Sunday, October 18, 2009

WIK, Christmas, and Muscadines

Yesterday at WIK (writing & illustrating for kids/regional SCBWI) I was reminded that one of my deepest desires is to have a beautifully illustrated picture book with my words in it and my name on the cover in the hands of one of my grandchildren. Why is that so hard? Writers who haven't tried it assume writing for children only requires shorter words, fewer words, and simpler words. Wrong! So wrong.

But that tale has been told many times over. To sum it up, an excellent picture book is possibly the water color of all the genres.

Happiness is having my words of any kind accepted for publication. Christmas is a Season! 2009 will be coming out soon from Excalibur Press and editor, Linda Parker, with a group of seasonal short stories and essays. That project last year produced readings all over the state, and culminated with a reading at Spalding University at the spring reunion. My story, "Finding the Lord" will be included this year. A lot humorous, a little serious--and it actually has a plot!

Kathy Rhodes, editor at Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, has just accepted "Woman's Wait" for the first 2010 issue online. (Thanks to my friend, Joan Donaldson, for suggesting that submission!) Don't you love the title? If you don't know the word muscadine, you may not know scuppernong either. Grapes. One beautifully deep purple; the other, green. For jelly. And muscadine pies.

Did you know that if you make muscadine jelly or pear preserves every fall of your life, they will never turn out the same color? My sisters, Annie Bell, Ann, and Marie, Ree, taught me that and a lot of other nuances about the preservation process.

Scuppernong Jelly

It’s that time:
my old nemesis

when a muggy hush
falls each day
with temperatures

a crow’s caw
from the pine
is intensified

when my fall harvest
has dwindled to
greenish-gold grapes

smashed, cooked,
bubbling up hard
in clear juice,

to be strained
through cheesecloth.
Scalded jars

wait to the side.
Filling, cooling,
skimming, sealing.

It’s that time,
phlegmatic, slow,
sticky sweet.

Message in a Blog

  About twenty Birmingham language arts teachers endured my holding forth yesterday in my current gig as a Road Scholar ...