Summer Planshttps://www.tryingtosaygod.com/

I fear this blog is digressing into writing conference memoranda and book reviews.  

I guess it could be worse.

On that note, my summer plans include a visit to South Bend for a Catholic Writer’s Conference:

Trying to Say God

So it turns out that I’m not just lacking in talent for finding Catholic publishers…there are very few of them out there.  And few reviewers.  And few “Catholic” writers who claim the title and write with a “Catholic” worldview.

Why the “quotes”?  I’ve been doing the suggested reading to prep for the conference (see below), and this is one of the big questions: what does a “Catholic” writer look like and write about in 2017?  It’s easy to look back (Flannery O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh, Tolkein, and friends are mentioned constantly) but that’s not particularly helpful when faced with the challenge of how to address our current challenges and a church, as writers, and as readers.  So what’s a budding children’s author to do?

Thus the conference…maybe I’ll have some answers afterwards.  But if you need some reading (including lists of the American Catholics authors you may or may not have missed in your public high school American lit class), check out the links below, courtesy of Kenneth Garcia, who is hosting the conference.

And seats were still available last I heard…come join me!

 

Dana Gioia,  “The Catholic Writer Today,” Dec. 2013, First Things (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/12/the-catholic-writer-today)

 

Paul Elie, “Has Fiction Lost its Faith?”  New York Times, Dec. 19, 2012  (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/books/review/has-fiction-lost-its-faith.html)

 

Kaya Oakes, “Writers Blocked: The State of Catholic Writing Today,” America, April 28, 2014 (http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/writers-blocked)

 

Randy Boyagoda, “Faith in Fiction,” First Things, August 2013 (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/08/faith-in-fiction)

 

Francis Spufford, “Spiritual Literature for Atheists,” First Things, November 2015 (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/11/spiritual-literature-for-atheists)

And…we’re back

Re-opening the blog attempt #…

yeah, I don’t know either.

The whole keeping-up-frequent-posts-with-no-home-internet thing is a bit of a drag.  It requires discipline.  Which I sometimes lack.

But here goes again, anyway.

I went to my first writer’s conference this weekend.  The Louisiana-Mississippi region of SCBWI held its first ever KidLit conference Saturday at Sacred Heart Academy in New Orleans.  It was lovely.

The take-away:  Write for yourself, revise for your readers.  Thank you, Cheryl Klein.  

We also got to meet Angie Thomas, four days after her debut novel The Hate U Give hit #1 on the NY Times bestseller list.  Needless to say, she was glowing.  Though I suspect that is usual for her.  She was definitely an inspiration.  Yes, I bought the book.  No, I haven’t read it yet.  Really have to finish Octavian Nothing Part II before I take on anything else.  And that may be a while.  

I also got to meet Carrel Muller, who is the lower school librarian at Sacred Heart.  I want my girls to go to school there so she can be their librarian.  She is lovely!  She convinced me I need to go back and fill in all the holes in my folklore and mythology education.  And read do the same with my kids.  She also read a piece of mine (in the First Look part of the program where they read and critique the openings of several submissions), and it was exactly as I would dream of a children’s librarian reading it to little ones.  So that was a very cool moment.  Now if I can just convince someone out there to publish it…

Right.  So on that note, I could use prayers for persistence – to keep showing up at the page, and to keep sending things out, despite the piles of rejections.  Blah.

For those of you who are here less for the minutiae of my writing life, and more for cute baby stories, the lovely children are well.  I’ve picked up two Latin classes at JPG in the mornings, so they are spending the mornings with a friend and coming home for lunch, naps, etc. in the afternoons.

Just through May.  If the headmaster asks, you can assure him I still do not want to come on full time next year.  This experience has been a good reminder of where I want to be.  Home.  Period.  Which, of course, includes the library and the park.  But mostly home.

