Monday, January 30, 2012

The Creative Nap

There are a few things I do not get.

One, for example, is how a lone man, driving by himself can feel confident enough to honk at a woman walking down the road. Yuck.

 I don't get how I have come to look so completely dreadful in the mornings, when did that start? (Could it be Tina Fey was right? Is this the onset of decay?)

 I am not sure why I can't  return my books on time to the libarary when it is literally a block away.

WHY WORLD?! Why was  I born with hair that is genetically incapable of doing a gorgeous, movie star, side-swoop bun?

(So sad. Don't you just feel sorry for the guy? Poor little bun.)

More importantly, why is it that the more I learn about the craft that is to write, the more lost and overwhelmed I feel by the whole dang process? I  now look at my stories, which suddenly seem so dreadful and simple, and scan them for point-of-view flaws, rhyming scheme errors (iambic what?), and appeal for children. In most cases, I think, man, what was I thinking?

Let me tell ya, ignorance is bliss folks.

P.S. Argh. (In most cases I don't think "argh". I just like to pretend I'm a pirate on occasion.)

There is one thing I do get, however.
I'm on it. Got it covered. It's in the bag.

And that is the "creative nap". Yes, you heard me right. There is such a glorious thing!

Nancy Lamb's, The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, is full of helpful information. I must say however that I was especially taken by the section entitled, "The Creative Nap".

You see, I LOVE naps. If there was a Facebook page for naps, I would be their biggest fan. Actually,  I should be probably one of the most creative people out there if we were judging by an hours-spent-napping average (HPNA). My HPNA is quite high.

At first I thought I could attribute my fondness of siestas to my European heritage. But then I realized I was mostly German and that a two hour nap in the middle of the day would not be efficient enough, culturally speaking.

 Then I thought, well, I am a new mama. And then a grad student....So on and so forth. I know, excuses, excuses. The point is, I just love to nap. I love to wake up and feel energized. In fact, I am writing this half asleep this very moment.

 I should probably just kick up my feet and succumb to the drool fest that will inevitably occur in T minus five minutes. Especially considering I am seated on the "purple-people-eater". In case you have forgotten what she looks like, here is a refresher.

Ahhhh.....How could anyone resist?

As I was sayin....g,....I...zzzzzzz....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lessons for Next Time and... the Official Banana Peel Thursday Badge!

I left the house Saturday morning sportin' my lucky Frida Kahlo socks and my mom's old cowboy boots feeling pretty good about myself, ready for my two hour, caffeine-pumped, drive.  I was on my way to my first writing conference, a fancy nonfiction intensive. Out of all my manuscripts, only one is nonfictiony

As with most firsts, there is a learning curve to consider. Therefore, I have a few things I'm gonna keep in mind for next time I attend a conference, now that I know. In fact, I made a list for myself, to be printed out and pocketed for quick referencing convenience.


-DO try to act normal when you see someone you have connected with socially online, even though you feel you are on a first date arranged by an Internet match-making service where you know practically everything about them including their dog's name, how old their kids are, and whether or not they like the Rolling Stones, despite the fact you have never before heard their voice.

-DON'T be the first person to jump out of your seat and go talk to each speaker who just finishes and literally hasn't disconnected their laptop or literally hasn't had a chance to sit down...Yes. I was that person. Cringing with regret ever since.

-DO count to forty as soon as the speaker finishes, then get out of seat.

-DO slowly WALK to speaker's table, wait patiently in line, etc.

-DON'T approach an editor with, "I have a book for you! I'm not afraid!" It appears that they may avoid you at all costs after that. I wonder why?

-DO rehearse question(s) for agents to avoid awkward moments like: "Uh, I have looked on the Red Fox, uh,  uh, website...." Completely star-struck.  =)

-DON'T sit next to the cookie table.

It was an AMAZING event.  Excitingly enough, I discovered that I am a nonfictiony kind of gal!  What the heck have I been doing all this time?  Oh, yeah! Blogging! =)

Which leads me to my next topic:


I have been so, so lucky to receive the help of Heather Newman with the design of this year's Banana Peel Thursdays badge! Please check out her illustrations at

 So, without further ado...

