BOOKS

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To contact me about manuscript editing, talking to your group about writing or self-publishing, my email address is kathyfearing@yahoo.com.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Children's Books Are Ageless

I've been in love with children's books my entire life. I love the stories. For the most part (for some children's books are miserable and should never have been written - no names here) they are optimistic, illustrating to children how life can throw you curve balls, or strikes, but there is always a way to make things better. What I find exciting about children's books for people my age (you can guess that here, but I'm old enough to remember Howdy Doody) is that they bring out the child still dancing around inside my brain. I honestly don't think anyone ever grows up completely (if they do, too bad for them). And when confronted with snowmen or puppies or little girls in ballerina slippers or stories of Winnie The Pooh, we convert immediately to the mindset of a five year old. It saves me from a world gone mad. Stories such as "Where The Wild Things Are" (who doesn't want to be Max and king of the wild things?), or "Madeline", the little girl who always did her own thing, no matter how much adults objected.

There is no age limit to children's books - not really. I hate to put any age on the stories I write. I want to put "For All Ages", which, to me, is so true. Children's stories make everyone smile. And isn't that what we all need? Children's stories make you think. They are deceptively complex if you will just read between the lines. They speak of love and trust and giving and caring, taking chances and speaking up, thinking of others while being true to yourself. These are messages we need to heed throughout our lives, not only while we're growing up.

Think of this while buying a gift for a child: what they learn as a child goes with them for the rest of their lives.

Please check out this TED talk by author Linda Sue Park and how her book changed the outlook, attitudes, and indeed the lives of students. Her book is "A Long Walk To Water". The talk is at https://t.co/UpeWq0Ph7Q

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Here's a poem from my recently published book "Life Flow", available at https://www.createspace.com/5610982.


One More Night
 ©2015 Kathleen E. Fearing

A sweater from the dark end of
my closet, the one I haven’t worn
since the trees were spring bare, warms
my shoulders again; outside on the deck,
friends brush fallen leaves from their chairs;
rising smoke from a small fire keeps  
mosquitoes at bay – the ones hanging on,
hoping to feel life-giving sun
on their faint wings again; close by,
a lone cricket cricks, we turn
to search the wall of trees,
as if we could find its elusive hiding spot;
over the fire a log crackles
and spits recalling
July’s fireworks; yellow and red flames
stab the darkness –
darkness that comes too early now;
small dots of  laughter punctuate
the chill night air – laughter subdued
by knowing another summer
has slipped away; we sip our wine while
a heavy lull in conversation betrays
our longing, like the lingering mosquitoes,

for one more summer night.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Excerpts From Two of My Books

What follows are excerpts from two of my books, good stories that have something to say to young people. "Heart Songs" (https://www.createspace.com/5499547) is about letting go, self-discovery, and understanding other people's pain. "Adisa's Basket" (https://www.createspace.com/3445836) is about family bonds, overcoming fear, and finding courage in the face of impossible odds.

Also, both stories encourage taking responsibility for one's own actions, and the consequences of them.

From "Heart Songs":

"Flashback ... I was three or four years old,
had lost my temper,
stomped my feet,
threw my things.

Dad said I'd better stop or he'd
sell me to the Indians ... cheap.

Rhiannon took me in her arms,
gave me laughing, slurpy neck kisses,
whispered in my ear,

Breathe in deeply, Brigid,
now out slowly.

Said things that frightened me...

There's something inside you searching for
its freedom ... trying to escape. Don't be
afraid.

Rhiannon believed in inner voices,
things she couldn't see.
I said I wasn't scared,
then had dreams of ghosts inside me."

From "Adisa's Basket":

"Weaving Songs"

"As I wove,
 a song came from inside me,
humming up from my soul...
Around me sat
the women of the village.

Pain crippled my fingers.
I took Afia's hands in mine,
showed her how to weave the magic;
together we hummed and moved as one,
up and down,
back and forth.

I remembered the women,
that great circle of life -
     a life we would never know again.

After a few minutes I had to stop,
my fingers too wounded to continue."


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Just Be

I've been thinking lately about the direction, the purpose of my writing. I've loved writing for children. It has allowed me to speak directly to young people about what I feel is important in life: self-respect, respect for others, love, family... And I have at least one more book I've started that I want to finish - about young children caught up in the Civil War. There is a certain excitement about war, I believe, that is attractive to young people. The reality, though, far surpasses anything they could possibly have dreamed. And this is what I want to focus on in this book. 

My future writing will most likely focus on poetry. It grabs my heart like no other form of writing. Below is a poem I've just written - still a work in progress, but it has potential, I think. Its message: be who you are. Just be.

