Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Weekend goals

January 24, 2020 @ 6:41 pm | Filed under:

Moomins doing winter right:

The guests loved their long, somewhat slovenly forenoons, when the new day was allowed to break later, while everybody discussed the dreams of the night and listened to Moomintroll making coffee in the kitchen.

Moominland Midwinter, our current readaloud

Highlights from 2005 (Jan-Mar)

January 21, 2020 @ 8:19 am | Filed under: , , , ,

For YEARS I’ve wanted to comb through my blog archives and collect the best writing, the most enduring resource recommendations, the laugh-out-loud kid moments. But that’s a lot of posts to revisit! And time is so short. It struck me that if I aim for three months a week, I could complete the project in 60 weeks—a little over a year. Of course, by then there will be, presumably, 60 more weeks’ worth of posts. But that’s getting way ahead of myself. I’m much better at hatching plans like this than sticking with them over the long haul. (Hello, Gretchen Rubin Tendencies obliger here. I need deadlines and outside accountability to finish things.)

But well begun is half done, as Mary Poppins likes to say (hahaha, it’s clear Mary Poppins never wrote a novel), so here’s one quarter: January-March 2005. Jiminy crickets! There’s some good stuff here!

The comments are closed on some of these older posts, but feel free to hit me with any questions or remarks here on this post.

Book recommendations

Boxes for Katje
It’s Not My Turn to Look for Grandma
The Scrambled States of America
A Case of Red Herrings
Fannie in the Kitchen
Books for nature study, some favorites in 2005
The Floating House
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg
One Day in Elizabethan England (A splendiferous book)

Resource recommendations
Brave Writer (One of my very first homeschooling resource recs on the blog, written in Feb 2005. Now I work for them!)
Snoopy the Musical (the rabbit-trailer’s soundtrack)
A Tiger in Algebra? (Jacobs Algebra textbook)
Three ways to get more poetry into your day

Homeschooling ideas that worked

Mealtime readalouds
Strategic strewing
Project Feederwatch
Life on the Trail
Chain chain chain
How Jane helped her sisters learn handwriting

Kid moments (Lots of overlap here with book & resource recommendations & of course homeschooling. Categories are hard!)

Those Stubborn Bunnies
The More It Snows, Tiddly-pom
The Deliciousness of Mah (hearing aids, ear molds, learning to talk)
The Temper of the Shrew
Perspective
Beanie’s elephant (post by Scott)
One wit left

My commonplace book (quotes from my reading)
The earth, galloping / My Antonia, Willa Cather

The Nerviest Girl in the World—Cover Reveal!

December 5, 2019 @ 7:00 am | Filed under: ,

Here it is!!! I’m so excited to share this with you: the cover of my upcoming middle-grade novel, The Nerviest Girl in the World, which will by published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on August 18, 2020! This cover, which makes me squeak with joy every time I look at it, is by the awesome Risa Rodil. I’m over the moon!

The Nerviest Girl in the World by Melissa Wiley cover by Risa Rodil

I love it so much. The book is about silent film and ostrich-ranching and wild rides on horseback—and Risa captured all the excitement I feel about this story, which grew out of my time in East County San Diego, where the book is set.

(And just WAIT until you see the interior illustrations by Mike Deas! So great!)

August still feels far away, but I know the time will go fast. The book is already available for pre-order at IndieboundAmazon, and B&N! (Pre-ordering is a really great—and much appreciated—way for you to help give a book a boost.)

Stay tuned for an ARC giveaway coming soon!

Sing up the sun

September 5, 2019 @ 7:11 am | Filed under: , ,

School started back up for Wonderboy last week, and his earlier bus pick-up time this year means a new morning routine for several of us. I’ve pushed my own wake-up time from 6 to 5:30 to give myself a full hour for my daily creative practice before my boys get up. This is a bit too early for comfort, but I cherish that quiet morning time with poetry, cocoa, and my notebook. My studio window faces east, so I get to watch the sun seep upward from the neighbor’s roof into the clouds, like rose and apricot-colored watercolors blooming on wet paper. There’s a pair of trees over the back fence whose combined shape looks like a hedgehog in profile with its paw raised to its open mouth as if it’s calling out to the sun, singing it awake.

It always makes me think of the hedgehog in Watership Down, only that one is singing to the moon, not the sun: O Slug-a-Moon!

I read from books of poems for a while—currently Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumathathil and Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings by Joy Harjo, along with daily selections from Holly Wren Spaulding’s poetry challenge or her Patreon. After a bit (and as my special caffeinated hot chocolate kicks in), reading becomes writing, and I freewrite to one of Holly’s provocations or using the method Lynda Barry lays out in her indispensable book about writing, What It Is. These scrawled pages are rough, unfiltered, as freewrites are supposed to be; and then I reread and harvest a word here, a fragment there, arranging the raw phrases into drafts of poems.

