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The Consequences of Children’s Literature

My passion for stroies started earlyHere’s another story from a “Making History” class participant. We were discussing arts and entertainment in the 1940s, and she wrote about reading Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky, a 1939 classic children’s book about a courageous little tugboat, to her four year old son. It became his favorite book, and he demanded that she read it nearly every night for over a year. “I guess it’s true that literature has great power,” she said, “because he was fascinated by boats from then on. In fact he made them his life’s work – he’s now the captain of a ferry boat.”

As you can see from the photo on this page, my mom read to me, too. The Poky Little Puppy, which is about a puppy who learns how and when to dig holes under fences, did not have as dramatic an effect on me. Or did it? I do like to dig holes under the fences too, only they are metaphorical holes and fences. What’s behind those fences people erect to keep others from finding out the truths they’d rather keep hidden? I know how to dig the right holes … Ghostwriters are like that.

What did your Mom or Dad read to you when you were young? How did that book affect you? Or … what are you reading to your children or grandchildren right now? Leave a comment and share.

The Little Toot story and many more are in my book “Making History: how to remember, record, interpret & share the events of your life”, based on the classes I’ve been teaching since 2000. Memoir writers, biographers, historians, genealogists, fiction writers, and more, have found this book extremely useful to bring color and life to their books and family histories. Check out sample chapters and reviews on my website. Or buy the book here.

Birdsong

SpiritualToday my haiku is from May 20th of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Spiritual Seekers, Dreamers, and Other Lovers of Magic & Mystery, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Birdsong”:

behind the birdsong
gods wait for you to notice
quivering stillness

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here. You can purchase this book on Amazon here.  

 

Alien Poop

Alex Terrgi A large male elkhere. Last week I went to the dog park with my fur-cousin Jackie MuttMix. Jackie is good at finding things her human doesn’t want her to find. That day she found a whole bunch of elk poop and called me over to see. Boy did it smell good. I’m not afraid of elk because even though they’re big they don’t eat dogs. I rolled in the elk poop so I could smell good too. It made my fur green. Unfortunately my human doesn’t want a green dog. And her sense of smell is backward. I thought our dog park day was a winner, but I’m afraid she did not agree with me. Oh well. Humans, what can you do.

Then yesterday me and my human went for a walk on our street, which is not as good as the dog park because we mostly walk on that gray stuff called concrete which doesn’t have anything worth smelling, at least most of the time. But this day it did. On the sidewalks there are some tame trees stuck here and there in little mounds of tame dirt and tame grass – no wild stuff allowed here – and I went over to pee on such a tree. But at the base of the tree guess what I found? BEAR POOP! A real live WILD bear walked down our street, probably the night before when the tame-lovers were in bed, and pooped its wild alien poop for me to find.

Actually I’m kinda glad that the bear only comes out at night because unlike elk, bears are unpredictable and who knows, that pooping bear might have been the kind who eats dogs.

Still, a little wildness here and there doesn’t hurt.

Quest

SpiritualToday my haiku is from May 13th of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Spiritual Seekers, Dreamers, and Other Lovers of Magic & Mystery, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Quest”:

we’re all on a Quest
find the ghosts of mystery
beg them for answers

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here. You can purchase this book on Amazon here.  

An Alternative History of Margarine

Creamy Oleo in a TubWhen I teach my class “Making History” I tell the participants that nothing is too trivial to make a good story and show the flavor of an era. For instance, here’s a story shared by a participant during a discussion of food in the wartime 1940s.

“Margarine was white and looked like a lump of lard,” she said. “It came with a yellow color capsule that you broke into it, to make it look like butter. It was one of my jobs to stir the yellow into the margarine. I hated this job because my older brother told me an elaborate and dirty story about that yellow capsule. He said the margarine factories paid their workers to go to the bathroom in special jars, which they filled the capsules from. It saved money, said my brother, and it was their patriotic duty to go to the bathroom to make margarine capsules. I was only seven, and my brother was ten, so I believed this ridiculous story. I believed it even when my mother told me he was lying. (He got in trouble for it, too.) Every time I had to stir in the color I felt sick to my stomach, and I certainly never ate any margarine. Even today I prefer butter. There are some things worse than fat.”

This story and many more are in my book “Making History: how to remember, record, interpret & share the events of your life”, based on the classes I’ve been teaching since 2000. Memoir writers, biographers, historians, genealogists, fiction writers, and more, have found this book extremely useful to bring color and life to their books. Check out sample chapters and reviews on my website.  Or buy the book here: Making History on Amazon.

And share your own stories (leave a comment here, for instance). What foods did you hate as a child? Why? How do you feel about them today?

Haiku Friday: Witch

SpiritualToday my haiku is from May 6th of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Spiritual Seekers, Dreamers, and Other Lovers of Magic & Mystery, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Witch”:

have a wild witch dream
brewed in a holy cauldron
lit by sacred fire

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here. You can purchase this book on Amazon here. LINK  http://bit.ly/HaikuSpiritual 

Keep Me Alive!

Dog Park Diary CoverGoody Beagle here, back from the dead. Not possible, you say? But guess what – when someone ghostwrites your book, you will never die!

In one way, I died in 2013, three years ago now. But in another way, the real and only way, I am still here because we can read my words and see my photographs in my really good book that you should probably buy, if you haven’t already.

Here is an excerpt from my book. If you like it, you can buy the whole thing on Amazon

One of the first things I do at the Dog Park is put down my own smell for the day. Then after I leave, my friends – and my enemies – will know that Goody Beagle was here! Every day, I meet up with my dog friends, acquaintances, and sometimes enemies at the Dog Park. I play with my friends. I ignore my acquaintances. If any enemies come around, I show my teeth and hide under the bench my human sits on. You can learn a lot at the Dog Park about how to get along. That’s why humans need to read this book.

Wiggling

GardnersToday my haiku is from April 29th of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Gardeners, Tree-Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Wiggling”:

newly green grass waves
rosebuds-to-be shoot from twigs
babies are wiggling

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here. You can purchase this book on Amazon here

Long Hair

Grey Hair Texture For Background

Here is another story from my past that I shared in my recent class “Making History.” This one is from the seventies.

My Long Hair

I remember when I cut off my long hair. It was 1973, after my first child was born, and I felt that I needed to look more maternal. I was pretty young then, and I felt totally unqualified for my new role. How could I remain my radical hippie self, prone to political tirades and singing Country Joe & The Fish or Jimi Hendrix songs with gusto, when I had to change diapers and rock my baby to sleep to “You Are My Sunshine” instead of “Purple Haze”?

So I cut my hair short, close to my ears, and I used curlers and wore bangs. I traded in my John Lennon style granny glasses for more conservative ones with black frames. I bought a pink suit and a paisley blouse and went to church with my mother.

This phase lasted about a year, until my daughter began to sleep regularly and talk in two-word sentences. Unfortunately this was long enough for photographs to be taken, which still exist even though I ripped them out of the photo albums and stuck them in a box now labeled “old pics” and hidden in the hallway closet.

I guess I felt I had to become my mother in order to be one. I’m glad I found out this was not true.

Today my hair has gray streaks, but it is long.

Do you have a story about your hair? Please share!

Air Brushed

GardnersToday my haiku is from April 22nd  of my book A Haiku Book of Days for Gardeners, Tree-Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Air Brushed”:

winds whip through your hair
white waves skitter on the shore
you are air-brushed clean

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here. You can purchase this book on Amazon here.