Wonderful Words: Dipping into My Quote Collection

Wonderful Words: Dipping into My Quote Collection: Dipping into my Quote Collection, Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate Lives

I became a quote collector many years ago. At first it was just copying out particularly meaningful or beautiful passages from books I was reading, mostly novels. However, in my desire to continue to grow in my craft as a writer, I started collecting from my reading of writing periodicals, blog posts, and of course, more books.

Here are 3 random selections from my collection:

Quote 1, from my index card collection of quotes to use as writing prompts for language arts class daily writing:

“When I see books that I have read on library shelves, it is like running into an old friend on the street. I often take the book down and browse through it… Like friends, these books have gone into the making of whatever and whoever I am.”                                                                  ~Kevin Starr

Isn’t that so true! And when I discover books I love on a new acquaintance’s book shelves, I take it as a sign that we will have much in common.

Quote 2, from my laptop quote collection:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘presson’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”                                         ~ Calvin Coolidge

I like to think the positive side of being stubborn is being persistent.

Quote 3, from my quote file:

“I draft much of my work looking at a computer screen. Cutting and pasting with ethereal bits make new versions easier. But I find that I need to print drafts out. I want to hold the paper in my hand, so I can make a mark with the pencil, cross words out and write others in. It helps me to be in touch with my work.”                                                                                  ~Stuart Kestenbaum, Poet

I love to read about how writers work. Unlike Stuart, I prefer to draft in pencil, mechanical pencil, preferable, in a college ruled spiral notebook. The first draft gets entered into a word document. I can do surface editing onscreen, but, again, I do much better work when I print out the chapter and edit by hand.

Your Turn

What about you? Any quotes you love? Please share them in the comment box. It is always a delight and a pleasure to discover more wonderful words.

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December/January Reading

As it is for most people, the holiday season is a busy time, and so I never blogged my December reading. Now that it is February, here is my December and January reading list and some thoughts.

December

The long descent into the darkness of winter is always a challenge for my spirit. Therefore, the first book I completed reading in December is, for me, the literary equivalent of comfort food: A City of Bells, by Elizabeth Goudge. I returned to it, because Goudge books, despite all their characters trials, always sparkle with hope and light. A City of Bells is the story of a wounded veteran who finds his calling, an adopted young girl finds her inner strength, and a mysterious stranger who is sought and loved by the people his life had touched. I love this book, and it carried me right into December.

Another carryover from November was Donald Maass‘ The Emotional Craft of Fiction. Maass’ premise is that it is emotion that hooks readers of novels, and in The Emotional Craft of Fiction  he provides models and explanations of the many ways an author can incorporate emotion in their own fiction.

Next I read Stephanie Barron‘s Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas. As with Barron’s other Jane Austen mysteries, this novel was entertaining and provided a good puzzle.

I followed Barron with Robin Jones Gunn’s Finding Father Christmas. I loved it. This is the story of a young woman who, growing up with an eccentric single mom, never knew her father. Now her mother is dead, and she decides to search her father out. Her mission takes her to a small village in England, where slowly she unravels her personal history while striving to protect the new friends she has made.

Equally enjoyable was the sequel, Engaging Father Christmas.

JanuaryInk & Bone: December and January Reading, Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate Lives

Because I was incredibly sick most of the month of January, I did not engage in a lot of novel-reading (I read mostly short things, like blog posts). However, I did start and finish one novel, Rachel Caine’s YA fantasy, Ink and Bone. This book has a fascinating premise: The great library of ancient Alexandria was never destroyed, and in the near future world in which the novel takes place, information is widely available, but strictly controlled, by the all-powerful, world-ranging library. Jess, the son of a very successful book smuggler, is sent to be educated at the great library, where the young man discovers both a wonderful cohort of friends and the sinister truth about this library system that controls all the knowledge of the world. I very much enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading its sequels.

I Love My New Planner!

I Love My New Planner, Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate LivesOne of the side benefits of becoming a teacher was developing the practice of using a plan book. I remember feeling like there were so many tasks, big and little to remember, that I had to write them down in order to be prepared for each day of teaching and learning.

A few years ago, feeling like I just wasn’t accomplishing anything on a daily basis, I remembered my lesson plan book and decided to use the same approach in my home life. I loved it! It worked! I’d record what needed to get done each day and check each item off as I did it. At the end of the day, I could see that I actually did get quite a bit done, even if it was two dozen tiny chores. I was hooked.

