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Like many of you, I spend time on Pinterest. I love how easy it is to organize everything and I am inspired each time I go searching through boards. I use it for work, mainly, but also find time to have a few fun boards for myself.

 

 

This is my professional Pinterest site. I love to keep track of my book reviews, books I want to read, gorgeous book covers, websites I like to use, and everything else in between. Take a minute to check out my boards, and don’t forget to follow me if you like something.  I’m always on the lookout for new people to pin!

 

 

Happy pinning!

 

 

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Last week, three lovely things happened to me at work:

 

 

♥   A little girl of about five years old walked by the front desk at the library with a book in her arms and a grin on her face, then mouthed the words “I Love You” to me, and kept walking.

 

 

♥  A room full of young tween writers didn’t care that we were well over the one-hour mark of our writing program. They just wanted to stay and listen to everyone finish reading the stories they’d worked on for homework.

 

 

♥  A teen came in with her dad and older sister to get another piece for her summer reading Book Buck Bingo card, and the square she was finishing this time required her to write a letter to her favourite author. She handed me a letter all decorated in pink hearts, and her sister told me to read it out loud. It was a letter to her dad—who was completely shocked—-thanking him for all of the wonderful stories he’d told them as they were growing up. He will always be her favourite author.

 

 

I need to keep this post handy when I’m knee-deep in weeding books or attending endless meetings.  This is why I love working with children. This is why I write books for teens. This is why I work at a library.

 

 

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20140814_132316Last week, I went to a museum with a group of kids. Actually, we go every year as part of our summer program at the library. Different kids, same museum. But each year, I’m still shocked at how much I learn about our local history, and more importantly, how interesting the whole visit is!

 

 

I must give credit to the wonderful people at the museum who put together an exciting, fresh collection each year, and then do a bang up job with their presentations.  This year, it focused on 1914…the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI. They cover everything from home life, to school, to local buildings and the people who lived here during that time. (Just a little tidbit of history for you…Roy Brown, the man who shot down the Red Baron, came from Carleton Place.) The collection even showcased some rather grim items this year—funeral selections, including hair wreaths and a professional photo of a woman with her sister at her funeral, styled sitting up with hands in her lap and eyes open.

 

 

I’m not a big history buff, but I always find these visits exciting and fascinating. It’s even better when you go with children who actually know something about what they’re looking at. My surprises this time?

 

 

  • When one of the young girls showed up with her camera and took photos of everything. Everything. Clothes. Stoves. Spoons. Wagon wheels. Toasters. Her mother said she’d have to upload the photos the minute she got home so she could look at all of them. Serious girl!
  • The young boy who has a particular fascination with old buildings and proceeded to tell us how you can tell an old house from a new one (a stone foundation, stone walls, and curved stone arches above the windows all point to old houses). Oh yes, and he also laughed himself silly as one of the museum presenters showed us a woman’s bustle underneath a display dress.
  • When one of the boys announced with great glee that there was a naked man in one of the old photos, and “wouldn’t he be mad when he saw that they had it on display at the museum!”
  • When one of the kids pointed to the photo of the dead woman and her sister, proclaiming she looked like a zombie. Were there zombies in town a long time ago?

 

 

The museum teaches me something important each year, though. It’s important to be surprised. We become so blase in our lives. Stop to look at the world in a different way. See it through the eyes of a child. See it in your ancestor’s eyes. There are many great things going on around us if we only stop to let them in. I guarantee it will help you with your writing…to begin looking through a character’s eyes in a fresh way. Try it.

 

 

What has surprised you lately?

 

 

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I always look forward to this time of year. No, not summer vacation or the last lazy days of August. It’s WriteOnCon time again! And that means fun contests, vlogs, writing forums…and NINJAS!

 

 

If you’ve never participated in WriteOnCon, I urge you to pop over to the site now to register and look through the archives. There are interviews with agents, authors, editors and more! It’s a Writer’s Conference for those of us who might not be able to afford to travel, but want the same experience. These wonderful organizers are authors who have decided to pay-it-forward and share their good fortune (and massive hard work) with others. But the best thing about this free online writer’s conference? It’s fun!

 

 

You’ll have the opportunity to share your work, talk with other aspiring authors, listen to great inside info about the publishing business, and who knows…maybe you’ll even be stalked by a Ninja! (Don’t worry, they’re only Ninja Agents who sneak around reading posted work. They won’t show up outside your house. I hope.)

 

 

WriteOnCon runs for two FULL days, August 26th and August 27th. Plan on being there! I wouldn’t miss it for anything. (And don’t worry, if you can’t be there “live”, the posts are always available to watch/read anytime.)

 

 

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Who is this lovely, and what has she seen?

 

 

She spends her days in the corner of a deep, handmade cradle that is dusty and covered in chipped sienna paint. She watches as people pause to look, to admire her once bright golden curls that now sit askew on her dingy face. Even the sweet rosebud lips show the ravages of days long gone. There is no one to kiss her pink cheek goodnight, and no one to smooth down her floral dress.  She waits with the others who will never have homes again, either.

 

 

Once, she sat in another store, shiny and coveted. How many hard earned dollars did it cost to bring her home to a lucky little girl? A bargain, at any rate, to bring happiness to a young heart.

 

 

She earned a name, slept cradled in a warm bed, tight against her girl, and held the honored chair at every tea party given during those years. She listened to the happiness of the day, and comforted wet tears in the cold, darkness. These were her duties, and she carried them out with unconditional love.

 

 

Had she listened to a mother’s tears as her eldest son went off to war? Had she rested in the cradle as bitter words were thrown in rooms next door? And did she suffer under the neglect of a child who had long since grown tired of playing with dolls? Finally, to be picked up and thrown haphazard into a musty cardboard box, this once precious sweetheart who would spend many years locked in the darkness at the top of the house, listening to fluttering wings and skittering feet.

 

 

Oh, to be found again, to see the delight in someone’s eyes as they pull her from the box and smooth back her hair. Was there ever a smile on her face? Her thick eyelashes remind us she was pretty once, as we all were.

 

 

Is it better that she rests in the bottom of the cradle now, aware of the world but not able to see more than the ceiling above her and the occasional faces that slip past? We shall never know her name, never know what love she once enjoyed, never see her tucked under the arm of a little child again.

 

 

These are the memories of her past.

 

 

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