I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning opening the biggest present, and finding exactly what she wanted!
When Sharon Watson, Kenwood School’s librarian, invited me to come do an author visit assembly, I was over-the-top thrilled. I taught at Kenwood for ten years and filled various creative roles. To me, it was the happiest place on earth to teach but I gave it up to pursue my writing dreams.
Facing the assembled children, I told the story of my journey since second grade. I didn’t bore them with lengthy tales of my history but encouraged them to keep hoping and dreaming and work hard at whatever their dream is, in order to make it come true.
Just for fun, I gave volunteers the opportunity to shoot rubber bands through holes on a game board, reminding them that shooting a rubber band is how Eddie got in trouble and they should only use rubber bands for their intended purpose or end up in the principal’s office.
The students had many great questions and I had to opportunity to speak to the fifth-grade class as they are doing a NANOWRIMO project.
It’s always a pleasure to watch the faces of the children as I sign books. But, just like a day ending at Disneyland, I didn’t want to leave the happiest place on earth. Alas, I must return to the hardest part of being an author – writing.
If you’ve visited the “About Christy” page of my website or read my blog post, “The Birth of a Book,” you know I give my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Olson, credit for inspiring me to become a writer.
A year ago, I inquired about her to a reporter at my hometown’s newspaper, the Thief River Falls Times. That wonderful reporter knew who I was talking about and connected me with Mrs. Olson.
Mrs. Olson and I talked on the phone a couple of times, but the excitement grew as I told her of our trip to Minnesota.
I told her I would love to speak to students where my dad taught school and she went to work.
Soon, I was in contact with not only the principal of Challenger Elementary, but also a communications teacher at Franklin Junior High, where I went to school. He arranged a book signing at Diamonds and Designs, where Mrs. Olson volunteers.
I enjoyed every minute of my book tour, but the best moment I had was having dinner with Mrs. Susan Olson. I didn’t know what to call her, respectfully, since the entire town knows her as “Susie.” I settled on calling her Miss Susie.
We talked like old friends and had so much in common, down to our taste in clothing! I’m forever grateful to Miss Susie!
If you happen to love science fiction, I’m sure you have heard of the British series, Dr. Who. It’s been around for more than fifty years.
A few years ago, my children introduced me to the Doc, and I LOVED IT! We binge watched before binge watching was a trend. I absolutely fell in love with the character, especially #10, David Tennant.
In my opinion, he had the character down to a science – pun intended.
Dr. Who inspired my husband to build something I have always wanted in my front yard. A little lending library.
Well, our library isn’t so little. It’s a life-size TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). The Tardis is how Dr. Who travels through time, and it resembles an old police call box.
When we first built our Tardis, someone reported it to our police department and they had to come check it out. There’s nothing illegal about it. It’s filled from top to bottom with books to take.
The lower shelves hold baby books to first readers and middle-grade novels.
The upper shelves are filled with books for more avid readers.
My theory in choosing the Tardis is, “Books are bigger on the inside.” (If you haven’t seen the show, you won’t know what that means, but it is highly relevant to the series plotline that has spanned more than five decades.)
The word is getting around and somedays we get “Whoovians” taking pictures with the famous box.
No matter WHO it inspires, its one and only purpose is to inspire people of all ages to read.
By the time you read this post, I will have done what some people say is “another year around the sun.”
Yes, I celebrated another year. I’m older but feel like I’m still sixteen years old, trapped in a fifty-something body. At least that is what my mind says. My body tells another story.
Don’t you hate the question, “How old are you?”
As kids, we don’t mind that question, but as a seasoned woman, I prefer to keep my answers light. Thus, the reason for this post. If you want to know how old this author is… here’s an old commercial from my younger years to give you a clue:
Ketchup is my favorite condiment.
I use it for anything fried and meat that may be a little too tough or dry to swallow.
I have embraced the fact that I was not raised with many etiquette mannerisms and learned mostly by observing. Observation has helped me become who I am today. I pride myself in not being stuffy. That is why this is now my favorite commercial for American sauce.
To celebrate my getting older, I’m giving away a present! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
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When I was a second grader, my teacher, Mrs. Olson, told me I was destined to be a writer.
I wrote five pages about my dog and won first place in the writing contest Mrs. Olson created for her second-grade writers. That was in 1972 and I never forgot her words, always dreaming of becoming an author.There is no feeling more exhilarating than opening a box to find a dozen books with your name on the front. I compare the process to giving birth. There’s the conception, the long haul of putting words into story… and that is only the beginning.
For the most part, the process can take a lot longer than nine months of carrying a baby. Only writers can understand how much work it takes to finally hold your baby, the fruition of hard work in your hands: A book with your name on the over.
It begins with an idea.
Thanks to my friend Susan K. Stewart, who listened to my idea and said the three words authors love to hear, “Send it in,” I have a middle-grade book series.
Susan and I became friends, and she shared with me her idea for a book that was burning on her heart. I loved her idea. I wish I could have said those three words to her, but because she is an editor, she had an “in” with the publisher.
Susan had a dream, one that involved her love of donkeys.
Recently, her dream was fulfilled. A box of books arrived at her doorstep and when she opened them up, her dream for Donkey Devos was born. I love it when dreams come true.
From idea to the page, from the page to pitching to a publisher, from the publisher to the editing process and from the editing process finally to print, writing is hard work.
But because I have dreamed of writing my entire life and recently birthed my second book, to me, the entire process truly is my labor of love.
What is it about flying the flag outside my front door that makes pride surge within me?
My dad always flew the flag on Memorial Day, Flag Day, The Fourth of July, and Veteran’s Day. His brothers served our country. Daddy, unfortunately, was unable to serve our country but he desperately wanted to. I watched Daddy fly the flag proudly declaring he was an American and loved his country.
Thinking back to when I was a kid, growing up in a small town, Thief River Falls, Minnesota, there was always the Fourth of July parade to get excited about. I’d scramble through adults to perch myself on the curb of the downtown street. It was the best chance of getting candy the parade entries tossed out.
At home, we hardly ever got candy, so I always tried my hardest to catch as much as I could on parade day. Unfortunately, there were always bigger and faster kids and I maybe left with one or two pieces, devouring them before we got home.
But why did my heart surge as the Honor Guard for the military passed by?
In high school I played the French horn with the marching band. We’d memorize the music so we could fancy dance. I loved hearing the cheers from the crowd as we passed by. My heart pounding with pride to be a part of the celebration.
I didn’t understand my feelings of pride until I got older.
I’m proud to be an American. I enjoy freedom because there are thousands of people who work and fight for that freedom every day. People who have devoted their lives, some whom have given the ultimate price, just so I can get a cup of coffee each morning and enjoy it on my back porch while listening to the birds singing in the trees.
As I hang the flag out, I know why I feel pride. I’m patriotic, like my Daddy. I want my neighbors to know I’m thankful and proud to be an American.