Come and Play

h1 March 10th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

Jules: I have an idea for a new series of sorts on this, our impish blog (if you haven’t noticed, the nickname we’ve been granted, which has stuck, is 7-Imp). I’m reading this brilliant, little-known book called The Book Thief. Have you heard of it? Yes, I’m just a bit slow in getting to it. Anyway, I was just emailing my Four Favorite Readers in All the World about a passage in it that is just so beautiful, and it gave me this new 7-Imp weekend-series idea. I didn’t think I’d have time for blogging this weekend, but I’m just all inspired now.

So, at the risk of sounding like Oprah, the idea is that every weekend we can cyber-gather and discuss what Beautiful and/or Kick-Ass Things Happened to You or That You Read or That You Noticed This Week (yes, I need a better name for the series. Any ideas?). If you’re a Patty Griffin fan, as Eisha and I are, you may have heard or read her discuss in several interviews that, since the world is just scary – what with wars and suffering and environmental destruction and many other innumerable dreadful things — it’s nice to take moments to notice the good (a recurring theme in her music as well). Sure, she’s not the first person to say this, but, hey, it’s on my mind, as I just read an interview with her.

I shall begin:

1> The aforesaid moment in The Book Thief (spoiler coming up): When Liesel finds Rosa –- after Hans has left for the war — sitting with his accordion strapped to her and her fingers hovering over the keys in the middle of the night. “There was . . . an acknowledgement that there was great beauty in what she was currently witnessing, and she chose not to disturb it.” Even better is the fact that Zusak brings relief to this heart-shattering, soul-shaking poignancy (can you tell I liked that part?) by having Rosa snore again and having Liesel think, “{w}ho needs bellows . . . when you’ve got a pair of lungs like that?”;

2> The lyrics to and one-word chorus (“sun”) of “Burgundy Shoes”; the piano in “Someone Else’s Tomorrow”; and the guitar feedback in “Getting Ready” on the new Patty Griffin CD;

3> The fact that we have three great interviews coming up, one of them being with M.T. Anderson, who visited Eisha at her library this week just to get a photo for the interview and in which they’re holding my disembodied head. Confused? The interview will be posted soon, so you’ll just have to wait;

4> My daughter turns three on Monday and may actually have a pony at her party (her part-time pony that lives at her grandfather’s). A pony at a child’s birthday party – it’s terrifically cliché, huh? Now we just need to add a clown. Best of all, she’ll be getting good books for her birthday, including the new Polo adventure; Punk Farm, which she really wants to own yet somehow hasn’t ‘til now; and Steve Jenkins’ and Robin Page’s I See a Kookaburra, which she seemingly can’t live without. I also love the imagination of a three-year old. I’ve been reading The Higher Power of Lucky this week (did you all know that the word “scrotum” is on the first page?), and she picks it up, pretends to be reading it by making up a stream of nonsense words, and has named it The Lost and Found Girl Who is Good. As far as I can tell thus far (I’m about half-way through the book), that would actually suffice as an alternate title for the book, no?

eisha: I love Jules’s idea, and I’m totally game. Here goes:

1> Well, you already mentioned that M.T. Anderson showed up at my library to have his picture taken with me, along with his charming girlfriend, and we just talked books and Nashville and blogs and awards and stuff, and I had such a great time. Why don’t excellent authors just drop by my little library branch and hang out with me all the time, I wonder? Sure, I might not get a lot of work done, but still…

Feathers 2> I just finished Jacqueline Woodson’s new middle-grade novel, Feathers, this morning. I immediately turned back to the beginning and started it over. Yes, even with the huge pile of TBRs I’ve got sitting around. It’s that good. I’m going to write more about it, of course, but I’m hoping I’ll get to see her Monday night at a reading (if I can figure out how to get from my library to that one in less than 30 minutes), so I’ll probably wait until after that so I can include that experience in the review.

3> Last night I tried White Sangria for the first time. It’s really good!

Jules: Anyone else? What do you think of this series idea? Will you play weekly? What would you call it? Is it just a bad idea?

29 comments to “Come and Play”

  1. Nancy’s (GTW) Good things of the week:

    I went to Glamour Shots and got photos taken. First of all the session was totally fun. They did my hair, they made me up, they put me in ridiculous poses, they praised me and made sure my bra strap wasn’t showing — what more could I ask for. Then I got the photos on Thursday, and I am so happy with how they came out! So happy that I may just put one of them up on my blog.

