Monday, November 20, 2017

Gender Issues?

Please help me out.

In anticipation of the coming season, and to prompt smiles from little grandchildren, I pulled out this placemat. (No signature on the actual art, but the back says this placemat was made in the USA, and it's copyrighted by Greenbrier/Scentex .)



At first glance, I saw both boy and girl snowmen in the picture. But then I had to ask myself how I came to that conclusion? I try not to grab onto stereotypes, but I guess we all do now and then.

So I'm asking you all. I assumed the snowman on the front of the sled was a guy. To his right and back on that hill, that one seemed to be a younger snowperson, but again a male. The one behind him, higher on the hill, that's a girl. And back to the couple on the sled – the one in the back must be the girl. And no, I did not come to this conclusion because I have any ridiculous notion that women should always follow the men.

Anyway, I had to study the picture to figure out why my assumptions were so gender specific. I hoped that I didn't assume the couple on the sled were female on the left and male on the right (front) just because the front snowman is bigger. A walk through town would prove to anyone that size doesn't matter. So I looked closer.

The snowgal on the back of the sled definitely looks more girly in the face than the one on the front. After letting my gaze ping-pong between the two snow people, I realized that the eyes are closer together on the one I assumed to be a female, and that smile is narrower. The whole head is smaller, so the face has to be smaller. But in this situation, it gives this snowperson a dainty look, whereas the wider face, and the arrogance in the upturned nose, of the front snowy being makes it look more masculine.

The same differences can't account for the snow people on the back hill, because these are far enough apart in space and placement (on this placemat--hee!) that the one I assumed to be the girl would have to be smaller just to be correct perspective-wise. So size truly doesn't make a difference or tell me an answer here.

Yet I still think the back one on the hill looks more feminine and the front one more masculine.
Before I drive myself crazy analyzing this matter, can anyone tell me why, or whether I'm right or wrong in my assumptions, and how you justify your answer?

I'm sorry, but weird little things like this tend to bother me until I come to at least an understanding, if not a solid answer.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Get More Than Inspiration--Get Shivers!




A good friend of mine suggested I use this song to inspire my next big project. So whenever I find my energy lagging during my WIP, I give this a listen. Thank you, Terri!

Shivers, yes. Motivation, heck yeah!
So get writing!
:-)

Monday, November 13, 2017

IF YOU WANT TO SKIP TO THE GOOD STUFF...

––start here.

The idea of writing a duper (I’ll tell you whose word that is later, much later) important blog post crossed my mind, you know the one, that meandering, stream-of-consciousness piece about:
(drum roll please …)
Why it’s important to break your anxious trigger finger and avoid hitting that “send” button too soon.

But then I found someone who could say it better.

It doesn’t matter if you are submitting promotional work as an ad rep, your best cartoon that surely deserves space in the New York Times, or a fictional story taking place on the planet Who Cares
Don't submit too soon. Here’s Anna Sabino to tell you why.

I also considered doing a little public whining in behalf of the many artists not getting paid adequately, or at all, for their work. But then I found somebody who could say that better, too.
Introducing: Jon Westenberg

And then I considered a fine point about the correlation between these two articles. You should definitely read Anna’s first, because if you are lazily thinking of submitting that crappy first draft, you won’t really have the right to jump on the bandwagon of not-so-happy artists speaking out to get paid for what they do. Who’s going to pay for a practice piece?

On the flipside, once you have your artistic gift to the world truly ready for the taking, then read Jon’s article, because you certainly shouldn’t be working for free. Well, you know. Unless the whole world turns that way, and the electric company no longer sends you a bill, and your accountant goes over your expenses and sends you a note stating, “Thank you for letting me serve you. It’s been my honor,” with no invoice attached.

Until that day comes, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and attach your own invoice to all those favors of long hours of work many folks ask of you.

That’s all I’ve got to say for today.

Happy reading, and if you like this article, please share it.



Friday, November 10, 2017

A NEW DAY, A NEW GOAL? SERIOUSLY?

Excuse the confusion shown in my title. That's my confusion, not yours.

I do believe in having daily goals, but as of late my goals have changed. For the past week, I've had three darling grandchildren here, two-year-old twins and their four-year-old brother. That said, my daily goal is simply to survive.

I really commend myself when I get a paragraph written, revised, or even thought about during nap time. I give myself an extra pat on the back if I get through a single meal without a single spill. By anyone, including me. I mean, right now, that ranks as a miraculous feat.

Anyway, I thought I'd let you all know why I may be slow in visiting your blogs, updating mine, or even thinking bloggy thoughts. I plan to get back to a normal schedule next week. Or maybe the week after, because next week I might be busy recuperating. How young I don't feel – I don't want to count the ways.

Happy thoughts!

Monday, October 30, 2017

MiddleGrade Wonders, a column by Danica Flotten, coming soon, plus a few fun photos to view!


We had a fun weekend in Rochester, Minnesota, visiting with lots of family for darling six-year-old Janessa's birthday party. My husband and I enjoyed the day at a pizza place with our daughters, their spouses, our highly intelligent grandchildren, and a whole lot of fun kids. Janessa, of course, is
wearing the princess crown.


One of the unforgettable attendees was DANICA FLOTTEN (left) , a cool Wisconsin sixth-grader and our new columnist for upcoming posts, MIDDLE GRADE WONDERS. Watch for them (planning the first and third Mondays of each month) and read the random thoughts of Danica F., along with great reviews of awesome middle grade fiction. Please tell all the middle graders you know to stop by for Danica's thoughts and reviews.