She writes, she's classy, she's sassy, and she has a mess of banana peel stories to tell! I love her.

Should we name her?

Please feel free to copy the Banana Peel Thursday (BPT) badge with pride to your site if you are either:

1. my mom
2. a BPT contributing author
2. a BPT contributing commenter
3. Heather's mom
4. if you appreciate the idea of BPT and vow to return to read another post within this next year=)

If you do decide to display the badge, please remember to link it to the site's URL ( )so that any curious blog wanderers may check it out. =)

Thank you so much Heather Newman for your help! You are wonderful!

Make sure to check back this Banana Peel Thursday for our next amazing author's accounts of her own battles against banana peels.  HINT: You already love her. =)

Thanks so much!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hostess of 477 at Your Service, Now Where Did I Put My Cocktail?

4.77?  Nope.
47.7?  No!
477!   Yes!

477 is the number of human beings that visited this very site on the inaugural Banana Peel Thursday.  WOWZA! To me, this is unbelievable! It is also really thought provoking...

I am a terrible host. As soon as someone walks in my door, I don't know if I should give them a hug, hide a dirty sock I spy behind the couch or offer them somewhere to sit. Since I am so indecisive and awkward, I immediately start talking their ear off, to the point that in mid conversation, they feel parched and they have to ask me for a glass of water! Sheesh!

I have often thought how lucky I was to NOT be born in the twenties because I would have made an awful 50's housewife.

So what does this mean for someone who just started hosting guest authors on her blog? Is she doomed for the same crazed hostess fate? Well, I have learned a few things from this last week.

There are some definite perks of being a blog-host as opposed to an at-home-host. Let me share them with you. As a blog-host:

1. I don't have to clean my house

2. or do my hair

3. or find a shirt that doesn't make me look pregnant (my youngest is two, however, still packing)

4. WAIT TIME... there is wait time in between posts, between comments, etc., This allows me, as my blog-host-self, time to regain my rational thinking abilities so I don't sit there wondering what to say or do like my at-home-host-nincompoop-self would. 

 This week's experience also caused me to pause and reflect on how I could polish this series.  I paused, I reflected, and then I pondered...

1(a). How much luck the universe will actually have to dish out to me in the up coming months in order to find enough children's authors to participate in Banana Peel Thursdays each week (yikes!)...for the next year!!! (Double yikes!)

2(a). If there was something I could give each literary guest in return for their participation. I am so appreciative! Thinking bronzed banana peel, whatcha think?

3(a). If there was something to give returning viewers  in return for checking out these authors' posts. Again, so appreciative! =)

Then I realized how amazing it would be to create a badge to unite all of us who ADMIT to their banana peel slips and feel PRIDE in those slips (and any post-slip owies)!

So, in conclusion, I have two questions for YOU blogosphere...

1(b). For a future Banana Peel Thursdays (BPT) badge, I would love to create a silly slogan: I SLIP ON BANANA PEELS!*, for example...any ideas? Please shoot them my way!

*disclaimer: silly slogan example is not that silly

2(b). Is there any illustrator out there who would like to design a BPT badge just for kicks and a great, big bloggie hug? This badge would be made available for participating authors and/or readers to show on their blogs, who have no shame in admitting that they too fall on their tushies every once in a while!

Yes. Even her!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Introducing.... Banana Peel Thursdays!

Hello world!

So excited you could join me.  Well, today is the DAY! I would like to present to you my new weekly feature...Banana Peel Thursdays

What the heck does that mean?

Well, long, long December, I started this blog to document my own experience of becoming a writer of children's books, the ups, the downs and the down-right embarrassing. I have met some amazing individuals along the blogging way and have been very impressed by what they contribute to the online writing community. I was so inspired that I decided I wanted to contribute in some way as well. Having virtually no experience under my belt, I was at a loss. Then it hit me (it flew across the kitchen) ... a banana peel! That was it!

