Here, There be a Writer

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Top 10 Children's Stories

It's the "Day of the Doctor" and what am I choosing to blog about? Children stories! Yes, I am crazy. While I know I should put to paper (or put to word document) my thoughts about the 50th Anniversay of Dr. Who, I can't really see doing that until after I have watched "Adventures in Time and Space" and "The Day of the Doctor." Expect some new blogs in the coming week.

Today I am featuring my top 10 favourite stories from my childhood. These are stories that I grew up reading, or being read to at bedtime. In a conversation with my Dad this morning, we were discussing how I have taken taken care of my books, which turned into stories and my collection of storybooks. Now over the years my quite stellar and awesome book collection has changed and sometimes books in the said collection some tomes ended up going to new homes; but I have always kept those near and dear to my heart. Today I want to share the stories that are close to my heart. And...

In honour of the current Doctor's penchant for been a child and often acts like a regular Peter Pan, I present my top 10 Children's Books.

10. The Sweet and Sweet Gang books: These are a series of books written about the adventures of Sweet and Sweet gang. Not very complex story lines, but they are cute and the art that goes with them really makes the story. I had 6 of the original 8 books. They are oddly hard to find now-a-days.

9.  Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni: A simple story about a Fish and his wish to see
what the other side is like. Best line, "You were right. Fish is Fish."

8. Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak: This one was always fun to recite, with the rhyming and the diction that would be required. Also a great way to learn the months of the year. "In June, I saw a charming group of roses droop. I peppered them with Chicken Soup..."

7. Corduroy by Don Freeman: What's more adorable than a Teddy Bear. A
teddy bear looking for his lost button. Enough said. Give you a nice perceptive of the toys. Like a early Toy Story.

6. The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt: This version of this story is the one I am most familiar with. What happens when a Mouse finds a Lost Mitten!

5. Round Robin by Jack Kent: Have you ever wondered what happens to the
birds on the travels south? You do now! Best line, "Hippity, Hoppety, Boppety, Bump!"

4. Tom and Jerry's Party by Steffi Fletcher: I think I read this book out as a child. The story of Tom and Jerry and their friends all having a party after hours. As a fan of the cartoon, I loved seeing duo actually having fun together.

3. Roland the Minstrel Pig by William Steig: A minstrel pig and his journey.

2. The Frances Books (Bread and Jam/Best Friends for Frances) by Russell and Lillian Hoban: The writer's of the popular story Emmet Otter's Jug Band. The stories of a young badger and her love of jam defies all logic!

1. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber (and House on East 88th Street): A crocodile living in NYC! Do I need to say more? Best Line, "Swish, Swash, Splash Swoosh!"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Relevation on Writing and Faeries

Favourite picture ever! :-)
Funny how the title about this entry is more in line with my previous entry, than what I am featuring here. I suppose I could switch them, but it all honesty I rather fancy the strange dichotomy of the naming. In the naming of thing one could go with the easiest name, but sometimes there is a deeper meaning.

Last weekend I got to travel with one of my best friends, Laura. we had been through quite a lot. She met me when I was an obnoxious high school kid and has stuck with me. We have been through distanced of thousands of miles and different states, states of confusion, Great Big Sea concerts, Niagara Falls adventures, and countless others memories. This time we traveled from Corning, NY (Where I live. She lives in the Buffalo area) to Hunt Valley, MD (in a town called Cockeysville) to FaerieCon East.

For having never been to a convention I think I handled myself well, although I was geeking out like a kid in a candy store (see picture below). I costumes were a site to behold everything from a Giant with a Giant Faerie Smooshing Hammer, a Unicorn, a Confederate Biker Faerie, an Irish Goth Faerie to name a few. Next year I WILL TOTALLY be dressing up! The art, creativity, and fun was amazing, felt very much at home. If I had more money to blow all the neat things I found for myself or family, I would walk away broke :-).

