Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gingerbread, Candy, and Amusing the Muse

The hustle-bustle of the season continues to amuse my muse. Our latest adventure: Gingerbread House Night at church. Nearly 60 people attended the Friday night event, more than half of them kids. To say the evening was sugar-fueled would be an understatement. Each house builder was given an entire bowl of candy to use as he/she saw fit. For most of the kids, this meant eating the good stuff and using the rejects for the houses. The evening was raucous, but worth it. Why? Because nothing compared to seeing so many families slowing down long enough to embrace the reason for the season.

(photo(s) to follow as soon as our new computer's up and running.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tis the Season to Amuse the Muse, and Fill the Idea Well

No need to work overtime to amuse the muse and fill the Idea Well this holiday season. I've found that plenty of opportunities lurk amidst the hustle bustle of the season's festivities and preparations, if I slow down long enough to look.

Take this past weekend, for example. E, S and I attended two Christmas parties. The first was for the local chapter of Little People of America. Nearly 60 people attended, more than half of them little people. E was in her element, S and I in the minority. Seeing E surrounded by kids and adults her size (and grinning nonstop) was worth the hassle of packing up the dog and equipment and traveling to the boondocks. Traveling with E is never easy, but I'm always glad after the fact. Events like the LPA party tip my world sideways, and fill my Idea Well in surprising and unexpected ways.

The other weekend party we attended was for E's Morris Service Dog program. Festivities began with awards for program graduates, and ended with an open mic for those who wanted to says a few words. Many of the stories recounted the unexpected benefits the dogs had brought to their new owners. One of the most touching tales was from a woman whose service dog saved her life not once, but multiple times during the last year. How could my well not be filled after hearing this and other stories?

Current read: Divine Evil by Nora Roberts. Well done, suspenseful page-turner. One of the rare few this year that's had me staying up well past bedtime to read.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thanksgiving Tales to Amuse the Muse

A number of Thanksgiving happenings continue to inspire (and amuse) my muse:

1. Caramel apple roadkill--the homemade Thanksgiving pie that was--until P's aunt drove off with it still resting on top of her car. The only thing that survived after she rescued the dessert from the middle of the road between her place and ours: a half-moon sliver of the most delicious pie I've ever tasted. Sigh.

2. The Christmas star--visible from my office window just after sunset yesterday. A similar conjunction of the moon, Venus and Jupiter, appeared in 2 B.C. Some historians consider it to be the source of the star of Bethlehem.

3. Meeting of the pooches--It was a three-dog night of the unusual kind at my sister's house on Thanksgiving. The pooches in attendance included E's service dog, a black lab named Jewel, J's pocket Schnauzer Zoey, and sister C's toy chiuaua. J's and C's dogs were newcomers. Picture a meeting between the three with Jewel sitting quietly, her head cocked to one side, while the chiuaua quivered in her fuzzy pink hoodie, and the pocket dog, clueless that Jewel could swallow her whole, wrestled with the big dog's tail.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Writing a Synopsis that Sells

A discussion on the Illinois SCBWI listserve about the how-tos of writing a synopsis turned up a gem today: a link to a blog called Editorial Anonymous. In a series of posts, the editor behind said blog analyzes various synopses. Very educational to read her thoughts on what's working, what's not, and why.