Thursday, June 21, 2012

I have been hastily slapping together plans to travel cross country, so it's been a very busy week.  I am SO excited and exceptionally grateful that I will get the opportunity to visit two places I am currently writing about.  One is in the Midwest and the other is on the West Coast.  I was initially planning to leave all writing behind, but now I'm so charged up I wouldn't dream of it! 

I bought a few things for the trip: a 2-person tent, sleeping pads, a headlamp (Walt lost his), and a waterproof bag.  The last time we went family camping, rain turned our cheap tent into a waterbed, so finding a watertight tent was a biggie.  I have some adventures planned, but they are weather dependent so no sense going into details now.

Poor Charlotte was a sorry sight at Mystic Aquarium.  She was hit by a propeller and now she spends most of the day on her head (kinda like me last week!).  It was sad to see a turtle with bubble-butt.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Walt and I are gearing up to deliver a much needed car to California, then we're flying back.  I'm hoping to slip in some research trips along the way.   It would also be nice to stumble upon some new stories while visiting National Parks across the country.  If all goes well it will be a trip that includes  research, hiking, nature and adventure.

My writing friends thought my ever changing piece that started as scraps--> article --> picture book is working!  It was SO nice to meet on a picnic table out by the pond in town.  We gazed in wonder as a blue heron flapped its wings over the water.

I thought these photos of a bee and rhododendron worked perfectly after getting stung--more like punched in the gut with the wind knocked out of me.  Not all rejections from editors feel that way, but this one did.  It is a fine time to hop in a car and go hike a mountain or twenty.  When I come back, The Revisions will be waiting for me and hopefully, absence will make the heart grow fonder.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Today I went to Rhode Island to attend a SCBWI P.A.L (published and listed) roundtable discussion.  Most of those in attendance were authors.  I must admit when I received the handwritten invitation I thought, clearly there must be some mistake.  Clearly.  Clearly, I was wrong.  It was nice to be included  with a group that I don't yet feel I belong in.  Melissa Stewart led the discussion about how SCBWI can better serve its published members.

It's funny how things have been moving and progressing.  First I recycled the scraps of an article and turned those into a short piece.  I saw more potential in it, so it's getting transformed into a picture book.  Although I wasn't done, I shipped it off to Critique Land.  Now, I'm barreling ahead to meet a deadline on something else that I'm a little apprehensive about--but of course I'm not letting that stop me. 

These beautiful and interesting annuals are gazanias.  At night, they curl up their petals.  By morning, the spikes unfold into stunning orange stars.   Brilliant blue lobelia is behind the gazania and a rhododendron bush is in the background.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

In addition to writing, this past week I researched how the teen brain is different from the adult brain.  Faced with the same situation, a teen will take risks, but an adult will not.  I found this National Geographic article about a study of teen risk taking, called Beautiful Brains, really helpful.  Here's the bottom line:

"So if teens think as well as adults do and recognize risk just as well, why do they take more chances? Here, as elsewhere, the problem lies less in what teens lack compared with adults than in what they have more of. Teens take more risks not because they don't understand the dangers but because they weigh risk versus reward differently: In situations where risk can get them something they want, they value the reward more heavily than adults do."

This explains why I knew better, but I still took a ride home with a stranger after track practice in high school.  I was walking home exhausted after running the mile, 2 mile and a relay in a track meet.   Thankfully, nothing bad happened.  

The brain is a fascinating organ.  Vanderbilt University in Tennessee has a new doctoral program for educational neuroscience.  It combines the field of education with studies of the brain.   Neuroscience research is quite interesting.  It's giving us new understanding on how we learn.  Educating children is what writing nonfiction is all about.  In the wrong hands, that research could be used in a negative manner.   

In other news, I spent the week working on a new article fashioned from the scraps of a completed article.   Also, I put together proposals for two classes (one is about jellyfish) for kids at the brand new Vernon Community Arts Center.  Hopefully, they will be accepted and that enough students will sign up so the class will run.

These photographs are moon jellies at Mystic Aquarium.