Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Ballet Shoes


The Ballet Shoes

When I was five, I decided I wanted some satin ballet slippers. Did I attend dance classes? No. I just wanted them. And because I was spoiled rotten, my dad bought them. And oh did I love those shoes. I ran around the house thinking I was going to be the next ballet star. I invented moves and twirls and imitated the dancers I saw on TV.  

 Enter my bratty brother, a year younger than me. Was he jealous of my wonderful shoes? Did he want to be a dancer too? No one will ever know, because he doesn’t to this day remember taking them. But I know! It is forever burned into my memory.  I see him now—running through a damp field wearing my dancing shoes—running through the cow patties and waving at me from my spot on the front porch.

 I bawled all night about my shoes. If he ever brought them back, I don’t remember. He probably threw them away for fear of being caught and punished. My dad promised me a new pair, but I never got them.

 So alas, I never became a dancer. Would I have become a dancing star if I’d kept those shoes? No one will ever know.
Instead...I became a musician...


an artist...


and a writer.






Maybe that was my way of making up for the lost dancing dream.

I know...I'll write a dancer into my next novel.


 
Do you have a lost dream? How did you deal with it?





Sunday, July 1, 2012

Artwork and Comments from Ms. Reilly's fourth graders


I recently had the delightful experience of having my manuscript for The Legend of Ghost Dog Island reviewed by the fourth graders of Ms. Karen Reilly’s Yorktown Elementary Literature Circle.  The children drew pictures and made valuable and honest comments. I like to thank each and every one of them for their wonderful contribution, and share their drawings and character comments here.
Alexis L.
This drawing by Alexis L. shows the Landry family as they travel to their new bayou home. In her comments she says Nikki, the main character, is curious because she wanted to know about Papa's legend stories and what was on the island. She also though she was responsible because she looked after her little brother, and calm because she didn't scream when her dad told her about the legend. Nice job, Alexis.

Emma R.
Emma R. did a wonderful job drawing Nikki and Snooper. She felt that Papa was strong because of his big strong hands and they way his arms bulged when he picked up the crab crates. She thought he was caring because he asked Nikki what was on her mind and the way he reassured her about the island. He was also responsible because he made sure he put food on the table and did his job no matter what. Nice drawing, Emma.

Grace D.

Grace D. drew a very colorful boat with flags. She thought Nikki was curious about what the sound on the island was and what Papa was going to tell her about the bayous. She thought she was also dirty because she didn't change her muddy pants, but she was brave to get out of the house and when she listened to the legend story. Wonderful, Grace.


Julia H.
Our next picture is from Julia H. She has Nikki sitting on the deck with her dog, Snooper. She even has ghostly dogs howling and hovering over the island. Whoa! Great imagination, Julia. Julia felt that Nikki might have been scared when she pulled the covers over her head after hearing the sound on the roof and the shadow across the window. She might have been curious about the article on the storekeepers wall and when she asked her father about his Cajun French language, and polite when asking for something from the storekeeper. Love the ghosties, Julia.


Meagan F.
Here is a nice detailed picture of Nikki's houseboat, by Meagan F. Nikki is sitting on the back of the deck with her feet hanging over the dangerous bayou water. That may even be a snake swimming nearby and a ghostly dog howling from the trees. Meagan felt Nikki was calm when she thought something was watching her from the bushes. She was brave because she didn't cry and when she opened the mysterious blue bottle she found in the water. But Nikki was judgemental when she thought the city dwellers in her new town wouldn't welcome her. Nice detail, Meagan.


Michael M.
Michael M. drew a nice simple stick picture of Nikki with Snooper, and an island tree. Michael thought Nikki was curious about the noises from the island and the shadow in the window, and that she was brave about the whole thing. He felt that Nikki might have been rude when it came to her comments about hating Morgan City. Love your simplicity, Michael.


Nasia B.
Nasia B. drew a nice picture of Nikki and Snooper in a pirogue. She wrote character traits for Jesse, Nikki's little brother. She felt he was young based on Nikki's comments that he was four years old. She felt he might have been bad, because Nikki had said he was "peskier than a fly at a crawfish boil," and that he repeated everything Nikki said. But he was scared when he grabbed hold of his mama's leg and buried his face in her apron when he heard the howling sound, and again when something moved in the back of the truck. Great picture and comments, Nasia.

Neelia L.
Neelia L. drew pictures of a storm and a ghost dog. Pretty scary. Neelia thought Nikki was curious when she wanted to know what the howling was. But she was brave when she dangled her feet over the edge of the boat with alligators and other wild living things in the lake and swamp. Nelia also thought Nikki was messy because she doesn't care if her clothes are muddy. Nice and spooky, Neelia.


Reyna M.
Reyna M. has a picture of Nikki who appears to be scared and Mama and Jesse and Snooper nearby. and are those eyes in the bushes? Reyna felt Nikki was curious when she jumped up with bumps as big as balls from a chinaberry tree all over her skin and felt like something was watching her. She was also messy because she didn't care if she had mud all over her clothes. But Reyna thought Nikki was selfish when she thought most city dwellers weren't too welcoming to her kind--being on the wrong side of the levee and all. Love the facial expressions on your characters, Reyna. Oh, and thank you for your additional notes to the author on the back of your sheet. As you can see my book DID get accepted for publication. I hope you get to read it in full.


I'd also like to thank Ms. Reilly for the wonderful job she is doing with the students. Their Literature Circle Booklets show that they have really analyzed the story.

The Legend of Ghost Dog Island—Coming out this November from Musa Publishing.