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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nothing So Constant As Change

I've been fortunate to have written in more than one genre...children's books in both verse and traditional prose...poetry for adults and children...young children's stories for on-line magazines...

Lately, I've been leaning more and more toward writing poetry. But what's most interesting to me is that writing poetry is not exclusive of writing stories for children. For I fully believe that the language used in stories for children can and should be poetic. The use of language that most stirs a reader's imagination and reaction to a story is, by nature, poetic. Consider Gary Paulsen's "Dogsong". Or any book by Karen Hesse.

Bottom line is, don't be afraid of changing. Change usually means growth of some kind. Changing a story's plot, changing a character's point of all means growth. At the very least it means experimentation, and without experimentation we stagnate. It may be a little uncomfortable at times, but, as my mom used to say, "Change is good."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Being affected by what you read

As an avid reader and writer, what I write is genuinely affected by what I read. Recently I've been reading a woman journalist's account of the war in Syria. Below is a poem I've written in response to an amazing woman's first-hand accounts of that war.

 (A response to the eye-witness accounts of Journalist and author Samar Yazbek of Syria and her recent book “A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution”, Haus Publishing, 2012.)

Syria, 2012

A blanket of fear
smothers the world
making it gasp for air under
the terrible weight of war
invading the sacred peace of lovers –
the innocent eye
that once looked toward the sun with hope
turns in fear from what
it cannot bear to see –
mothers who nurtured their children inside them,
who sang to them and wiped their tears,
now search for their bodies in the streets
finding only senseless, bloody horror –
where are the leaders who
promised to protect, to educate, to honor life?
They are all in hiding,
their promises forgotten,
holding out for power;
and the poets ask
is all sanity lost
in the hellish labyrinth of war?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Burning and Censorship

I'm afraid that, as a doctor of education and a teacher, I come to these subjects at not only an educated level, but also a very emotional one. Recently I read a Facebook post about the destruction of book kiosks in Alexandria, Egypt by the "new Islamist governor".  In my opinion terrible acts like this are done completely out of ignorance and fear. The uneducated fear new or different ideas from the ones they hold as true. For, in their minds, nothing can be true except what they believe. This also applies to those who would ban books from schools (supposedly, places of education) because they believe the ideas or situations expressed within these books will somehow harm the ones reading them.  People can only be harmed by ignorance and fear, not by education, not by the expression of ideas. When books are destroyed we are all diminished by the act. When books are banned, for whatever reason, from our schools, our children's education and their view of life becomes limited. How can we do this? Education is the sharing of ideas. If the subject of a book is questioned by parents or teachers, the only way children are going to be able to make up "their own minds" is to talk with them about the subject. Open, honest discussion leads to understanding, awareness, and an educated child. Truly, this must be our objective in the 21st century. Must we slide back to the narrow, fear-driven ways of the Dark Ages and destroy something simply because we happen to disagree?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why Do You Write?

I'm offering a workshop for writers in October at a local craft center. While putting together elements I wanted to look at in the workshop, I got back to basics. Many people write, but why? What are their motivations to take up the most lonely occupation I know of - writing? It hit me that that is one question I would ask workshop attendees. Why do you write? The answer, for me, is that I have something to say. And I think most writers do so for that very reason. In my case I have something to say to children, and that is, basically, that they are okay, they are capable, they can do anything they set their minds to; also I want to help children discover that we are all human, all flawed, and all capable of change. If I can help children who read my books (or adults who might find them interesting) to recognize that the differences between people are just that: differences, and nothing more, then I will have accomplished much. For, at the end of the day, we are all human, we all have our pock marks. But most important, we all have a gift to share with the world. This is the message I care about deeply. We all have a gift. Whatever our gift, it is our responsibility to give it away, to share it with others. I hope the words I use, the characters and situations I shape and present to the reader, will let them see this in themselves. Why do you write?