I thought our chickens had stopped laying, but it turns out they laid all their eggs in the bushes for a while.  Under the blackberry brambles, to be precise.  We found 24 one day, and 7 the next.  We have three chickens.  Three eggs a day, at best.  So it was a jubilee.  They seem to have figured out the purpose of the nesting boxes again, though.  Which is easier, but less exciting.  You can’t have everything, I guess.

We planted some vegetables and flowers last weekend.  (Thanks to Fr. Sam for the seeds!  The wildflower bed is well on it’s way!)  Hopefully there will be pictures…when I get better at technology.  Maybe next spring.  
Book of the week: This Is Not My Hat by John Klassen.  Hilarious.  It should be used in film classes as a study in dramatic irony, and in writers’ workshops as and example of how the pictures and text work together.  No redundancy – each does its own part towards a flawlessly integrated whole.  And it’s soooo funny.

I hope that there will be more posts soon.   And that is not intended as ironic, but whether it is or not remains to be seen.

Homeschool Highlights

Lucy and her friend were practicing multiplication tables this morning (not my idea – I love having extra kids around sometimes!) and they decided it would be fun to make it into a Go Fish! game.  So they did.  And spent half an hour or so playing 6 Times Table Go Fish.

Just caught Clare explaining to another friend about how difficult it was for Michelangelo to carve David (“and if he made a tiny mistake, just this big, the whole thing would be ruined!”) and retelling the story of The Library Mouse.  Narration?  Done.

And as I type, Isaac is trying to put an apple slice in my pocket.  Earlier he was working on building train tracks.

In other news, I should be putting my first children’s book manuscript in the mail in the next couple of days.  Pray hard!  Asking St. Therese of Lisieux for special help, since it is about her, after all.  (And if you want a preview, let me know and I’ll send the text along.)

The Courage of Sarah Noble: Lucy’s book review

🙂 You should read The Courage of Sarah Noble.  You should read it because it is about a little girl named Sarah Noble and she goes into the woods with her father to build a house near Indians.  She had to leave the rest of her family behind because there wasn’t enough room to bring everybody.  The Indians turned out to be nice.  So when her father left to bring the rest of their family home, Sarah stayed with the Indians.  Their closest friend was Tall John so she stayed at Tall John’s house.  The Indians of the North were the other Indians’ enemies.  The most interesting part was that the Indians at the North passed by the Indians at night and did not disturb the Indians.  Sarah Noble taught the Indian children many things, and they taught her new Indian games.
the end
Love,
Lucy
PS
this is one of the best books ever! 🙂

A Lion to Guard Us: Lucy’s book review

This book is about three little children.  There names were Amanda, Jemmy, and Meg.  They sailed on a ship to go to America and to find their father in Jamestown.  Their father had a door knocker that people thought was made of gold.  Dr. Crider is a doctor that helped them get to the boats and he fell overboard on the ship.  Their ship got shipwrecked at an island and they  built a tiny village.  They built two ships and sailed to Jamestown.  They found their father at Jamestown.  My favorite part was them getting to find their father. 
Love, Lucy.
P.S.
This book was the best book in my life!

Trumpet of the Swan: Lucy’s book review

I liked

Trumpet of the Swan.  You should read it.  It is about a swan who doesn’t have a voice, but gets a trumpet and learns how to play it.

The swan’s name is Louis.

Louis’ dad robbed a music store to get a trumpet.

It is also about a little boy named Sam.  Sam saves Louis’ mother from a fox by hitting him on the nose with a stick.  Louis works so he can pay back the trumpet that his father stole.  It was very exciting.  My most favorite part was when Louis got a trumpet, because he did not have a voice.  The book has pictures in black and white.

