Typing with Ginger

National Novel Writing Month 2012

In October I didn’t discern that my neurons held an idea for a particular strong new mystery character.

That was well before the accumulation of the mini-marathons that 30 days of NaNoWriMo in November ushers in, at least for many writers. This year for it, I nested online in a community of keyboarders.

NaNoWriMo is a phenom that almost every writer I speak with knows about, even if participation isn’t part of their plan. Some fortunate writers who I’m cheering on with long-range  agent &/or editor hopes for their just-completed novels, holed up at a delicious island, supported by cooked meals, the swish of salty air, and the focused attention of an award-winning author who dishes kindness with criticism. Brava! I was with them in spirit. I crafted a NaNoWriMo for myself, uplifted by hardworking NaNoWriMo organizers locally. My municipal  liaison coach hand-made an Origami guide for each writer & treated us to an outdoors kick-off party. This was a sweet surprise & set me typing, typing, typing.

NaNoWriMo 2012 guide all rights reserved

NaNoWriMo 2012 guide
all rights reserved

I became the only writer in the entire contest assisted by Ginger, a feline who has nevertheless seen too much for his liking, of vets lately, but he’s fine, just finicky (yes his “Ginger” name is also a story.)  Perhaps the blog of this author who I’ve enjoyed studying with, a visiting professor,  helps explain my absence at our area NaNoWriMo write-in events. I did attend the kick-off party, channeling Big Bird.

all rights reserved

all rights reserved

As a result of the energy from my NaNoWriMo team I have met my character, saluted her perfect name, & wondered over her dreams & her problems. Of course when I return to this manuscript-in-progess some other month, my character Sara may become Penelope Pennypress. And her dreams and her challenges will morph. And that will be a good, good, thing.

Tally:   6,724 words.

I didn’t exceed my goal, 1,000 words a day –  or even match it. But no complaints. In November we traveled far, beautifully celebrated our 25th anniversary, attended to some key family details that also involved out-of-town visits & noshed on an early Thanksgiving with our out-of-town college kiddo. I tackled writing details such as doing the Snoopy dance for finishing & sending out to a contest, chapters in a mystery for young readers & I organized my first blog hop with book topic Qs & As; it begins back here on Dec. 5.

What I’ve begun writing next is the Thanku poetry form. This one is for NaNoWriMo.

A Thanku is a Haiku of Thanks. The Thanku is one of a multitude of plum-perfect ideas to find at Teaching Authors. Say Thanku out loud to fully appreciate the term. Here is my most recent Thanku.

NaNoWriMo 2012

Origami guide!

Kindness of ML Pearl Rose

Prompts words that  mellow

…….

I hope you will return here WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5th for the tag-team Q/A blog hop. Creative folks I’ve tagged who expect to run their Q/As on their blogs, on Dec. 12 will have their links on-board then.

Maybe Ginger’s NaNoWriMo keyboard technique will give you a hoot.

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all rights reserved

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gratitude for my latitude

With the wee drop in temperatures in North Florida,  I sense a tempo  leap.

And so matching that, I am almost completed with revising a chapter book.

On a new project, I touch the word count bar to see how far a new story character and I journeyed in one day. I read a mistake.

It can’t be 2,600 words. My legs were stiff when i pushed away from the keyboard for the last time yesterday. So they also say it is true.

If you wonder about working with the community that is National Novel Writing Month, which helps develop dreams of story creation, it’s not too late for 2012. And anyone can use the group’s model to make a better month for you, your personal NaNoWriMo.

From the Dublin, Ireland, Library

I met up with a NaNoWriMo crew at a kick-off party. The construction paper origami guide given to each hopeful creator observes me now on my desk.  When I want to stray,  origami bunny is a tangible reminder of the 1,000 words a day I want.

Thank you to our thoughtful  NaNoWriMo folks.

OTHER GUIDES

For this nation’s month of Thanksgiving, I fill  with gratitude to live so well in this FL latitude.

Hurricane Sandy raked over the New Jersey beach, Seaside Heights, where years back I regularly rolled down dunes and got sick stuffing my mouth with a bag of salt water taffy. Dear family members are still without power at the CT shore – it may be a week or longer, but they are safe & nestled with another family member. Family members living near  Narragansett, RI are also fine. Extra thanks given with the turkey, in November 2012.

Before I scoot away during the rest of these 30 days, I share titles of good books for younger readers, about American indian/Native American topics.

November is the month more than any other, when we celebrate this continent’s First Peoples.

Beyond  the high quality of these picture books they share an additional crucial element. I hope you can discern it through my mention of them here.  You may also want to visit the Oyate and American Indians in Children’s Literature resources, for insights that deepen our connection to this month. Thank you.

JINGLE DANCER by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee)

THE STAR PEOPLE b;y S.D. Nelson (Standing Rock Sioux)

SQUANTO’s JOURNEY, THE CIRCLE OF THANKS, THE FIRST STRAWBERRIES, THE EARTH UNDER SKY BEAR’S FEET by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki)

hurricane season

WHAT stories for young readers have hurricanes as the backdrop? We can always react to a seasonal interest with out of print books such as Hurricane Luck by Carl Carmer.  A review of the Katrina-inspired A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN, from Renee Watson in 2010, is here.