Friday, August 10, 2012


My jittery self has been putting off sending out another story, "Kari No-Name", until, finally, I had to let it go or go nuts. I re-wrote the first chapter probably 20 times, and still I thought I could do better. And perhaps I could have, but there comes a time when you just have to let it go. Why that happens to many writers I can only guess, and probably procrastination happens to each writer for different reasons. So, I either come to grips with it or I stop writing. I've decided on the former, for I can't do the latter. I grit my teeth, cross my fingers, and send it out. After all, what else is there except to write and hope a young person will read my story and take something from it that gives her what she needs?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Writing, Changes and Fear

I've been working on a story for what seems like years to me now. The idea of a young girl searching for her identity as a Hopi Indian was, and still is, I think, a good idea for a story. But after I finished writing it, I was not excited, not moved the way I had been by other stories I'd written. So I knew there was something wrong. I considered this for awhile. What to do? How could it be better? The hesitation I felt about changing the story was fear. As a writer, you really have to get over that feeling - that resistance to changing what you've written for fear it will be lost, or that your original idea will be compromised or spoiled. But, actually, every writer must be able to change, to write their story from a different angle. It's not new to me. And, as I've found out, it works! There have been times when I've changed my story to be for a different age level, changed the dynamic and the focus of the story...just by leaving myself open to change. Don't be afraid of change. It's what life's about.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

There's nothing quite so exciting for an author as their first book signing event. I've had two now and more are coming up...all in Tennessee for now. Maybe some time in the future I'll have one or two in other states. But what is really exciting is when people get in touch with you after they've read your book and tell you they loved it, or it made them cry, or they couldn't put it down. That's when you say to yourself, I guess I'm doing what I need to be doing. I guess I'm dong something right. And smile. Thanks to everyone who read my book and  enjoyed it

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm thrilled to post two wonderful reviews of my new book Voyage of Dreams, An Irish Memory.

"Voyage of Dreams"...the story of Tess Doherty, is an odyssey of love, pain, fear, sadness and hope. Young teens will identify with Tess's struggle to find, recognize and live her dream. In addition, "Voyage of Dreams" is an excellent resource for high level English language learners, both teenaged and adult. Poetically written with the lyric dialect of the Irish, "Voyage of Dreams" should be required reading for all teenagers and all those who have ever dreamed of more."
Linda M. Rhinehart Neas, M.Ed., author and poet.

"The harsh but sometimes joyful realities of life in Ireland in the early 1900s are vividly portrayed in Kathleen Fearing's "Voyage of Dreams", a poignant coming-of-age story is sure to inspire young readers and adults alike."
Liz McGeachy, Center Director, Appalachian Arts Craft Center

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My latest book, Voyage of Dreams, An Irish Memory, is now available at Celtic Cat Publishing, Barnes & Noble, Knoxville, Southland Books and Hastings in Maryville, TN.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Poem for Today

I love poetry...not outrageous, obscure poetry that no one can understand but the poet, but poems that say what's in our hearts. Here's one from my soon to be published book "Mornings by the River".

A New Day

Yesterday began with thunder,
it rained softly,
no downpours,
just leaden gray all day…
a soft wind blow-dries the
oak trees outside my window…and,
a touch of peach
brims the edges of the clouds…
all I,
and the birds can do,
is watch,
our heads turned toward
the sky
breathless with hope.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Projects

New projects!! Well, I'm actually going through some stories that I'd written some time ago and that were sitting there looking at me each time I opened up my "Works in Progress" file. I've been trying to finish one of them, but I'm up against a brick wall as to how it should end (I have several potentials). So I'm putting that one aside and have taken up another story, one that I dedicated to my cousin Janeen who died of cancer years ago. I've fictionalized her story but have woven her spirit throughout. I hope she would approve. The story is done, I just need to edit it and put in some details that ultimately make a story come alive. I like it and will probably be ready to release it soon. The other story - the one with several endings - will have its day, I know. It's just percolating on the back burner for now. Here's to 'new/old' projects finally coming to life!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Everyone has a tremendous amount of personal energy. Mine, like everyone else I'm sure, waxes and wanes. God only knows why or what causes these swings in energy. And what applies to everyday energy also applies to my writing energy. There are some who will say 'write every day - every day'. But if what comes out of my brain on some days is garbage, I think it's best that I put writing off until I feel the creative energy again. Usually it comes right along in a day or so. And my energy is especially peaked when I read someone else's book...someone I admire. It's amazing how energized I become after reading something like "The English Patient" or something from Alice Walker. The trick is to keep books you love nearby when you need some inspiration. It works for me. Good luck.