The Great Planner Hunt

Up until this year, I have always used a spiral bound planner. Each December I would look all over town for the perfect planner and agonize over how pretty or colorful it was or was not.

This year, tired of the last-minute search, I started looking in the fall. There were very limited numbers of spiral bound binders available, and none were very pretty. However, there were oodles of those removable/re-arangable-page-planners. They were colorful. They were pretty. But…they had flimsy laminated covers. I like the solid feel of a hardcover spiral planner.

So I looked and I looked and I looked. I could not find a planner I liked in a style I liked. Finally in December, I surrendered. I bought one of those new-fangled, laminated cover planners.

It was pretty, but I did not even look at it again until January.

Now, I love it.

It was originally an 18 month planner, starting in the summer of 2017. So, I was able to pull out the July – December pages and insert them, and their dividers, in the back of the planner as resources.

As a planner, this new planner is as fully functional as my old style planner.

But those re-arangeable bonus dividers and pages? I am in love.

My Bonus Sections

I have four sections in the back of my planner–Routines, Lists, Cooking, How-Tos. Using techniques picked up reading about bullet journaling (such as establishing a table of contents) here’s how I’ve filled my pages so far.

Routines

The routines section contains notes for how I want to set up my planner, a template for teaching days, a template for weekends, a template for vacation days and holidays, and a schedule for medications and supplements.

For example, on days I do not work, here is how I like to start out:

  • Read my daily section of the Bible
  • Pray
  • Read some of the Blogs I follow
  • Clean up the kitchen
  • Get dressed and put away clothes
  • Check my phone
  • Clear my email inbox

Lists

I like making lists. The act of doing so helps me to remember things that are important to me. I have lots of lists:

  • Favorite exercises and stretches
  • Things I want to make (both practical and crafts)
  • Things I want to learn (both just for fun or for personal/professional development)
  • Personal pleasures: things to do for fun and relaxation
  • Asthma home improvement to-do list
  • Ideas for Family dinners (my kids are grown and out on their own, and I want to come up with some fun ways for us to get together regularly)
  • Chore lists: including an order of rotation so that over time, everything routine gets covered.
  • Writing project lists and priorities
  • Blog ideas and to-do lists
  • Home improvement projects
  • Once-in-a-blue-moon chores
  • Projects, big or small, that once I do them, do not need to be repeated
  • What I am learning about managing my asthma

Cooking

  • Recipes my husband likes
  • Baking (snacks and desserts) my husband likes
  • Side dishes my husband likes
  • Mixes to make

I focus on my husband here because I already and always know what I like. When it’s my turn in the kitchen, I want to be as considerate of my husband as he is of me.

How Tos

  • How to embed a pin in a blog post
  • How to embed a Facebook post in a blog post

As I learn new things I expect this section to grow.

And More…

I have two more dividers left and multiple unused pages. The possibilities are open before me. I love it!

Your Turn

Do you use a planner or some other form of organizer? Use the comment space below to tell us about it. Let’s inspire and encourage each other!

Play With Your Words Writing Prompt: Describe a Unicorn–There’s More Options Than You May Think

Play With Your Words Writing Prompt, literatelives.wordpress.com, http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/11/how-many-horns-does-a-unicorn-have.html

 

Writing to a prompt is a great way to exercise writing skills. Today’s prompt was inspired by a post I read recently on the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts Blog, “How many horns does a unicorn have?”

 

Prompt

Go to: to http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/11/how-many-horns-does-a-unicorn-have.html.  Read the article and enjoy the illustrations from medieval manuscripts ranging from the 1500’s to the 1600’s.

I found this article delightful and was both surprised and inspired to discover so much variety in the “unicorn species.”

Prompt: Use the writing process to write a description of a unicorn. Use some of the surprising details from the article, dream up your own.

Pre-write

Brainstorm a list of characteristics for your unicorn–both in appearance and nature. Throw down anything you think of. The list doesn’t commit you to using any of them.

Write–Rough Draft

Describe your unicorn.

Revise/Edit

Look back at your description.

Do you use any words that are kind of bland? Substitute in more specific words.

Are there places where a comparison might enhance your reader’s understanding? Use metaphors or similes to create vivid word picture’s in your reader’s mind.

