Archive for the ‘writing exercises’ Category

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.

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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!

PETE & THE POWER OF STORY

May 4, 2017

Pete (2)

Meet Pete. Dr. Lyle Peter Daley, MD was of the magical, or diabolical, age to have served in WW1 and WW2. In the second war, he taught Army medics and doctors, preparing them for battlefield care. Like his sons, the beloved Dr. Pete had a dry wit and ready smile. Legend has it that when I was born, he took one look at me and declared, “She’s a dandy!” It’s a nice story anyway. I think I have memories of Pete, my grandfather, who was never called anything but “Pete.” I can picture his large shoes under our dining table, where I’d taken refuge during the grownups’ dinner. I can picture him standing beside his old car, and me, clinging to his ankles because I wanted to go with him.

But I was only 2 years old when he died. And now, I can’t distinguish memory from story, stories I’ve heard dozens of times. Am I really remembering those moments?

It was Pete’s heart attack that made Frank and Helen leave Washington D.C., put off their plans of moving south to set up their medical practice, probably in Miami, and go to Hamilton, Missouri, to care for the town’s patients “until Pete recovered.” But Pete never grew strong enough to resume his role as town doctor, and Frank and Helen stayed…and stayed…and stayed–50 years.

 

WAR WEDDING

April 1, 2017

photo

If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I’ll bet you know exactly what this is. Clues: 1) It’s nearly 75 years old and still intact. 2) The cake it topped is long gone. 3) That lovely white dress really should have been another Army uniform. 3) Check out that flag–only 48 stars.  So, have you read this far?

LITERARY LOVERS’ MARCH MADNESS

March 20, 2017

I love March Madness, except for the fact that Mizzou didn’t make it this year. (We’ll get ’em next year!) So, look what someone else is doing–a Literary-Lovers’ March Madness. And LARA and I made it to the second round. LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA contains just about everything I know about writing. And since everyone has been bullied and has bullied in some way, readers get the subtle anti-bullying theme. I don’t think I’ve asked anyone to vote for me since I ran for office at  Missouri Girls State…and loss. Round 2 ends Thursday. Here’s the link if you’re up for it: http://readthearc.com/literary-lovers-madness-round2/