I recently took a bucket-list trip to Australia and New Zealand. As I planned and packed, I wondered if I would get any writing done during my adventure. I didn’t put any pressure on myself. In fact, I thought a break from writing might be a good thing. I explored two beautiful, exciting countries and met many free spirited travellers along the way. It was during my last two days before heading back to Canada that the kernel of an idea for a new story came to me.
Here I am, at around age 7, missing my two front teeth. What an awkward and exciting time. I remember poking my tongue through the gap, awaiting the first sign of a new tooth. It’s these kinds of growing up experiences I had in mind when writing about a little moose losing his first set of antlers.
Before I began writing Wade stories, I had no idea that moose lose their antlers every year. Although the antlers of young moose are quite small compared to an adult’s, I wondered how Wade might react to the news that he would soon be losing his. After all, he and his friends used his antlers for many fun things. What would a little moose think? If there’s one thing we can all count on, it’s change. Like Wade, the best we can do is hold on, go for the ride, and keep having fun with our family and friends. Oh, and spend as much time in the woods as possible!
I wrote this story after a camping trip in Lake Superior Provincial Park where I came across a little moose. After learning that male moose lose their antlers so bigger ones can grow — much like children lose their first teeth — I wondered how a little moose might feel when his antlers start to wiggle. Would he be worried? Would he still be able to play? Wiggly antlers are like wiggly teeth. When it’s time for them to go, it’s time for them to go!
This morning, I took advantage of the summer-like weather and the fact that Canada is celebrating Authors for Indies Day to pedal to an Ottawa neighbourhood known as the Glebe, home to two wonderful independent book stores — Octopus Books and Kaleidoscope Kids’ Books. I met local authors and picked up a few signed copies to add to my book shelf and for inspiration to KEEP WRITING! What a great way to spend a morning.
If you are ever in Ottawa, check out our great book stores. Meanwhile, be sure to support independent book stores in your own city!
As writers, we sometimes need to look up from our screens and get outside of our own heads to be inspired. For those lucky enough to live or spend time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, creative inspiration can be just around the corner. Street art is respected here, even encouraged. Yes, there’s A LOT of tagging but there’s also great art painted by artists who accept that their work is only temporary. Their creations often tell heartbreaking stories about Argentina’s political history. Artists will travel from around the globe to paint and admire each other’s work.
For anyone who does have the chance to visit this great city, I highly recommend a tour with http://graffitimundo.com.
What do you think of street art? Does it inspire you?
Yesterday was the official first day of spring (let’s ignore today’s snowfall). I celebrated with a croissant from my favourite neighbourhood baker while skimming my list of current writing crushes. These are writing projects that are still in the germination stage (perfect for this spring-themed blog post). I call them crushes because I get that tingling, giddy, nervous feeling when I open my notebook to the pages filled with random notes and ideas, character names and plot twists that jump back and forth from one project to another.
I checked out this book on Express Loan from the public library yesterday. Express Loan means it has to be returned in seven days because it’s a new arrival. At this rate, I’ll be finished today. No worries about library fines this time! Gripping read. Makes me want to go camping … sorta.
I am living my dream. In my early twenties, before I became a freelance writer, I taught preschool. My favourite part of the day was circle time when I could indulge in the magical world of children’s literature. We would all sit cross-legged on the carpet and I would select three or four picture books to read out-loud. The stories were funny, heartwarming, thrilling and sometimes even scary, and they were illuminated with beautiful illustrations. I was in awe of the talent and imagination of these writers and artists. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that one day I would be writing my own picture books.
Two of my favourite books on writing involve activities we all did at the craft table in elementary school, like doodling in Lynda Barry’s book, and snipping words and pictures out of magazines in Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s guide to writing poetry, Poemcrazy: Freeing your life with words.
I also have a thing for cover art, and this one draws me in every time I come across it. It’s a terrific image, that young woman in her black coat suspended mid-skip. And, what’s not to love about a book with subchapters called On a night picnic, Hi there stars, and Please don’t understand?