Sometimes I wake so early that I have time to stitch or sketch while listening to a few minutes of a Commonplace Pod episode before the boys appear in my doorway. Wonderboy eats breakfast and Huck snuggles into my writing chair for a bit. Scott gets up to pack WB’s lunch. Huck moseys down to the basement to watch a video. I take a peek at Instagram, maybe share a stitch-diary photo in my Stories. The bus arrives. Scott reads in bed for a while. I turn on my laptop and open a tab to WordPress or Patreon. I congratulate the green hedgehog on successfully waking the sun for one more day.

I’m sleep-deprived but happy.

***

Speaking of my Patreon: I’ve restructured the tiers with new benefits for fall. I mentioned last week that I’m giddily immersed in a new creative project which combines hand-drawn embroidered pieces with poems. I’m documenting the process on Patreon with lots of sketchbook and work-in-progress peeks. I usually wait until a project is out in the world before I say much about it, so this is quite a departure for me—as is the project itself.

***

Booklist

(affiliate links)

Kirkus Review of Truckus Maximus

August 30, 2019 @ 2:10 pm | Filed under:

Scott’s graphic novel got a great review in Kirkus!

truckus maximus by Scott Peterson & Jose Garcia Thanks to the incisive probing of the crushing power of spectacle via a focus on the game and its toll on the drivers, the story evokes oppressive regimes. The gritty artwork overflows with frenetic action, using colors that evoke a dystopian world. Ample use of close-ups, irregular panel layouts, and other techniques sharpen the story’s emotional resonance and stakes…A truly marvelous tribute to underdogs. (Graphic fantasy. 12-18)

 

Truckus Maximus pubs on October 15 but it’s available for preorder now, if you’re inclined. (Preorders are SUCH a help to a book.) I can’t wait until this hits people’s shelves!

Steve Almond and William Stoner

July 17, 2019 @ 10:13 am | Filed under:

I loved Stoner—fell for it hard, its quietness, its contemplativeness, its soft pain, its frank assessment of human foibles and fineness. John Williams’s writing stole my breath: I hadn’t been walloped that hard by anyone’s prose since my first encounter with Muriel Spark. Spark’s work always strikes me as having been written with a razor blade. The image I get when I think about Williams’s language is of footsteps on a thin layer of ice—the way the softest step causes the ice to splinter into shards all around.

I read an ARC of Steve Almond’s book William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life eagerly, both for the delight of conversation about a treasured book (even if my part was only in my head) and for the glimpse of Steve’s experiences in the same MFA program I graduated from just a year or two before he entered. Reading this interview, I was swept with a wave of longing to reread both books immediately. Happily, I have a long day of travel ahead of me tomorrow and now I know how I’ll spend it.

Almond: “The entire point of Stoner is that every human life is full of remarkable drama, because every human being comes equipped with an inner life, a set of yearnings and fears and confusions that are concealed from the world and yet persistently, unavoidably, experienced. It is the mission of all art, but literary art in particular, to engage with this inner life.”

Feels like Monday

May 28, 2019 @ 3:28 pm | Filed under: ,

A few days off my schedule and I already feel rusty!

How about a quick catch-up?

What I’m reading: Station Eleven (reread cuz I was in the mood); Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writingdaily poetry readings including Walt Whitman, Lucille Clifton, Maxine Kumin, Kimiko Hahn, Arthur Sze. (Affiliate links.)

What I’m watching: Scott & I are doing a Deadwood rewatch in anticipation of the movie.

What I’m listening to: Elise Joy’s podcast, the On Time episode

What I’m working on: An issue of the Arrow for Brave Writer (next year’s book lineup is soon to be revealed—it’s awesome); a newsletter for my advocacy gig

What’s happening with my novel: It’s in copyediting! I should get it back in June. Got to preview the cover copy last week, which makes it feel super real. (Pub date is August 2020, so there’s still a long way to go. But the hard part is over now—for me, at least.)

What’s next after this book? —Still deciding. Have a picture book manuscript I’ve been playing with for a long time. Am writing lots of poems these days. Giving myself a bit of breathing room before I dive into the next novel. Would also like to work on a book of literary essays I’ve been wanting to compile—pulling some material out of my archives here and expanding, elaborating. I’ve always been wild for books-about-books like A Reader’s Delight or Howard’s End Is on the Landing, and heaven knows I’ve done the legwork for one of my own!

What’s happening with Scott’s graphic novel: It’s available for pre-order! It’s called Truckus Maximus and pubs this coming October. The art is by José Miguel and it’s fantastic. I’m so excited!

What’s blooming: Poppies, peonies, foxglove, irises galore.

What I’m looking forward to: The annual Index-Card-a-Day Project. Fun, low-pressure, colorful, creative. I’m thinking this year I might use my houseplants as a loose theme—incorporating drawings of each one into my ICAD experimentation.

What’s being discussed in our homeschool: Ancient China, including folklore; fractions; poetry; astronomy; carnivorous plants.

What are YOU up to this week?