Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brilliant Sandra Boynton

I mentionned Sandra Boynton's fantabulous book Hippos Go Berserk before. It's crazy and clever and frankly hilarious. And now, I have the immense pleasure to tell you that her music is exactly the same. A belated xmas present to myself, the albums Blue Moo and Philadelphia Chickens are most excellent. It's real music, with real composition, singers, instruments and a deadly sense of humour. The Uninvited Loud Precision Band will have you marching up and down your hall (or kitchen or bathroom, wherever you happen to be, really). The Arkwaarks will make you wriggle your toes (and if you're an Aaaaaarkwaark, you'll also wriggle your nose). And how can you say know to a Personal Penguin?

Have a look over here for other snippets.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Literary Resolutions

I finally decided that I was both too lazy and too busy to bother about coming up with new year resolutions this time round, but I found on Ann's blog this ready-made list from The Loft. Here goes:

This year, instead of making huge year-long goals that start to taunt you in late October, how about making one goal per month? Break it down, and give yourself permission to start fresh every four weeks or so.

January: Read a classic that has always been on your list. I’ve never read Virginia Woolf— embarrassing, yes. January is the time to conquer this hole in my education.

February: Write for at least 15 minutes every day. Take away the pressure and swear you’ll never show anyone this new work. You’ve heard it before, I’ll tell you again. Just get it flowing. Conquer the blank page. This is a short month. You can do it. If fifteen minutes turns into an hour, send yourself a valentine.

March: Go to at least two author readings at your local book store, library, or literary center. If your community does not have authors passing through, you can watch a reading online. After hearing from the author, read the book.

April: Celebrate the foolish. Find some of the best humor writing and see what makes you laugh out loud. “Right ho!” You can never go wrong with P.G. Wodehouse. Then, give yourself a humor writing assignment. After you make someone laugh from a quip or joke, try to write it down. Can you capture spoken humor in the written form?

May: Spend the month rereading your old work. I have a half-written novel waiting patiently for me on my computer. Why does this scare me so much to go back and read it? Read fragments, half-finished essays, and rejected work. Invite one piece back into your life for revisions, and a second chance.

June: Get an anthology of poetry and read the same poem twice every day—once in the morning, and once at night. Does coming back to it in the evening change it? Take June to think about language—what draws you in, what bores you?

July: Spend two hours a week working on one long piece. This could be a rescued piece discovered in May or something new. Take off the pressure: tell yourself just one month.

August: Reread your favorite book from childhood. Why did that book make such an impression on you? I often wonder if it is a coincidence that I fell madly in love with Robin Hood at the age of 11 and as an adult became a professional fundraiser.

September: Submit. Submit to your dream of being a writer. Submit your work to a contest, a local newspaper, a literary journal.

October: Read a best-selling mystery. What can you learn from a well-paced page turner?

November: Jump on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon and try to write a novel in a month. NaNoWriMo offers plenty of online resources and many communities have meet-ups. The Loft offers a weekend novel writing conference to offer inspiration in early November.

December: Buy books, give books, talk about books, and spread your love of literature throughout the holidays.

In one painless year, you’ve become an active participant in the literary community. You’ve read a classic, you’ve created new work, and you’ve heard new work, you’ve supported authors and not once were you encouraged to get more exercise or cut back on sweets and alcohol.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

'Tis the season

And so this is it, exit 2010, welcome 2011! May it be full of good things to do, see and eat!
It's been quiet around these parts lately, but I blame the intensive cooking, make-and-doing (note the handsome, askew-eared deer) and general partying of the season.
Now it is back to work and writing and reading and blogging and probably also messing around with Playdo and origami paper (Santa was very generous!).
Now is also the time to go back to that old list of new year's resolution and see if anything at all can be ticked off. But that's for another day. There's still Xmas cake that's begging for attention...