Monday, June 18, 2012


Summertime means great disruption for many writers -- kids home, vacations, camps, endless driving.  Summertime in the Ford household is bliss (mostly, when the kids aren't fighting).  We're all on summer vacation!  While many writers struggle to maintain a normal schedule over the summer, summer is the time when I find my groove.  I can carve out writing time nearly every day -- often on the deck or even at the community pool (yay). 

Last summer I took a great novel workshop; this summer I'm taking an equally great picture book writing class.  In addition to the end of the semester, this year the beginning of summer coincided with a day-job change for me.  Suddenly I have actual spare time -- time to read, time to exercise.  I wish it would never end!

My daughter, lapping me in the page count department, is currently writing an "American Girl" book -- the doll's name is Lilly, and she is primarily preoccupied with playing with her "nextstore nabor." So far we have managed to avoid purchasing an actual doll.  Please wish me luck on that front. 

What the Fords are reading this week:

The Tale of Desperaux
The Secret Garden

Baseball Mouse by Syd Hoff

Signed by Zelda by Kate Feiffer
Dumpling Days by Grace Lin

Happy reading and writing to all! --Jeanne Marie

Writing Workout

In my picture book writing class, I've noted that many, many ideas stem directly from real life.  A simple, single incident, after all, can be transformed into a whole book.

Coincidentally, my daughter just found a little notebook given to me by the wonderful Phyllis Harris.  It was made for the express purpose of recording the crazy things my kids said.  I had, sadly, let my trasncription duties lapse, but I was hugely amused by what I'd recorded and forgotten.  So was my daughter.  This exercise is a spin on the traditional writing journal... If you have kids -- write down what they say.  It could be a gold mine someday.  At the very least, you will preserve some priceless memories forever.


Elaine Smith said...

I hope you all have a great summer vacation. We are five weeks from the holidays here. If my summer goes as it normally does I have great plans that get swallowed up in family-time. I've just finished Desperaux (it was written using such a great voice) there should be plenty for you both to talk about in the characters and the story line.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Lots of wonderful books on your list! I keep telling my daughter to write down her daughter's wonderful words (she is now three) but maybe I should start myself. Sat. night I sat for her & her 11 month old sister, who went to bed early. We played in the back yard. She said, "Grandma, let's play chase. You run that way, and then I'll run too and grab you and then we'll laugh and laugh." Sounds like a good game to me! Thanks for the advice!

mary ann rodman said...

Even though the first couple of years of parenthood it was all I could do to take a shower and get to work, I DID manage to keep a journal of my misadventures with Lily. She is 18 now, but those journals are gold I can keep mining for years. (However, her "baby book" remains blank after month one. I'd rather have to journals.)

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Linda, that is so precious!

Mary Ann, the only reason I have a baby book is that the wonderful Phyllis Harris (again) gave me a sticker book -- all I had to do was put a sticker in a box for first tooth, first steps, etc. It was awesome.

Elaine, are you in the UK? So cool to meet people here from all over the globe! Wishing you a wonderful vacation five weeks hence.