Friday, October 28, 2011


This has been a summer dedicated to shedding extraneous stuff and, boy, has it been stressful.  As our oldest is off to college and our days of having exchange students feel over, it became clear that our house was too big.  Time to walk our talk and DOWNSIZE.
 Not as easy as it sounds.  It's hard to let go of stuff.  First you have to go through it all and decide what to let go of.  That folk art Ferris Wheel?  Throw it away - Give it away -  Recycle -  Sell!  Try not to think about all the memories. Let it go. Then, there are the trips to Goodwill, the postings on Craigslist, the showing furniture to prospective buyers.  (Of course, I had problems letting go of books - I think I ended up moving almost 20 boxes.)   I've been drinking more than usual.
And, of course, there were the projects around the house that had never been finished, or even begun.  Why didn't we carpet the bedroom years ago? How much more energy can you put into a house when you are ready to leave?  In all the flurry, there has been the, not so subtle, knowledge that this is a major transition.  Even though our son is still in high school, soon we will no longer have children at home.  We are aging.
I'm not particularly sad about this.  I'm ready to be done with the mommy thing.  As much as I love my children, I spent far too much energy caring for them. I feel a restlessness and a certain impatience, a need to get on with life.  As we downsize physically, I want to expand mentally and emotionally.  We only have so much time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Just back from the Spring Oregon SCBWI conference. After 10 years of being a member of the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators, I still feel a bit like a newbie.  I still get that nervous fluttery feeling when I meet an editor or a well-known author at a conference.  I still go to workshops and get those "Oh! yes!  That will help me," moments.  But now, I also get to see old friends, congratulate them on their successes and commisserate with them over the trials of this profession. I cannot imagine having persevered without the support of this group.

Monday, March 28, 2011


     Since I was not selected, I can now make it public that I was a finalist for the Great Norway Adventure, a reality TV show in Norway. Yes, I'm not making this up.  The show brings a group of Americans with Norwegian roots to Norway and has them experience typical and adventurous Norwegian activites. Check out Alt for Norge on Youtube.  The first season had huge ratings in Norway.
      I found out about the show on Craigslist and thought, at first, that it was a joke. But it wasn't; it even sounded like fun, and I got excited about the prospect of really exploring Norway.  I had been thinking of traveling to Greenland for research on The Novel and then thought I should also go to Norway to look for my ancestors. This seemed to be the answer!
     My grandmother was full Norwegian and left Norway when she was in her 20's. I never got to meet her, as she died when my mother was only 10, but I have a few stories and pictures and lots of questions. It occurred to me that, as a child of an orphan of an immigrant, I am also an orphan of a culture. I have no roots and I'm curious and a bit hungry. Working on this Norse novel, I've been obsessed with the land and climate, people and culture of Scandinavia.  I was ready to go, though my family thought I was a bit crazy.
      So, I applied and they liked me, an old hippie librarian. (I sent in a video showing the front yard garden, the wood burning hot tub in the driveway and the papermache Alice in Wonderland I made in highschool.)   I even got to go to Chicago for a casting call.  But, I didn't get it and, in retropect, I think I would have missed my family too much. (They wanted an 8 week commitment). 
      But now I really want to go to Norway.  And Greenland.  And the Faroe Islands.......

Friday, February 4, 2011

I won!

I have won a Literary Arts Fellowship for my novel in progress.  Still a bit in shock.  I really had -almost- forgotten that I had applied.  This is the second time and I thought it was a long shot.  I mean, I still feel like such a beginner as a writer, though when I recently looked up some queries, I realized that I've been sending things out for at least 8 years.  Not that those first stories were very good, but 8 years is a while. 
After my initial screaming, my thoughts quickly turned to, "Damm, now I really have to finish it and it has to be good."  No pressure!  I have to admit that I had hit a low point and this Fellowship is a great vote of confidence.  I've already done more work in a week than I had in the two months before. 
Go Barbara!!