Five on Friday

 1. Hooray for LJ. I have rich text on Safari. Thank you.
2. I find that I like to work in sweeping waves. All novel. All newsletter. All conference. Unfortunately that doesn’t take dates, deadlines, and billable hours into consideration. I’m learning to manage my time better.
3. For me, a big part of writing is reading about writing. I just got the 2009 CWIM and found some great inspiration. Nancy Lamb’s, The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children is one of my recent favorites. 
4. With all of this writing, illustration (art in general) has disappeared from the schedule. I’ve been plotting, composing in my head and I’m eager to find a time to follow through. Still, I’ve decided to generally focus on writing and leave the illustration to someone else. This is only giving me passing waves of sadness. Perhaps I’m too overwhelmed to miss it. 
5. Exercise has also disappeared from my schedule.  I tried to go walking with my hubby in the mornings but late nights watching the convention ended that practice. Maybe we’ll start up again this weekend. 

(I know I said five but I didn’t talk any politics at all yet)
6. What a historic line-up of candidates. It makes for a very exciting election but do not be caught up by any candidate’s historical first. I choose to back Obama because of his focus on the future of this country. I believe he is a candidate who will work to find common ground, will nominate supreme court justices who protect our civil liberties, and will focus on the complex issue of economy/education/and environment. I believe he is honest, and intelligent and I urge you to join me in supporting the Obama/Biden ticket. If you have specific questions about policy and feel you haven’t heard enough, go to and find out more. Be educated, be active. Vote.

The Convention- night two

The following is an excerpt from the end of Senator Hilary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Her speech was truly unifying as she outlined what is at stake in this election. As she says, “we don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.” Click here for the video and full text. Note the  poetry of the speech: the line breaks, metaphor, and the use of repetition. I know they must have teleprompters but they are amazingly invisible in the video.

“My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for President.

This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

How do we give this country back to them?

By following the example of a brave New Yorker , a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.

And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they’re shouting after you, keep going.

Don’t ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

I’ve seen it in you. I’ve seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military – you always keep going.

We are Americans. We’re not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.

I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.

We’ve got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great – and no ceiling too high – for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.

Thank you so much. God bless America and Godspeed to you all.”

The Convention- night one

Well friends, last night Michelle Obama spoke with what I can only describe as relaxed elegance. She stayed on-message speaking about hope and change. Mrs. Obama stood as a sort of witness for the kind of man Barack Obama has been and why he is the one to lead us into the future.  Her references to this week’s anniversaries of  Women’s Suffrage and The March on Washington hammered home the historical importance of this election. I feel in my heart that this Thursday will bring us a speech for the history books and I’m taping it for my kids to watch. 

The Obama children were delightful as they interacted with their father on the huge LCD screen behind them. (Senator Obama was in Kansas City watching his wife with a host family there.) The kids spoke with their Dad who is just Dad to them. They told him they loved him and said hello to the host family. They hogged the microphone as any kid would do.  The Obamas, I thought, are a family like my family, like so many families across this country and the world. And it was that moment of intimacy that made me tear up a bit. I’m sure that that is just what the planners hoped for. It worked.

(Speaking of Women’s Suffrage… if you are reading this blog and you are not registered to vote, STOP, DRAG your mouse, and CLICK on over to Rock the Vote or Declare Yourself  who have FAQ’s and registration forms available. Or, go to the closest Department of Motor Vehicles (Many state have “motorvoter” laws that register you to vote when you get your license or car registration) or Town Office to get registered to vote. In most states you have to register 30 days before the November 4th election.
If you didn’t have a chance to see her speech last night, here it is.

Five on Friday

1. I got a haircut. This is my userpic from 8/06.

Here I am now 8/08

Shorter is better for the heat. If you want the one with glasses, it’s my new userpic. I hope Katie C. likes the new and improved photo, she hated the last one.

2. For the last couple of months I’ve felt a little alone in my new development. Houses everwhere but no one in sight. Turns out that people were away or just hiding in their air conditioning. The school bus has brought out a swarm of parents and kids. We’ve taken to bringing a frisbee or football to the bus stop and everyone plays. This is quite different then the end of our little dirt road in Maine. Then it was just us.

3. We’ve been playing ultimate frisbee in the evenings after dinner. It’s great exercise and E, often frustrated by his brother’s excellent ball handling skills, has found a sport he can excel at. We come in sweaty and happy.