Banana Peel Thursdays are about validating the experiences of all authors (pre-published and published), recognizing that we are not alone in defeat and comprehending the fact that we ALL are susceptible to slipping on banana peels. This weekly feature will contain stories straight from the mouths of talented, published authors who are willing to describe their not-so-perfect experiences in their careers as writers. Each week I will post the story of a different children's author detailing their most humbling moments, often accompanied by other fascinating realizations they've faced along the way. 

I feel so lucky to have been in contact with such talent and that their work has graced my email inbox! They are truly great sports!  I hope that not only will these authors' stories humanize the experience for all of us who choose to write for children, but that these posts will allow the participating writers to be recognized and appreciated in the craft to which they have so wholly devoted themselves. 

Thank you so very much for joining me for the FIRST Banana Peel Thursday! Please be sure to subscribe to the blog or have posts emailed to you so that you don't miss out on all the greatness coming your way!

With that said, ehh hemmmm....I would like to introduce the first children's author to be featured...the wonderful Susanna Leonard Hill!


Elizabeth had this inspired idea.  "Let's get published authors to entertain up-and-coming writers with stories of when they were humbled, embarrassed or hit over the head with an aha moment."  Well who am I to say no to that?  The only question is which one of my MANY humiliating, embarrassing moments to share :)  Perhaps instead of one banana peel, I'll share a whole bunch.

My first book signing: I arrived at a local public school's book fair and sat before a cafeteria table that was FAR too big for my one little book. 

 I was not the only author in attendance.  Amy Axelrod was to my left.  Her table groaned under the weight of her numerous books, in hardcover and paperback, so many that the table couldn't hold them all and she had to stack some on the floor.  Charles Smith was to my right.  Same situation - countless amazing, very popular books.  Two other authors had fewer books than Amy and Charles, but way more than me!  Children and parents flocked to Amy and Charles and the others.  I sat there, hoping someone, anyone, would ask me to sign at least one copy of my little book.  I felt so small.  I remember hoping that a day would come when my table didn't look quite so empty!  Maybe I wouldn't have as many books as Amy and Charles - but at least two would be nice :)

My first school visit: Nobody told me what was involved in a school visit.  My friend, owner of a local bookstore, signed me up for the gig.  "What do I do?" I asked him.  "Just go and read your book," was his glib reply.  Well, this was hard enough.  What if they didn't like my book?  After all, they were in kindergarten and The House That Mack Built was really intended for preschool.  But I could read a book.  Except it turns out? it only takes about 4 minutes to read Mack.  I was supposed to keep 40 kindergartners entertained for 30 minutes.  I read the story and then we stared at each other.  I had no idea what to do next.  My hands began to shake.  My mouth was so dry I could barely articulate.  My teeth began to chatter with nerves and I had to clench my jaw to keep it under control.  You cannot rely on kindergartners to have useful questions to ask that you can take time answering.  The responses to "How old are you?" and "My uncle has a truck" are fairly limited :)  I found out the hard way exactly how long 30 minutes can be.  But the next time I went on a school visit you can bet the farm I was prepared!

My first conference: I was invited to speak at a conference for teachers.  Yikes!  I had grown fairly used to doing presentations for kids and was comfortable with that, but grown-ups!  That was a whole other thing!  The conference got off to a great start, though.  As I stood beside my table (now thankfully with a few more books on it!) a group of teachers approached purposefully.  Wow!  I thought.  They're coming over to look at my books!  How wonderful is that?  "Excuse me," said one of the ladies.  "Can you tell me where the rest room is?"  Oh.  A few minutes later, another woman approached.  She held a copy of someone else's picture book.  "How much is this?" she inquired.  "I'm sorry," I said.  "I don't know."  "Don't you work here?" she asked.  Well, actually, no.  Did my little name tag saying children's author and presenter not let her know who I was?  Did the sign saying "Author Signing" not clue her in?  You will be happy to know that I was able to point many visitors to the rest room that day.