The best part was meeting James Owen, the fantastic author of the Imaginarium Geographica books and the inspirational book,"Drawing out the Dragons". I got to talk with him and bring him homemade birthday cards and some cheesecake for his birthday. I also got the chance to tell him what he means to me. Since 2011, when I read DotD, I have been inspired by James's words. Because of him I have a greater conviction to become the writer I am always wanted to be. He was the one to help me see what was right in front of him and give me a huge boost of confidence to go out and get it. He has taught me that you always have the chance to make new and better choices. I was also able to get the final book in the "Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica" series, "The First Dragon", I even got it signed and sketched it.

I saw James's presentation on "Drawing out the Dragons" and helped him by being his easel (this was a big honour). It was a McGuyvering type of weekend according to James. We also enjoyed a panel of authors talking about the Magic of Story (Melissa Marr, James Owen, Kelly Link, and Laura Amy Schlitz). Hearing other authors talk about things I have felt and wondered about. It makes me feel connected to a whole new group of people. The best part, well one of the best parts. There were A LOT of best parts. I got two books from two new authors to read. It's always exciting to discover new authors. I am sometimes picky about what books I start to read, or I just start buying all the books. (Half priced book stores are dangerous for me).

Magic of Story Panel.
After the Con, we had been there from about 12 to about 7, it was time for doof (what I call food at non-food times). This proved to be trickier as EVERYONE was out getting dinner and we were both pooped and starving. After a bit of driving around, we found a little place called SALSA GRILL. It didn't look like much from the front. It was in a strip mall and there didn't seem to have much seating, until we walked in and saw the back dining room. Oh, and the food was a treat too. The bulk of the restaurant seem to be based on Mexican cuisine, but a number of the dishes were Chinese or Italian fused with Mexican. I got a Chicken Stir Fry and it was super delicious. Imagine stir fry with Spanish rice, Mexican seasoning, and a whole slew of veggies that wouldn't normally get included in the standard stir fry.

Sunday, we drove to Baltimore's inner harbour and walked around in the sunshine and had brunch at Lenny's Delicatessen where I had my first taste of Lox and Cream Cheese on a bagel (with lettuce, tomato, and onions). It was the perfect end to a fantastic weekend. We saw a WTC monument outside of the World Trade Center Baltimore Building and the U.S.S. Constellation.  Check out the photos below:

 Some shots of neat building in downtown Baltimore. Sunday mornings are wonderful when driving through a city as big as Baltimore and as full of life as to see it wake up and get it's morning at Panera.

Word Trade Center monument at World Trade Center Baltimore.

See the Dragon Boat Army! Yeah! Wanna mess with Baltimore, I don't think so....

The actual name of a Candy Store in downtown Baltimore. There were giant boxes of nerds and a HUGE Lick-A-Stick! (okay you people with filthy minds)

The Sexy Ship, the U.S.S Constellation and the view out of Lenny's Deli about 9:00 am. The the trek homeward through central Pennsylvania.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Road Trip to Faerie Con 2013

James Owen and I (Cindy Scott)
There are times when you should ask the universe to grant you a request. There are also times when the universe will grant that request.

I wanted to be able to meet a man who changed my life. A man who is a phenomenal artist, an amazing writer, and an awesome person to know. It all started with the decision to buy a ticket to FaerieCon in Hunt Valley, MD, where this man was going to be signing books and changing lives.

James Owen is probably the most nicest and kindest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

I was first introduced to his work, "Drawing on the Dragons", a mediation of art, destiny, and the power of choice on suggestion from a Dear Friend. I did. I read the book, and my outlook changed. I started to re-evaluate my life. what had I been doing? Honestly, not as much I could. I have always want to be a writer, to put to word what my heart spoke deeply of. As an avid writing of poetry and found words comforting and healing. There were many a time when I wrote to understand the feelings I had; the angry, the frustration, the love, the beauty of this world. I majored in English while in college at SUNY Fredonia. Here, I wrote poetry, stories, and a crap ton of essays (which I sometimes miss writing still). But I wanted more, I tried, but like many I was easily distracted and the personal writing got pushed aside. I tried all through college and even for a bit after college when I put down the pen (I still wrote poetry occasionally).