Ready to share? Not yet. Once you have finished revising, proofread your description. Do you use uppercase letters at the beginnings of sentences? Do you use end punctuation at the end? (I often skip these when I’m doing a rough draft because my mind is so focussed on creating.) How about your grammar and punctuation? Remember, writing conventions help to make your writing more easily understood and therefore you communication more effective.

Publish/Share

Share your description with your classmates, friends, or family. If they have also written a description, compliment them on the strengths of their writing. Encourage one another.

* Want to do this exercise with a pre-reader writer in order to improve their pre-literacy skills? Read the article to them and point out the pictures. Then ask them to imagine and describe their own unicorn. If you’d like, write their description down as they create it, then read it back aloud, pointing to each word as you pronounce it. This reinforced the one-to-one correspondence between the spoken word and words on the page.

Your Turn

Share your response in the comments box. If you share yours, I’ll share mine. Let’s encourage one another.

How to Nurture a Literate Lifestyle in a Crazy, Non-stop World

How to Nurture a Literate Lifestyle in a Crazy, Non-stop World: Debby Zigenis-Lowerys Literate LivesAs someone whose famous last words as a child were, “Just let me finish this chapter!” and who discovered at an early age that I think best with a pen in my hand, the crazy, joyous, busy holiday season, while wonderful, is also a severe challenge to my quiet spirit, and no more so than this year, when I came down with a cold the Monday before Thanksgiving and never quite got over it until nearly Christmas Eve.

Here are a number of literate practices that helped me to manage my stress and keep my eyes on the blessings and special joys of the season:

  • write emails, letters, and texts
  • make lists
  • doodle meaningful vocabulary
  • read blog posts
  • read seasonal books
  • engage in devotional/inspirational reading
  • collect quotes
  • braindrain to collect memories

Write Emails, Letters, and Texts

As with most families, the holiday season, like any other time of year, came with both its trials and joys. I relied on emails and letters to support an uncommunicative relative who was going through a difficult time.

Also, due to how hectic the days felt, if I needed to contact someone, I relied on emails and texting whenever possible, thus avoiding long drawn out phone conversations.

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? Prioritize your time by using the most efficient means of contacting people, and save phone conversations for meaningful interactions.

Make Lists

When you work full-time, are a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, friend, blogger, and writer, you have a lot of relationships and responsibilities to juggle. This December, I did not rely on my memory. I made lists for what I wanted to accomplish each day, lists for baking plans for the season, multiple lists for the grands’ Christmas craft party, not to mention shopping and gift lists, and lists for our family’s Christmas Eve gathering. I was able to do, complete, and  provide everything that mattered most to me.

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? When things matter to you and there’s a lot going on in your life, commit them to lists so they do not get forgotten, you can track your progress, and you will not be disappointed when you discover it’s too late to do that thing you were looking forward to.

Doodle Meaningful Vocabulary

I love Sybil Macbeth’s Praying in Color book and website. This year she posted an article on honoring Advent, the season before Christmas, by doodling an Advent themed word each day. She had a list of words I started with, then I brainstormed some more of my own. While I did not do this every day of Advent, I found when I did practice this, using a 3″x 5″ card, I experienced a sense of stillness, calm, and deep meaning in the present moment (which served as a great stress-buster as well).

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? When you are very, very busy and don’t have time to journal or write, choose a word, or brainstorm a list of words that make this time meaningful to you, then pick one to doodle for five or ten minutes. It’s very refreshing. (P.S. You don’t have to be an artist to do this. Note I used the word doodle. Anyone who can hold a writing utensil can doodle.)

Read Blog Posts

Often functioning in a state of overwhelm or exhaustion, I did not have the energy to sustain the attention necessary for my favorite form of reading, the novel. So, I read a lot of blog posts–much shorter, more easily digested–and thus kept my reading-loving brain satisfied.

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? What types of short works do you like to read? Switch to “shorts” during challenging times–short stories, poetry, essays, magazines, blogs… There is much to be gleaned from short, tight writing that can be satisfying to the spirit.

Read Seasonal Books

I love to read Christmas novels and novellas in December. So when I had the leisure and energy, I indulged. The stories were lighter fare than my usual reading rotation, which helped with my lack of energy and time, and they helped remind me of what I love about the Holiday season.

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? Read something seasonal, whether it’s a romance novella for February, a beach read for summer, or a cozy mystery for fall, to remind yourself to savor the season you are in.

