Friday, January 29, 2010

A Creative Mess is Better Than a Tidy Idleness

Today is my first installment of "Round up the month with a Rhyme." As I mentioned previously, I was going to post a children's book text I had written last year entitled My Friend is a Tree, but I changed my mind. The other day I got a blip of inspiration while I drove my daughter to school. (Sometimes some of my best inspiration comes while doing mindless activities such as driving. Oops, better not tell that to my husband, who pays the insurance, or the cops). Anyway, this quick little verse is what is on my mind, so it is what I'll share now, the end (almost) of January.

"A creative mess

is better than a tidy idleness."

That’s the right kind of saying for me.

I’d rather see a pile of dirty dishes

than a clean house and time for TV.

Those dirty dishes don’t mean

that I’m too lazy or messy to clean.

They merely state, or tout,

that I’ve created a delectable dish

rather than ordered out,

(or warmed up some microwave fish).

And the dust on the shelves doesn’t say,

“I’ve forgotten,” or “I’m lazy today.”

It means I’ve discovered more worth

in a story and giving it birth;

a story that will lift all ages,

and keep them turning the pages,

or in a friend who needs my ear,

or a sick child who wants me near,

or my garden, who says to me,

“I’m beautiful, come and see.”

Now the One who is the most creative of all,

who created this earth; its winter, spring, summer and fall,

and created a plan in which I may return to Him above,

the author of beauty, the author of love,

gave me the gift of creativity.

And dusting just isn’t creative to me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

My 13 year old daughter is a real Twilight fan--read them all 2 or 3 times, (oops, wrong, she just informed me it was 4 times each), has the posters, the t-shirts, etc. So when I attended the local SCBWI conference last fall in Salt Lake and heard about Bree Despain's soon to be released werewolf book, I knew I had to get it for her. I purchased it for her as a Christmas gift on Dec. 22, the day it came out. She loved it, read it in 2 days. The other day I picked and decided to read it for myself, as I write YA fiction myself. I must say, I quite enjoyed it, even though I'm not the vampire/werewolf type.

The story starts out a bit slow, setting the scene in a small town high school, with the reappearce of a boy that slipped mysteriously out of Grace's life some years ago. You suspect that Daniel has some sort of dark hidden past, but you don't know for sure. The author does a good job of keeping you on the edge with your suspicions, while hoping Grace's romantic involvement with Daniel continues to deepen. Even though the premise is pure fantasy fiction, the characters are believeable and likeable, and I became immersed in the story. There are some twists and surprises that I somewhat suspected near the end, but just enough to make them rewarding when the truth came out. All in all I liked the book. It was good, clean YA fiction and would recomend it to not only Twilight fans, but those who like a good, romantic, adventuresome read. I applaud Bree for this, her first novel, and wish her well as a fellow Utah writer in her future works.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bogged down with Blogging

I can't say that I'm bogged down with blogging--I hardly ever do it compared with most bloggers out there. But I do feel bogged down with life sometimes, and thus I don't get to the task of blogging like I should. One of these days I hope to be a published author. Everywhere I turn I have been told as an author "you must have a blog." I have to be honest, that's the only reason I started this blog--out of optimism. One day I'm going to be an established author, so I may as well begin establishing a blog. It's been a harder task than I thought. Mostly because I don't have any writing news to talk about. That why I came up with the Mid-Month Make something Madness. But I need more. So I decided to share something else I love to do. I love to rhyme. I've written short poems, long poems and even stories in poem form--but always in rhyme. I never did get off on that free verse stuff. So I'm adding another feature to my blog:

I'll share one of my poems, my good ones, my bad ones--doesn't matter--a different one at the end of each month. So sometime next week (last week of the month) look for my poem entitled, My Friend is a Tree
And don't miss next month's Make something Madness. I'll be sharing my coveted sugar cookie recipe just in time to make some awesome Valentine cookies. Watch for it.

Creatively yours,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Make your own night gaurd for TMJ or Bruxism for just pennies

I realize that this one doesn't sound as fun, or crafty as a home-made Snuggie like last month's project, but if you are someone who suffers from teeth or jaw pain, or even headaches associated with Bruxism or TMJ problems, then this will be exciting for you. First my own story, the one that led to my creation of the Nite-Bite (that's what I call it).