    My mother read The Book Thief, and she loved it as much as I did. This was a wonderful thing, because while she and I like a lot of the same books, it is so much fun to share one we both LOVE. The book was just special, and I want to share it with so many people.

    Someone at work told me I was “a breath of fresh air” because when I say I will help, I do. That was a nice thing to hear.

    Oh, and I shared my Glamour Shots photos with friends, and they wrote back with praise and admiration. Which is as it should be, not because I am so deserving of the praise, but because they are such good friends.

  2. Great idea! !

    Here’s my list for this week:
    – we had a completely unscheduled (very rare) Saturday today and had a fabulously free flowing, mostly stay-at-home day. My 2 girls feverishly played pretend games of their own making. I baked 70 muffins of various varieties and even made a real home-made meal. Then we all danced around like fools
    – our weekly downloads for JOMB podcast reached a record 3500. woohoo!
    – we have a super fun interview with Daniel Pinkwater scheduled for publication on Monday
    – I’m haveing a great time working on my first two episodes of my new segment on GNM Parents entitled “Swimming in Literary Soup!”
    – no scheduled activities tomorrow either. Thank Goodness for March Break!!
    – my friends at 7-imp started a wonderfully positive Saturday “Why I love life today” segment

    Oh- and here is one of my favourite quotes:
    “Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things are”. Thanks for giving me reason to stop and make some JOY.

    Let’s make ourselves lots to report next week…

  3. You definitely picked the right time for me to “come and play” I had a terrific, marvelous, so good, very great week!

    1. I know you ladies have your literary idols–so do I. If you read my post, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, on March 7th you might have a clue who one of my idols is. Well…I’ll tell you anyway so you don’t have to guess. It is Joseph Bruchac. He was the guest speaker at our reading council dinner on Wednesday. We sat and chatted during dinner that evening. Then he visited my children’s literature class at Boston University on Thursday…and after class we had another wonderful dinner and conversation. He is such a gentle, warm, and knowledgeable man I could have talked to him forever.

    2. I picked up the new Douglas Florian poetry book, COMETS, STARS, THE MOON, AND MARS,
    yesterday. It’s great. I think I’ll write a review of it for Poetry Friday.

    3. This one has nothing to do with books–but it made my heart happy. The daughter of one of my best friends has been having some problems with her first pregnancy. She got good news from her doctor on Monday.

  4. Fab idea, dudes! Count me in. I hope the party with pony will be great, Jules. Eisha–I really want to read “Feathers” now. Nancy–awesome about the glamour shots and good friends. Can’t beat that. And, Andrea. Wonderful news re: podcasts. 3500. Wow!

    Okay, the good:

    –55 degrees today! No ugly coat. No blizzards. No ice. Errands were trouble free and actually fun. The sun was out and my mood literally is high. I’m such a SAD-sufferer and every year I say I will take action. Then spring comes and I am happy again! And productive! (And I completely forget winter exists.)

    –$15.80 in overdue library fines. But, my favorite slacker librarian was at the desk today and he only “noticed” $5 of those fines. I HEART slacker librarian!

    –Daylight savings time. More sunshine!!

    –Great content for the next Forest. I’m editing with pleasure. Reviews came out of the woodwork. MotherReader sent in a kick-ass article at the last minute, saving me from writing one. Great Pinkwater interview from Andrea. Life is good.

    –One kid’s already asleep, the other’s exhausted from five hours on the ice. A brand new copy of “Borat” is in the house along with a husband and a bottle of wine.

    –Lisa Yee responded to my daughter’s review of “So Emily Ebers” and my daughter is starstruck.

  5. LOVE this idea, you guys. We all need some weekly happy.

    Here’s my good: I decided to set a good example for all the other writers out there, and spend this entire week pampering myself. I’ve been working really hard lately (turned in a new novel recently, etc.), and I leave on a book tour a week from tomorrow.

    So my husband and dog and I are in my favorite mountain town right now, and in the past six days I’ve done yoga five times, gotten two massages, a facial, and a mani-pedi.

    And let me be clear: I NEVER do something like this. I’m all about frugal, nose to the grindstone, it’s not worth anything unless people see you suffering.

    But you know what? That’s bull. And I plan on making sure every other new writer out there knows it. If we’re going to keep being creative, fun, inspiring, entertaining storytellers, then we have to take care of the machine. The machine includes our bodies–making sure they feel healthy, unclenched, relaxed–as well as our brains. That means curling up with a book, with a blanket, with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

    In other words, writers, women, people in general are allowed to be nice to ourselves. It’s all going to be okay.

    That’s my happy thought for the week.

