Archive for June 6th, 2011

Rilla meets the Raisins

June 6, 2011 @ 7:59 pm | Filed under:

Last night Scott and I stood in the hall, listening to the belly laughs coming from inside the bedroom shared by Rose, Beanie, and Rilla. They were listening to our Jay O’Callahan story CD, evidently for the first time in a long while, because it seemed the tales were all new to Rilla. Her peals of laughter enchanted us; we couldn’t tear ourselves away. Later, I tweeted about it and I was going to include a link to my O’Callahan post—I knew I’d written one years ago—as a frame of reference.

That post is actually as much about the wonderful Jim Weiss, whom we adore, as it is about Jay O’Callahan. Here’s the O’Callahan part:

I first encountered his work the summer before my sophomore year in college, when I was a camp counselor at a theater camp in Missoula, Montana. One of the girls brought a story tape with her and I remember the girls—this was the high-school bunk, not the younger set I was in charge of—laughing their heads off over a story about two children who encounter the King of the Raisins in a strange underworld. Half-remembered phrases from the story were still haunting me almost twenty years later when I began this blog. I posted a plea with a vague description of the story—

The raisins are amiable enough despite their aversion to the strange wiggling things at the end of the children’s arms—

“What you got there, worms?”

“No, they’re fingers! See?”

(Sound of raisins screaming.) “Ahhhh! Horrible, horrible! But I like you anyway.”

And a short while later, the marvelous Lesley Austin of Small Meadow Press chimed in with the answer I’d been seeking so many years: the storyteller we were looking for was named Jay O’Callahan. I Googled accordingly, and there he was. The Raisins story is on his Little Heroes CD. To this day it remains a family favorite. Sing it with me: Raisins, raisins, all we are is raisins; big one, small ones, short ones, tall ones…

And now the wheel’s gone round again and it’s Rilla’s turn to be swept away by O’Callahan whimsy. (She’s already a big Jim Weiss fan.) As for me, the story tape I want to listen to is a recording of those belly laughs from last night.

The Impossible Blogroll

June 6, 2011 @ 7:27 pm | Filed under:

Our combox discussion turned to blogrolls, the appeal and difficulty of. I enjoy exploring other people’s blogrolls but long ago gave up any attempt to maintain one here. My worry, of course, was that someone would feel left out.

But I do love to share. So here are a very few of the blogs I read on a regular basis. I am going to include some of my favorites, and leave out some of my favorites, so that you’ll see it really is just a small sampling of the folks who edify and inspire me every day. (I should say every week. I tend to save blog-reading up for a few days and then attack it with zest.)

Mental Multivitamin. One of the first, one of the best. She reads, she thinks, I learn. And she just recently enabled commenting, which made my week.

As Cozy as Spring. Jenn’s lovely photos, piercing observations, and quiet musings bring a sparkle to my mornings.

Fiction, Instead of Lies. Smart, thoughtful commentary on books and the world by author Tanita S. Davis (who is extremely high on my people-I-hope-to-meet-in-person-someday list).

Girl Detective. For all I love to read about books, I’m often gunshy of reviews: I have a crushing case of spoiler-phobia, you know. Girl Detective’s very sharp notes on her reading are the sort of book reviews I read with relish, not fear. But she’s murder on the book budget.

Original Content. Gail Gauthier is a children’s book author who writes with refreshing candor about what she reads and about publishing in general.

Handmade Homeschool. Sarah’s someone I’d love to live near; I think we would get along famously. Plus, I bet she’d knit me some socks.

The Poem Farm. Amy’s daily original poems are a delight.

Knitting the Wind. Here’s how much I love Sarah’s writing: I have learned the time difference between here and New Zealand in order to speculate as to whether she’s likely to be awake and possibly blogging soon.

Baggott Asher Bode. I went to grad school with Julianna Baggott and her husband Dave Scott. I love them, the inimitable pair of them, enormously. Julianna doesn’t so much write about a topic as skewer, slice, and julienne it, using words like a Japanese steakhouse chef uses knives. The result is equally delicious.

Dura Mater. She is one tough mother indeed. Honest, tired, brave. I have been a quietly admiring lurker at her blog for at least five years.

If your blog is not one of these I’ve mentioned, please don’t feel left out. I really did omit some of my favorites on purpose. This was actually quite a fun endeavor, compiling this list; perhaps I’ll do it again upon occasion.