I graduated college (May 2001) and tried to find my part in the world, not an easy task. I had moved to Corning to be with David (then only a boyfriend). A new start, a new chance, I fell flat and only a short time after graduating from college, I was coming back to Corning from visiting my parents, when I hydroplaned on a rainy highway. I hit a pine tree broke my ankle in two places and fractured a vertaebrae in my neck (makes my sonnet on vertabrae more poignant.) I spent three months confided to ours room within David's family's house. Thankfully my future in-laws (at that time were very kind souls, Thank you!), I was alone and struggling to find my place in a world that I was locked up of for three months. I did very little in the wall of writing. Finally, I was cleared to remove the neck brace and use crutches to get around. I got hired at the newly built Wal-Mart, as a people greeter (once the story open, prior to it opening I sat the front desk, which was where I was 9-1-2001, BTW). I was glad to have a job, but aside from that I had only a few friends in Corning through David. Once I was back on my feet, I thought this a new beginning.

Then came Dallas, TX in April 2002. It was a chance to start new, start over, maybe get a real job. I was trying to be a journalist at that time, but I had very little experience and no one to speak on my behalf. Not to say that didn't love living there. I proved a number of things to myself, that I could live on my own (with David of course) and be successful. I probsably could have stayed in Dallas, but David wasn't. He got a job at a local FOx Affiliate back in Corning doing video production and flew home in September 2004, I followed in October. This whole time I had tried to re-vivtalize some stories, but got back into poetry.

Back in Corning I found myself in several jobs of various sorts, nothing that made me happy. I even tried to getting into journalism again. In was 2006 when I got involved in theatre. I met some folks that David had started working with. February of 2006, I was the light/sound tech for a dinner theatre called, "The Pirates of Pink Pants and the Murder of Jolly Roger," a fun little  show thay was a cross between Gilbert and Sullivan and Monty Python. After that I audition for my first show later that year, another dinner theatre and then my first musical, Beauty and the Beast. I had found a niche that made me happy and I found some friends to share my life with.

I still wrote poetry and occasionally a piece of prose. I finally got hired at Schweizer Aircraft in June 2006 (they made Helicopters and Sail Planes) as a temp, in the shipping department, entering pick tickets in the computer. Then lead to a new position in Production Control as a Admin Support Clerk, which became permanent in April 2007. David and I married in March of 2007. I worked there until August 2011, when I was laid off. During that time I did a lot of theatre, auditioning for shows and learning new skills both onstage and off. It was during 2011, when my friend Vickie had told me of James' work and suggested I read "Drawing out the Dragons" I knew that Schweizer was changing, the work wasn't there anymore, as they had been laying off a few people here and few people there over the last year or so.

I chatted a lot with Vickie around this time and still do (she my cheerleader, along with Sara Love). I was trying to write again. I had the beginning of a fantasy novel and she listen as I talked about my dreams. It was she who told me about James and his book, "Drawing out the Dragons." There was a free version of the PDF being offered on his site Coppervale International;. I downloaded it, and when I did finally get to reading it I was floored.

I was so  taken away by this man who had struggled and fought to doing what he loved and  to come out on top. His words and my favourite quote, "If you really want to do something; no one can stop you; you you really don't want to do something; no one can help you," these are what awoken in me the fire that had been so dormant before. That was when I realized I had been getting in my own way. I was stopping me from being the amazing people I am destiny to be. I started writing, really writing again. A friend from college had pointed me to Toasted Cheese Literary Journal (online) where daily prompts were posted. Also, the fall of 2011 I started my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where you write a novel, 50,000 words in a month. I wrote a story 'Cryin' Mascara' during this time. I was out of work and need something to keep me going. Even after I got hired by my current employers, I still wrote. And I started reading more of James' stories, "The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica", "The Barbizon Diaries" (sequel to DotD). 

