Archive for the ‘writing exercises’ Category

WRITING & BULLYING

February 22, 2018

Lara medium

Tomorrow I’m off to Columbus, OH, for the weekend to speak at a convention of teachers of English and Language Arts–wonderful people who still believe in our kids and want them to love reading and writing and to excel in both in an atmosphere of kindness, compassion, and safety. I’ve never met a teacher–or a student–who hasn’t witnessed bullying. Then one night about 3 AM, all of these concerns came together for me when I woke up and could almost hear this tough girl saying, “This is not about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up.” I got up, crossed the hall to my office, and began writing what may be the most surprising (to me) book I’ve ever written. I had no idea where the story was going, and I usually do when I begin writing. In the end, it came to be about the effects of bullying, the promise of returning kindness for meanness, and the possibility of touching and changing lives in school and out. Plus, the book contains, in real time as action proceeds, just about everything I know about writing, with chapter titles like: Character; Villain, Setting, Dialogue, Opposition, Conflict, Details, Rising Action, Climax, Resolution.

If you’ve read about Lara and Laney, I’d love to hear from you. You can learn more about the book at http://www.dandibooks.com.

 

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HAPPY (HORSEY) NEW YEAR!

January 1, 2018

dandis-christmas-card_edited.jpg

The pretty one in this photo is Angel, obviously. He was the first colt born to one of our mares, Rocket (not pictured). Angel did not like the big red bow we stuck on his forehead. Shortly after this photo was taken, our sweet “Angel” turned and bit me. Ah, memories…. But I learned a lot about horses as we grew together.

The first day of a New Year makes me think of God’s amazing forgiveness, a grace offered to us through Jesus Christ. We get a fresh start, a clean slate, something no one else can give us. I pray that 2018 will draw us closer to God, to family and friends. Resolutions–they can help or depress me. My amazing husband gives me a gift every year, something I’ve never heard any other person willing to do. He lets me give him 5 things I’d like him to change about himself. Can you believe that? He’s such a good guy that over the years, he’s stopped chewing gum (like a 12 year old) in my presence; refrained from shutting down my backseat driving; started cheering for Mizzou, the Cards, and the Chiefs. I hate to admit it, but I’m running out of resolutions for him.

Anyone feel like sharing New Year’s Resolutions, past or present??

FRANK THE STORYTELLER

November 14, 2017

Dad and Dandi

My dad, Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D., told me stories before I understood what he was saying. I remember that when I was very young, Mom would read me a story at bedtime. Then Dad would come in and make up a story. My favorites were part of a “Big Foot Dan” series, where Dan always beat Superman and Mighty Mouse in races. It wasn’t until a decade later that I figured out the amazing similarities between Dan’s feet and mine.

When I was a bit older, I got to partake in the story creation. Dad: “Once upon a time, there were four horses grazing on a hill. Their colors were. . .” Dandi’s turn: “Um, brown and brown and brown and brown?” Thankfully, my answers grew more sophisticated as time went on.  http://www.dandibooks.com

 

LETTERS

August 8, 2017

Just Sayin'

When is the last time you wrote a letter? When is the last time you received one? In our age of texts and emojis, letters have dwindled. When I wrote WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I was able to study over 600 letters written by my parents serving in WW2. Who preserves texts, even for the life of the phone? I decided I’d write a novel totally in letters. The result is JUST SAYIN’, a middle-grade novel in letters. The postmark and setting are Hamilton, MO, where I grew up.

DAD’S MYSTERIOUS PROPHESY

July 19, 2017

Dad's prophesy

Let me explain. If you’ve read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you know that my parents left me an Army trunk with over 600 letters they’d written each other while serving overseas as Army Dr. and Army nurse. I also found a cigar box (neither smoked cigars) with intriguing contents, including this memo. It’s an old prescription blank of Dad’s. How old? Well, note the phone numbers: 21 (home) and 66 (office). In case you can’t make out the handwriting, the note says: “Daughter is writing a book called ‘Parents Say the Darndest Things.” 1) At the time, I was way too young to declare that I wanted to be a writer. 2) Who remembers Art Linkletter’s classic KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS? 3) Decades later than this mysterious note was penned, I wrote:KIDS ARE STILL SAYING THE DARNDEST THINGS, with an introduction by Art Linkletter!

ROCK AND ROLL!

July 4, 2017

Rock Away Granny Cover (2)

This is my new picture book, and I’ll bet it will bring back a few memories. “We get out records–they’re small and black. A guy named Elvis has a giant stack.”

How many of these dances (all in this little book) do you remember? West Coast Swing; The Twist; The Boogaloo; The Swim; The Monster Mash; The Bunny Hop (instructions included)?  “I slide and guide. Then I swirl and twirl./ My gran grooves out like a go-go girl!  And we rock, rock, rock at Granny’s house tonight.”

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU WERE

June 28, 2017

shock

WHAT? Big sis, Maureen, and little Dandi look even funnier than usual. I’ve been trying to figure out what had us so surprised. Then I saw it. *Do you?* And if you don’t, then take a wild and funny guess, which is what I would have done if I hadn’t spotted what I’ve spotted. And that is one way stories happen. I love that. When I teach a writing workshop, sometimes it’s fun to pass out pictures (not of me–I’m not that crazy) and let writers come up with a short story that explains the picture. Sound like fun?

http://www.dandibooks.com

 

 

WHEREVER YOU ARE…WAITING

June 15, 2017

Just HelenAll that I know about this picture is that it’s my mother, Helen Eberhart Daley, Lieutenant and nurse, serving in France toward the end of WW2. But it’s the kind of photo that creates a scene, a story, in my mind. I imagine her staring out to sea, maybe from Marseilles, taking a rare break from the hospital, hoping to glimpse a ship that could take her home. Or, maybe she’s looking for Frank, hoping he received her code letter telling him where she was, where they could meet. What do you guys imagine?

Check out: http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMpbNFs687A

 

DAD & DANDI

May 31, 2017
Dad and Dandi


Hamilton, Missouri

Since my last blog featured Mom (Helen) and my big sister, Maureen, I decided to share these photos of Dad (Frank) and me, taken in the home where I grew up, the first and last house my parents owned. I loved growing up in a small town (population 1,701, before the shoe factory closed).

If you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you know from the letters he wrote that Frank was a very good writer. Being a doctor, however, did get in the way of becoming an author. Still, the American Medical Association kept electing him secretary because they loved to read his witty versions of their boring meetings. Once, he had a cartoon in Reader’s Digest. And during a time before the Vietnam war became unpopular, he wrote an anti-war editorial for the Kansas City Star. I can still remember defending my dad’s stance when I went to school the day after the article came out, although none of us had a clue about Vietnam or war.

WITH LOVE–Hamilton, Missouri

May 11, 2017

In about 2 weeks, I’m going “home” to Hamilton, Missouri. I grew up in this small town, where we rode horses bareback, never locked our doors, and left the keys in the car. (Yes, I do realize times have changed.) Both of these pictures were taken before my time. The train no longer chugs across Main Street, and I’m pretty sure the Penney store closed. Hamilton was the birthplace and hometown of J.C. Penney, who went to school with my grandfather. The Penney Farm was just up the gravel/dirt road from our house. I graduated from Penney High School. And on Saturday, May 27th, I’ll be speaking and reading and signing books at the public library, which is in the Penney Museum. That night I’m speaking at the Alumni banquet. I am so excited and so very grateful!

I’m hoping to post a few more old pictures and memories before Joe and I and Ellie and Cassie, our 6 and 8-year-old granddaughters, head for Hamilton. Stay tuned!