The Randomness of Weeds

I love the randomness of weeds,
the way their hair blows in the wind
sticking out from the corner of
my garden shed,
hiding at the feet of my roses,
or anywhere they choose
without asking permission,
laughing into the summer air,
and if they had feet, I’m sure,
they would run and play as children
not needing approval,
turning their heads to the sun and,
even if chopped to bits
they come back again,
and again,
and I want to be like the weeds
not caring,
just being
wherever I want to be,
unafraid,

just being.

Friday, March 13, 2015

What or Who is Your Writing Inspiration? And Why?

There are only a few writers whose writing I truly admire, and who inspire my own writing. Each has his or her own creative method that is unique. They are all different. Perhaps the first writer who inspired me to work harder at my own writing to make it better was Patricia MacLachlan. She has won multiple writing awards and her books (the Sarah Plain and Tall series) have been made into movies. But to me, movies are a medium unto themselves. Reading the words MacLachlan wrote, without the added interruption of actors, lets me hear them inside my head where I create my own scenes, my own vocal inflections and facial expressions. Reading her work is so much better than watching someone else's interpretation. The first impression I had of her work was that she had an incredible talent for seeing the world through a child's eyes, with a child's emotions and reactions. This, I knew, was a gift. From chapter 3 of "Sarah Plain and Tall": "Sarah came in the spring. She came through green grass fields that bloomed with Indian paintbrush, red and orange, and blue-eyed grass. Papa got up early for the long day's trip to the train and back. He brushed his hair so slick and shiny that caleb laughed. He wore a clean blue shirt, and a belt instead of suspenders." The child looks at the world and discovers what's going on by what she sees: colors of flowers, how dad took such care to comb his hair and dress. These physical things about their environment are what children notice. MacLachlan knows this, too. She inspires me to look at my stories through the eyes of the children who will be reading them.

Another writer who inspires me is Gary Paulsen. He writes for boys, really, but I can't think of any reason why girls would not enjoy his work as well. The first book of Paulsen's that blew me away was "Dogsong". This story was poetry to me. His words were chosen with great care, the way a poet chooses words to bring a picture to the mind of the reader. From chapter 10 of "Dogsong": "He shrugged away the camp as he would shrug away light snow. It was time to leave, time to head north again to the the father of ice. He brought his parka in, brushed off the frozen sweat and put it on. Then he pinched the flame out with his fingers and slid his mukluks on and stepped into the darkness." Any book by Paulsen is worth reading.

Karen Hesse, another award-winning author, has written books in what is called free verse. She has an incredible talent for painting pictures with very few words. Here is a quote from "Aleutian Sparrow": "Life in Kashega, In the beginning, when I first moved away to Unalaska village, to live with Alexie and Fekla Golodoff, I longed for Kashega. Kashega winter, when the men trap the blue fox. Kashega summer, when they hire themselves out to take the fur seal off the Pribilofs. All the Kahshega year, with the boats bringing home sweet duck and fat sea lion. Zachary Solomon ran the Kashega store for ten years maybe. But when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Zachary Solomon went to war."

These are only a few. There are more, like Han Nolan, Sharon Creech, and Sue Monk Kidd.

What we as writers need to do is read widely, find the writers that inspire us, find writers that don't, and decide what it is that inspires or not. It will make us better writers.




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Knowing Your Character

A few of my stories feature characters that, culturally speaking, I had to get to know before I started writing about them. One, Kari from "Desert Ghosts", is a modern-day Hopi Indian girl who goes into the desert to find her Hopi name. Behind her quest for a traditional name is her desire to find out what happened to her father, who left Kari and her mother when she was a small child.  I read several books about the Hopi culture, their traditions and beliefs. I felt, after reading these books, that I had only scratched the surface of Hopi culture, but my story was not specifically about that, it was about a young girl in search of her identity. The Hopi setting in Arizona was simply a different and, I felt, interesting change for readers. I became enthralled with the Hopi people and their history. I could "see" the small, wood-frame house where Kari, her mother, and her grandmother lived. I could "see" Kari and her daily life. I felt her anguish as she looked out over the vast, empty desert trying to find some sign of her absent father. And I felt her desire to find out about her ancestors - how they lived and worshiped.

In my story Kari and her grandmother trek together into the desert. Kari has dreams there - dreams of her ancestors, their ceremonies and ritual dances. It was colorful and frightening to her. But when we look to the unknown past in our lives, isn't it just a bit frightening? After all, we don't know what we'll find. What if the things we discover about our ancestors are horrible? Yet, the curiosity is there, and most of us at some point in our lives, search for those who went before us - to find our name, so to speak.

Kari survives her quest. But what she finds and loses in the desert, changes her life forever. We all travel into our own desert to try and find answers to our questions. Young people are, whether they realize it or not, on a personal quest to find their names. I only hope my story "Desert Ghosts" can help them find their way.