Secrets of the Flame: Jane Yolen and Finding Yourself in the Story

Sleeping BeautyJane Yolen, one of my favorite authors, once spoke about finding which of her characters represented herself and how that sometimes changes over time.

At a point, I realized Gwendolyn’s the mother I wished to be—openhearted; nurturing; pushing herself into bravery; and trying to be the best mother she can.

But I also had to face her flaws. She’s naive, oblivious even; wants to do it all herself; wants her children to stay her children; and sometimes gets stuff, even important stuff, wrong.Gwen to L

I’m sure you’ve figured out that Strange One, the dragon, represents my son. In the first draft of the book, he was young enough that I could fool myself that the story could have my happy ever after ending.Clay baby dragon

Then: adolescence!my clay dragon

So maybe John Sanford had a point—a bucket of water over the head didn’t sound so shocking.

New perspectives demand change. I rewrote and rewrote . . . and rewrote.

Hubris alert!http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Flame-Protect-Cindy-Schuricht/dp/0989658023/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421705373&sr=1-2

Every author has to answer the question of who is the audience?

My original hope for the story’s audience focused on parents and children who had read together for years.

Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect would be the grand-finale joint bedtime story—a story that helps a parent let go and a child claim his or her independence with grace rather than teenage rage at parental “stupidity.”

See what I mean about hubris?

Hubris confronted.

With all the bookmarks I put in for things I want to remember

With all the bookmarks I put in for things I want to remember

After rethinking Joseph Campbell’s jewel story, my hope is that Secrets of the Flame is an entertaining and exciting practice step for the journey to independence that parents and children take—a journey that starts with the first wobbly cruise around the coffee table.

Joseph Campbell also gave me a way to think about the family story arc. Parents and children bond. To become adults, children must claim their independence, sometimes painful for both kids and parents.

Eventually, something new has to go beyond or transcend the opposites of bonding and breaking apart. This something new has to include both—sacrificing neither the bond nor the independence to the other. Expect a certain degree of backsliding in one or the other, however.

I don’t feel comfortable until I acknowledge that I can’t promise you’ll fall in love with The Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect.

Some people do love it—they’ve told me they read it in one sitting, couldn’t put it down, or it made them laugh and cry. After reading it, some people have purchased more copies for gifts.

Cairns along Shelter Island and San Diego Harbor

Cairns along Shelter Island and San Diego Harbor

Other people have said it’s well-written, but not their cup of tea.

Which will it be for you? Beats me.

So my hope is that the book will find its way to the right people. I hope some of you will try the book and then leave an Amazon review that will help others make a decision about it.

Night blooming epiphyllum

Night blooming epiphyte

Thank you.

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But Enough About My Book (for now), Let’s Talk About Boys

Statue of fishing boy at the entrance to the Whittier Library. That reminds me Bookfaire coming in March to Whittier College!

Statue of fishing boy at the entrance to the Whittier Library. That reminds me Bookfaire coming in March to Whittier College!

When people talk about reluctant readers, they almost always refer to boys. The number of boys who choose reading as a voluntary activity is decreasing.

So here are a few books I think many boys could get into . . . since I’m not a fourth grade boy, I can’t be positive.Spirit animals

The Spirit Animal series, published by Scholastic beginning in 2013. I’ve only read the first one, Wild Born, by Brandon Mull. (Put a bear on the cover and I’ll pick it up.) Hint: I found the number of character names confusing so I had to return to the beginning and keep a list.

The book comes with a code “to unlock huge rewards” in the game at spiritanimals.com I can’t tell you about the game other than, as a parent, I’d tend to trust Scholastic. And maybe with the game and visuals, the names wouldn’t be so confusing.

If a kid is just going to read the book, pay attention to and remember the names of the four main characters who are introduced in the first four chapters—two boys and two girls, the names of their spirit animals, and the names of the Greencloaks. There are only a couple of other names out of sixty I wrote down that resurface in this story. (But perhaps they do in later books.)

I didn’t think the writing was great, but I could see a kid having fun with the adventure of the books and the game.