Future Submissions:  After I got my first contract I was filled with confidence.  I was going to be a published writer!  I had written something that someone valued!  Well!  I was full of ideas.  I had plenty more where Mack came from.  I wrote and wrote and wrote.  And I waited for the next call with an offer.  Surely it would come soon!  Except you know what?  It didn't.  Turns out being published once is no guarantee of future publishing contracts.  I'm sure you all know this, but it came as a surprise to me.  At this point I have sold 9 books in the US and 1 in the Netherlands over the course of 10 years, which works out to about one a year, although that's not how it actually happened (I had 3 in one year once.) 

I am thrilled beyond measure to be able to say this.  Proud of my accomplishments.  But confident?  Not so much.  Published or not published, writers (and this is probably true of all creatives) are subject to discouragement, self-doubt, worry that they'll never have another good idea, or that they'll never publish a book (or another book).  Getting published doesn't make those things disappear.  In fact, sometimes, it makes them worse because you think, I did it before, why can't I do it now?  On the other hand, getting published really is magic.  It's a dream come true.  And I wish it for everyone reading this.  There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that compares to that phone call telling you an editor loves your story and is making you an offer to publish it :)  It won't make the writing easier.  It won't change who you are.  But it will certainly make you feel, at least for a while :) that all the hard work is worth it.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of the inaugural Banana Peel Thursday!

Susanna Leonard Hill is the author of  The House That Mack Built (Little Simon 2002), Taxi! (Little Simon 2005), Punxsutawney Phyllis (Holiday House 2005), No Sword Fighting In The House (Holiday House 2007), Not Yet, Rose (Eerdmans Books For Young Readers 2009), Airplane Flight (Little Simon 2009), Freight Train Trip (Little Simon 2009), Can't Sleep Without Sheep (Walker 2010), April Fool, Phyllis! (Holiday House 2011), and Beer Is Zo Moe (Veltman Uitgevers, 2010)  For general interest, Phyllis was translated into French for Scholastic Canada and published as Debout Marmotte.  Airplane and Freight Train are available in Japanese (I'm not even going to try to write the titles :))  Not Yet, Rose is available in Dutch as Een broertje of een zusje, Roos?  And Can't Sleep is supposed to be coming out in Korean one of these days... 

Please support Susanna by checking out her delightful books!
If you would like more information on Susanna and her work or should you wish to contact her, you can visit the following sites:

Thanks so much for visiting and a special thank you to Susanna for putting yourself out there and for even considering opening my email regarding this project! =)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get Ready! The Countdown Has Begun...

Are you ready blogosphere? The countdown has begun...

Tomorrow I will reveal the NEW WEEKLY FEATURE to my blog. I hope you laugh, cry, smile, wince, feel verklempt ...

whatever your wonderful, literary heart desires.

Just know, that you are not alone. We all slip on banana peels. ALL of us!

Yes, little baby. It's true. Sorry to burst your bubble.

I hope to see you here!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Recipe for Goodness a la Blog

Good morning.
Buenos dias.
Guten morgen.
gop-o-o-dop  mop-o-rop-nop-i-nop-gop. (Opp language)

Why is it a good morning?

Well... I will have you know blogosphere that I, Elizabeth Stevens Omlor I, have actually completed my first picture book for 12 x 12  in 2012!

 In case you doubt, I offer proof.

One down. Eleven to go.
I know, I didn't think it could be done so soon, what with so many dead-end ideas, two children, two cats,  a husband and a new part time job starting up, not to mention a dreadful paper cut.

To be honest, all of those things listed above actually inspire me to write. They breathe life into my world. (That includes you too, Sid Vicious... part cat, part evil villain.)

What really knocked my socks off was the fact that I completed a brand spankin' new manuscript despite my full blown BLOG ADDICTION. Who's with me here?! Anyone?

I read blogs, write blogs and search the web for other bloggers like me. It's an addiction, complete with a cycle and all.

In fact, I have taken it to a whole NEW level. I have dedicated the next 21 days of my bloggin' life to comment on at least five other blogs per day! (Comment Challenge 2012, hosted by Mother Reader and Lee Wind).  You see, there are a whole slew of blogging contests out there and I have only tapped the surface. Isn't is glorious!

