Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yogi Bear

I've been a little busy since school started, so I haven't had time to write much at all. Here, however, is Freya playing with her newest friend, Roger and Gwen's second Newfy--baby Yogi Bear.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lance Armstrong, Thomas Jefferson: what do they have in common?

They are both big disappointments, whose actions don't quite match up with their words or the ideals they supposedly portrayed.

Finding out Lance Armstrong was indeed hiding the fact that he doped is like reconciling the fact that anti-slavery advocate Thomas Jefferson owned slaves himself. HOWEVER, Lance withdrawing from the fight against USADA is not a conviction; it's just a concession.

What both men did was was WRONG, but both were doing what they did as a product of their cultures.  Thomas Jefferson probably couldn't have run a plantation--and made it lucrative--in the 1700s without slaves. Doesn't make it okay. Makes it a fact. He knew it was immoral, but he did it to survive "at the top" as I understand it.

Lance might have won a Tour, but certainly not seven, without doping. Was he alone, absolutely, 1000% NOT. Does it make it okay? Absolutely not. Does it make every cyclist who has ever doped a criminal? Is it possible to  ferret out every single offender? Absolutely not. I've even read allegations that the great Eddy Merckx supposedly used some performance enhancers (I have that info third or fourth-hand and can't find evidence, so I hesitate to write it, but it does imply how widespread and long-lasting the problem is). And Merckx is like a god in cycling fans' minds.

 If nothing else, this whole thing proves how nothing in the world is "black and white" (And that's a bad term to use in the same paragraph as the term "slavery," so excuse me). The whole Lance thing makes me sad, but I think everybody sort of knew Lance doped. His most famous refutation: "I've never tested positive." And at the same time, he did so much good for the cancer community. This doesn't make him evil. It does mean he lied. He also made us hope and dream: Look what a human being is capable of. What can I do, therefore? Most of the greats have doped. Doesn't make it okay, but Maybe we can just clean up the sport from here on out. I think stripping the yellow jerseys from past wins is sort of futile: where would one stop?

Perhaps the best media response is that of five-time Tour de France champion, Bernard Hinault, who was unsympathetic to Armstrong's plight.
"I couldn't give a damn," the French cycling icon told when asked about the Armstrong news. "It's his problem, not mine. This is a problem that should have been sorted out 10 or 15 years ago but which never was." Find this here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Historical fiction

Yippee! Maybe this kind of attention will make it a good time to be publishing a middle grade historical novel after all.
Discussion on using historical fiction in the classroom.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Advice from famous writers

ADVICE from famous writers.

This is priceless. I'm mostly posting it here so I know where it is and I can find it whenever I want a little boost.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Freya wanted to go to church, but instead just stole the show at storytime...

As you can see in the first photo, Freya really thought maybe she could visit Jesus at St. Theresa of Jesus Catholic Church. However, she had to settle for stealing the show at Mapleton Public Library Story Time this morning. We had fun, and the preschool kids loved Freya.

According to the second picture, however, it looks as if Freya is her own petting zoo!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dear Universe...

Please, Universe,
If I could write a best-selling book so that I could teach only half-time and write a lot more, I promise I won't waste a bunch of time. I promise I'll focus and work on the stories that I think the universe wants me to write. I'll love people around me and take care of Freya and ride my bike a lot, yeah, but I promise I won't squander writing time.

It's soooooo weird how life moves along, isn't it?

All my life...and I mean my entire life since I was four years old, my biggest goal was to write a book and get it published. That happened. Having those books come out were the most satisfying events of my life EXCEPT for having my kids grow up to be astoundingly wonderful human beings who I would want for friends if they weren't related to me...'cause they're awesome people. Besides my kids (and of course Alec, now, but I have nothing to claim in how awesome he's turning out), my books being out in the world are the most satisfying accomplishments ever.

Racing bikes? I love. Running Boston? I loved....but it's not the same as having a book on the shelf.'s strange that my desire has shifted...not just to be published but to sell a bigger that sells and maybe gets noticed nationally. I'd like that...but it's not because I want to be a big famous author. I have no desire, really to walk into some public place and have people know who I am. That's not what I want. What I want is to make enough money writing that I can do it more of the hours of the day of my life. I have some stories I really want to get out into the world.

My life is well over half over (I do NOT want to live to be 112, okay?), so my writing time is precious.

Universe, are you listening? I'm writing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romneyhood: rob from the poor to give to the rich.

The theory seems to be rob from the poor to give to the rich.

HOW does ANYONE with a modest to low income think Romney in charge could or would possibly, ever be good for us?

I'm waiting for an answer to that question.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Enjoying the last vestiges of summer...

Bought tickets to Willie Nelson in Mankato Sept. 19. How can a Willie Nelson concert not be fun, anyway? I think that will be a blast--and I am embarrassed that I have not been to a concert in Riverfront Park yet. Planning on Sunday afternoon Ribfest there, though. That's always fun, and usually HOT.

I have to admit, the only times I have been in Riverfront Park are when I've biked the trail right through it. Guess it's time to change that.

I'm sitting with my laptop, breeze coming through wide-open windows, blue sky stretching to the treeline, and sad that summer's almost over.

Rethinking the end of summer: if I had three weeks with no classes ANY other time of year, I'd feel free as a bird. That's my mantra for the rest of the summer. I'm still free as a bird. And maybe, maybe I can kick out a draft of this novel I'm working on. Back at it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ideas that matter to me

Zondervan Publishing Co. (HarperCollins subsidiary) is seriously considering Slider's Son. 
This whole operation has forced me to articulate ideas that matter to me in the world. Here are a few. These are thoughts that I preach as a teacher and as a guest writer/speaker and try to subtly convey in my stories.

Follow your passion with all your heart.  No one is going to hand you your dreams on a silver platter. If you want your life to be the way you dream it, you better go for it.

Better to burn out than to rust out. 

Live so that you are comfortable in your own skin.

Being active is essential to being fully alive.

The world is missing kindness. Avarice—greed—fuels too much of our society. Prejudice and thinking “we—they” is always counterproductive and the absolute opposite of “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”