The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, January 17, 2022

Dream Squasher? Or Dream Nurturer?

 There are some who help keep people's dreams alive. They fan the tiny flames. They dig around the embers, the coals, trying to get a fire reignited. They bring in kindling. 

There are other people who squash people's dreams. They criticize. They ridicule. They refuse to listen to some out-of-the-box thinking from a writing colleague.

I'm lucky. I belong to a great writing group. When I do encounter people who are "clueless" about my writing (and everyone else "gets it") I know that probably that one person is the one who's in the wrong... it's not my writing that needs work.

Recently I wrote about my students in a post for WOW. While we were discussing the project they were working on, I brought up Mae Jemison--the first African American woman to go up into space, and how a kindergarten teacher tried to squash her dreams.

                                                                     image by Pixabay

If you're curious about what the teacher said, check out the post... and think about how you nurture other people's dreams, along with your own.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Jack... Or Mark?


I admit, this version of Jack Daniels does not look anything like Mark Twain. However, I've got a styrofoam version of Jack that is the spitting image of Twain. He's about 3 feet tall... and he's spectacular.

I got the statue via a white elephant gift exchange. Initially, I wondered what I was going to do with it. First, it's so white and plain. It was the gift I wanted as soon as I saw it. Size does matter, and this one was the largest one, it was wrapped in several white trash bags and it was intriguing.

You want it... you got it, they say. Now I have it, and since I live in a small house, I needed to think of where to put Jack Daniels Mark Twain. Immediately, I knew how I was going to jazz him up. Zentangling him (if you don't know what Zentangle is, google it--it's a methodical way of doodling), and transforming him into Mark Twain was also an instant solution. After all, I have no connection or fondness for Jack Daniels. But Mark Twain? That's a different story.

Someone suggested I put it in my classroom... and what a brilliant idea that was. So, after he emerges from his cocoon, Mark will get a prominent place in my classroom.

Am I crazy? Does my Jack Daniels really look like Mark Twain? You be the judge. Check out my post on the Muffin. Some bonus tidbits: you'll see what was my favorite gift, and you'll learn the name of the artist you should never support financially (because supporting him is actually supporting moneygrubbing and soul-stealing people and not the artist).

Monday, December 13, 2021

Sioux's Weird. But is She Wonky?

 I've been called weird all my life. When I was 13 I changed my name (much to the dismay of my parents) and thirty years later, made it legal. One year in high school, I wore moccasins every day. Even if it was raining, or snowing, I wore my mocs. And these were not moccasins that had a hard sole. All that was between me and the soggy, cold ground was a single layer of suede.

I also loved wearing overalls, and never wore any make-up until I went to a homecoming dance in high school.

I love sad movies and books that make me ache and sob.

Lots of people have called me weird. But am I wonky?

Well, I'm definitely doing something wonky. After getting my book, Greeenwood Gone: Henry's Story, published, I almost immediately envisioned it as a movie. Okay, that's showing how old and out of touch I am. Nowadays, things stream on Hulu and Netflix and HBO, so my dream of seeing my story told in a movie theater... well, that might not be the way it debuts. But I do see it as something larger than just a book. 

Soooo... I'm working on writing a screenplay version. And it's wonky. It's a strange format, and using a screenwriting program is quite helpful... but it was hard getting used to it.

 I wrote about my struggles recently. Check out my Tell, Don't Show post on The Muffin.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Rod, Hall and Oates and The Lovin' Spoonful

 You might wonder what those three have in common... and if you read my post on The Muffin, you'd know.

I recently embraced vision boards. I know, I know. Usually, I pshaw anything that sounds voo-dooey. Anything that sounds like I need to put on a caftan and start burning incense, I toss it aside.

The only problem is that some very successful people--famous people like Oprah Winfrey and local people like Margo Dill--believe in vision boards. Some of these boards focus on just one word for the year. Some--like the board I just made--include several specific goals.

Missouri is the show-me state. I am going to need for the spirits above to show me that vision boards work. I'm going to need to see the proof that's in the pudding.

I'm going to need...

Well, you get the idea.

If the above board intrigues you, check out my Muffin post... and let me know what you think of vision boards.


Monday, August 2, 2021

A Book to Amp Up Your Life

 I recently read Karen Arrington's book, Your Next Level Life. It takes a conversational tone on how to to amp up your life, and even though it's written to help Black women improve their lives, it would help everyone. 

I'm going to share some details about Karen, and then I'll share my review.


Karen Arrington is an award-winning author, women’s empowerment expert + global philanthropist + winner of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.

Karen’s coaching, mentoring + philanthropic work spans over 100,000 hours of service — including her position as a Goodwill Ambassador to Sierra Leone, her work as the co-founder of the first Diabetes Awareness Day in West Africa, and her role as the founder of The Miss Black USA Pageant.

She won a 2020 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for her book, Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence and Opportunity for Black Women In America. She has also been honored by The Lifetime Network, Jones New York + other major media outlets for her tireless advocacy for women’s health, success + empowerment -- including a Red Dress Award from Woman’s Day Magazine for her efforts in the fight against heart disease, the #1 killer of women.

Over the past 20 years, Karen has helped over 1,000 women step into powerful careers in media, business, medicine + law — transcending hardship, abuse + financial limitations, and transforming their lives + communities. Today, Karen offers private coaching + global service retreats around the world for ambitious women who want to live their best lives -- only better.

Here is what I posted on Amazon:

This is definitely not the kind of book I usually read. And usually, I don't even give a moment's attention to ideas like "dream-big" and "write-your-dream-down" and "your-dream-is-your-birthright." However, some wonderful things have happened to me lately. One of my dreams came true (I got a book published that I'd worked on for five years) so now I DO believe in taking a risk and thinking outside the box and believing in a dream. 

Karen Arrington is Black. She's a successful businesswoman and philanthropist, and her book was written with Black women in mind... but her advice works for every woman. Really, it would work for every person. Harrington shares big "rules" to follow, like "Expand Your Horizons" and "Identifiy Your Superpowers" to small gems. A tiny tidbit I appreciated was this one: make chores like researching scholarships (or agents/publishers, in my case) fun and inspiring. I've never made my surroundings pleasant when doing grunt work like this. A candle? Music? Having a friend over? Making a few changes would have made chores like this more appealing, and obviously. Harrington has what it takes to make her cause more appealing... to make her business propositions appealing. So give this book a read if you have dreams you've not reached yet...

So, if you'd like some help reaching for the stars--and being able to grasp them--read Arrington's Your Next Level Life. You might be surprised with what happens...

Monday, June 21, 2021

Who's Your Cheerleader?

 I belong to a writing critique group. I belong to a writing accountability group. Both of them are full of writing friends who are encouraging and helpful, in countless ways.

My husband? He tries. However, he's not a writer, so sometimes his attempts at being helpful go awry.

Recently, I read a post from a writer whose family had gotten her a cake made. Emblazoned across the cake was the word Writer. 

Too often, we get rejected as writers. We write and draft and revise... and all we get is a "no thanks" from editors and publishers.

Check out my post about my cheerleaders... and about my hubby who means well, but I might limit his megaphone use in the future...