  6. Oh! I must have posted AT THE SAME TIME as Elaine and Robin. Couldn’t have chosen better people.

    How about: 7 Good things before Monday?


  7. Hey, dudes. It’s my birthday today! I am old enough to be y’all’s mamaw, but what the heck! Junior, his dad, and two friends with March birthdays, and I had a little party with pizza and birthday cake. Can’t beat that.

  8. You all RAWK (I just made up that spelling. It’s disgusting, isn’t it?).

    Thanks so much for playing.

    Nancy — I, too, think you’re a breath of fresh air.

    Andrea — Congrats on 3,500 downloads, the Pinkwater interview (can’t wait), and, duuuuude, 70 MUFFINS? Who are you feeding? When we have our kidlit blogger conference that you dream of, will you feed us some muffins? . . . Aren’t unscheduled days great? I’m a big believer in them.

    Elaine — Congrats on Bruchac. Will you be posting about it? Good news about your friend’s daughter, too . . . Eisha and I have a college friend who is way too young to be suffering from breast cancer (not that any age is ever a good time, but you know what I mean). But I just saw a wonderful photo of her with a huge smile and holding up a shirt that says “CCKMA — Cancer Can Kiss My Ass” to which I say hallelujah.

    Kelly — Wine and Borat. Have fun. I want to see that. I’ve been sitting on Angels in America but haven’t had time to watch it. Apparently, Sendak makes a wordless cameo, too. Thanks for the suggested title, too. How about “7 Impossibly Good Things Before Monday”?

    Robin — I’m going to try to apply your pampering manifesto to my life.

    Susan — HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Perfect that your interview here at 7-Imp will be Monday, so close to your birthday.

    Thanks again to all. Maybe we really will make this a series.

    Oh, and Eisha, Woodson’s Locomotion rocked my world and (speaking of a book making you cry in a public place, which we were discussing today on email) made me cry while I was reading it in a Borders bookstore. As lame as this is, I don’t like crying in public, so I had to quickly adjust and act like, I dunno, there were onions in my coffee or something. Thanks for mentioning her new one.

  9. Kelly, had to say a special hurray for you on the 55 degrees. I don’t know how people live through winters like you’ve described. You must have extra body parts I don’t know about.

    And Susan, Happy Birthday! Nothing better than a birthday.

    All of your lists were so sweet to see. Glad everyone had such nice things to celebrate this week.

  10. I second everything Jules said, with a super special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Susan, and to Miriam! Thanks to all of you for your responses, I really needed some encouragement to focus on the positive everyday beautiful things right about now, and this was just the best idea ever, J.

  11. … and I am so totally craving muffins right now.

  12. Jules,

    I just published my post (Sunady morning) about Joe Bruchac at Blue Rose Girls. I am so upset that most of the pictures I took are blurry.

    Happy Birthday to Susan. And if she thinks she’s old enough to be your mamaw…I guess that makes me almost old enough to be your grandmaw!

  13. Great idea! We suggest “Seven Wonderful Things” as a title, as you never stick to the seven anyway. 🙂

    Good things that happened this week:

    1) I found out my sequel to Something Rotten – which comes out this October – is officially a go! Something Wicked, based on Macbeth, will bow Fall of 2008.

    2) We’re on the cusp of what we hope is our last family move – to the mountains of North Carolina – and we visited this week to check out our 4-year-old daughter’s potential Montessori pre-school. It’s everything we could have hoped for an more, and now we’re absolutely desperate to move.

    3) During said trip, I had a major breakthrough in the planning of a new book I’m writing called “Fantasy Baseball,” in which characters from famous children’s fantasy novels play baseball in a big tournament.

    4) Wendi finished my Mudville Nine jersey, which meant I could finish my stupid and silly and delightfully juvenile submission for the Sci-Fi Channel reality show “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?”

    5) Sunday breakfast: homemade blueberry pancakes!

  14. I have to confess it wasn’t the greatest week for me, so I appreciate the push to find something good.

    The Good: Today I’m taking Cheetah & PeterParker to see the local high school play of The Wizard of Oz.

    I had a better than expected turnout at a recent library program.

    I found out I could make a change with a work schedule I thought was impossible and by doing it I just made my life easier.

    I read the ARC of Cecil C’s GN Plain Janes & it was all that and then some.

  15. What a neat idea! I must admit that focusing on the good side of things isn’t exactly my strength. It’s great to have a push to do so, and to read the happy thoughts of everyone else (Happy Birthday, Susan! Happy warm weather, Kelly!).