Engage in Devotional/Inspirational Reading

For me, Christmas is meaningless without Christ. Fortunately, there is a whole Christian marketplace full of devotional books with short daily readings. I chose one and tried to read faithfully each day. (However, I did not beat myself up when I missed a day, rather I looked on that missed reading as a short bonus pleasure I could slip in on another day.)

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy inspirational reading. There are so many themed books of readings in the marketplace. Topics include: seasonal thoughts, collections excerpting a particular writer or group of writer’s work, themed collections of daily thoughts, and of course, publications from your own philosophical tradition. These kinds of readings can remind you of what you love, what you value, and what you want to focus your attention on.

Collect Quotes

I love words; I love quotes. A short quotation can be so meaningful, comforting, and inspiring. So, whenever I found a quote that “spoke” to me, I either cut and pasted it into an email to myself or jotted it down for my collection.

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? When you hear or read something that makes you stop to think or appreciate, collect it. It doesn’t take long, but to your inner reader will find it most satisfying.

Use a Braindrain to Collect Memories

I keep a journal, but during times like this past holiday season, I do not have time to sit down and write in it in a leisurely manner. Christmas Eve, my husband and I had such a wonderful time with our kids and grands, and fell into bed exhausted, with a travel day planned the next morning to see my parents and brother. But I so wanted to remember all the highlights of our own Christmas party. So, that morning, while I drank my coffee, I did a braindrain of all the special memories. I didn’t worry about, spelling, grammar, or complete sentences. I didn’t worry about putting everything in the right order. I just jotted each delightful memory down so it could be savored latter. And I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

How can you apply this to any busy or stressful season? Sometimes our minds are so full and we long for time to just sit down, pen in hand, and reflect on it all, but there are no big enough chunks of time in which to do so. In such situations, a braindrain can be most satisfying.

Your Turn

Thanks to these strategies, I enjoyed a peaceful, meaningful, joyous holiday season.

How do you nurture your literate spirit when times get tough? Please use the comment box to share a strategy that you love or have found particularly effective. Thanks for you willingness to nurture our literate lives.

Happy New Year! Hopes and Dreams for Your Literate Lifestyle in 2018

Your Literate Lifestyle in 2018 literatelives.wordpress.comHappy new year! I hope your holiday season was peaceful, joyful, filled with abundant blessings.

And now it is a new year. I love the opportunity for a new start, so much so I think “new year” in both January and September. Having been a student, been the parent of students, and the teacher of students, September is just a very logical restart.

However, for me, January is a little more magical. It starts with clean new calendars and clean new plan books. And after the inevitable joyful excesses of the Christmas season, it feels like being washed by a raging current into a quiet side stream. Time for quiet. Time for reflection. Time for dreaming and goal setting. (I love the quiet of January after December!)

What hopes and dreams, plans and goals do you have for the new year? I have two I’ll share right now:

  1. to blog about how having a literate lifestyle keeps me sane during crazy-busy/sick seasons
  2. to add an additional day of content this year (coming late spring)

I pray this greeting finds you refreshed and dreaming.

Use the comments box below to share your hopes and dreams for your literate lifestyle in 2018. Let’s inspire each other!

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas & a Wonderful New Year

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas & a Wonderful New Year literatelives.wordpress.com

Thank you, dear readers, for following Literate Lives. I will be taking a little time off over the holidays, but want to assure you I’ll resume next year (yikes, 2018!!!) on Tuesday, January 9.

However, I cannot take my break without wishing all of you a very merry Christmas and an abundant, blessing-filled new year.

I pray this holiday brings you peace and joy, the enjoyment of loved ones, and lots and lots of time to read and write!

Winter Holiday Literacy Activity: Borrowed Poems

Winter Holiday Activity literatelives.wordpress.comOne of the things I love doing with my students, which you can do either in the classroom or at home for fun, is write what I call Borrowed Poems.

What is a Borrowed Poem?

A borrowed poem is a new poem created by analyzing and playing with an already existing poem or song. The winter holiday season is so jam-packed with so many familiar songs that it lends itself well for this activity.

How to Write a Borrowed Poem

First, select the song you wish to play with. For this exercise, I have chosen a traditional favorite: “Deck the Halls.” If you ou your student do not know the words to the song, you will need to access them.

Observe and analyze the first verse of the song.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly.
Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La La
‘Tis the season to be jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La La

What do I notice?

The first sentence is an imperative statement, instructing the listener or an unknown participant to do something. As such, it begins with the verb, “deck,” meaning to decorate.