Of spiders and schoolgirls

I just have to say, I am so glad we are homeschooling.  Lucy informed me last week that the picture books I had been getting from the library were “getting boring”, so I thought, “fair enough- we’ll move up to the 3rd-5th grade reading list.  I started her with Charlotte’s Web.  She is reading it herself (and she doesn’t know every word, but has no trouble at all discussing the story with me) so I am reading it myself, too.  And I had forgotten, if I ever really appreciated, what a wonderful book it is.  Which I most likely would have missed out on if she were in school, and it wasn’t my job to pay attention to what she was reading and what she is getting out of it.
In other news, Lucy is about to loose her third tooth in less than a month, and all three girls are loving their ballet classes.  Lucy is very excited about her first communion this spring, and has taken possession of my old Precious Moments Bible (from my first communion) earlier than I had planned, because she wants to read it, too.
And tonight we make pumpkin pie.  It’s a good life.

The Big Disconnect

Diane Rhem had a fascinating and timely show on yesterday, discussing the book The Big Disconnect with its author, Catherine Steiner-Adair.  She proposes, rather simply, I thought, that screen time affects our neurology and our interactions with others, and that therefore we should consider carefully the effects of screen use, especially for younger children.  Based on my own experiences, both raising children and teaching, not to mention in my own social life, I thought she was right on track.  What really amazed me was the backlash she received in the comments. It really brought home to me how desperately we are attached to our “devices”. I suggest listening, it will be an hour well spent.
And I do realize the irony of my blogging from a tablet to point out the dangers of technology and children. When we start our Catholic Worker paper, maybe it will be different. In the meantime, I guess I’m using what’s available. And I would like to note that I stopped this post in the middle to make breakfast for Samantha. Which was a struggle, because I wanted to finish. And now Clare is up, so I’ll be signing off. Check out the show, though. I will be hunting down a copy of the book.

And a post script – After grocery shopping and lunch, it took three more interruptions to check that what I wrote earlier actually made sense. Which is why the title of this blog is what it is. And the link is below, in case the one at the top of the post has issues. Still not trusting this tablet completely.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2013-08-14/catherine-steiner-adair-big-disconnect

Homeschooling digest 3/18/2012

Friday Lucy helped me make strawberry jam – our best batch yet.  She was very excited about making it so we didn’t have to buy it any more.
Saturday the girls helped me weed a bed at Nana and Papa’s and scatter seeds for the polyculture.  That meant lessons on mulch, different kinds of seeds, weeds, manure, and lizards.  We went to Mass and to Mimi’s for a St. Patrick’s day dinner.
Sunday was our day off for the first time in a couple of weeks.  The girls got to go swimming and played outside with the neighbor kids.  Lucy is just like Craig – she wants to invite everyone she meets to dinner immediately.  Lucy also helped clean up some shelves I found on the side of the road and both girls helped cut strawberries for “fruit nachos”.
Today (Monday) we read the first story in House at Pooh Corner and Lucy had ballet.  We tried to Skype with a friend in Seattle, but it didn’t work right.  But we did get a geography lesson on where New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Seattle are.

December 6, 2010

Only two months since the last entry…

Homeschooling Journal

Lucy’s BD party was Sunday (the 5th), so cleaning, baking, pizza making, and socializing all occured.

Lots of dress-up, including one “queen” being chased by one “tiger”.

The manger scenes are out, and were in constant use for a couple of days.  Lucy remarked several times that she “can’t wait for baby Jesus to come”, as the whole thing is a little empty without Him.

Trip to the zoo with Dad for Lucy’s actual birthday.

Trip to the library today for story time (Christmas themed).  Lucy made a beautiful paper stocking with sequins on it, and demonstrated her superior cutting and gluing skills.  Samantha demonstrated her tearing and glue-spreading skills.

New books from the trip include, Josephine Wants to Dance; Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza?; Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening; The Legend of the Candy Cane; Art and Max; Watch Out, Little Wombat; and Arbor Day Square.

We returned Brother Juniper; Martha Doesn’t Share; Jamberry; Cinderella; and whatever else I’m forgetting.

Advent project today was to paint ceramic ornaments.  Lucy did a snowman and Samantha an angel.  They are quite colorful.  Craig called Lucy “Picasso”, but she was very meticulous about making sure all the edges were perfectly covered.  She’s coming into her own with the art things now, I think, and really enjoys painting, stamping, cutting and gluing, and the like.