Calling All Writers Great and Small!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19th, the new online writing course of the Habit Community writer’s group begins! We will be writing with James Herriot, beloved British country vet and author of many books, including “All Creatures Great and Small.” We will be reading his stories and learning form his talent to see what techniques we can use in our own storytelling. It’s not too late to join us if you are looking for a warm, supportive community of writers, enjoy lively discussions about writing and engaging weekly writing assignments.

Some of the topics to be covered are:

  • Anecdotal Storytelling
  • Quick Strokes for Minor Characters
  • Narration and Point of View
  • Managing Time and Space
  • Writing Landscape
  • Dialogue and Dialect
  • Description and Imagery
  • Action and Movement
  • Narrative Pacing
  • Moving from Experience to Fiction

You can join either just for this class, or purchase a yearly membership, which includes several more writing classes, monthly lectures, interactive office hours, and a place to share your writing and give and seek constructive feedback from people passionate about their craft. A great bonus is also the video archives of all previous courses, such as Writing with Hobbits, Writing with Jane Austen, Writing with C.S. Lewis, etc. Here’s a few:

I joined the Habit last year when our lovely teacher, Jonathon Rogers, offered the class Writing with Anne of Green Gables. How I could I resist rereading my favourite book and nerding out about all things Anne? The various writing prompts have stretched me as a writer and helped me explore new genres and ways of expressing myself. The feedback in the forums has helped me learn so much, and the support of small subgroups on the Habit has given me the courage to submit my work for publication, with two very happy results I look forward to sharing with you in the future.

As for reading James Herriot again, it’s awfully fun—that dry British humour, eccentric characters and farm stories too crazy to be made up. Come join us tomorrow on zoom! Sign up to get the link, and keep in mind your time zone. On the west coast, class is Tuesday at 1-2:30pm, but if you’re central or Eastern time it will be earlier.

Oh, yeah, and if you’ve got teen homeschoolers, there’s a lively student cohort, too, in the morning, with their own zoom session and online platform to share their work. Don’t worry if you miss the first class, it will be recorded!

Hope to see you there virtually! Here’s a little video by Jonathon Rogers about the course:

Writing about People and their Animals

Family Day Fail, or “I’d rather eat noodles”

The other day we went to the park for Family Day; it was damp and chilly. The sun hid behind a massive grey cloud, despite the deceptive blue sky. Baby was not impressed.

“What are we doing out here?”
“Is this supposed to be fun?”

Eventually we gave up trying to stay warm enough and went home for tea. After a big nap in his cosy blanket in the stroller, our little one felt much better, and ate his noodle soup with gusto.

“I’d rather be eating noodles.”
“Good to the last drop.”

A Witch’s Children Seldom Sleep ✨

A witch’s children seldom sleep;

they stay up in their rooms 

conjuring up mythical lands,

building kingdoms and castles,

or run through the house—

all wide-eyed wildness

once the full moon comes up,

and mirrors itself in their round, blue eyes.

They dance, cackle and fly about the room

until a crash into the wall—or each other—

signals the doom-bell of bedtime.

The later the louder;

the more tired the more terrible,

until their witch-mother’s exasperated hair 

shoots out in all directions like flames.

Finally, she has to resort to softly chanting spells

to soothe her tiny witches and warlocks to sleep.

When their dark lashes lay on their cheeks at last,

they almost look like ordinary children,

but the witch grins to herself…

she knows better!

✨✨✨

The End of the World

A little vignette about bedtime…

She knew it might be bad, but she hadn’t expected it to be this bad. It wasn’t like she had done it violently or without warning. Nevertheless, it had plunged her daughter into the depths of despair.

“I will never eat again!” she declared, lower lip trembling as her eyes began to redden.

“That’s too bad; you’ll get pretty hungry.”

“I won’t open my presents. I won’t come to Easter or Christmas.”

“Really? How sad. That’s a lot to give up.”

“I won’t ever let you help me!” she threw out this statement like a well-aimed spear, sure it would conquer her enemy and bring victory.

“You’re only hurting yourself, babe,” her mother deflected the spear with a shield of serenity. “I’m sorry you’re so sad.”

The girl thrust out her jaw and glowered up at her mother with narrowed eyes.

“I’m not sad, I’m angry!”

“Ok, I’m sorry you’re angry, then. But why don’t you go up to bed, honey? It’s time to sleep.”

