for your thoughts

September 1
School before Labor Day should be outlawed. September, NOT August, is back to school time, yet here in California, my daughter is already in her second week of classes. Though part of me sadly relinquishes summer’s languor, another part is eager for the well-learned rhythm and rigor of autumn.

Today is the official release date of my book, The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan. The book has fared well by reviewers so far—a star from Kirkus! http://www.leeandlow.com/books/373/hc/the_east_west_house_noguchi_s_childhood_in_japan/ Alas, I have no contract copies yet, so my celebration is postponed. Instead of lingering over a bound book, I plan to move forward, buckle down in that back-to-school mode, finish finessing a manuscript, and pitch a new project today. At least I will try.

First, I want to note two of my favorite childhood rituals preparing for the new school year, and invite you readers to share some of yours.

NEW PENNY LOAFERS! Each year my parents packed my three brothers and me in the Studebaker and we drove from our home on the North Shore of Massachusetts to the outlet stores in New Hampshire to shop for school clothes. I always came home with a new sweater and plaid pleated skirt from Pendleton Woolen Mills, and new shoes from Johnny Appleseeds. I couldn’t wait to get home and place a shiny penny in each loafer.

A NEW LUNCH BOX! This was, of course, my defining accessory. I wish I kept a collection of these vintage metal boxes, The Lone Ranger for my older brother Dave and Barbie for me.

What does back to school mean for you?
A penny for your thoughts…


Close to home

I am feeling just a tad jealous of my fellow potatos' travels this summer. With the lovely economy, we stayed close to home...but, we were lucky enough to spend time with some interesting creatures that came to us.

First it was the kitten with pneumonia that stayed for a day, but was too sick to keep near our other cat. Thanks to his tenacious purring, he was taken in by a foster mom and nursed back to health via antibiotics, nebulizers, and humidifiers (it took a whole month). I am so grateful to his foster mom for taking a chance on him. He is now a constant friend as I type, sleeping on my feet at this moment, and purring like a tiger when awake. (His name is Topher, by the way.)

Our second visitor was a rather large king snake, (I hope that's what it was!), that slithered around our back patio for an entire afternoon. I took pictures from inside the house and enjoyed his antics from afar. His tongue was constantly sipping at the air as he climbed our fence, lifted his body up to one of our chairs, and finally disappeared into the foliage. I have to say that we slept with all our windows and doors closed that night, and we still scan the patio for our friend before stepping outside. It was truly a magical experience, but one that I'd like not to repeat.

Now that summer's over, it's pretty quiet around here, but Topher and I are always on the lookout for a chance visitor.