    Good things that happened this week:

    – Spring has sprung here in San Jose this weekend, 70s and sunny in the afternoons, and I went for a walk yesterday. Hoping to do so today, too.

    – I made a dent in my to be reviewed stack yesterday, reading and reviewing five picture books (with the reviews spread out over the next few days). Cybils winner Scaredy Squirrel is way cool!

    – Mheir and I went to a party at a friend’s house last night, and ended up sitting around talking with people until after midnight. This made daylight savings a bit rough this morning, but it was worth it. We reconnected with some people we hadn’t seen in a while, and made some new friends, too.

    Hmm, in retrospect, yesterday was a pretty fine day. And now there’s this new 7-Imp talk-fest to look forward to every weekend, so that’s cool, too.

  16. – My cat, Hollywood, is pretending NOT to watch me out of the corner of her eye as I type this. She makes me happy and I make her my top priority. (Her next check-up is on Wednesday. Please say a little prayer for her.)

    – I attended a screening yesterday for a documentary I took part in.

    – I received 15+ books to read and review last week. Three days in a row, the mail carrier brought me such lovely presents that I didn’t know where to begin!

    Happy birthday to your daughter!

  17. Love this idea! It’s fun to read everybody’s positivity…

    Here’s mine:

    – Hubby and I did the final walk thru on the house this morning, and it looks like we’re all set to be homeowners tomorrow!

    – I had an usually small attendance at a booktalk this week, but those who did attend were very appreciative of the booktalk.

    – It is amazingly sunny today.

    – My musician husband taught me to play the drums yesterday, and he says I’m a natural. Anyone want to be in my band?

  18. I thought B*KATHY for Beautiful or Kick-Ass Things That Happened to You might work. That said, I’m feeling at a bit of a loss after a fairly hectic weekend of in-laws and spelling bees and whatnot. Still…

    * In rereading the work of the Bros. Grimm the first story ended with this line “You see, that’s the way of the world”. And now I can’t that Earth Wind and Fire song out of my head.

    * Even though I was a little grouchy, and they’re really totally off my diet, my sweetie bought me a package of Easter colored mini peanut butter cups and said I didn’t have to share with anyone (I shared anyway).

    * I’m trying out a new cookbook this week, all Greek, and tonight’s first meal was a stew in parchment pockets that kicked royal butt! Even the kids dug it, which is the kind of high praise even professional chef’s crave. Not that I’m a pro chef or anything, it’s just that you can’t pull anything past a kid.

    And so it goes.

  19. Great things that happened this week:

    1) I’ve been a secret admirer of 7-Imp, but could never figure out how to jump in with a comment, so today, I finally found it!

    2) I gave my first booktalk to three classes of fifth-graders at Politics and Prose in downtown DC, and the kids were honest, bright, and brave. They had all written books themselves, so we talked “writer to writer” about the joys and difficulties. I wanted to hug their teachers for preparing them so beautifully. (No one asked me how much money I made. Everyone wanted to talk about dialogue, and character, and how to find a good title, and how hard satisfying endings are to write.) Afterwards, I used my 20% “author discount” to buy American Born Chinese.

    3) I had my first booksigning at Borders yesterday, and sold about 20 books. But even better, there was one shy girl who wouldn’t sit with the rest of the crowd, but when I started to read from my book, she started to smile, and then she laughed, and throughout the reading, she continued to get every single sly humorous thing I had written. Afterwards, she came up and talked to me!

    4) My daughter called to say she is a finalist for a big college scholarship…and here’s the best part: it’s for her writing.

    5) My husband cooked me chicken-apple sausage and scrambled eggs for dinner tonight. And I was been-outside-all-day-hungry after walking eighteen holes of golf.

    6) A good friend called to say: she missed me.

    7) I took my 30-year old copy of The Book of Three (the one my dad read out loud to me as a kid) to a local elementary school and got to tell them it was my favorite book.

    8) My fifteen year old son hugged me and thanked me for making him pesto meatballs and couscous for dinner.

    9) I got a review in KLIATT that said my book (Letters from Rapunzel) was “wildly funny.”

    9) All this happened despite the fact that I was seriously, seriously, PMS.

  20. Alan — congrats on Something Wicked and the potential N.C. move. Fantasy Baseball sounds really great, too. And we are big fans of blueberry pancakes in the Danielson household, too.

    Liz — I’m glad this was a push to find something good. I need that sometimes, too. God, do I sound like Oprah or what?

    Jen — reconnecting with old friends is. the. best.

