Looking for direction…

Well today is the day to bare my soul. Ok it’s not quite that dramatic. But for me it is scary. After reading Ruth Ayer’s post yesterday about what was holding me back in my writing I decided to take a leap of faith.
Last summer I wrote every morning. But for some reason this summer I just can’t get the momentum going. I write; but nothing worthwhile (it seems to me). I write about my day, or backyard, thoughts about my classroom but nothing that I really want to write. I want to write stories. Stories about long ago, or today, or tomorrow. I want to write stories to be made into picture books. Stories kids want to read.

And last summer I did. I wrote one story that I thought was pretty good, and could see in my mind how it would be as a picture book. I could see the illustrations (see not draw I am no artist) in my head, and feel the story in my heart. I asked the opinion of my two best critics (my older brothers) and they made suggestions and I revised. Just like a real author. I was going to put it in a contest last February. But I missed the deadline (I rarely miss deadlines).

So it sat. It sat on my computer. It sat in my bag. It sat in my head and my heart. And I think that is why I can’t write now. I can’t get it out of my mind and the “could have beens.”

I know nothing about publishing or agents or even the types of stories publishers are looking for. I have no one for a writing group other than you, my friends I’ve found through the blogging world and facebook. I don’t even know if it’s a good idea to post it here. What if it is good and someone else in cyber-land decides to use it. What if it’s not good, and I’m just kidding myself? What if it’s too region specific, age specific, era specific, any specific?  But what if I never do anything with it and it just sits?

So I’m looking for advice, critiques, suggestions, anything so that the remainder of the summer I will at least know I did SOMETHING and maybe from here I can play, discover and build.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Glenda Garrison on June 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I loved the story, reminded me of when I was a little girl. My mother did the same thing. Hated picking the plums but loved the jelly. Made me just a little homesick for a time.


  2. I love this–it is such a sweet nostalgic story. Great word choice throughout. I especially liked that you started and ended with the phrase “In the July of an Oklahoma summer.”


  3. Your story reminds me of Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack, the same kind of detailed memory of time with grandma. My mouth is watering just thinking of your plum jam. Yum! Isn’t that what a story should do?


  4. Posted by jmoore on June 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    is this good? yes, very very good! i think more picking blackberries and the memories with my gparents. is it area specific? yes, it would be perfect for this central region and i can see it now in lil bed and breakfast shops, brace books and all other okla specific shops. what do you do now? submitt it to someone! you r wonderful writer!!!


  5. Posted by Michelle on June 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    love it! brought me right back to Ralston…


  6. Posted by grade4wizard on June 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Brave writer. You took the step to show your writing to us in this community. You have created such a warm mood for this memory. I could relate to the text even though I am all the way in Estonia. I can imagine your story as a picture book. I am sure you have some other stories waiting to be written this summer. Keep writing,


  7. I agree with Terje-you are brave to share, but thank you for this. It’s a beautiful memory story that you have written with sweetness, right? I like certain phrases that seem both true and yet new: cows stretch their gritty tongues, the prospect of prairie and plums (p’s on the tongue-nice), the harmony of jars. And I like the story so full of waiting, of anticipation, & of high reward. Please do more stories, but do something first with this one.


  8. Posted by Michelle on June 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Wow! Tammy — really? This is just phenomenal! I think it is a sweet story filled with juicy goodness and heart. Love the short lines and longer lines, the repetition, the alliteration, the vividness of it all — great word choice. Every detail is drawn out – picture perfect.

    This narrative is a moment in time that is perfectly picked at the freshest time. Your time is now — Please promise us that you will take the next steps — I’m sure there is an illustrator out there that would love, love, love to draw beautiful pictures for this book. Not that it needs pictures because you paint it so well with your words. With little schema of Oklahoma in July or Chickasaw plums, I was still with you on your journey of plum picking. What a beautiful story.

    Thank you for sharing. I know it takes a lot of heart, soul, and GUTS to share your personal writing, but I am SO glad that you did! I can’t wait to buy one of the first copies! Can I get that autographed? 🙂


  9. I love the image of you and your brothers being nose high to the counter and watching your grandmother can jelly. What a beautiful memory. You truly created wonderful mental images for me with your wise story telling.


  10. OMG, that was amazing. I was quickly taken back to canning sessions with my Amish friends in PA. You painted such a vivid picture. Your words rolled off my tongue and helped me visualize the illustrations. I can see using this as a mentor text with my primary students. Incredible!

    I’m with Michelle, find someone to give this too. You took a HUGE step sharing your story with us…now please take the next step to get it published. I’d love one of your first copies. Good luck, and PLEASE move forward with this exceptional piece.


  11. Thank you so much for all the nice comments. It was kind of scary putting myself out there…but you made it all worthwhile. My brother of course chewed me out for not having sent it some place by now, but I just don’t know how it all works. The funny thing is though in my email today was a post from storybird that was an interview with a lady that is an editor for children’s books. She usually takes unsolicited manuscripts but has stopped right now BUT! She gave the name of a man (Arthur Levine) that still is. AND she has written a book that shares what to do with your stories. SO for anyone that is interested her is her site and name of her book. http://cherylklein.com/buying-second-sight/ Happy writing y’all and thank you again.


  12. I’m glad you took the plunge and shared!


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