4th StallChris Rylander’s, The Fourth Stall, (the first in a series) published by Walden Pond Press in 2011. I heard Chris speak a couple of years ago and was very impressed. His goal is to write books he wishes he’d had available to him as a kid. Good reason!

Mac (who reminded me of a machine boss) starts a booming business at his school helping other kids with their problems. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some difficult problems himself. The book is humorous, but my funny bone was only mildly tickled (see above re: title and not the target audience).

For young adults who like adventure, I recommend the adult nonfiction Blind Descent. This book by James M. Tabor, published in 2010 by Random House, is a fascinating account of two very different teams of cave explorers trying to find the deepest cave in the world.blind descent

I was stunned to learn how many kinds of danger super caves present. People crawl through spaces that are unbelievably tight, cliffs plunge hundreds of feet, multiple tunnels dead end. Imagine diving into dark water to look for a drain hole that could lead you further along a submerged tunnel.
This type of exploration has been compared to climbing Everest backwards, but with even less chance of rescue if you get into trouble. The cavers can be as isolated with as much chance of getting help as the Sandra Bullock character in Gravity. Who ya gonna call?

This book had me riveted—twice.

To read more: Porter Anderson wrote a Feb. post on boys and books. It’s a bit long, but interesting and he adds pieces from other people. You can find him at thoughtcatalog.com

With thanks to Elizabeth Spann Craig and her tweets about info for writers.

Two days ago, when a plastic bag flew off the pier, a boy of about eleven cast his line beyond the bag. On his second try, he caught it, reeled it in, admonished the person who lost it, and said, "I like to protect the ocean." He's a hero in my book.

Two days ago, when a plastic bag flew off the pier, a boy of about eleven cast his line beyond the bag. On his second try, he caught it, reeled it in, admonished the person who lost it, and said, “I like to protect the ocean.” He’s a hero in my book.

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Secrets of the Flame: Joseph Campbell and the Jewel

http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Flame-Protect-Cindy-Schuricht/dp/0989658023/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421705373&sr=1-2
Today I’m writing a bit about the process of parent and child separation, especially in the presence of strong bonds. Here are some random memories that served as road signs in the writing of Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect.

BTW, Secrets of the Flame is a parable of bonding with an other, in this case a dragon raised by a pig, with all that entails, and then the letting-go as a child grows into  independence.

Memory: Years ago I read a passage from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth.

In India, a guru might ask a mother to give him something precious, maybe a jewel, as practice in releasing her child when the time came.

With all the bookmarks I put in for things I want to remember

With all the bookmarks I put in for things I want to remember

Did I make that up??? I looked.

Yep. That’s what I thought he said.

Stinks.

Bird walk: This is what I think I understand about memories. They’re not very reliable—especially over the passage of time and with hearing other people’s experience of the same event. A spider on your leg is much larger than that same spider in its web (unless you run into the web). This is to warn you that the snippets below are my memories only.

Visitor at lily pond, Balboa Park

Visitor at lily pond, Balboa Park

Memory: John Sanford referred to a culture where a boy, at age twelve, dumped a bucket of water on his mother’s head and moved to the men’s house. Sanford told us it’s better than the way we separate in our culture.

Surely not.

Memory: The witch, who kept Rapunzel in the tower in “Into the Woods,” asked why her love isn’t enough for Rapunzel. She sings, “The child you love only grows into the child you lose.”

What?

Think back to telling the story you want to hear. Confession: I wanted an “and they lived* happily ever after—together” ending to my story.

Detail from quilt made by the author

Detail from quilt made by the author

I couldn’t have the ending I wanted. Joseph Campbell said so. John Sanford, Steven Sondheim, and the dragon agreed. Watch the movie Boyhood if you don’t believe us.

I would have to let my character live his own life. “We’ll always be together” wasn’t realistic. Neither was any sort of “ever after.”

The story arc for Gwendolyn was going to be something of a map for myself.

Detail from quilt made by the author

Detail from quilt made by the author

And isn’t an ending just another new beginning?