Or is it?

Since I began blogging, my laptop has become another of my body's appendages. (Although much less jiggly than the rest). As my portal to a community of writers, where initially I only expected to establish a lone page of some random, wacky thoughts, the blogosphere has allowed me to speak about something I am completely obsessed with, children's literature, and allowed me to learn about a craft that has completely over taken my life, with a great group of dedicated individuals, utterly unkonwn  to me a month ago. (Whew..I love commas.)

I have learned that bloggers who write for children are creative, let me tell you. Each blog has it's own appeal, ways to attract traffic and most importantly, ways to give back to the writing community. Contests, activities, give aways, book critiques, etc. This got the wheels turnin' in my little noggin of mine.

What in the world can I offer to the blogosphere that has not already been done to support other aspiring writers? 
Then it came to me. My idea.
It's appropriate. It's relevant. It's wonderful! (Cue squealing, giddy dance.) I can't WAIT to share it with the universe....when the stars align. (If the stars align.) That's right, I need to tweak and polish it a little and out! Socks will be knocked off! (Maybe).

Key ingredients of my experimental recipe for Goodness a la Blog?

-A few cups of  published authors with a dash of humility, a sense of humor and a willingness to tell their story
-A dollop of blog followers willing to read
-An ounce of dedication on my part to get things done that I say I am going to do
-A whole lotta luck

 What else will this mean? Well folks, this will mean more structure to my blogging schedule and postings (a means to cap my addiction =) ). Each post also will hopefully contain more purpose, less rambling and most important, LESS ME! (Thank goodness because I am really sick of myself!)

Please stay tuned to discover what good things HOPEFULLY will be coming our way soon!=)

P.S. If you are in fact a published author (or are best friends forever with one) and would like to partake in my efforts to validate and inspire us pre-published authors, PLEASE let me know!
There is no turning back for me now, it's in writing! YIKES!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

News on Operation Motivation: Sarah Weeks Wins: Beats Bikini Threat

Okay, so I think I am going to start my very own unofficial Sarah Weeks Fan Club for Adults. Who's with me?

She's amazing. Not only is the author's picture book, Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash funnier with each read, but the woman's novels are FABULOUS!

As part of my "research" on becoming a writer, I just finished reading her work, Jumping the Scratch. The characters were warm and their stories were rich and beautiful. (Except for the creepy guy of course). So with a feeling of utter fulfillment in my gut after turning the last page of the book, I was ready to move to the next novel staring at me from "Dusty" my neglected, red nightstand.

I tried and tried and tried again to get into it, but the language did not compare with the beauty and ease of Weeks's words. It was flat and boring. (I know, I know, who am I to judge with my unfound voice and wackadoodle language? See "Voice" post.) So, I did something that I HATE to do... I just put it down.

Am I a quitter? Yup. A bad example to my children? Sure. But hey, life is short people! Please don't forget that my middle name is practically gumption (Please see: "Gumption Junction" post to fully grasp).

Because I have been in the mood to create, and bake, and be chubby, I went right over and picked up Weeks's Pie. (Insert family's singing of  incomplete version of  the song, "Pie" here...Pie, pie, me oh my...I love pie).

After clearing the book of what seemed to be a foot of dust and a few whimsical dust bunnies, I was reminded why initially I was turned off by the book: the cover art (a cat and a pie). Although much better than I could EVER do, did not appeal to me as an adult.

But as we all know, we shouldn't judge a book by its cover =), and from the very first page, I was hooked. This was when it occurred to me that something needed to be done to show this woman some appreciation.

Hence the formation of  the unofficial Sarah Weeks Fan Club for Adults, Population: 1.  Next book on my "Dusty" queue, another Weeks novel: So B It.  How can some human beings be SO good at what they do?

And so I reflect.

Inspired by the versatility of an author such as Weeks, I have decided that I want to develop as a serious writer of both picture books and books for tweens. Reading Weeks's work is more motivating than being told I'll have to sport a bikini during the upcoming Spring Break 2012!