    Little Willow — thanks for the birthday wishes. We had a grand party, and I had two glasses of wine, so that’s good.

    D. Elzey — congrats on your meal. My oldest daughter is so picky about food now (three years old) that I can imagine the triumph you are feeling that they ate your creation. And I like “B*KATHY.” Maybe it can be “B*KATHY: A Talk-Fest” (adding on what Jen called it).

    Mindy — I wanna learn to play the drums, too. I’m jealous (but in a nice way). Hey, congrats on home ownership, too!

    Sara — welcome! That shy girl story is awesome. I’m so glad you contributed to the post. Your Beautiful Things list is excellent.

    I hope you all come back and play next week. This is fun.

  21. Hey, sorry I’m late. Read the email. Forgot about it. Remembered again. Got called away from Internet to sell Girl Scout cookies. Forgot again. And finally at 11:00 on Sunday remembered one more time. Now good things. Hmm.

    1) Great meeting with my troop on Monday. They like me…they really like me!

    2) Warm weather this weekend means maybe, oh maybe, spring is on its way.

    3) I may have helped Kelly out by submitting an article that I hadn’t even planned on doing, but just flowed out like water from a… flowing thingee. Or something.

    My suggestion for a title was Shiny Happy Impressive Things, but the acronym might not work… B*KATHY is pretty cool. Great idea guys, as always.

  22. Jules. Aw and hee hee.

  23. I couldn’t access this page at the weekend (what was that all about?!) so here’s my mention for LAST week.

    1 – Posted my completed second “Doctor Who” short story off to my readers, who raved about it !

    2 – Started a third one (a murder/mystery story – what ?!) which is entailing lots of fun research…

    3 – Someone baked some Dalek shaped cookies for me, knowing my love of all things Who (which is just so cute a thing to do!).

    4 – Heard that the third season of “Doctor Who” will start on March 30 (a mere 18 days away now!) – I’ve never been this excited about a TV show before !

  24. Thanks, Michele and MotherReader. Great lists. We’ll definitely have to do this weekly, since we got such a great response.

    Michele, WordPress, apparently, had difficulty with the time change or some such frustrating thing. But all seems to be well now.

  25. Well, I will jump on the joy wagon, too! Spring IS
    here…at least the last two gorgeous days, (all the more special because of the rain and cold front they are predicting for the next couple of days.) Just took some “spring joy” pics with my digital of Bradford Pear trees blooming, buds on lilac buses, and my little ceramic frog sitting on it’s stump in the back yard, grinning because he KNOWS it’s spring!

    Joy #2 of course was watching my granddaughter Miriam share her third birthday with friends on Sunday. Of course, she zoned out at the start, feverishly picking wild flowers from the yard and filling up a bucket, and heaven help you if you even TRIED to get her interested in anything else! I think she came out of that zone when the words “birthday cake” were tossed out.
    I am blessed to have a very grateful daughter who lets me know how much it is appreciated when I do something nice for her children. Little emails from her showing her excitement over the “goody bags” for the party… for Miriam’s box of “blue things” I wrapped up for her… make me smile.

    Then Joy #3 this week… I sent my niece a silly email diddy, one of those float-arounds that annoy most people, about “what cartoon character you might be”. She was SpongeBob, but that’s beside the point. She sent it back… and out of the clear blue sky wrote, “Love to you, Aunt Bev! You have been my lifeline more times than you know. The lucky ones among us have one significant adult figure in their lives (non-parent) who keeps us sane and anchored and inspired and feeds our self-esteem. You are mine. Love, Linda.”
    Wow. That’s all any of us want in life… to feel validated and important. Thanks, Linda.. thanks Jules. And my grandchildren… always my joys.

    Guess I could add a Joy #4, if that’s allowed. I sometimes keep a little two year old named Belle, maybe two days a week now and then. She isn’t here this week. But her mother told me she is trying to potty-train her. She said over the weekend, she pulled down her diaper and just dumped in the floor!
    Joy #4 is that she didn’t do that at MY house!

  26. You changed the time ? Oh what, the clocks have gone forward already in the US ? Wow, that’s early !

  27. So nice to see a little love in the world gals.

    I’ll definitely contribute as we move forward.

    You rawk.

    pixie stix kids pix

  28. […] as I type. Just think: One hundred weeks of reflections on the beautiful things (starting way back here in March of 2007). I love […]

  29. Jules — did you see at the bottom of that first kicks post, the trackback pointing to your (and Eisha’s) celebration of the HUNDREDTH one, in 2009?

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