Into the woods and a new, unknown beginning

Into the woods and a new, unknown beginning

*Did you catch the * up there?

When I proofed my phrase “ . . . ‘they lived* happily ever after,” I had actually typed “they lied happily ever after.”

Simple typo or the unconscious bubbling to the top? You decide.

P.S. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (copyright 1988) is extraordinary. Since I didn’t find my story until page 257, I had the opportunity to reread the whole book. It’s a necklace of treasured jewels collected by the guru Campbell.

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Secrets of the Flame: Pigs and Dragons

The first step of writing the picture book I wanted to hear should have been simple. Pick the characters. Easy as jelly on a soda cracker, right?

Sand sculpture at Weston super mace of The Lion and the Mouse by Rachael Stubbs, courtesy of Wikimedia

Sand sculpture at Weston super mace of The Lion and the Mouse by Rachael Stubbs, courtesy of Wikimedia

What weak, small animal will save and care for its natural predator?

I must have tried a hundred combinations, and I’m embarrassed to tell you how long this step took—so I won’t.

A mouse and a lion? Been done.

A cat and a dog? Too everyday.

"Black Kitten" by Revital Salomon, also Public Domain courtesy of Wikimedia

“Black Kitten” by Revital Salomon, also Public Domain courtesy of Wikimedia

A hedgehog and a . . .? I don’t have a clue what animal preys on hedgehogs.

Perhaps it was the hedgehog that sent up the lightbulb with the word “pig.”

Cochon by vfdbsn, courtesy of Wikimedia

Cochon by vfdbsn, courtesy of Wikimedia

Hey, I like pigs! My grandad raised some on his farm. My aunt kept a motherless piglet in a box in the kitchen. She named it Fritz. He followed us around like a puppy. (That my grandad called the same pig Porkchop is another story.)

Detail from quilt made by the author

Detail from quilt made by the author

Once I had my pig, the dragon lightbulb switched on. As long as I can remember, I’ve wished dragons weren’t always the bad guys in old tales. I want them tamed, not slain.

I knew the beginning and the ending of the story I wanted to hear. Just needed to travel from Point A to Point B.

But the characters had their own ideas about the route. They definitely wanted to take the scenic drive and had no sympathy for my desire to reach a particular destination.

More about Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect

Detail from quilt made by the author

Detail from quilt made by the author

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Secrets of the Flame: Tell the Story You Want to Hear

Ocean view a bit south of the book store.

Ocean view a bit south of the book store.

Scene: Independent bookstore in old craftsman-style house—old craftsman on a bluff, bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean—perfect browsing from room to room.

I pick up a picture book.

Junge Maus, Harry 20, public domain courtesy of Wikimedia

Junge Maus, Harry 20, public domain courtesy of Wikimedia

 

Subject: A family of small rodents care for an orphaned kitten. The story exemplified love for an “other.” Beautiful illustrations.

I remove wallet from purse.

 

 

Problem: How will the mice care for the kitten when he grows up?

"Black Kitten" by Revital Salomon, also Public Domain courtesy of Wikimedia

“Black Kitten” by Revital Salomon, also Public Domain courtesy of Wikimedia

I race to the end of the story certain this is a book to reread and share with other people, small and large.

Resolution: The people in the house adopt the cat who will purge (the book didn’t use that word) all the small rodents, except his adoptive family, from the house.

I return wallet to purse and book to its stack.

Issue: I can’t buy the theme.

Sometimes if you want something done your way, you just have to do it yourself. So I set out to write the story I wanted to hear. It took a loooong time and I learned something valuable:

Tell the story you think you want to hear to find out where it takes you.

intoMore about Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Quoting Grover again (see previous post), “Oh, I am so excited!” I just couldn’t wait until Monday to say something.

Secrets, pub coverIt’s now on Amazon. The e-book should also be available maybe even at this moment. Starting Monday, I’ll be putting up more information and answering some questions in my posts. Right now I’m just allowing my muscles to relax and adjust to the fact that it’s done. Then comes the hard part.