I fell in love with his characters in his novel; the best and most favouritest part of the Imaginarium series was how I never knew what was coming, but was always wonderfully surprised by the turns that his stories took. I think I read "The Indigo King" in only a few days. The illustrations are amazing, the stories are stellar, and I couldn't wait to get more. By fall of  2012, I was directing my first BIG musical, "Charlotte's Web", which had  a lot of kids and needed patience and love. Suddenly, I now was really responsible for a cast of 30 people from ages 4 to 50+ and creating a living breathing show. Directing a show is a lot like having a baby (something I personally know, but I can really empathize with all the Mommas and Papas out there). I took James's words-very powerful words-and I used them on my cast. I believed in my cast, hence the reason I cast them in the show. But now I told them. I told them I believed in them. And guess what, they worked magic! As did my crew. We put on one of the best show ever (maybe I am biased, but the audience loved the show and I felt proud that this cast worked together to make something awesome). Recommendation:  start with the first book of the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica "Here, there be Dragons".

After the curtains closed, I (having missed NaNo that year), set about starting a blog. i needed to put a closure on Charlotte and I wanted to write. So write I did. I vowed to write a blog entry at least once a week on something, anything. I have held that promise to myself for over a year now. Because of James -through his postings on Facebook and his website and in his books-I now had a strong belief in my self and some awesome self-confidence too. Starting experimenting with my writing and what I blogged about. I interview friends with new projects and business ventures. I watched and read books to compare books to movies. The English major in me was thrilled for the challenges. I also started a month long project to write a sonnet a day for a month, asking friends for topics to stretch the old grey matter. I just finished my first theme month, a book vs. movie adaptations of YA fiction that I grew up reading.

I have had such fun with the blog and I am really positive that for the first time in my life, that I am making the "Choices are cumulative, but the results are not always apparent or immediate". This is very true. I don't know what will happen, but I am really for the challenge and the ride of a lifetime. To date I have written I full novel (still in edit mode, that will change; 4 one acts, 3 of which have been performed; working on 2nd novel; 1 screenplay, also to be edited; a working blog, and can write a kick ass sonnet in IAMBIC PENTAMETER too (because that's how Awesomemists work). I have used James words to inspire others not only in theatre, but life in general, because he has inspired me. "Live deliberately. Decide are you the kind of person that things happen to, or are the person who makes things happen." I choose to make things happen.
right choices,

I asked for a chance to meet my mentor, James Owen. I got my chance. I got to tell him honestly how much is meant to me, how much he has change my life, how much I aim to help change the lives of others, and that I can call him a friend. Thank you, James for being awesome in everything you do. It was an honour to meet you and talk with you this weekend. I love your stories, and your words from your books and your life.

"Purpose is the reason; Will is the means; and Will guided by Purpose leads to ArĂ©te: the fulfillment of one’s potential for excellence."  \
~James A. Owen

The new book is out, "The First Dragon". I got me a copy and got a Dragon drawn in it too! How's that for awesome!!

I want to share a few pieces of writing that mean a lot to me:

Sonnet #8: Vertebrae Love Story (or Built Like Children’s Blocks)
Magic of Story Panel

Built Like Children’s Blocks

Built like children’s blocks to form a support.
They are so stacked one upon each other
A towering form that has a rapport
With the spine, as a child to a mother.

Together they are made strong as a whole,
But separate they know are wavering.
Married by right in a love of the soul
That only they are now both savouring.

There is one course that could rip asunder
A love true and so bodily in realm.
White Rabbit drummer with young butterfly fairy dancing
A storm that has come and brought the thunder
And a bolt of lightening that broke their helm.

A divorce that neither would they have sought
When those, the careless could have brought it nought.


Sonnet #31 Meditations on James Owen 
(or Bringer of the Awesome)

Bringer of the Awesome

Bringer of the awesome universes
Dragon Army of Baltimore
With mere words, you colour skies dazzling blue,
The sea, a turquoise green, which she disperses
Reflections of the sun’s auroral hue.

Creation of life with your pen and ink--
Marking the pages with its own heartbeat,
And inspire others that they may think
In a world you realize to be replete.

With your words, you are a guide to sunshine
That is outside the cave we, mankind, sit
Staring at walls of shadows that define
What we grasp and still to dark we submit.

From my sight, I have turned into the light
To a truth that beckons me to true sight.