Favorite Childhood Books

#UpbeatAuthors are remembering their favorite childhood books this week.

I’m a reader. I have always preferred to read over watching television.  But given my status as a bookworm, I did not have a difficult time picking a favorite book or two. Both had a lasting impact on me. One is frequently mentioned by other authors. There was even a movie made when my children were younger.

However, I never hear–or read–about the second one:

Alvin’s Secret Code taught me a lot about the English language: frequency tables, doubled letters, common letter combinations, and so on. Apparently it is one of a series of books, but I never read any other installment. As you can see from the photo, my copy is well-loved, a sure sign of being a favorite.






Balancing Act

When I first joined RWA, there was a column at the end of every issue of the Romance Writers’ Report called “The Last Word.” The one I remember most vividly is the transcript of the speech  Anne Stuart delivered at the RWA National Conference Awards Luncheon on Saturday, August 1, 1998. While the industry has changed in ways we could not imagine back then, her advice is still relevant today:

…spotless houses take too much time out of life. Love your children, feed them, and teach them to do their own laundry. And then get back to work on your book.

Comedienne Phyllis Diller once quipped: “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

Choreographer Twyla Tharp said: “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

In order make the time to write, compose, paint, dance, or in other ways create, something else has to go. One person can’t do everything. I recommend losing the housework. If the people who share your living space disagree, they are free to clean. ( And yes, you must make the time as opposed to finding it.)

Teaching your children how to do laundry, cook, and clean isn’t a bad thing. They will have life skills when they are launched into the world, and you will have the time and space to do your thing.

That’s balance.



Old Dog, New Trick

I really hate talking on the phone. One of the reasons is the abuse I took from viewers back in my TV days. When the time came for me to look for another Day Job, one of the top items on my list of job requirements was NO PHONE WORK.

I found a position I thought was suited to me. Something new. I got to play with spreadsheets all day. If my phone rang at all, it was my supervisor asking me to pop over to answer a question.

Times change. Situations change. Circumstances change. I took another job where I’m on the phone several hours a day–and I find that I don’t mind it. At all. Maybe because I’m not dealing with the random public. Maybe because my co-workers are a pretty incredible bunch of women. All I know is that I’m content (my new main job requirement). My husband and friends say I seem happier.

Yeah, I was nervous about the new job, mostly because of the phone stuff, but I sucked it up and tried something new…and it worked.