I usually speed right past this kind of stuff on Facebook, but when my sister-in-law posted this video I clicked on it for 2 reasons:
1. She dedicated her post to my brother, John, along with her friends and family.
2. I knew that if she liked it, I would like it, too. And it wouldn’t be some corny piece of crap.
I can’t imagine ever being this crazy talented, especially as a kid. But these two sisters sing so beautifully, and so well together, that this song is an instant Happy-Place earworm, as Linda Holmes likes to say. The song, “That’s What’s Up,” is originally by a band called Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Where the original reminds me of a tinny ode to School House Rock, the girls’ version has a much more pure, sweet vocal melody and an engaging, natural performance.
Why can’t I get this song out of my head? Just listen; you’ll see what I mean:
Watching these girls, it reminds me of my Goddaughter and her sister – you can tell the girls love each other. It’s clear that Lennon & Maisy have been singing together since they were little (which you can see in their youtube videos). Their joy is evident.
And it scares the hell out of me.
Because they ARE so talented, I dread some skeevy “talent manager” getting a hold of them, and before you know it, we see Lennon and Maisy wearing too much hair & makeup and stylist-induced designer outfits on The Today Show, like some E! network wannabes. And they get all stupid and slutty and spoiled.
PLEASE DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN! Please, parents of Lennon and Maisy, you seem like good people, you seem to be doing a great job raising these kids so far. I have to say, I have never heard of these two before they landed in my Facebook feed. (The duo are regulars on the series “Nashville,” and have made several television appearances.) So far, they are already off to a good start :) keep up the good work.
Don’t sell them out, don’t let them loose in the Hollywood machine. Care for them, raise them, make them do their homework, make them work shitty jobs to pay for their new car, make them respect themselves and their bodies, and don’t let them turn into slutty little brats.
This is how I applied for and won an art-based scholarship.
The Bethel E. Ells Scholarship is awarded to a part- or full-time art or art humanities major. I believe there is more than one recipient, but I’m not sure of the number. Here is the info from the application:
For students majoring in Art, this includes Drawing, Painting, Computer Graphics, Photography, and Sculpture or Art Humanities.
Big sister or aunt-type giving boy advice to a younger girl.
MC: “The difference between boys and girls is this:
When a girl wants to go out with a boy, it’s because she thinks he’s cute and she wants to talk to him and look deep into his eyes and hold his hand and maybe kiss him someday, in this big, movie-like passionate, romantic way, like you see on book covers. And she wants him to think she’s the prettiest girl ever, and notice all the things she likes about herself that nobody else notices. And to never, ever, look at any other girls.
When a boy wants to go out with a girl, he wants to do most of those things, too, but he mostly wants to do all the nasty physical stuff [fill in the blank] he can possibly think of. And it’s not because he’s disgusting, or a jerk or a pervert, it’s just because he’s a boy. And a lot of the time they are more scared shitless of making the first move than you are. So if you have a boy that you know – maybe you’re “just friends,” and he spends lots of time talking to you and you laugh at the same jokes, unless he’s in love with another girl or gay, he most likely wants to do all of those things with you. ”
—something that I’m working on. What say you? Leave a comment.
There are way more books to read than I will ever have time for in my life.
For fiction books, all you need to read is the first page to know if you’ll like the book.
My fantasy-adventure story is still relevant. The “does it matter?” slump/doubt has been completely erased, and fed with new inspiration. Thanks to the teen & young reader’s section, and re-visiting some of the classics.
My read-aloud bedtime book is very relevant, and I can do my own illustrations. Even though I’m totally getting into unleashing my artistic side, I’ve been overwhelmed by my lack of experience. I keep thinking: How can I illustrate this story while fooling everyone into thinking I know what I’m doing?
With the recent nudging of a very good friend, some inspiration from Neil Himself (watch this video, and if you already have, watch it again), and today’s hours spent in the children’s section, now I know: art is art. Everyone has a different approach, and like Mr. Gaiman says, no one can tell my story but me. No one can create the art that’s in my head but me.