I also notice this song uses an ABAB rhyme scheme: the two A rhymes are  “holly” and “jolly,” the two B, part of a repeated refrain, repeat the final “la.”

Finally I notice the rhythm of the verse: Dum da Dum da Dum da DumDum. Since I will use the refrain as is, I have no need to analyze this. It may be helpful to select a song that does have some repeated verse or refrain that can be incorporated into the poem.

Plan, Prewrite, Compose

Jot down any ideas you have for your new poem:

  • Who is the narrator?
  • What is the setting?
  • What is the poem about?
  • What are some rhyming words that may suit your intent?

My first thoughts were that I wanted my poem to be about getting all dressed up and doing something fun. At first I considered making it a New Year’s Eve poem. However, my imagination, right now, is rather caught up in brightly colored lights and Christmas fun. The “lights” concept gave me one of my first rhyming words: “glow.” (I love light, especially in the dark days of December!)

Thinking about lights got me thinking about all the decorated houses in my neighborhood. I thought maybe the “fun” activity in my poem can be going out to view all the lights.

However, once I got to thinking about going out–outdoors–the traditional practice of caroling popped into my head. I decided caroling would be my activity.

And once I got to thinking about caroling, I thought about neighbors and all the ways we love and serve each other through the year.

With all those ideas in mind, it was time to write.

Write Your Poem

Prepare yourself with plenty of paper, a pencil, and possibly an eraser (although often in the midst of drafting, I don’t have the patience to erase and just cross words out and go on).

Do not expect perfection the first time out. Initially, I was determined to include a babysitter in the caroling rounds, but discovered the word just had too many syllables. After much switching words in and out, I at last settled on a cat sitter instead.

Even once you think your poem is done, don’t ink out a final copy right away. Set it aside and do something else. The idea for the cat sitter did not come to me until I had washed the dishes and gone upstairs to put away clothes.

Edit and Revise

Go back and look at your poem. Play with sound of the words using alliteration, assonance, consonance, and repetition.

Edit for grammar and punctuation. Don’t be intimidated. A sentence is a sentence whether it’s written as prose or a line in a poem. However, if you wish to get creative with grammar and punctuation, a poem can be a good place to do it.

Publish

Once you feel your poem is done, “publish” it. Publishing can come in many forms–inking out a final handwritten copy, entering it into a word-processing program and printing it out, doing either of the former and decorating the final copy with stickers, borders, zen-doodling, or clip art, or mounting it on some holiday paper.

Publishing also means sharing. Maybe you want to read it to family or friends one evening after dinner, post it on a bulletin board, or write it into a card.

Here is my poem:

Caroling in Oregon

Dress yourselves in clothes that glow,
Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La La,
Tonight, out caroling we’ll go,
Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La La.
First to Jim, who shares his garden bounty,
Fa-la-la La-la-la La La La.
Next, to Sue, best baker in the county,
Fa-la-la-la La,  La-la La La.

Santa songs for little Sam,
Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La La,
Angel’s carols for Mrs. Lamb,
Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La La.
Cross the street to cat-sitter Jayne’s
Fa-la-la La-la-la La La La,
All while hoping it won’t rain,
Fa-la-la-la La,  La-la La La.

Your Turn

Did you try it? Did you and your kids have any fun? Please use the comment box below to share the titles of other songs that have a refrain, or, even better, your own creation. Enjoy this week with the young people in your life and borrowed holiday poems.

Advent Calendars: Counting Down to Christmas

Advent Calendar: Counting Down to Christmas, Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate LivesIs it really time to begin counting down to Christmas?

Well, actually, it is. There are two forms of traditional countdowns, both falling under the heading “Advent Calendar.” The first counts down the days of the Christian Church’s Advent season, which this year began December 3. The second counts down the days of December until Christmas. Over the years we have often practiced both types in our home.

Not Ready for the Christmas Season

This year, I “missed out” on Thanksgiving. I came down with a bad cold that hit its peak Thanksgiving Day. It’s not that I couldn’t be grateful when I was sick. I try to practice gratitude daily regardless of calendar date. It’s just the holiday itself, and all the trimmings that I missed.

Of course, the annual Christmas extravaganza launched with Black Friday, but even after recovering from my cold,  I’ve been having a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea the holiday season is really here.