I’m also celebrating that just this week I learned how to add a link! (See the purple letters. But you probably already knew that.)

Read more

 

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Back on Track

I’d like to quote a literary character and a face often seen on what used to be called “the small screen.”

Sometimes life's demands just seem to be right on your heels.

Sometimes life’s demands just seem to be right on your heels.

                                                                                    “Oh, I am so embarrassed.”
Grover
The Monster at the End of This Book

 

 

 

I last posted in August, and I apologize for the absence. Here are my excu . . . reasons:

Work on our 100 year-old house turned a two to

The house on the day of a surprising summer downpour

The house on the day of a surprising summer downpour

three week job into seven weeks and culminated in taking possession of 20 cubic yards of the finest mulch a wheelbarrow can tote.

I actually wanted to keep the scaffolding. Think of the possibilities--Shakespeare in the Backyard, Christmas lights . . .

I actually wanted to keep the scaffolding. Think of the possibilities–Shakespeare in the Backyard, Christmas lights . . .

New full-time (but temporary) jobs for my husband and me that were more intense than we had anticipated.

Mulch--lovely, fluffy mulch

Mulch–lovely, fluffy mulch

 

 

 

Rain, lovely rain for our drought-dry state, followed by happy plants and the evil oxalis.

Are you a good oxalis or a bad oxalis? This is a benevolent oxalis that co-exists in peace with other plants.

Are you a good oxalis or a bad oxalis? This is a benevolent oxalis that co-exists in peace with other plants.

Evil oxalis brutally overrunning an unpaved walkway and invading a planting bed.

Evil oxalis brutally overrunning an unpaved walkway and invading a planting bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, most significantly, family issues—a death, a 95th birthday celebration, an engagement, a pregnancy, more birthdays, and regular life.

No DogThe good news is that I read the books from the last post. The bad news is that it’s been so Sleepytimelong, I need to reread them before I can write about them. (If you read them before I get back to them, let me know what you think.)

 

But here are a couple recently-read books until I get back to that August list.

Have you read The Book With No Pictures, by B.J. Novak? It was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2014. Sometimes, we struggling-writer types are a teensy crabby when a celerity is able to get something not-so-good published.

Book w: no picsThe previous sentence does not apply to The Book With No Pictures, which stuck me the same way the first reading of Press Here did (the “Wow!-I-wish-I’d-thought-of-that” way.) There wasn’t even an author photo—an indication to me of a real commitment to the concept since I’m sure a photo of Novak would have also made marketing points.

Near the beginning, Novak writes,“Here is how books work: Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say.”

Imagine the grownup saying silly, silly things while also reading words about how he doesn’t want to have to say things that don’t even make sense. Know any kids that would get a kick out of that situation?

I asked my neighbors to read it with their young children and report back to me.

Dad got into the spirit and the kids had a great time. When they returned the book, the kids did want to know why there weren’t any pictures. They also proposed a solution and volunteered to add illustrations.part-time Indian

For 7th graders and above, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, written by Sherman Alexie, with art by Ellen Forney, and published by Little, Brown, and Company in 2007, was a National Book Award winner and has been one of the books some people tried to ban. I’m squarely in the National Book Award winner camp. I think it’s so good that I even gave it to my hard-to-please adult son for Christmas. (Not my copy!)

I don’t know how directly autobiographical the novel is, but it is based on Alexie’s experiences growing up on a reservation. In it Junior has medical and bully problems. He wants to be an artist—a rich and well-know cartoonist, but is considered a traitor when he decides he’ll get a better education going to a school off the reservation. It’s a funny and heart-breaking book. I can think of very few people who wouldn’t learn something important.

Feels good to be back on track.

Feels good to be back on track.

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Summary/SCBWI LA Summer Conference, 2014: A Night in Old Italy

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference:

Thursday:

Drive. Drive. Talk. Drive. Drive. Talk. Talk. No Dog                            Stop. Drive. Stop. Drive.
Park.

Find room.
Eat.
Sleep.

