Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Last night I attended a course on “Writing and Publishing for Children and Teens.” It was jam-packed with good advice and important resources, but the most interesting thing to me was the “other” facilitator – an illustrator. Her name is Mary Reaves Uhles and I happened to pick up one of her picture books while waiting for class to begin – I absolutely loved it! Lots of shenanigans and different skin colors at a Grandmother’s holiday celebration:

“The Little Kids’ Table” by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle and Mary Reaves Uhles http://sleepingbearpress.com/shop/show/11704

At first I wondered if I should have been named Mary with multiple surnames, like all the nuns who taught me how to perfectly diagram a sentence, and probably set the stage for my love of reading and writing. Before popping into my class, I delivered two children’s books in Spanish to the Grands; one on Frida Kahlo and the other on Julio Cortázar! After all, they will be learning Spanish in school and why shouldn’t they think of art as a career choice? The Bride smiled at my obvious motive while she cooked up some delicious beans and rice.

One of the most important things I learned from Uhles is that when a manuscript is accepted by a publishing house, the writer has basically zero influence on the illustrator. For some reason I’d thought I would have to provide the artist along with my book, that writer and illustrator came as a duo, a married couple ’till death intervened. I might be able to suggest someone for the job, but nope, the editor gets to pick the person she/he likes. Uhles mentioned a friend who wrote a book about a family, only to find out it was finally published as a PIG family, which was not her intention, but hey…

I also learned I don’t have to rhyme, although I love reading aloud in rhyme to children. It’s like a melody that’s enhanced by harmony. But Dr Seuss seems to have cornered the market on couplets, still I’ll leave a bit of my idea for a another book on Buddha Bear. Y’all know Buddha was our wonderful part-Samoyed rescue who looked like a polar bear. One hundred pounds of pure love. https://mountainmornings.net/2011/11/03/to-a-good-dog/

Buddha Skates Across the Pond

Snowflakes settled on his nose

As Buddha stepped outside to find

A fox left tracks in the tall sea grass

And chocolate milk was on his mind

The school was closed, so back inside

He jumped to pull a crazy quilt

From Lena’s bed, “Up, up, up, sleepyhead!”

He begged with paws of icy silt

I envision a series, Buddha in the Morning, Buddha at the Beach, Buddha Gives Chase, Buddha on a Plane, etc. Which reminds me, when we arrived in Mexico, a police officer was strolling through the airport with a proud German Shepherd dog. who started sniffing all around my bag. Oh Oh, was I carrying some contraband into the country? We always thought Buddha was a drop-out from a K-9 program. It turned out this drug-sniffing dog had smelled my half of a ham sandwich from Starbucks. Needless to say, it was confiscated.

Our current combined pups:  Guinness, Ms Bean and Maple the newest IMG_2040


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Bet you thought this was going to be an essay about Caitlyn Jenner. To spin Dr Henry Higgins, “Why cant’t a man be more like a woman?” But no, this is about the woman who replaced my favorite columnist at the NYTimes (Anna Quindlen). After all, I fashioned my writing at the Berkshire Eagle as a mix of personal and political a la Quindlen for years. But today, let’s talk about Dowdworld for awhile, shall we.

Anyone would think I’d love a fiery, redheaded, post-feminist, liberal writer from a big Irish family. And i did, until things began to change. Ever since the Bride went off to medical school, I’d email her Dowd’s columns, in the same way the Flapper would cut articles out of the newspaper to send to me. “Dowd nails it again!” might be the title of one such email, hoping to keep my daughter’s feminist mind clear in the midst of mind-grueling study. Then, a few weeks ago, the Bride sent me one of her columns; the email header read “WTF Maureen Dowd?”


Well naturally I jumped to Dowd’s defense, who was castigating emergency medicine in print, or digital, or however one reads the Times these days. I replied immediately, “Ok I get it. But she was just quoting an egotistical neurologist who compared body parts to cars. I wouldn’t be so mad at her; it’s an opinion piece and it’s her niece.” As if I was making up an excuse for a beloved elderly aunt, or sister, who slipped up on her medication. But the Bride was really mad, and later sent me the reply to her article by an Emergency Physician.

Today, I’m wondering why Dowd is so Debbie Downer on Hillary. Now she did give Bill a lashing over his indiscretions in the Oval Office. She sounded downright Republican there for awhile, and some blamed this on her Roman Catholic background. Still, one might expect her to be sympathetic to the woman best known in the GOP press for her pantsuits and helmet hair. Conservatives like to throw strong adjectives around about Clinton, like how “secretive” she is, how she gives off an “atmosphere of hostility,” and she holds a “forced smile” while being a “shapeshifter.” And these are NYTimes columnists!

“And oh yeah, “she can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman.” That from Dowd, who has spent her career at the Times personally attacking Clinton.”                                                                                          http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/06/10/the-curious-way-new-york-times-columnists-are-c/203934

How would you have Hillary campaign “…as a woman” Maureen? After reading this critique in New York Magazine, “The Redhead and the Gray Lady,” http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/features/14946/ I may have a clue what she’s talking about, which is to say, I’m very disappointed in you Maureen. Here is the first sentence in this article, you can get the gist: “Possibly, there are even more naked women at Maureen Dowd’s house today than there were when this place was JFK’s Georgetown bachelor pad in the fifties.” 

Maureen to Hillary: “You seem like an annoyed queen”

Me to Maureen: “You seem like the queen of mean.”


Dowd’s Vanity Fair cover

Anna Quindlen, I miss you! Because politics isn’t all about money, and power, and sex. Is it?

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