Off and on in my adult dental history, I have suffered from sore jaws and even headaches, which were diagnosed as TMJ problems. I have have my teeth ground down to improve my bite, I have had expensive retainers made to wear at night; both of which finally helped illiminate the pain. But after being pain free for about ten years I went to the dentist thinking I had a cavity because some of my teeth ached. He didn't find a cavity but pointed to the tissue around the roots of my teeth and commented that they looked peculiar, but said nothing more about it. My teeth then started aching more and more, mostly when I chewed. I could tell now that the pain wasn't caused by cavities and deduced for myself that my TMJ problems were probably coming back. I didn't want to go back to the specialist that had treated me ten years ago. We did not have insurance this time and I couldn't afford the $600 for another retainer (I had long since lost the other one because I hadn't worn it forever). So I got thinking, if I could just make something soft to cushion my teeth at night that might help. (I had awoken one night and found myself clenching my teeth. I never realized I did that before). Enought said, I created my Nite Bites and my teeth pain and occasional head ache has gone away. One night however, I was too tired to make one, so I didn't wear it, and sure enough the next day my teeth hurt while I was eating. It took a couple of days of wearing the Nite Bite for the pain to subside.

Use 2mm thick Foamy sheets purchased at any craft store.
I have included a pattern (below, print out as 8.5x11) that I have come up with over months of trial and error that works great for me. The only material you need is a 2mm thick white Foamy sheet. These can be purchased at most craft stores for around 80 cents.You can enlarge the pattern at the places indicated for larger mouths. (My mouth is realitivly small). Just make a pattern out of cardstock and trace around the pattern with a pencil (easily rinces off after cutting) and then cut each Nite Bite out with a pair of sissors. It's that easy. My suggestion is that you trace and cut an entire sheet at a time, maybe while wathching a movie at home, that way you will have a month's supply ready and you won't have to worry about cutting one out each night, and possibly being too tired.

To create the Nite Bite that fits you, make it so it barely touches the back of your mouth and lays across your molars, and in the front it is able to be tucked under your bottm lip, allowing your incissors (front teeth) to not have to bite down on the foamy.
It is very comfortable to wear at night, and allows you to still grab a drink of water in the middle of the night, or talk without having to remove it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Boy in the Striped Pajamas--A book with a sad ending, but I wouldn't change it.

For Christmas I bought myself the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It was recommended to me by Matt Kirby, a fellow writer and member of my awesome critique group. He told me it would be a good read for me as my current work in progress is written through the eyes of a young German boy during WWII. He was right. I found the book not only invaluble in grasping the voice I want for my protaganist, but it was very thought provoking as well.

The story is about a nine year old boy who had to move because his father was made commandant of a prision camp. Of course, he as a young boy never thought of the camp full of people wearing striped pajamas as a concentration camp--he didn't know what that was. But me as the reader did. Just as I knew the name of the camp was not "Out-With," as Bruno referred to it as. I knew it must be Auschwitz. That was the beauty of this book, the author's ability to write through the eyes of a young boy whose innocence trancended the evils of the Third Reich, but me as the reader knew what evils were brewing.

The boy, Bruno, discovered a young boy named Shmuel on the other side of the high, barbed wire fence and returned often to that spot just to talk--they couldn't do mucn else. Bruno never thought of the boy in the striped pajamas as someone who couldn't dress as nicely as he, or as a lowely prisoner, or even as a Jew. Bruno thought of Shmuel simply as a friend.

When Bruno and Shmuel discover a gap in the bottom of the far away section of the fence, big enough for a small boy to squeeze under, he decides to come back the next day and slide under it to go and help Shmuel look for his father, who has gone missing. (We as the reader put the pieces together as to what happened to Shmuel's father). That is to be Bruno's last day to visit Shmuel as he is to move back to Berlin with his mom and his sister later that night. Shmuel brings Bruno and extra pair of stripped pajamas to wear so he can blend in and help Shmuel look for his father. But as luck would have it, Shmuel and Bruno were gathered up with a group of prisoners who were ushered into . . . you guessed it--a gas chamber. Bruno wasn't nervous, he just thought they were going into a sturdy building to get in out of the rain.

As the story progressed, I figured that Bruno would ultimately be okay. Of course his father was the commandant and would be able to pull Bruno out of any mess he would get into inside the prison fence. But as the story ended with the room going black, "Bruno was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let it go," I knew the book shouldn't have ended any other way. I felt very satisfied with the ending. This was a first for me because I am a happy ending sort of gal. But the message the book presented became all the more powerful with this poignant close.

In the author's notes at the end of the book, John Boyne said, "I believed that the only respectful way for me to deal with this subject was through the eyes of a child, and particularly through the eyes of a rather naive child who couldn't possibly understand the terrible things that were taking place around him. After all, only the victims and survivors can truly comprehend the awfulness of that time and place; the rest of us live on the other side of the fence, staring through from our own comfortable place, trying in our own clumsy ways to make sense of it all.

I loved the book and would highly recomend it.