The Haunted Outhouse

The Haunted Outhouse

Farmer Brown crept up the moonlight path to the outhouse on the hill. He didn’t want to go, but he had to go.

He closed the door and took a seat.

Pitter titter titter patter.

Farmer Brown shown his flashlight into the corner and spied a spider skittering away.

Something brushed against the edge of the outhouse.

Farmer Brown peeked through a crack and spied something big and white moving just outside of the outhouse.

Wide eyed he stammered, “Ghost!”

He sat and clutched his flashlight and listened to the ghost rustle.

“Moooooooo!”

Wait! Ghosts don’t moo!

Sam and Dave

Yesterday in my first grade class, I read Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Illustrated by Jon Klassen. I carefully orchestrated a snack of animal crackers and chocolate milk to be shared while we read.

Out of my 19 children present, only three had ever heard the story before. So they were all pleasantly surprised when Sam and Dave stop to rest and eat animal crackers and drink chocolate milk. One little girl’s eyes got big and she exclaimed, “They are eating animal crackers and drinking milk just like us!”

I read the story page by page and would show them the picture after I read the page. They would exclaim and point out how close they were and things they should have done. They started to predict or at least try to tell the characters what to do, of which they inevitably did just the opposite.

I held my laughter as kids would call out, “Sam dig down!” “Dave dig over there” (picture in your head hands jesturing frantically) and then the choral “Noooo!”

In the end some of the kids figured out the change from the different trees, but the consensus was that Sam and Dave dug their way to the future.

One girl did come up with the conclusion that they dug through the earth to China, but she quickly dismissed that idea since the house did not look Chinese.

It was great fun to read this story. I love the way that Mac and Jon included a third character who drove the story and was never mentioned once. It shows great collaboration between the author and illustrator.

If you haven’t read this book, let alone to a group of children, you are missing out!

Albatross

My toes were buried in the sand as I stood and looked out over the ocean towards the yellow-peach painted sky that kissed good night to the last crescent of the sun. The waves lapped the beach covered in seaweed and broken shells smoothed by the ever beating tide. The whispering evening breeze tussled my hair and promised a cool night ahead despite the heat of the late day sun that had reddened my face and shoulders.

I spied a tiny dark spot in the sky that seemed to lazily move towards me as if it were a leaf carried on the breeze. Slowly the spot grew larger and thin lines trailed off to each side as the spot seemed to rise higher in the sky. Slowly the lines would move, almost unperceived.

The sun quickly dipped below the horizon and the painted sky quickly faded to black, but in the last rays of the sun a large white bird painted by the setting sun glided overhead as it came home to roost for the evening.

Traveling far out over the ocean, what sights it must have seen. Had it struck fear or hope into sailors as it passed overhead? Had it traveled to the edge of the horizon and back?

In the darkness I shivered against the breeze, my face still warm from the kiss of the sun, and I began to walk to the little path that had brought me to the beach. My head down, hands in my pockets, I passed under the now twinkling stars that came as quickly as the darkness.

My mind wandered as I walked and looked up at the stars. Tonight I would spread my arms upon the grass and glide along the evening breeze. Then I would see the world anew. I will watch the stars pass overhead and will not return home until the sun rises and chases the stars away.

2016 Alaska Writer’s Conference

Over this last weekend I attended my first Writer’s Conference put on by the SCBWI of Alaska and the Alaska Writer’s Guild. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.

We had some great speakers and industry representatives. They put on some very useful classes and workshops that have helped me understand the next steps I need to take to further my writing.

I was also able to get a couple of my manuscripts reviewed and got some feedback for them. It was eye opening to see how far I need to go, but I was encouraged that my ideas were good, my writing was good, I just needed to hone my craft to meet the current standards and needs of the industry.

One of these keys is getting myself out there and create a social presence. I also need to write more, so stay tuned to this site for my writing ideas and experiences.