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Archive for August, 2014

Today I finished hand writing the story What the Vikings Saw and started on the next one. I must, again, say that making an outline helped even if I did flounder around a bit. The ending took left me in a quandary. I have to wonder how detailed other authors have their outlines. I’ll have to ask the next time I meet one.
Now I want to outline the next two stories. While walking or waiting in doctor’s offices I have been pondering this and have gotten a glimmer on an idea. Right now they are one rough paragraph each that need to be expanded to thirty (or more/less) chapters. And why am I working on both instead of concentrating on just the one, the next one? Ask my brain. It decided it had to think up stuff and it’s exciting stuff, all of which is up in the air. So I don’t forget anything I’ve been writing my ideas down – the crusades, the parents getting arrested, the baby growing up to be a very bad little boy. Time will tell how it ends up.

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I joined a small writer’s group Wednesday. I’d gone before and no one had been there so I thought I wasn’t going to get anything out of it. In search of other groups I attended a group at the library. I thought there’d be people writing family history and I’d learn something. While I did learn something I won’t be going back. Only one other person, besides the librarian, attended and she already had a notebook full of information. The librarian logged us onto Ancestry.com, which was nice and totally useless as my relatives are in Europe. They listed only my mother’s entrance into the United States and linked to lists of soldiers, German, who were wounded in World War I. I think my Uncle Karl is on it. I also found out that many German records were destroyed. Makes sense, but a total bummer. I did find a maybe place I can use to find out where my Opa was, but it costs money. Later. In the meantime I’ll write my aunt and see if she knows anything. Her life would be interesting to write about as well. Her father worked with Werner Van Braun and she and her family fled to the west when the Russians came. Her dad had a chance to go to the States with Dr. Van Braun, but her mother wanted to stay. As a teen I read everything about Werner Van Braun. It’s only been ten years that I know the connection. Small world.
This group I joined Wednesday is small, five people, and everyone is writing their memoirs. It’s kind of like the ‘assignment’. I don’t have to write a memoir if I don’t want to. Will see. One of the ladies there had a neat way of writing hers, one that I will borrow. Instead of writing linear, she just jots things down as they come in her head. Yesterday I told my mom we’ll do the same. I’ll think of something and she’ll think of something, anything, just an anecdote if we want.
I wrote about the bus ride I took when I went to first grade. It’s barely a paragraph because I don’t remember much. Mama told me about the time when she was four and her father gave her a little boat to put in the gutter and pull behind her after the rain. Small steps. Put them altogether and you have a story.

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ReBoot

I think I’m wandering away from my objective a bit with my blog. Time to get back on track. I am busy working away on my stories. Tonight there is a writing group meeting at a nearby library. This is for people interested in writing about their family. Cool. I would like to write about my growing up in Heidelberg and I really would like to write a fictionalized biography of my mother, a children’s book, of her life during the war in Germany. I’ve been collected snippets for years. What I’d really like to find now are articles published in Germany, specifically in her neck of the woods so I can pinpoint the dates when things happened. My mom can’t remember when things happened. She talked about when it was so cold a thick icicle grew from the roof. I think I can narrow that date down a bit. I’d also like to get information on my Opa, grandfather, such as what part of the army he worked in. I know he started out with a company building bridges in France then became a train master after he got ill. I went to a talk on genealogy, but they couldn’t help; they did only South Carolina searches. No problem. This is a work in progress and somewhere down the line, I’ll find out how to do it.
I’m ready to send a story out, The Big a’Wandering it’s called. More info on that soon and am ready to put another story The Trouble With Legends up for critique. This is a young adult book, part fantasy, part science fiction. I have to see what the name for that fusion is called. In the morning I’m writing What the Vikings Saw, part two of what was to be a trilogy, but may end up to be a quintology if such a thin exists. It’s an adventure story. The main character is a young girl (12 at the beginning) who finds out her parents have superpowers. The superpowers part is secondary as the tale focuses on the girl and her six siblings.

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Nature Deficit

I’ve been thinking about nature deficit lately and what libraries can do, school libraries that is, although public libraries too. With so many kids being sucked into their technology, many are missing out on the nature around us. But even without technological distractions teens at my school tried to avoid going out. It’s too hot. It’s too sunny. It’s too cold. On bomb drill days when we walked over to the field behind the woods, they groaned and moaned and dragged their heels trying to stay as close to the building as possible not realizing that the longer they spent complaining, the longer they’d be outside.
The New York Times, in an article by Timothy Egan (“Nature Deficit Disorder” 29 March, 2012), states it nicely as a divorce between people and nature. The term, nature deficit disorder, was coined by author Richard Louv in his book
Last Child in the Woods. With technology, fear of stranger danger, and violence, people avoid going out to even play. Blame technology, blame parents, blame society.
Is it harmful?
Studies show that even a walk in the park can increase reading skills (A Walk in the Park Can Improve Reading Comprehension by Debbie Powell, Ed.D and Roberta Aram, Ph.D) and it’s certainly harmful to nature. Why would you want to save it if you don’t want to go out in it.
The fix is easy. Get out and visit parks, but what can a library do? They can hold programs on nature, invite park rangers, exhibit books on plants, animals, parks. Catching a teen’s interest may be a little harder, but it could work. Having a garden space would be neat. Kids can use their smart phones to link to nature trails and create brochures. This would go with science, English, and social studies (local history). Kids can write stories about a local park then go there and read them. The possibilities really are endless.

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