Ten writers for children. All with something to say.



I have enjoyed the various tips others have provided about filling the well and have caught up on them after a wonderful week of visiting eight schools in Fargo. Lauren recommended me to them after she'd been there last year and I recommended David. The Red River valley is a great potato growing area so it makes sense to go spud to spud.

I heard a terrific interview that Terry Gross conducted with Jonah Lehrer, the author of a new book on creativity titled IMAGINE. He discussed ways to improve creativity and recommended three of my favorites: walks, naps, and exercise. I aim to do one of these every day and on a good day will do all three.


I found much in the interview that went well with our discussion. Happy well filling.


Tulips and Starbucks

Yesterday I received an email from MoveOn that Starbucks had come forward in support of the issue of Equality in Marriage and was being busted by the far-to-the-right-wing-nuts, so this morning when my son groaned about having to ride the bus to school I offered to drive him, then stopped at the local Starbucks and bought myself a soy latte. On the drive I was astonished by the blooming Forsythia, Magnolias, and daffodils everywhere. I sighed at the light green clouds that hover around the tree branches, soon to become full-green foliage. I stopped to buy some groceries and bought a bouquet of pink tulips for my studio today. By the time I arrived in my studio this morning I had perked up. My well was filled and now, I am ready to begin again.

I am in the midst of a deadline on a book that brings me great joy and great angst. I have never painted a book in this short amount of time and sometimes the panic gets so strong that I hit a wall. Yesterday was such a day. I felt stuck. More than stuck. I had hit the wall and it hurt. When I am not on deadline, the ideas flow. I feel free then, able to take long leisurely walks, meet friends for coffee, go to meetings, schools, movies, plays, readings, etc. All of which inspire my muse. But when I am on deadline and have to say no to everything, it is the little things that fill me up. Like driving my son to school and looking at spring springing, buying a latte, and bringing home tulips. Now to work! 


Five Well-Tested Strategies

Filling the well is an appropriate topic for me this round, since the last few weeks have been so hectic I haven’t even checked in with my fellow spuds on this blog, let alone gotten much work done. I count myself fortunate to even remember that today is my day to contribute! Now that the metaphorical storm has passed, however, I am settling back into my normal routines. And that means filling the creative well.

My best strategies include:

*Driving while listening to Tom Petty at high volumes

*Exploring local beaches with the natural musical accompaniment of the waves


*Rereading favorite books

*Talking with fellow artists

While I cannot always perform every strategy on a given day, I can always do at least one of them, and they always work! And so even though my list is short, it is long enough for me to accomplish my goal: fill the well and get back to work!


The gift of new ideas

New ideas come in the form of surprises sometimes. I'm reworking two books right now, and on a trip to visit our son in Utah two weeks ago, I watched a little girl with Down's Syndrome excitedly tell her mom that the pizza parlor we were in served bread. Her enthusiasm for the basket of bread delighted me and I realized that my story needed some of her wide-eyed delight for the simple things in life. I realized that I needed this for myself too. God bless that little girl!

Another story having to do with wheels was getting yawns from the publishers, until I watched the people at my mom's new board and care home navigate in their walkers and wheelchairs. Wouldn't a child who is obsessed by wheels be delighted to ride in a wheelchair with his grandparent? Wouldn't a grandparent love being the center of positive attention in his or her wheelchair? Another surprise that ended up in a story.

It has been an arduous two months for my family, but in the middle of it all, joy has reared its beautiful head and shown me that seeds of hope and ideas are all around, especially where they're least expected. We are here to help each other and I'm amazed at the gifts that are available when one is open to them.