Me with my hair clipped up while
concentrating on my art.



Danica is the camera-happy girl
taking photos of the birthday girl.



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

SUE'S REVIEWS!--PIANO TIDE



PIANO TIDE by Kathleen Dean Moore


For Readers:

Piano Tide is a beautifully penned novel set in a fictional town along the Alaskan coast. Thanks to the author, Kathleen Dean Moore, the mental picture of the place downloads into your readerly perspective at the first encounter:

From the distance, Good River Harbor looked like a string of gulls flying along the water below the mountain range, or a rim of barnacles just uncovered by the tide. One thing it did not look like was a town, but the town fathers could be forgiven for that. The wilderness was desperately steep; the only place to put a building was on a tidal flat that flooded twice a day. So the worthy fathers raised a boardwalk fifteen feet above high tide, a long wooden pier parallel to the shore, and along its length, built their houses on pilings. 

The tiny town's rich ecology epitomizes the sort of location tourists and opportunists are drawn to, and in that element lies the story: a virgin land being raped for its natural resources, its only protection a handful of inhabitants whose jobs and livelihoods depend upon a capitalistic endeavor they've come to hate. It's a brewing storm brought to life by an endearing bunch of characters who include their newest neighbor, Nora, a young woman who steps off the ferry and asks for help moving her piano up and into her new home.

Piano Tide goes beyond providing a good story, it is also a reflection on nature and those of us who strive to protect and preserve what can't be replaced. The descriptions of wildlife and native plants are vividly drawn and presented in remarkable number. The author, Kathleen Dean Moore, is an award-winning naturalist, philosopher, and activist. A triple punch of talent that pays off for readers in this deceptively simple look at the extent we will go for the things we cherish. 

Reviewed by Sue Ellis.

Counterpoint, 2016
ISBN 978-1-61902-791-6


For Writers:

Sometimes a cast of characters come along who fit so well into a plot that they seem to exceed even what the author might have hoped for them. There are revelations about personality, ambition, wisdom (or lack of), and the capacity for love. When it's well done, it leads to a genuine acquaintance with what is human in all of us. As I read Piano Tide, I couldn't help but think of Brain Doyle and the good-hearted magic he worked with the folksy characters in his coastal novels, so I wasn't surprised when I read, on the acknowledgment page at closing, 

To Portland writer Brian Doyle, who grins at the mysterious chiming of our novels; we are born, he says, of the same “salt and song.” 

Certainly a strong plot is at work, certainly a moral lesson is at stake, and clearly heroes emerge. But to experience it all while we lean back and gratefully breathe in the spirit and tenor of the thing—that's magic to make a writer proud.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Problem with Sticking to a Time-Management Plan…

Last night I made a plan to be extremely efficient and productive today. And every day, really, but I would start with today. That said, I tucked my energy into bed last night with the care of a doting mother, pulled the blanket up high and patted it tight around the edges. Had to make sure my energy was fully rested and ready to go this morning.

And sure enough, it seemed to be. Crossed the first thing off my list at 6 AM – have coffee. By 6:30 I was at the computer, answered a couple emails, then put my eyes to the first paragraph of last week’s work. That went smooth. The second paragraph wasn’t bad either. An alien must’ve come in and traded third paragraphs with me, but no problem, I said. With so much bright-eyed energy at the ready, I could stick an hour into that paragraph and not get behind schedule, or I could simply highlight it and save it for another day.
I chose the latter and checked out paragraph four.

Oops. Seems like aliens not only took over that paragraph, they inserted a few characters or words from another planet and left it as some sort of puzzle for me to decipher. That called for another coffee break.
Recharged and on to paragraph five. Good heavens.

On to paragraph six. Forget it.
On to paragraph seven. I’ll just highlight that one with paragraph six, five, four, and three.

On to paragraph eight – lately my lucky number (I won $15 at bingo last week with my last number being B8.) But the Irish gods were not with me today, because eight was actually worse than seven, which was worse than six, but honestly not quite as bad as five. And I’m not looking any further.
Time for another cup of coffee to calm my writer’s nerves.

I guess number nine must be my lucky charm this week, because paragraph nine had a little zing to it. There was a sequential order to the thought process, too. And no alien words!
I zipped along with reborn confidence, paragraphs 9, 10, and 11 hitting me like a sunny day. To my surprise, paragraph 12 practically waved at me with a pleasant greeting, and paragraph 13 put to rest all my suspicions about how nasty the number 13 could be.

Then came paragraph 14. Ugh.
Paragraph 15. Double-ugh.

Paragraph 16. Geez, seriously? What was I thinking? Too many donuts that day? Too much grease in my system, clogging any thought waves from coming out of my brain?
Paragraph 17. Thank God for coffee. Mug in hand, I answered a few more emails. Checked Facebook, “liked” a thing or two while sipping my coffee as though it were my last cup, then diligently set myself back at the computer.

Was that the noon whistle? By gosh, it’s lunchtime.
An hour later, whining to myself that so much of the day was gone already, I remembered I have a class at 1:30. Time to get ready for that––would hate to waste it by being unprepared. But first, my schedule says I was supposed to post a blog article this morning on Time Management and Productivity. But I don’t really have time to write anything unique other than to recount how my first day went on my new schedule, after lovingly tucking my energy into bed early last night so that I could conquer the world of writing today.

That’s it! Happy writing! It’s class time for me.