Here’s a picture of me, my first week back to school, after a 22-year-break:
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a stay-at-home mom for 16 years, and a few years ago, went back to work part-time to help out with things like grocery money. Weird thing about teenage boys is, they like to eat. I enjoyed my job slinging magazines at the grocery store, and my other part-time job, driving delivery lunches for a couple of really awesome caterers. But the work was hard on my back, and I kept thinking…what’s next? Am I going to be lugging 20-lb bundles of Vanity Fair down to the checkstand when I’m 60?
So I started looking for a “real” job. Something that might earn me more money, maybe some benefits, and something I might be proud of. Not that I wasn’t proud of the way I lined up and categorized the magazine aisle, but I think you know what I mean.
And after perusing all of the jobs listings that seemed of interest to me, I realized: I can’t do any of them. As much as I would love to get into a marketing job (literary agent, maybe?), design, or editing, I have no experience or job training – other than keeping two boys and a husband in relatively clean clothes and lasagne for the past twenty years.
So, what could I do? Work part time for the rest of my life? Go back to retail or waitressing? Real Estate?
Luckily the timing worked out right, and back to school I went.
I’ve had more than a few people tell me that I would make a good teacher.
Growing up with an über-feminist mother in the 1970s, in the days when there were only 3 major professions a woman was expected to aspire to were: secretary, nurse, and teacher, and having my mom always telling me that I could be ANYTHING, and that I should never settle for status quo, the idea of being a teacher never appealed to me. (Well, besides the office supplies, and being able to write on a chalkboard.) But it just seemed so unglamorous. Besides, I was going to be a movie star, remember?
When I began to look at what I really enjoyed it occurred to me that I really do like to teach things to people. And I’ve always loved art, have also always wanted to learn more about art and how to be a better artist. And whenever I did try to imagine myself as a teacher, I thought I would love to be an art teacher.
When my youngest son was in elementary school, I offered to be the classroom volunteer for the Art Masterpiece program. As part of the program, volunteers were invited to attend free classes at the Phoenix Art Museum. Then we got all sorts of ideas for lessons and how to integrate them into the classroom. We could even tour the museum for free, and ask all sorts of questions to the Art Librarian. Over the next couple of years we made Paolo Soleri-inspired windbells, Lichtenstein-style portraits, and charcoal drawings of the desert. I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. And while the idea of volunteering in the classroom (usually for some sort of party) typically made me cringe, I couldn’t wait to get in there with those kids and talk about art.
The most surreal part of starting college again was that the day before my very first day of school, my dad called – that 2:30 AM call that no one wants – to tell me my brother had died. I’d been on the phone with family, crying for 24 hours, and then I’m putting on a backpack and carrying a sack lunch. It was all too weird.
The first few weeks of school, my brain and my heart fought between being excited and happy, or heartbroken and crying. More than once, I had to excuse myself from class because it was just too much. But I felt him, every step of the way. My brother had gone back to school in his 30’s and received his degree in music education. He is part of the reason I decided to give it a try.
I learned so much my first semester: How I’m in LOVE with art history; how I get all science-nerd-fangirl over geology stuff; how, even though I’m a rockstar computer whiz when it comes to blogging, I don’t know sh*t about Excel (my only B!), how I get way in over my head for simple design assignments, and while I’m decent at drawing, I still have a long way to go.
Even my summer school classes, English 102 and Public Speaking – which I thought would be a breeze – challenged me in ways I never expected.
Look for more about my school adventures in the future. It’s certainly an overwhelming change of pace, going from full time mom to full time student, especially as an older -excuse me – non-traditional student, but it feels good. I have always loved to learn, and maybe I’m at the right time in my life where I’m able to appreciate the lessons. Wish me luck.
Look for Images from my first semester in the next post: Back to School: Projects
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any progress on my book, and with going back to school, it’s been a bit on the backburner (again), but with some recent encouragement from writing friends, and a Unicorn-loving little girl, I think it’s time to revisit Ruby.
Chroicoragh, the Unicorn in my backyard, inspired me to write this book. Ruby is a 13-year-old girl, growing up in the middle-of-nowhere, Middle America. She might seem familiar to you. Here’s my “elevator pitch”:
Her parents are breaking up. The hunky farm boy down the road doesn’t notice her. She’s having strange dreams of hummingbirds, and all she can think about is getting a horse. But when she discovers a Unicorn in her neighbor’s barn, Ruby Fortuna goes on the adventure of a lifetime.