And thanks to the timely comment (see below) I’m pleased to post a link to a review and comment  on a new hurricane picture book,  A STORM CALLED KATRINA by Myron Uhlberg, with  illustrations by Colin Bootman.

For my current hurricane reading, I am taking cover against predicted rains from Lee, in the classic 1958 non-fiction from the Everglades’ protector, Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

YURACAN is only one word for the worrisome weather.

To fathom hurricanes, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas studied them for three years in league with the (old) Hurricane Research Project of the U.S. Weather Bureau, Miami.

As we seek from a legendary writer who herself was a force of nature, living until 108, her quest resulted in goodness – a 393-page nonfiction literary volume, HURRICANE.   And yes, the view of destruction on the back cover from my own prized volume is a blurry image from Montauk, Long Island.   So this older book has resonance for today, what with the recently departed H. Irene having discombobulated family & friends in New England.

I recommend the Douglas history of these killer cyclones. It is a keen read, especially for those recently/currently acquainted in a personal way with one. Some dear family &  pals went for days – almost a week for one family, without power.  So a history of indoor plumbing & the shower is more appreciated than ever in these times. But that’s another book.

Also, I can’t talk about hurricanes without sending you to read up on book loss at libraries, as a result of Irene. Be generous if you can, starting with information from an alert & talented author, whose pages I traveled to via an indispensible blog at  School Library Journal.

HURRICANE was first published in 1958. Douglas reports on a 1464 hurricane that dealt a coup de grace to Mayans.  She sails on from there, dropping anchor for interesting ports of call such as : “In 1790 on his trip down the Ohio, George Washington noted hurricane damage to the trees between Steubenville, Ohio and Wheeling, West Virginia.”

Her book reminds us/introduces us to Yuracan & other suspected sources of our term, hurricane, including the Indians we know as Caribs, the island dwelling Tainos  and the good people of Central and South America.  Her recounting of the beliefs about the gods of wind and storms fascinates.

Douglas also covers geography of past destruction, including a detailed section & maps of  “Hurricanes, North.” So the possibility of Irene’s interesting path away from Florida and up into the rivers of Vermont may have come as no surprise if we read our history, which of course we do, correct? No, not nearly enough.

from HURRICANE by Marjory Stoneman Douglas "A boat awash at Montauk, Long Island - photographed by The New York Times"

One of my favorite aspects of this book involves the stories of heroes who risk their lives to save people from injury and death as a result of hurricanes.

In looking backward with Douglas, it is clear how today’s forecast information, which, let’s be honest, we take for granted, would have been worshipped, cheered, embraced & yes, well-heeded in times past.

To not follow it today seems without enough regard for the first responders who can risk their lives in hurricane-affiliated rescues. And some of those stressful storm-soaked saves may be unnecessary, if only said stranded residents had heeded warnings.

We know much more about inevitable hurricanes today, than when Douglas wrote beautifully on them with that era’s limited knowledge, some 50 years ago. So this makes me ponder: What makes sense about new construction or rebuilding, in marshes, on riverbanks that flood hugely after strong sustained storms, on our coastal sands,  & in similar zones?

Despite the heft of this book, it is a fast-paced read. Especially in hurricane season, which lasts, I recall, through October.

It was reissued in 1976 and if you are pondering which library near you carries which edition, a fast way to look is with the wonderful World Catalogue  WorldCat http://www.world.cat.org

Full disclosure: Douglas personally charmed my reading club during her long visit with us, captured in a photograph of her on my sofa. I am in touch with most book group pals, but if I haven’t heard from you in ages, please give a shout.  I don’t have a functioning scanner at this moment but do want to get that photo up here. Please check back after the next few hurricanes! I expect to have it posted then.

In the meantime, check with your Red Cross folks, follow the forecasts & take a look at hurricane books.

Florida Christmas tree 2

Last year the Florida Christmas tree posted on this blog shone with lights.

No branches. Strings of lights at the Cedar Key marina

glowing in the dark like a beacon.

c. Jan Godown Annino

c. Jan Godown Annino

Now for a tree like none you’ve ever seen,

I’ve reprised an image I took years ago, during a visit with

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper in South Florida.

This tree stood tall in the Seminole Tribe of Florida

headquarters, with a palm tree nodding nearby.

The tree is typical. Maybe yours is tall & green.

Red bows are standard. So are basic balls.

But the dolls!

How many trees have you seen, where dolls are the decoration.

Handmade dolls.

Dolls made with palm fibers. And dressed to represent

Seminole patchwork clothing. For the textile, fabric art

& history buff this tree is  worth a detour.

(Respect copyright. All rights reserved with these images.)

This is a little visit, here.

Or maybe it will inspire you to plan your trip.

c. Jan Godown Annino all rights reserved

c. Jan Godown Annino all rights reserved

MERRY CHRISTMAS!