Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Notes from the Maestro

I just finished reading Beethoven, the Man and the Artist, as revealed in His Own Words, by Kerst &Krehbiel. It includes diary entries and stories from those who had the misfortune of interacting with him - he was blunt, opinionated, rude, and loud from increasing deafness.

About halfway through the book, I realized his advice on music can be applied to all artists - poets, novelists, painters - and yes - even those of us who write for children.

Before I share the following quotes, remember that we can learn by his example.


Give in to your emotions. Let them flow free. Add crescendos and diminuendos. Allow your heart and soul to lift your art to higher dimensions. Beethoven did all this and more. We should all take note.

The following are lessons from Beethoven in his own words:

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

"Nature knows no quiescence; and true art walks with her hand in hand;"

"Nature is a glorious school for the heart! It is well; I shall be a scholar in this school and bring an eager heart to her instruction."

"The daily grind exhausts me."

"I must not continue my everyday life, - art asks this sacrifice also. Take rest in diversion in order to work more energetically."

Read, Read, Read

"It is the duty of every composer to be familiar with all poets, old and new, and himself choose the best and most fitting for his purposes."

"To write true church music, look through the old monkish chorals, etc."

"I have striven to learn the minds of the best and wisest of every period of time."

Don't Give Up

"Continue to translate yourself to the heaven of art; there is no more undisturbed, unmixed, purer happiness than may be thus attained."

Find Your Rhythm

"The poet writes his monologue or dialogue in a certain, continuous rhythm..."


"...we ought to be glad when we find that words and music are one..."

"Goethe's poems exert a great power over me not only because of their contents but also because of their rhythms; I am stimulated to compose..."

"You will ask me where I get my ideas. That I cannot tell you with certainty; they come unsummoned, directly, indirectly, - I could seize them with my hands, - out in the open air, in the woods; while walking; in the silence of the nights; early in the morning; incited by moods, which are translated by the poet into words, by me into tones that sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes."

Know Your Characters

"I say that in future works of the character you might give more heed to the individualization of the voices."


"I always have a picture in my mind when composing and follow its lines."

Be Willing to Kill Your Darlings

"One must not hold one's self so divine as to be unwilling occasionally to make improvements in one's creations."

"I change many things, discard, and try again until I am satisfied. Then, however, there begins in my head the  development in every direction, and, as much as I know exactly what I want, the fundamental idea never deserts me, - it arises before me, grows..."

Stifle Your Inner Critic and Let Your Art Flow

"It is necessary to grow out of restraint into liberty."


"Nulla dies sine linea," (No day without a line)


"and if I permit the muse to go to sleep it is only that she may awake strengthened."

"There is much on earth to be done, - do it soon!

Leave Room for the Illustrator

"The description of a picture belongs to the field of painting."


"Who can sufficiently thank a great poet, - the most valuable jewel of a nation!"

Monday, July 9, 2018

Post radiation

6 weeks of daily radiation down. Now some more high-dose chemo just to give it another good whack. BAM 💥

To treat myself (oh yea and the kids), we went to ACE Comic-Con to see their favorite actor, Grant Gustin, of THE FLASH ⚡️⚡️⚡️ He is just the sweetest thing. You should’ve seen all the 12-year-old girls lining up to say “ i 💖u.” He is absolutely adorable. I really wish we could adopt him.

If you’re not aware of The Flash, Supergirl, and The Arrow (DC comics on the CW channel), think about watching with the kids. It says 14+ but my 9 and 10-year-old watch and it’s fine. It’s been a wonderful bonding time for us. We giggle and make private jokes around their older brothers. They are more into video games and the E3 EXPO.

Grant Gustin aka THE FLASH!


Here is what a radiation mask looks like. Ain't it a beaut!

Friday the 13th...

So now that my hair is half gone, I’m deciding which look to go with. 

Shark week is covered.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Poem on love

Sometimes love is a
twisted knot covered by tape
Under the bow 
Of a nicely wrapped 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The the Games Begin

Tomorrow I begin radiation treatment. Every day for six weeks. UGH. Oh yeah, also low-dose chemo. Not the type of cocktail I had in mind. 

Doctor says this will be my full-time job. Radiation will only be about 20-30 minutes. This is a writer's dream, actually. The rest of my day will be reading, tea, rest, repeat.

During the past few months, I've been busy sharpening up manuscripts and cover letters to send out into the world. Terrifying. If you are new to the submission process, let me tell you it takes a lot of research! Click here for helpful tips by children's author Tara Lazar.

For now, I will give my mind a break and slip into some good books. I'm currently reading Ready Player One and hope to see the movie this weekend with the kids if I'm up for it.

Recommended Picture Books:

For my oligo facebook group, I know some of you are struggling with raising children - on top of dealing with health issues. Here are a few picture books filled with humor to brighten everyone's day.

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." - Mark Twain

Goodnight iPad, by Ann Droyd

Mustache Baby, by Bridget Heos
Mustache Baby Meets His Match
The Great Puppy Invasion, by Alastair  Heim

Nothing Rhymes with Orange, by Adam Rex

Monday, March 5, 2018


We must ACT. NOW.

Here is the petition to Congress. Let's help these kids make big change!

If you are in the Seattle area, there will be a march at Cal Anderson Park. 10am March 24.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Another school shooting.


Shame on politicians who did NOTHING AFTER SANDY HOOK.

I lived in Coral Springs for 17 years and went to Douglas. Class of 1995.

I am grieving with my former community.