Friday:

Sign in.
Meet.
Welcomed.
Informed.
Inspired.
Book purchase!
Laugh.

 

Lovely book by a lovely woman.

Lovely book by a lovely woman.Informed.

Enthused.
Meet. Meet. Meet.
Elevator snafu.

Ten flights of stairs. !!???

Depressed.
Inspired.
Laugh.
Informed.
Informed.
Depressed.
Consider acknowledging defeat.
Inspired.
Inspired.
Book-buying binge!
Cheese, crackers, support.

Panel speakers on diversity--inspiring!

Panel speakers on diversity–inspiring!

Book purchase!
Crash.

Saturday:

Informed.
Self-doubt.
Inspired.
Inspired.
Learn.
Connect.
Idea—new ending.
Feel too old.
And overwhelmed.
Laugh.
Inspired.
OS & WTBook purchase!
Informed.
Not sold on the selling.
Fascinated.
Art. Art. Art. Wowed!mask
Costumed.

Pose. Pose. Pose.
Pasta and champagne.
Talk. Talk.
Meet. Talk. Meet. Talk.

That’s Amore, Tomie!

I'm the dragon. I'm a little embarrassed, but it was fun!

I’m the dragon. I’m a little embarrassed, but it was fun!

Dance. Dance.
Dance. Sing. Dance. Dance.
Collapse.

Sunday:

To market, to market. Impressed.
Taught.
Inspired.
Anxious to write.
Inspired.
Wow!
Brain too full!
Know it already.
Eat. Talk. Eat. Talk. Eat. Talk.

A wordless book by Tomie DePaola

A wordless book by Tomie DePaola

Clap! Clap! Clap!
Bored.
Tomie Skype.
Cry.
Laugh.
Load car.
Drive. Drive. Drive.
Emotions careen.
Give up?
Keep trying?
Kiss. Kiss.
Snore.

Monday:

This is a cutting from an epiphyte that belonged to my grandmother. I took the photo a little after I started uploading post tonight.

This is a cutting from an epiphyte that belonged to my grandmother. I took the photo a little after I started uploading post tonight.

Non-meteorological fog.
Lunch.
Better.

Tuesday:

Throw out old new idea.
Ideas! Ideas! Ideas!
Wahoo!
Decide—keep trying!

Details later.

Thank you SCBWI!!!!!
My heros and peeps

About an hour later, the blooms are open a little more. It will be fully open later tonight. By morning, it will be closing and wilting after it's one night of bloom.

About an hour later, the blooms are open a little more. It will be fully open later tonight. By morning, it will be closing and wilting after it’s one night of bloom.

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Something Old and Something New

 

Part of one out of seven bookshelves in our home.

Part of one out of seven bookshelves in our home.

Nothing opens one’s eyes to how much stuff she herself has accumulated as helping someone else downsize. That was the project last summer. My overall goal now is to not have too much stuff. My day-by-day goal is to reach an average net loss of one object per day. It will be a long time before I’m going lightly through life.

In the last blog I mentioned decreasing my fabric stash. And, you probably won’t be surprised, my bookshelves also overfloweth. I’ve had to ask myself the hard questions like: “How many of these are you realistically going to reread in your lifetime? and “What about the books you bought and never got to the first time?”

So I’m learning to let go and pass many of my books on to someone else. The Little Free Library is a good outlet . . .

Our Little Free Library, opened and dedicated on 11/10/13

Our Little Free Library, opened and dedicated on 11/10/13

Here’s how the process works in reality. I pull a book off the shelf that I’m pretty sure doesn’t need to stay with me forever or be reread.

But maintaining one’s resolve—aye, there’s the rub. I waver and decide to read the first chapter hoping to confirm that I don’t really want to read it again.

Sadly, that’s only worked on a couple of books. And, in the meantime, new books are being written all the time. What is a reader to do?

Read.

