Tuesday, May 28, 2013

7:30 BELLS: Embrace the Glory of Change

Sometimes, looking up is all it takes to see glory. When I saw these feathered clouds rushing over Commencement Bay, I wondered where they were going and what they would become. 

Change is often hard for me to accept—this past week my wonderful editor Ariel Colletti left publishing to embark on a new journey. I will miss her insights and her kind caring for my work and me. Most often change comes to us this way; it’s not our choice and not under our control. 

If only I could learn that changes in life can be as beautiful as an ever-shifting, feathered sky. Maybe I will. If I keep looking up.

Embrace the glory of change and the bells will ring.

Friday, May 24, 2013

HAMMOCK QUEEN: Poetry Friday

Below is one of the poems that Eva writes in EVA OF THE FARM


In the hammock
I am a queen
in a swinging throne of string
borne by two tall knights--
the maple trees.

I toss dried corn
to my grateful subjects--
gray squirrels who peer
and chatter at me,
paying homage.

On my right stands
the boundary of my kingdom--
the tall deer fence.
Beyond it the wild world
of the canyon threatens--
riddled with dragons,
promises of shining treasure,
and perilous quests.

But here, 
on my side of the fence, is the Farm--
with rows of apple trees
lined up like soldiers.

Here, in a throne of string,
beside the wild world,
I sway,
stricken to the heart with earth and sky,
I belong to this, my apple kingdom.

Eva of the Farm

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I'm thrilled that the first review of AFTER THE RIVER THE SUN 
(Atheneum, July 2013) is out!

"A boy draws on Arthurian legend to ease his grief in this companion verse novel to Eva of the Farm (2012)." 

"Having recently witnessed his parents’ deaths from a drowning accident, Eckhart Lyon is sent to live with his uncle Albert, one of his few living relatives, on a trial basis. A gaming expert, the boy is certain he’ll never enjoy his strange uncle’s rural home without modern technology, but he grows to appreciate helping his uncle rebuild his orchard and hanging out with Eva, from a neighboring property. Despite these brief, comforting moments, he struggles with unrelenting guilt, feelings of cowardice and a desire to make his uncle’s house a real home. Calhoun’s precise verse (“Suddenly the stars beating down / were too bright, / the river too loud”) make Eckhart’s anguish palpable. The boy soon likens himself to Sir Gawain, who proved his worth to his uncle, King Arthur, before becoming a knight. Eckhart’s quest for home and courage is a true test, as his uncle grapples with his own grief and despair and will not commit to Eckhart’s future. A sudden tragedy allows the boy to heed the call of bravery, show his knightly spirit and forge a new family.

"A quiet testament to readers who relish the beauty of language over action. (Verse novel. 9-12)"

Review Issue Date: June 15, 2013
Online Publish Date: May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

7:30 BELLS: Aloft and Mighty--The Quality of Light.

At sunset and sunrise, the quality of light reaches its dramatic pinnacle—not at midday when the sun is high and bright, and the shadows meager. How brilliantly that is shown in this backlit tree in my neighborhood. This quality of light is sought by painters and poets, not only for its beauty of splendid contrasts, but, I think, because it reminds us of the human condition. Like counterpoint in music, our lives are mélanges of light and dark.  Isn’t it at difficult, even impossible moments, that humans reach their own pinnacles? Schindler’s List, for example. Or someone who rushes into a burning inferno to save a stranger. Or, on a smaller scale . . . someone who shows compassion to one who has been unkind to them in the past.

In both times of ease and times of trouble, it’s useful to remember that we must hold both the light and the dark, and hope for beauty. Let’s hope we can be be like this tree in the splendor of its bearing and hold ourselves aloft and mighty, for whatever comes.

 Embrace the contradictions of life and the bells will ring

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

7:30 BELLS: What Holds Us Back Can Make Us More Beautiful

A few hours before I was rear-ended in a car accident on May 4, I took these photos of old, iron-corroded bars on a walkway above Puget Sound. I snapped them because I loved the unexpected beauty of the thick encrustations left by salt water, loved the coppery color of the bars. 

A week after the accident—a lost week because I had too much brain fog and pain to write or read, a lost week because my mind and imagination felt like a stagnant pond—I looked at the pictures. This time, what I saw was the liveliness of the water churning beyond the bars.

I feel hopeful that the liveliness of my mind and imagination will return to me soon

I feel comforted. Even if my brain and body suffer from injury, they will--like the bars--still endure, made more beautiful by the pounding waves and the salt air.

What Holds Us Back Can Make us More Beautiful

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

7:30 BELLS: Down for Maintenance

Sometimes the bells go silent, and as much as I miss hearing them, silence sometimes heals more.

On Saturday, my car was rear-ended, and I am dealing with full blown whiplash. One of the worst symptoms for me is brain fog. My brain is not functioning.

I'm looking forward to writing a new 7:30 BELLS post for next week. Meanwhile, I wish everyone a week of celebrating being alive.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A NEW POET: Six-year-old Delia

Six-year-old Delia shared some lovely poems she wrote after reading Eva's poems in my middle grade novel EVA OF THE FARM. These are the first poems Delia has ever written. I know that Eva would be as thrilled as I am that she has inspired a new poet! I am so pleased that Delia gave me permission to post three of her poems and drawings. I have no doubt that some day we will all be reading Delia's books. Thank you, Delia--and keep writing your wonderful poems!

I See

I see silver
Spreading all
Around me
I see words
Spreading all
Around me
Days words

by Delia

My Poetry Land

My poetry Land
My poetry Land
Spread all around me
My silver days!

by Delia

happy days

silver days
purple days
rainbow days
fun days
bad days!

by Delia