Poking the bear

July 27, 2015 @ 8:07 pm | Filed under: These People Crack Me Up

By “odd one out,” he means “least geeky,” of course. 

Live Read-Aloud Revival Author Chat Next Sunday

July 19, 2015 @ 11:59 am | Filed under: Author stuff, Books, Events

Hey gang, I’ll be doing a live online chat with Sarah Mackenzie at Read-Aloud Revival next Sunday at 1pm Pacific. Read-Aloud Revival started as a terrific podcast (I was interviewed for an episode here) and has grown into a membership site with workshops, discussions, and a lot more.

Event details: Live Author Event: Melissa Wiley

Read-Aloud Revival Live Author Events are for your whole family. Come hang out with us live– your kids can type questions into the chat box, and our featured author will answer them live on screen! Throughout the hour-long live event, we give away prizes, get a sneak peek at what it’s like to be an author, and ask our best questions about the featured book.

During the live event, we’ll be giving away 5 copies of The Arrow Guide to The Prairie Thief from Brave Writer, and 3 copies of The Prairie Thief itself.

Participate in the chatbox to enter, and winners will be selected randomly throughout the event!

$5 gets you access to the Live Author Event plus everything else in membership for a whole month.

I can’t wait!

Discombobulated

July 17, 2015 @ 2:40 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Family, These People Crack Me Up

the correct way to read a book about a fly

I gained a whole week today. It feels luxurious: what to do with this newfound space of time? It’s like finding a $20 bill in the pocket of your winter coat. Of course, just as with found money, immediately upon the heels of the jubilant discovery rush the responsible thoughts: you could put the money toward bills, or into a child’s college fund. I should (must) work toward some impending deadlines; I should tackle the Extreme Purging project I keep saying I’m going to undertake.

After all, it’s not like I really gained a week. It was here on the calendar all along; it was factored into commitments I have made. I didn’t lose it for long, only misplaced it for a day or two. The culprit was Comic-Con brain, I’m sure. SDCC came earlier in July than it usually does. Somehow, after I emerged from the exhausted post-con daze, I jumped ahead a week mentally. Rose is in Colorado visiting my parents. I knew she was coming home the 24th, but until this morning, I thought that was today. We have family coming to visit at the end of the month. Until this morning, I thought next week was the end of the month. The time in between is filled up with assignments: in a way, I’ve only located the lost $20 I had already spent.

Still, I feel dazzled and charmed: some tasks I’d thought would be frantic may now unfold at a reasonable pace. And how much more might I read, write, draw this month than I had been supposing?

My friend Edith Fine (a wonderful writer) told me once that when she used to teach school, she would always begin a new month by having the kids take note of what day of the week the sevens fell on. Since, you know, the multiples of seven are going to be on the same day each week. I caught the habit from her—it’s quite useful! I think July is the first month I’ve forgotten to notice, ever since Edith shared the trick with me. The sevens fall on Tuesdays, this month. In August, they’re the Fridays.

Next Tuesday is the 21st, not the 28th, in case you were wondering.

***

There’s something I need to get a picture of—the story begs a visual—but the shirt in question has already gone into the laundry. I’ll share a photo later. The other day, I remarked on Twitter that Rilla has decided to be a fashion designer when she grows up—a designer, that is, of clothing with lots of pockets. A perpetual grumble around here is the dearth of girls’ clothes with useful pockets. This, Rilla has announced, is a wrong that must be righted. I applaud her vision.

Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment. (Which I knew was on the 16th. HOW did I think today was the 24th??) When I returned home, Huck greeted me at the door, beaming proudly, urging me to take notice of his new pocket. Picture a worn gray t-shirt. Way up high near the shoulder, a teeny tiny pocket of some scrap fabric rummaged out of a storage bin, attached with embroidery floss in large, determined stitches. There’s just about room to keep a quarter in it. It is the dearest thing I have ever seen. No moss grows on Miss Rilla, for sure. When she announces a business plan, she means BUSINESS. I’m sure she knows what day it is.

Comic-Con Surprise

July 16, 2015 @ 7:43 pm | Filed under: Art, These People Crack Me Up

Our staggeringly talented pal Chris Gugliotti (of Thicklebit fame) surprised us with this sketch at SDCC. I laughed until I cried. I always did want to fly the Millennium Falcon.

petersons

Article: “This Is Your Brain on Jane Austen”

July 14, 2015 @ 12:23 pm | Filed under: Books

The study also provides us with a fascinating picture—quite literally—of the ways in which the imaginative experience of reading takes place in our bodies as well as our minds. Close, sustained, and attentive reading, Phillips found, activates parts of the brain responsible for movement and touch, “as though,” writes NPR, “readers were physically placing themselves within the story as they analyzed it.”