(Doesn't this alternative just seem more comfortable?)

I am on a mission, ready to revise what drafts I do have, with the goal to polish and perfect the language. Even if it takes twenty years, it will be well worth the wait. Someday, folks. Someday.

So, with that said, as the self-proclaimed president and only member of the unofficial Sarah Weeks Fan Club for Adults,(AKA, SWFCA) I ask you two questions:

What is YOUR favorite novel for tweens? (What should I add to my "Dusty" queue?)
Who is one author you enjoy so much that you would consider creating an unofficial fan club for? (Uncomfortable ending sentence with preposition, but too lazy to rethink sentence).

Please do tell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Public Reading, Number One. Check!

"Listen with your ears and imagine with your brain." she whispered to the group of  four year olds seated like pretzels on the wooden floor beneath her.

Yesterday was the first time I read one of my manuscripts publicly and in front of an audience of its intended age group. My daughter is "child of the week" at her preschool. Yes folks. This means she gets to stand at the front of the line on several different occasions throughout out the week as well as share her special toys and  pictures of her life. She also has taken it upon herself to remind us lowly folk at home of her special powers,  as she delegates where each family member will sit at the dinner table or notifies us she gets to butter her own bread. "I'm child of the week", she proclaims.

During this week, many parents when it's their student's turn to be "child of the week", present special things related to their child's life. A daddy park ranger lugged in a beautiful piece of wood, native to the area he works. A farmer grandpa and his duck serenaded the class with a guitar song he had written about his grandson, (FYI the duck was just there for moral support-no serenading done on his part. ) Immediately I fantasized about my husband,  being the involved and silly daddy he is, to go in front of her class to play one of his instruments or do magic tricks, etc. Unfortunately, the man has to work.

So what could I offer as the ambassador of my family? I brainstormed and came up with a multiple choice quiz for you. (WARNING: Former teacher in me resurfacing)

I could...

a) do some Salsa moves I learned abroad, where my movements might slightly resemble Elaine's exotic  moves from Seinfeld.
b) relive my sixth grade experience of singing solo in front of a cringing audience of parents, teachers,   and students
c) share my first silly story I ever wrote in my whole, entire adult life 
d) all of the above
e) none of the above

If you guessed (d), you are absolutely WRONG! The correct answer is (c)!

The hours leading up to the reading were intense. My hands were sweaty. A big part of me was doubting if I could pull off reading a story, without any pictures, to a group of preschoolers.  I kept asking my daughter, "Are you sure you want me to read the story today?", half-hoping (keyword = half), that she might give me a good reason to back out of the promise.

As I practiced my reading in front of the mirror and repeatedly recited the mantra: "I am a capable person. I can read to four year olds. I am a capable person. I can read to four year olds", I tried to snap myself out of those nagging feelings of insecurity and to remind myself  of the fact that I am a former high school teacher for Pete's sake!

Then I realized, it wasn't about speaking in front of  kids. It was about sharing my own story with those for whom it was written. This was to be my first test. Would my story stand a chance?
As I sat before the small audience of four year olds, teachers, and parents, before I began to read, I glanced over to my daughter seated on the stool next to me for some reassurance. She yawned. Not a good sign.

And then it came back to me. Just like they say, it's like falling off a bike, I mean, riding a bike.  I found myself prepared to read just as I would if I were reading something  for the first time with a group of my own students.

The following reading practices came back to me just in the nick of time (hallelujah!):

a) pre-reading questions to ensure comprehension of key vocabulary in the reading
b) silly questions to engage listeners in the content of the book
c) check for comprehension questions throughout the reading

Well, I am still alive and kicking and I must say that these three, last minute components really helped me along in this first adventure. (Not to mention a whole lotta coffee!) 
I would love to know, what experiences have you had reading your work to audiences? What helped to make or break your experience?

P.S. I would love to deliver a quick, too-late disclaimer for a previous post...
Conversation between husband and wife:

"Zombies? You called your blog readers zombies?"

