How does your garden grow?

These MFA residencies in Charlotte are a kind of intensity I can’t ever seem to describe to anyone who’s not in a low-residency Creative Writing Program. My head hurts for twelve hours a day from taking in so much information. This kind of learning program fulfills me in a soulful, intellectual, limitless way.

I will never see writing, and its place in the world, in the same way.

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Later this week, I’m going to publish a post entitled, Everything You Need To Know About Summer Writing Prompts for Kids. And next week, I’ll begin posting prompts. This summer, I’ll only be posting three times a week (probably Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). But I’ll leave up last year’s board on Pinterest in case your budding writer has the itch to write 5 days a week.

Stay tuned.

And since I’m throwing myself into Summer Writing Prompts for Kids, I’m going to publish Book Banter only once a week this summer. Instead of including all the links I like in book, publishing, and writing news, I’ll link just to my favorites.

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Frog at a pond.

Frog at a pond.

Yesterday, my family went to an amazing new exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. It’s  indescribable, actually. Check out these photos!

I was so inspired, today I dragged all three kids to our local nursery to pick up a few things for our first vegetable garden. In the past, I’ve planted flowers (with dismal results) but never food. We’ll be starting small with a potted garden on our deck. I’ve got big tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, blueberries, basil, oregano, and parsley. We’ll see how many I kill off the first few weeks. I’ve been known to kill even a cactus. Keep your fingers cross for my decidedly un-green thumb and send any advice my way.

Doesn't this dog look real?

Doesn’t this dog look real?

Earth Mother. I could have stared at her all day.

Earth Mother. I could have stared at her all day.

A friendly Ogre.
A friendly Ogre.

If you didn't believe in unicorns before, you will after you see this one.

If you didn’t believe in unicorns before, you will after you see this one.

The Sub-Way

I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning. Not because a kid woke me, not to get an early start on my writing day, not to pack lunches for school.

It was because I had the most realistic dream– my novel sold. And after the joy and screams and celebrations of a publishing contract caused me to wake up, once I was awake, I was so disappointed it was only a dream I couldn’t fall back to sleep.

Secrets of the Sari Chest isn’t even on submission yet, and already my mind is  running wild with delusions and fantasies. I wish I could reign them in or temper them somehow. Particularly, since I know better. A few years ago, when my last book went on submission, I was full of such hope. I was certain it would sell. And then two years of submission came and went, and several dozen emails from editors (forwarded by my agent) turning it down.

Submission the first time around was brutal. My subconscious seems to have forgotten this. If I could build a bridge the gap between my daytime pessimism and my night-time optimism, so that I could be at a place of hopeful realism, well, that would be something.




I seriously considered doing NaNoWriMo this month– writing an entire 50,000 word novel in the month of November. But with two new things that have propped up in the past few weeks– a part-time paid job (more details to come) and an agent for my first novel (hence, more editing of Secrets). I’m bowing out gracefully before even getting started.

Having said that, I’ve gotten a good start on Finding Om. I’ve got a very rough draft of 50ish pages, which I’ll now rewrite and revise in time for my first January residency at Queens. The pages are pretty terrible, but they exist, and that’s all that matters at this point in the game. I’ve got two months to make them decent, and having written a novel before, I now have a better understanding of how I need to tell the story.

Also, my almost 11 year-old was a big help in the inspiration department. I asked her to make me an origami boat that could actually float. A floating origami boat is crucial to my plot in Finding Om. She searched YouTube (the best website ever for origami), folded one right up, and set it in a bowl full of water to test it out. It worked! And I’m relieved.

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I’ve been looking at images of the destruction of hurricane Sandy for days now, and thinking about all of the people out there suffering. If you can, please text the word REDCROSS to 90999 for a quick and easy $10 donation. I’m sure every little bit helps. If you wish to give more, you can just go to the website.

Have a great weekend. Enjoy the extra hour of sleep.