Source: This Is Your Brain on Jane Austen: The Neuroscience of Reading Great Literature | Open Culture

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“Keeping Kids AND Yourself Creative” – Sketchbook Skool Blog

July 13, 2015 @ 7:55 pm | Filed under: Art

 

“Melissa Wiley talks about keeping kids creative as they grow up and what this can also mean for our creative habits as adults.”
Source: Sketchbook Skool Blog

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SDCC Week: Monday

July 6, 2015 @ 7:31 am | Filed under: Photos, SDCC

My calendar this week makes me laugh. A perfect representation of the many disparate segments of my life. Today: Full slate of appointments at the children’s hospital. Tomorrow: Frantic cranking-away at my novel revision. Wed-Sunday: SDCC madness. And somewhere in there I need to find time for a Damn Interesting article edit and a grantwriting assignment. And will MAKE time to start the new Sketchbook Skool “Playing” course with the kids. Because priorities.

I haven’t yet done my usual scouring of the SDCC schedule to see which panels I’d like to hit. Er, attempt to hit—the con has a way of swallowing up intentions with spontaneous developments, which of course is part of the fun. As always, the part I’m most looking forward to is the reconnecting with faraway friends: the lunches, the dinners, the late nights chatting over drinks.

Jenni & me at Wondercon 2011

annual lunch with jock 2014

kidlitdrinksnight2012

Scott and Gene 2013

Jenni and Jonathan 2010

Scott and Chris 2014

hanging with the GeekMoms 2011

Meeting Ozma at Winkiecon 2014

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my favorite person to hang out with ever

“Literary employments are so vexed with uncertainties”

July 5, 2015 @ 10:49 am | Filed under: Commonplace Book

“…I found the July days fly fast, and it was not until I felt myself confronted with too great pride and pleasure in the display, one night, of two dollars and twenty-seven cents which I had taken in during the day, that I remembered a long piece of writing, sadly belated now, which I was bound to do. To have been patted kindly on the shoulder and called “darlin’,” to have been offered a surprise of early mushrooms for supper, to have had all the glory of making two dollars and twenty-seven cents in a single day, and then to renounce it all and withdraw from these pleasant successes, needed much resolution. Literary employments are so vexed with uncertainties at best, and it was not until the voice of conscience sounded louder in my ears than the sea on the nearest pebble beach that I said unkind words of withdrawal to Mrs. Todd.”

—Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs

Jiggety jig

July 3, 2015 @ 1:57 pm | Filed under: Author stuff, Betsy-Tacy

Oh, guys, I have GOT to get caught up. Here I’ve been back from the Deep Valley Homecoming since TUESDAY and haven’t written about it. And now Comic-Con is peering around the corner in the most alarming way! Next week! Good heavens! Or O di immortales, I should say—not yet having mentally emerged from Betsy-Tacy land.

I had such a wonderful time visiting the houses and connecting with members of the B-T crowd. (The Crowd, capital C, you say if you’ve read the books.) I thoroughly enjoyed the children’s author panel on Sunday, answering questions with fellow writers Pat Bauer and Eileen Beha; and my talk about the Betsy-Tacy publishing history went very well. Plus I got to hear the inestimable Kathy Baxter speak—she’s captivating.

This is how I feel whenever I'm with Kathy. Photo by Margaret Berns.

This is how I feel whenever I’m with Kathy. Photo by Margaret Berns in 2010.

Of course I had to reread as many of the Tomes as possible before and during the trip. Began with the high-school books this time around and made it through Betsy’s Wedding. Actually, I read Wedding twice—I always skip ahead to it straight from Betsy and Joe. I read Betsy and the Great World on the plane ride home and then tore through Betsy’s Wedding a second time that evening, happily back in my own bed.

I swear my children gained multiple inches during the three nights I was away.

Our author panel made the front page of the Minnesota Free Press:

mnfreepress

I have yet to see a panel photo of myself in which I’m not making a goofy face. And if you tied my hands I’m not sure I could speak…

Discussing our writing processes at Deep Valley Homecoming. Photo swiped from Nancy Piccone, with thanks!

Discussing our writing processes. Apparently mine involves crushing people’s heads. Photo swiped from Nancy Piccione, with thanks!

I’m not doing justice to the Homecoming with this hasty post—I so enjoyed all the other talks and made some wonderful new friends. And on my first evening in Mankato, of course I had to walk all over town past Betsy and Tacy’s bench and Tib’s chocolate-colored house and Carney’s sleeping porch and Lincoln Park and the Carnegie Library, trying not to make a whole nother series of goofy faces. I am 100% fangirl at heart.

Major props to Julie Schrader and the rest of the organizers for hosting a perfectly marvelous event.