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Monday, September 30, 2013

New Stories/New Ideas

The focus of my writing (besides some of my poetry) has always been children. Since the publication of my book of poems about children in war - "Caught in the Crossfire", , I have been thinking of circumstances throughout history where children have been caught up in war. To that end, I have begun putting together ideas for a book about children in the Civil War; specifically, children who, for one reason or another, joined the army to be drummer boys, or those who lied about their age and became soldiers. The subject is fascinating to me. Why would children ten years old run away from home to fight in a war? The circumstances are probably varied and intense, but not as intense as what they found in battle. I hope to present to children the humanness of what it means to leave behind everything one knows to seek the unknown, and also the horror of war. The children who left home for what they thought might be the adventure of their lives were unprepared for the reality that confronted them. I hope, also, to present this in a verse or poetic format. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Old Stories Are New Again

Several years ago I wrote a series of short stories for young children in the 4-6 year age group (at least that's what I thought at the time). I put them aside in a safe little folder on my computer. And once in awhile I opened the folder and looked at them and closed the folder again. But recently I felt a nudge in my ribs, took another look at the stories, and decided that I could put them all together in one story book for young children. But, instead of one book, I've separated them into two: one (My Story Time) for 4-6 year olds and another (Magical Tales) for 6-8 year olds.

I've heard from different sources that writers should never delete what they've written because they may regret it - they may find a use for it sometime. In my case, I didn't want to get rid of the stories, but I couldn't wrap my brain around how to best use them. One of the stories, "The Night The Winds Came and Mama Sang Her Magic Song", won an award from the Writer's Digest magazine, so I knew I had to do something with that one.

What a great feeling it is to gather together what you've written, present it to children, and watch the smiles on their faces.

In between those two books I'm writing more poems. One is a tribute to the late Seamus Heaney. What does one write about genius? I can only try. But it's always been my belief that I have to be my own writer; I have to be happy with what I write no matter what someone else thinks of it. And I am.