“I will never sleep. I will just stand by my bed with my eyes open. I will never shut my eyes again!”

“Oh, really?” the woman sighed. Determination was a great trait. To be sure it had helped her daughter finish the steep, two hour hike up the mountain with her Dad the other day, chattering the whole way up. But when it was bedtime, determination to have one’s own way was a distinct disadvantage in a child of three.

“Sweetie, you can play more Reading Eggs tomorrow. I had to turn it off ‘cause it was 9:30. Now it’s 10:15. You have to sleep.”

“I will never sleep!”

The woman rubbed her head and sighed. You can’t fight crazy. She climbed into bed and nursed her baby to sleep. Eventually, the war-weary toddler climbed in under the blankets and hid. That way no one would see her eyes close.

Johnny Cash on Heartburn

My blog has been rather serious lately, so I decided it’s time for a laugh. What better way, when up with pregnancy heartburn and insomnia, than to write a spoof of a Johnny Cash country song? When you’re seven months pregnant and can’t sleep, you get to do stuff like that—it says so in the manual, pg 136. (What manual?? This girl is making stuff up…)

So put on your cowboy hats, strum your imaginary guitars, and enjoy…and if you’re up with heartburn, too, just pretend your TUMS are marshmallows…

🔥 Burning Ring of Fire 🔥

Heartburn’s a burning thing

And it makes a fiery ring

Round and full of gas

I am a pregnant lass

🔥

I lay down and a burning ring of fire

Shoots up my throat like an electric wire

And it burns burns burns

That ring of fire

I am on fire

🔥

I lay down and a burning ring of fire

Shoots up my throat like an electric wire

And it burns burns burns

That ring of fire

I am on fire

🔥

The taste of love is sweet

But it keeps me on my feet

I lay down like a sleepy child

Oh, but the fire went wild

🔥

I lay down and a burning ring of fire

Shoots up my throat like an electric wire

And it burns burns burns

That ring of fire

I am on fire

🔥 🔥 🔥

Molasses Bear

Evening has fallen.

The once brightly coloured stained glass windows

of the chapel are now dark as molasses.

They are so dark they almost look sticky and sweet.

What if they are, and this is actually a giant gingerbread house?

I ponder breaking off a piece to taste it,

the sugarcane windowpane…

but then the cold night air would come rushing in,

smelling of starlight and snow

and possibly followed by the large nose of a black bear,

snuffling about and eager to lick the molasses windows

with his long, wet tongue.

Even if we all rushed off to bed,

the bear could eat his way in,

then wander about the place,

leaving a trail of muddy paw prints

and crushed leaves and little bits of cedar

and a scent like the memory of late summer blackberries

coming from this large furry living thing

prowling about indoors,

who is not normally meant to be there…

On second thought,

I suppose I won’t try tasting the windows, after all.

(PS Thanks for the great bear pic, Four States News!)

Flu Season Sing-Along

Flu season, here we come,

it’s time to sneeze and sniffle!

We wash our hands,

stand far apart

and yet it is that season,

cause bugs you know,

with their little brains,

know not rhyme nor reason.

Cough, snort and blow your noses,

rub your aching heads—

this nasty flu is making us

all leak like a rubber hoses.

So hop in bed,

ye one and all,

it’s time to be separated by a wall.

As if social distance wasn’t enough for you,

this stupid pandemic’s teamed up

with regular flus.

So here we come, long days alone,

thank goodness for the telephone!

Time to play nurse now,

soothe some heads,

tuck seven kids into their beds,

rub little feet with tiger balm,

dream about a beach with palms.

It’s no wonder tired bears get irate—

smartest thing is to hibernate.

So here’s wishing good health to you,

as for my house, it’s a zoo.

Flu season for one and all,

welcome, welcome, welcome, fall!

Ballad of the Pirate Bard

I am a pirate and I do not sleep!

I thief night jewels for me to keep.

My Lady with her treasures bold

is generous when the wee hours wax old.

The words upon her golden tongue

are by the midnight spirits sung.

I catch the songs in my jolly heart,

then bursting full I do depart,

‘n sail away to the break of day

to spread her tales far and away!

I am a pirate and I do not sleep,

my treasure is the tears you weep,

my prize is the laughter in your eyes,

for Insomnia’s bedfellow is a pirate wise.

🌴This silly song was brought to you care of
sleep deprivation and my pirate pjs! 🌴

Toddler Security Services: Your Isolation Solution!

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