It’s interesting reading some of my older middle grade books. They take more time getting to their destination than current books tend to, and I’m really not sure how well they’d fare in today’s marketplace. But two past Newbery nods reminded me of what an old friend used to say. He had loved the Hardy Boy mysteries as a kid because he always learned something. (I liked Nancy Drew mysteries, but mostly remember being it annoyed that she always stopped for “luncheon”, not lunch like a regular person. But, once again, I digress.)

                                                                     The Old

. . . and now Miguel was written by Joseph Krumgold (who also wrote Onion John) and published by Harper & Row in 1953. Twelve-year old Miguel’s goal is to go to the Sangre de Christo Mountains. Each summer the men in his family take the sheep to higher pastures for the summer. The book depicts rural mid-20th century life in New Mexico.

Miguel does everything he can think of to show he is ready to help as a man. Some attempts are more successful than others, but along with rooting for Miguel, the reader learns about sheep.
Miguel
MIguel has the job of keeping track of the branding numbers. The same number is painted on the ewe and her lamb. This is very important since if a ewe is separated from her lamb for too long, she doesn’t recognize it and won’t feed her baby.

Part of a shepherd’s work is to keep the sheep matched up and make sure no one is alone. Kind of a nice thing to know.

Girl DisasterI was pretty sure I wouldn’t need to read all of A Girl Named Disaster, written by Nancy Farmer and published by Puffin in 1996. Nhamo is an orphan who lives with extended family in a village in Mozambique. When the family decides to marry Nhamo off to placate an angry ngozi or spirit, Nhamo’s grandmother encourages her to run away. The story is about Nhamo’s struggle to survive the journey to find her father’s family. It reminded me in some ways of The Island of the Blue Dolphins. (I couldn’t stop myself.)

Both of these books had stretches where nothing much happened to move the plot along. But readers will learn a lot about the daily ins and outs of different lives. They remind us that handling the boring daily stuff is part of how we move and grow.

So much for my average net loss.

                                                                     The New

Have you seen Flora & Ulysses, written by Kate DiCamillo   and published by Candelwick in 2013? It’s a treat! You, or more accurately I, wouldn’t call it a graphic novel, but it has enough illustrations to make it a hybrid and a good choice for a reluctant reader.

And it’s funny!  Flora & U

The flap tells you what you need to know. “She is a natural-born cynic! He is an unassuming squirrel! Together, Flora & Ulysses will conquer villains, defend the defenseless, and protect the weak. Or something.”

                                                                 The Surprising

My kind of fireworks--morning glories--and no traffic to contend with.

My kind of fireworks–morning glories–and no traffic to contend with.

I just put that there because after The Old, The New, my brain hears a flute playing the theme to “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” So I needed a third category.

Other than 2014 is already half way over, I don’t actually have anything else to add right now.

Please comment on anything that is currently surprising you—especially if it’s a good book.

And happy 4th!

Peacock at the zoo setting off his own brand of fireworks

Peacock at the zoo setting off his own brand of fireworks!

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Quilt Trip

I have a confession to make. Instead of writing, I’ve been stitching for our annual quilt show.

Ode to Joy, Redux

Last year the theme was “Ode to Joy” so I made a quilt with that title. Some months after

Last year's Ode to Joy. You can play the song on the chimes at the bottom . . .hey, hey, hey.

Last year’s Ode to Joy. You can play the song on the chimes at the bottom .

that I heard a PBS story about protests outside of prisons where women sang the Spanish version of “Ode to Joy.”

My quilt would need another layer.

I tried, failed, and gave up trying to locate photos of the event.

But I have a hard time letting go of an idea and the deadline pushed me to look for photos again.

So I looked again. Again no luck finding photos of the event. But other information and leads showed up.

Ode to Joy with next layer

This year’s quilt looks suspiciously like last year’s. There’s a swath of netting with butterflies carrying photos.

Friedrich Schiller originally wrote his poem in 1785 as “Ode to Freedom.” He later changed it to “Ode to Joy” possibly for fear of sounding too political. Beethoven completed his Ninth Symphony in1824.