I Wanted Something Different

Deep inside me, maybe because I was not feeling particularly peppy, I wanted a quieter, more meaningful way to enter into Christmas, one I could enjoy and practice at home, even all by myself. Then, one morning, during my daily reading time, I stumbled onto…

Sybil MacBeth’s Year Round Advent

In this article, on The Living Church‘s website, MacBeth reflects on the meaning of Advent, the vocabulary of the season, and a variety of ways to incorporate Advent practices into your life.

I have been in love with MacBeth’s book Praying in Color for ever since a friend introduced me to it. Inspired by the Advent vocabulary from her article, I decided I would doodle a 3 x 5 inch card with one word from the Advent vocabulary each day until Christmas.

An Advent Vocabulary

Here is the word list I generated from MacBeth’s article along with the additional words I brainstormed after reading:

Preparation, Anticipation, Wonder, Star, Journey, Waiting, Watching, Attention, Patience, Hope, Despair, Expectancy, Darkness, Light, Fear, Faith, Repentance, Trust, Pregnant, Luscious, Angle, Mary, Shepherds, Gifts, Prayer, Invitation, Transformation, Salvation, Blessing, Love, Search, Celebrate, Share, Give, Make, Create, Grace, and Worship.

More Advent Options

Sybil Macbeth's Advent Calendars, Counting Down to Christmas, Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate LivesA few days later, MacBeth’s next blog post hit my inbox: Last Call for 2017 Advent Calendar Templates. This posts refers readers back to her November 7 2017 post, Advent Calendar Templates, where you can download her coloring calendar templates.

If you choose to practice this method of Advent celebration, simply print out a template (there are more than I show here), and fill in a section with images, thoughts, or prayers. Day 1 was December 3, the first Sunday of the Advent Season.

I hope you and your family will find a practice to enjoy this holiday season.

Your Turn

How do you like to count down to Christmas, or to any other special Calendar date? Please share your ideas in the comment space below. Who knows? Another reader might decide to celebrate the season your way!

Best Book of November: Spider’s Voice by Gloria Skurzynski

Spider's Voice by Gloria Skurzynski: Best Book of November review on Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate LivesThis November I have enjoyed a lot of great reading, from the fantasy of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, to the mystery of Stephanie Barron’s Jane and the Canterbury Tale, to history in a delightful discovery, Spider’s Voice by Gloria Skurzynski.

The Delightful Discovery

I first encountered Spider’s Voice in our city’s one, independent bookstore, the beloved, and now no longer in business, Jackson’s Books.

As a parent and as a children’s writer (I was writing and publishing folktales with Cricket Magazine at the time), I loved their vast children’s selection and shopped faithfully when I had money to spend on gifts, or I just wanted to see what was new. (They also had a fabulous fantasy section. That is my other favorite genre.)

I saw Spider’s Voice when it first came out–a very lean time in my life; noted that it included the  historical Abelard and Heloise in its cast and therefore was medieval historical fiction, a favorite; and denied myself the purchase because, as I said, financially things were pretty rough for me and my family at the time.

But the book haunted me. So often after it had disappeared from the shelves, I wished that I had bought it, or at least jotted down its title and author, like I usually do, so I could buy it later. And I guess, somehow, in the more than a decade that passed I did find it and buy it, because when it came time to read a novel from my children’s hardback shelves, moving forward from the letter Z, there it was.

Awake with insomnia, I pulled it from the shelf and sat down to read, not even glancing at the blurb. Then, as I got a few pages in, I began to realize, This is it! This is the book I wished I’d bought!

I have no memory of finding it, buying it, or shelving it, but I read it through, beginning to end, in one sitting, and did not go back to bed until after 3:00 A.M.

Spider’s Voice: Worth the Wait

Spider’s Voice is the story of a young shepherd boy, named Aran, born mute to a brutal father, who is sent with his older brother to Paris to sell the year’s thread. When his brother drinks up their earnings and is robbed of the rest, he sells to a peddler in grotesques so he need not return homw empty-handed. Aran is rescued by the famous scholar Abelard, because the great teacher in Paris’ famed University is in need of a servant who cannot be interrogated.

Through his adventures and travails in service to the famous lovers, Abelard and Eloise, Aran comes of age, and develops a wisdom of his own.

I was not disappointed!

Your Turn

Is there a book you waited a long time to read? Was it worth the wait?

Use the comment box below to explain. Please be sure to include the title of the book and the author’s name, in case one of our fellow readers wants to give it a try.

Thanks, I love hearing from you!