An elevator pitch is something you could use if you ever are stuck in an elevator with, say, Faye Bender or Jennifer Laughran, or George Lucas, and they just happen to say: “Oh, you wrote a book? What’s it about?” Then you give them your pitch, and by the time you are stepping off the elevator, they’re shaking your hand and going, “Have your people call my people.” Then 12 months later you are at the book release/movie premiere/Newbery Awards, saying, “Thank you, thank you, it all started with a serendipitous elevator ride…”
But first, one must finish the book. :) Working on it! Until then, a teaser:
RUBY AND THE UNICORN
Dodder’s Field sat on a low hill above the river. The small cemetery dated back to the days of the town’s founding fathers, and some of the limestone grave markers dated over 150 years old. Elm and walnut trees stood guard over peaceful grounds, seldom visited, but well-kept. Graceful stems embraced granite monuments of residents past.
Moonlight shone down through the trees, giving the place an eerie otherworldly glister. Bad enough being in a cemetery at all hours of the night, but the strange glow trickling through branches and and reflecting off headstones made it seem they had stepped into another time. Though the air felt balmy, Ruby shivered as they entered the hallowed grounds. David looked around, scanning the shadows. Chroicoragh went forward, and sidestepped walking over a grave, out of respect for the mortal remains within.
Ruby, taking note of the plots, looked down and realized her boots and legs were not getting wet anymore from rain soaked grass.
“Hey, look. It’s dry here,” she said, and startled herself by how loud her voice sounded in the stillness of the graveyard.
David paused to glance around him.
“Huh, you’re right. Must not’ve rained here. That’s weird.” He was careful to use a more subdued voice.
“Really weird,” stated Ruby, “especially seeing as how big that storm was.”
“So,” David began, “this all started with a hummingbird?”
“I think so,” Ruby replied.
The two had been discussing the day’s events, and David was still trying to put the pieces together. Ruby had told him about her dream and then seeing the hummingbird when she woke up, and then later, in Molly’s barn, with Chroicoragh. And she told him all about the storm, and the lightning, and discovering the Unicorn.
When David had asked her why she’d been out at Molly’s in the storm, she told him about her parents’ fight, and that creep, Mr. Miller, and of the ruined photograph. She didn’t say anything about seeing Bobby and Missy and the other kids in the car. She’d been embarrassed and humiliated, and besides which, she didn’t want her best friend David to know she had a crush on Bobby, his bossy big brother. It would’ve been too weird.
“Well, I wonder what the bird has to do with any of it,” David pondered.
“I don’t know,” said Ruby, “I never really thought about it. I just thought it was strange to see a hummingbird. Have you ever seen one around here? My grandparents had some around their ranch out west, but I’ve never never seen one here.”
“Nope, me neither. Why don’t you ask her?” David said, thumbing in Chroicoragh’s direction.
Ruby perked. The thought hadn’t occurred to her, and she’d almost forgotten about her ability to communicate with the Unicorn, since the creature hadn’t spoken to her since they’d left David’s house. Chroicoragh seemed to be aware of Ruby’s thoughts, because the girl then heard the soft lilting voice in her head:
Child, sometimes ‘tis better to listen than to speak.
“What do you mean?” Asked Ruby.
The boy has a good heart, he will suit us well on our path. As we walked, I did not interrupt your tale so that I may better attend to the essence of your companion. “Where your mouth may make you blind, your ears may make you see” she quoted.
“What’s that from? It sounds familiar,” Ruby asked.
‘Tis wisdom of the Ancients, replied Chroicoragh, passing a large lichen-covered mausoleum.
“Where your mouth may make you blind, your ears may make you see?”
“What?” Said David.
Ruby repeated the phrase, and pushed a fern out of her way.
“What does that mean?” He asked.
It is a lesson. Remember it well, the mare cautioned.
“I’m not sure,” started Ruby, “but I think it’s the same thing my dad says to me sometimes when I’m arguing with him. Only he says it ‘Sit down and shut up.’”
Yes. One cannot hear what he speaks over.
“Anyway, Chroicoragh, do you know anything about the hummingbird?”