And then—Wow! Talk about traveling the world. The song was chosen as the Anthem of Europe and the official Anthem of Copa Libertadores de America, the annual football/soccer competition.

Kerry Candaele made a documentary called: Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony. You can view a portion of it at the website for Deceptive Cadence: NPR, 1/14/14.

Every year the Ninth is performed in Japan with choirs of as many as 10,000 people.

“Ode to Joy” is used as an anthem for freedom. Students played it in the Tiananmen

Guelaguetza procession

Guelaguetza procession

Square protests of 1989 to drown out the government loudspeakers. A protestor said it gave “a sense of hope and solidarity.”

Renato Alvardo Vital heard it sung when he was a political prisoner under Pinochet. He talked about the hope the music gave him. Poet  Isabel Lipthay called it “a shield against the fear, against the pain, against the darkness.”

But wait, there’s more! But you’ll have to find it.

I couldn’t get permission to use certain photos, but was able to find others that represent some of the impact of this song.

“Ode to Joy (Freedom)” works again with this year’s quilt show theme, “The Sweetest Sound I Ever Heard.”

Photos of Caracas march, Mexico City rally, and 1966 Copa de Libertadores champions

Photos of Caracas march, Mexico City rally, and 1966 Copa de Libertadores champions

Om, Abba, and Hummingbird Fractals

An idea for a “sweetest sound” quilt rattled around my brain but none of my sketches worked. Then the reality of how little time was left struck. (Deadlines are so helpful.)

I have a hard time getting down to just one sweetest sound. Children's voices aren't named, but they're in the quilt too.

I have a hard time getting down to just one sweetest sound. Children’s voices aren’t named, but they’re in the quilt too.

The hummingbird is there because . . . well, I’m a little embarrassed to admit what my brain obsesses about . . . it’s there because for years I’ve tried to figure out how to describe the sound a hummingbird makes. It has always sounded like a spiral to me, but what word to use? I think I’ve finally got it: a sound fractal.

But I only know a little about fractals. So if you know more, please give me feedback about whether this is an accurate way to describe their auditory spiral.

Tablecloth for the group Women Together. There are two quilted panels. Only one is visible in the photo.

Tablecloth for the group Women Together. There are two quilted panels. Only one is visible in the photo.

Pillow Quilt

Back of the quilt using Eric Carle fabrics from his books. The photo of the front came out too blurry.

Back of the quilt using Eric Carle fabrics from his books. The photo of the front came out too blurry.

A recent invitation to a baby shower asked for favorite books to build a fantastic library for the baby. This is my kind of baby shower.

When I was little, I loved the nursery rhyme “Hey, Diddle, Diddle.” I couldn’t fine a copy of The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (tell you about that book another time) so went with Mother Goose Picture Puzzles by Will Hillenbrand and published in 2011 by Marshall Cavendish. Love the art work, the rebuses, and how he labels some of the items in the illustrations. Plus it includes “Hey, Diddle, Diddle.”
Mother Goose
I used Eric Carle fabrics on the back so had to include one of his books. The Very Lonely Firefly wasn’t in stock, but I was able to get a baby board version of The Very Busy Spider published by Philomel Books!
Carle, spider
And to finish off the books that will go into the quilt pocket: Look, Look! a baby board book by Peter Linenthal, published in 1998 by Dutton’s Children’s Books. The art work uses the black/white contrast that catches a little one’s eye.
BB Look, Look

Pillow quilt folded up into its own pocket and filled with the books.

Pillow quilt folded up into its own pocket and filled with the books.

A

Blatant Brag
(Skip if you’re not in the mood.)

Everything I did this year was made almost completely with scraps and pieces of fabric  already in my stash!!! Only two bolts were harmed in the making of these quilts.

Orchids to the photographers who share their photos. Thank you!

Orchids to the photographers who share their photos. Thank you!

And credit where credit is due. The photographs on the new layer of “Ode to Joy” came from Wikipedia. Thanks for permission to use their photos goes to (from left to right): Zfigueroa, Gisela Ishihara, Revista El Grafico, and Hseldon 10.

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