Thursday, April 28, 2016

Washcloths in Progress...

I haven't been able to find any online Weeping Angel patterns that satisfy me, so I'm making my own angel up as I go along. This will be a loooong washcloth. Assuming the additional white yarn I've ordered arrives soon, I think it will say "DON'T BLINK" at the very bottom. It might not end up being the most artistic of the washcloths, but it will be a true original. Here it is at about maybe 2/3 of its final length (we'll see!).


You can help supply refugees with necessities by bidding for the washcloths -- and other fun and useful things -- at the Writing for Charity Refugee Benefit Auction!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Orchids and Wolves

From home, here's an update on my re-flowering orchid:


A lot of people are nervous about caring for orchids, but in my experience, the big secret is that they do great with a light touch. It's practically impossible to underwater an orchid. This particular orchid suffered through a sustained period of neglect (like, over a year) during which, distracted and preoccupied, I probably remembered to water it once a month, then, whenever I did water it, fearing to drown it, gave it very little water. It's repaying me with a whole new stalk and seven healthy buds!

Further afield, we went to Wolf Hollow, a wolf sanctuary in Ipswich.




Kevin took these pictures with Fancy Camera, from a distance, through two spaced-out chain-link fences. You might be able to see the diffused image of the fences; it looks like distortion in the air around the wolves.

I recommend this place, it was really interesting! We learned that wolves have been grossly misrepresented as human predators. In fact, only two people in North America have been killed by wolves in the past one hundred years. We learned the difference between wolves and huskies; that dire wolves were a real wolf species that went extinct when their primary food source, the woolly mammoth, went extinct; that wolves have a complicated social hierarchy; that they mate for life; that they mourn their dead; and that their populations in North America are severely threatened. One of the wolves in the sanctuary, named Bear, is actually a wolf/German Shepherd hybrid who was bred as a pet (such an obviously bad and irresponsible idea!), then needed to be removed from its domestic situation. (Um, because it was DANGEROUS. I hate people.) Luckily, simultaneously, a wolf at the sanctuary who'd lost her pack due to social maneuvering needed a companion. The sanctuary opened its doors to Bear, and now the wolf and the wolf/dog live together. :o)

ETA: I notice that on the website, Bear's doggy origins are a little more unclear -- maybe he's part husky or malamute? Regardless, his tendency to howl would bother the neighbors, so he was in danger of being euthanized by the Environmental Police. Wolf/dog hybrids as domestic pets = really bad idea. It's against the law in Massachusetts. You can read more about each of the wolves here!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I WIll Knit for You

Did you like the Dalek washcloth I posted the other day? Would you like me to knit you one? I'm donating three Doctor Who-themed washcloths, knitted by me, to the Writing for Charity Refugee Benefit Auction. I will knit you three washcloths with three different Doctor Who themes, in three different colors. I promise one of them will be the Dalek. You, in turn, will be ensuring that I spend time doing my favorite meditative activity. And together, we will be helping the humanitarian organization Lifting Hands International, which ships much-needed supplies to refugee camps across Europe.

Here's the direct link to my items, but definitely look around at what other authors and artists are offering too!

My washcloths are functional, made of cotton yarns that can be put through the washer and dryer no problem. :o)

More information about Lifting Hands International is here.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Writing for Charity Refugee Benefit Auction

Hey everybody. So, authors Shannon Hale and Mette Ivie Harrison have mobilized book people to donate items for an epic online auction to raise money for Lifting Hands International, a humanitarian organization that gets life-saving supplies directly to refugee camps. You will find one of a kind offers, critiques, art, books, personalized visits, and unique events from writers and artists. Author hangouts, sensitivity beta reads, skype visits, in-person visits, a writing retreat with Shannon Hale and Ally Condie -- the auction starts today and bidding ends the night of May 2. Go bid at the Refugee Benefit Auction!

Spring Report from Cambridge

In my house, it's still cold. The heat is on. I'm knitting blanket squares.

Yes, that's a dalek.

(Here's the washcloth version. You can knit one, too. The pattern is by Penwiper and you can find it here.)

Spring tulips shivering on my messy desk.

The trees are starting to flower but I was wearing winter coat,
scarf, hat, and gloves when I took this (blurry) picture.

In my own living room rain forest,

beautiful things are happening... (this pic taken by Kevin and Fancy Camera...)
and this orchid, previously believed to be dying,
grew a whole new stalk and has six big fat buds!

Makes me hopeful.
Happy spring, Northern Hemisphere!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Friday event reminder, and "Wait For It"

Reminder that Marie Rutkoski (as of today, a NYT best-selling author! Yay! Congrats Marie!) and I are doing an event at Harvard Book Store, Friday April 8 at 7pm. Join us if you can!

And here's a treat for you: a cover of my favorite song from the musical Hamilton, called "Wait For It." In the musical, this song is performed by Aaron Burr (played by Leslie Odom, Jr. on Broadway). This outstanding cover is performed by the Musicality Vocal Ensemble at Curie High School on Chicago's southwest side. Thanks, Phil :o)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Conference at Kansas State University

This coming Saturday (April 2), I'm delivering the plenary lecture at the annual conference of the Children's and Adolescent Literature Community at Kansas State University, in Manhattan, Kansas. I'm so excited to go to this conference! The schedule of events is behind that link, and people from the local community are welcome to register, here. If it helps, here's the press announcement, too. The subject of the conference is "Truth, Memory, and Power" and my talk is called "Breaking Characters and Healing Them Again: The Fiction Writer's Perspective on Working with Trauma." Doesn't that sound light and fun? :o) Sigh, my poor sweet Bitterblue. I hope she is eating some chocolate cake right now, perhaps while saying something snarky to one of her cousins.

If you're in the Manhattan, Kansas area, do feel free to join us on Saturday for what promises to be a day of interesting panels and papers!