What? Is that what is sounds like? No! That isn't what I meant! There was that picture at the top? The women in the picture reminded me of some batch of creepy Twilight Zone zombies. They were wearing rather large clocks that reminded me of all the deadlines fast approaching! Uh oh."

That is the problem of the digital age. You don't have the opportunity to explain yourself or to see the reactions of your comments in person, as I did with the audience of little four year olds seated in front of me just yesterday.

I would never think to call any person a zombie unless they were a tad grey and trying to eat me. I apologize for any confusion and disgust I may have caused. =)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tick, tock

Tick, tock.

These human clock zombies are taunting me. They know the countdown has begun. Why do they torture me so? Twelve picture books in twelve months. While I am sure ideas will come to me at some point,  it is always a little worrisome to not have any up my sleeve at any given time. I used to wonder if each idea I had for a story was just a fluke, something never to occur again. But I have come to trust that an idea will in fact come and of course, at most opportune of times, such as:

while I am mid-drool, at three in the morning,
while I am liberating the vacuum attachment of a matted clump of cat fur balls,
while I am slopping up applesauce flung from my "terrific" toddler's spoon

But for now, I will just sit here, living it up, drooling, liberating and slopping, waiting for those ideas to flood my head.

Tick, tock.

(P.S. Human clock zombies, have some compassion, would ya?)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gumption Junction

     Okay folks. This is it. 2012 is here. It will not go down in history as the year the world ended as my husband unfortunately believes to be true ("Why paint the kitchen? The world is going to end this year anyways")...Oh, no. It's much bigger than that. This is the year of Gumption Junction.

     Gumption, which happens to be my favorite word because I like saying -gump-, is practically  my middle name passed down to me a generation from my paternal father. Yes, my father and I are both genetic recipients of this thing called gumption. A person with gumption often possesses a thing I like to refer to as the gumptious focus. This focus can also be described as mono-vision, having your blinders on, etc. As I see it, the gumptious focus can be a wonderful and beautiful thing. It'll  get you where you want to go that's for sure. With this focus, I have:

  • believed myself capable of singing solo at my sixth grade graduation (sorry class of '92)
  • traveled to the ends of the earth to study Spanish (Que barbaridad!)
  • become a skilled gardener (thank you Home Depot for your dead plant return policy)
  • learned to sew (here's to you stitch taker-outer thingy)
  • found the most rustic and perfect and beautiful kitchen table complete with two leaves, a bench, four chairs that we can guarantee won't tip over on our poor guests (story for another time), all at a bargain of a price. If you don't believe how glorious my table is, just see for yourself. Cue the singing angels:

See how it shines? It's magical. You can sit and eat there ALL DAY LONG.

The point is, once I set my mind to it,  I just can't stop myself people. I get things done. Is it productive? Yes. Is it annoying to all around me? Why, yes. Is it normal? Definitely... not?
With that said, Gumption Junction, I have plans for you.

Not only do I promise in 2012 to be a better:


...I am determined to go full force into the world of children's literature. If you doubt my gumptious focus, I have just ordered a set of 250 free business cards to prove it. They read something along the lines of...

                            Elizabeth Stevens Omlor
                           Children's Literature Author and Enthusiast

 These mail order business cards (that also mention how they were free on the back, by the way. I didn't dare spend the extra $3.50 to have the plain, white back option), will be ready to be tossed into lonely, street gutters and mingle in trashcans with half finished Diet Cokes at SCBWI conferences (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators- that's right. I'm now a member! P.S. Should I have said half-full Diet Cokes? Does that qualify me as a pessimist? Shucks.)

     And thanks to the current state of the California budget, I will be taking a semester off from school and therefore have a little extra time on my hands to not only read, write and participate in challenges such as Julie Foster Hedlund's 12 x 12 in 2012 , but to...find an agent! I will submit and submit and submit some more until I find one poor soul to represent me. That's right! This I do know. How do I know? Not only did my Yahoo! horoscope tell me so, but this is the year of Gumption Junction.

Happy New Year!