Dappled moon-shadows darted grey and white on the soft grass as they walked, and shafts of shimmery light stood like columns in a cathedral.
Humming bird? The mare questioned. What is a ‘humming-bird’?
“The little bird that was flying around your head today, in Molly’s barn.”
I saw only the sprite, Chroicoragh answered.
“Sprite?” Said Ruby.
“Sprite?” echoed David, “you mean like 7-Up? Ouch!” he said. He had run into a blackberry bush, and its thorny brambles stuck to his shirt.
“No, ssh,” said Ruby to David, “I’m trying to hear her.”
“What Sprite? Like a fairy?” Asked Ruby.
“Oh, yeah,” said David to himself, “shoulda known that. Duh.”
One of the fair folk, yes, Child. Siofran, Lord Chamberlain of the High Court. A wood-sprite; an honorable breed.
“Oh. Sounds important.”
Yes. Very important, Chroicoragh replied, but said no more.
Ruby noticed they had almost reached the far edge of the cemetery. She turned to David.
“Where did you see it? The fairy ring.”
He got his bearings.
“Well, there’s the Pierces’ plot, over here, and the Ayers monument is that way…where’s the tree with the ‘No Hunting’ sign? It marks the back of Schultz’s property. That’s where the fence is down and you can cut through.”
“How’d you find this place anyway?” Ruby asked him.
“Debbie showed me.”
“Debbie Twist?” Ruby said, in disgust.
“Yeah. Old Schultz is their grandpa. What?” He asked, noticing the look on Ruby’s face.
“Ew. I don’t see why you guys are always hanging around those Twists. I can’t stand them. They’re so phony,” Ruby tilted her chin up in defense.
“Oh, come on, Debbie and Missy aren’t that bad. Besides, our parents have been friends forever. We’re just used to seeing them, that’s all. Oh, there it is,” he said, heading for a large elm, an old metal sign nailed to it side, and rusty barbed wire enveloped in its skin. The fence had deteriorated enough to let the three of them pass through, single file. First David, then Ruby, and Chroicoragh following behind.
As Ruby stepped from the sanctuary of the graveyard to the woods beyond, she thought she heard light notes of laughter, like a giggle.
She trailed after David as he wound his way through the overgrowth, backtracking and correcting his path along the way, studying the trees around him, trying to find a particular spot.
We are near, Ruby heard Chroicoragh’s voice, but there are others.
“Others?” Ruby stopped, and reached out to grab David’s shirt, “wait up.”
He stopped, and the tinkle of laughter floated to them again.
“Wait a minute,” David said, “that’s where it is. But who’s over there? Did you hear that?” He asked Ruby.
She nodded, holding her finger to her lips in a “ssh” motion. Then she waved her hand, pushing toward the ground, signaling to go slow. She wanted to find out whoever was in the woods before letting her own presence be known, and especially didn’t want any strangers seeing two kids out by the cemetery at night with a Unicorn. Try explaining that, she thought.
With that thought in Ruby’s mind, Chroicoragh understood, and hung back just enough to be able to see the children, without being seen herself.
David inched forward, crouching low behind ferns, and a fallen tree. Ruby crept up beside him, and peered into the grove.
A circle of oak trees formed the border of a clearing, carpeted with thick moss. In the moss dotted with acorns, another perfect circle formed, a ring made of hundreds of mushrooms, some tall, some short, broad and button-like. Ruby could see why they called it a Fairy Ring. The moonlight within the ring flickered and shimmered like glitter in one of her grandma’s snow-globes. Mysterious and magical, it drew her in.
The sound of voices reminded her to remain cautious, and she pulled her focus away from the ring. Across the clearing on the opposite edge near the trees, lay a young couple canoodling on an old blanket. The boy wore cut off shorts, and tube socks. He kissed the girl, oblivious to anything else, and his hand groped beneath her blouse. Suddenly Ruby’s face felt warm. She avoided looking over at David, afraid he would notice her spying, even though she knew he saw the same thing.
The girl arched her back, and spoke softly. A ray of light illuminated the view, and Ruby’s heart caught in her throat.
END OF CHAPTER 12
I’m kind of scared to be putting this out there, so be gentle with me. Let me know what you think in the comments.