4. Conference planning is gearing up. Proposals for presenters are due on September 15th. I’d love to see proposals from LJer’s in the New England area. Travel costs are keeping us from recruiting far away folks. Here is the weblink to the CFP. (The  on-line application link is on the CFP.)

5. My Maine friends got me a gift certificate to a great indy book store here. Bay books is just wonderful and what they don’t have in stock they’re happy to order. I recently got:

Thanks to

 for the great tip on A Circle of Quiet and to

 for the True Meaning of Smekday. I love Adam Rex’s illustration style and his “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich…” poetry collection is a family favorite.

School Tomorrow

You may have noticed that I have been absent from the blogosphere for the last two weeks. Or you may not have missed me at all. (Read: shameless plug for pity and love.) 

I have been writing diligently. Unfortunately, I’ve not been writing for my work in progress. I’ve been working on my freelance writing. This is fine because it brings me money, (must complete timesheet and turn it in) and experience writing to deadline, but it does not fulfill me in the way that working on my novel manuscript does. I’ve also been noticing an itchy feeling that starts where my neck and shoulder meet and tingles down my arms into my fingers. It is a feeling between longing and stress and usually happens when I think about how many months have past (4) since the Scholastic editor told me she wanted to see the completed manuscript. She was very kind and told me 6 mos to a year was fine and that she’d remember me and the manuscript but I fear that she will not remember me at all. Or that she will get a similar, better manuscript in that time. Or that she’ll come to her senses and realize that my manuscript sucks. (Read: shameless plug for pity and love.) 

My kiddos go back to school tomorrow after a shortened vacation. They kind of got jipped when we moved from Maine to Maryland. (A late end date and an early start date.) So we will cut the summer short when it is still 90 degrees, they will return to the grind, NESCBWI Conference planning will ramp up (Call For Proposals anyone? They are due on September 15th.), and I will get my writing time back.

Moving has it’s ups and downs.  While everyone is very kind in our development, I’m not really a development kind of girl. We have a year lease here and then I think we’ll make some other decision. I’m trying to keep an open mind.  There are a lot of positives about being in this area, the most important is that I’m close to family and have been able to take advantage of this while hubby goes away on business, etc. Also, we took a spontaneous camping trip to Shenandoah National Park this past weekend which was just amazing. The mountain scenery made me think of Kerry Madden

 and her lovely Gentle’s Holler series . Books  2 and 3 are on my TBR pile. I’m excited about getting back to that as well. Right now I have two kids itching for us to finish Chamber of Secrets and take them to meet their new teachers. I promise I won’t be a stranger.


Leticia Plate is an awesome illustrator. She does sign creation for whole foods during the day then is Super Mommy/Super Illustrator at home. Take a look at this t-shirt entry for the theme Democracy. This is good design and illustration in one. What amazing problem solving!
WE - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Writer’s Craft Alphabet

If you’re anything like me, by the time you go to check in on your friend’s blogs you are so late that half of them are on the “Previous 20” page and you miss some news. Well for once, I’m checking early in the day and I got to see

 posting about her writing for Through the Tollbooth.

  She has a hysterical alphabet that all writers should be familiar with in order to succeed in their craft. (Bwaa, not really but it will make you giggle.) Don’t miss it!

In other news, Sunday was very productive. I emptied five boxes in my office and there is a neat little space for a desk in there. I’ll be up and running in no time. I also made serious progress in the garage. Enough that I could sweep the floor! The birds have seed in their feeders now and the porch has basil, lavender, and geraniums. It’s coming along.

Mom’s Blog

I’m pleased to say that my mother has been bitten by the blogging bug. If you’d like to check it out, link to Art and Politics with Ruth Jordan. My Mom is an amazing woman. A long time writer, journalist, and public relations guru, she is also a print maker.  I can promise you plenty of Democratic politics over there as November draws nigh. She is the President of the Greencastle-Antrim Democratic Club, part of the Franklin County Dems.

Ah-ha, you say. That is where Anna gets all of her organizational madness. Yes, my Mom was certainly a large part of it but both of my parents were union organizers so I think I got the gene double duty. I can say that my mother was my first editor. I’ve gotten a much thicker skin since then but her edits used to make me cry. Me: “But, Maaa-om, that’s not what I want to say!” Needless to say, she was right then and I’m finally experienced enough to admit it.  Recently, my mother finished her SCUBA certification. Not bad, for a 69 year old lady. (Way to go, MOM!) So take a look at her blog if you get a chance.

Mom and Dad on the Peaks Island Ferry, Casco Bay, Maine.