Posts Tagged ‘Susan Taylor Brown’

Music May Enhance Your Writing

December 17, 2010

My friend, Susan Taylor Brown, told me of the free music site on Facebook.

http://www.pandora.com/#/

You can request the kind of music you like and they’ll select that type of music for you as your own personal radio station.  

Soon piano music filled my room.  I had forgotten how much music takes me to places far beyond the stretches of my ordinary world. 

I used to listen to classical music as I worked.  Amy Tan listens to the same piece of classical music over and over, so her mind is trained.  As soon as she hears it, she’ll become immersed into her creative world immediately.

Years ago when I had insomnia, I listened to a tape of ocean waves so I’d fall asleep.  One day we took our son to the beach in Monterey.  You can probably guess what happened.  As he played in the sand, I sat on a rock and could hardly keep my eyes open. 

But the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me with regard to music was one day when I played a difficult piece on the piano.  I hadn’t played it since I was a teen, and in fact, as an adult, could barely read the notes any more.  But my fingers seemed to know instinctively what to do.  They raced up and down the keyboard as though they were not a part of the rest of me. 

And my mind?  I was miles off in the middle of the life of a main character I had been writing that day. 

Let music inspire your art. 

Creative prompts:

1.  As your choice of music plays, write or create art and see how the music affects you.  Does it help your creativity?  You may need to get used to it if silence is a regular part of your life. 

2.  Do you have a clarinet stashed away in a closet somewhere?   Play it a little every day.  You never know how another form of art may help your writing.   If you don’t have an instrument, consider taking lessons or singing in the shower.

3.  Speaking of Susan Taylor Brown, as a writer, she began taking art classes and now has some amazing collages that are informing her poetry.  Try a form of art you normally might not attempt and see where it takes you!  Go out of your box and it will lead you on a journey of creative discovery that will give your writing a new depth.

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When a Publishing House Dies

November 17, 2010

“Tricycle is dead, ”  the e-mail said. 

I gasped.  Grief overwhelmed me.

How could this be? 

It happened to soon. 

I’m not ready for it.

I thought of the amazing books out of this quirky and unique small publishing house.   The hysterical George Hogglesberry Grade School Alien by Sarah Wilson,  the lyrical and moving Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown.  And who can forget Adventures of COW by COW?

 Tricycle Press’ sudden demise shouldn’t have come as such a shock.  After all, when Random House bought them, we knew anything could happen.  When a small publisher is gobbled up by a large one . . . who knows what the big guys are thinking?  

They wanted to buy Ten Speed, the adult publishing branch and they ditched the children’s division.  Isn’t that just like the world?  Giving second thought to kids? 

When I was in children’s theater, the “real” theater department considered children’s theater “second class” because we were “only” for kids.  Ha.  They didn’t get it.

Pretty soon we’ll have one or two gigantic publishers owning everything.  Every author will have the same voice.  There will be no choice in the world. 

So let’s “get it.” 

Right now, go to your bookstore and buy a quirky, unusual, fabulous book for kids.  Read it yourself!  Give it as a gift!  Don’t have a kid in your life?  Donate it to a local elementary school library.  Every school library is in need these days! 

Let’s promote small publishers,  unique independent bookstores,  unknown authors, well-done ANYTHING for kids!  Let’s have MANY voices instead of a few brands.  Join together to promote reading. 

Let us use this death to promote action.  Rest in Peace Tricycle.

Video Book Trailer Scholarship Contest For Kids 13 – 18

September 25, 2009

Create a video book trailer for the novel “Hugging the Rock” by Susan Taylor Brown.

Put together a cast and act it out, create an animation, or use photos with text set to music – it’s up to you. Be creative. Have fun. Make people want to read the book.

More details can be found at the Freshbrain.org website: http://tinyurl.com/rocktrailer
SUMMARY OF RULES
– U.S resident only between 13 and 18 years of age (as of the close of the contest)
– 30 seconds to 2 minutes in length and in a standard video format (.wmv, .mov, .avi, .mp4)
– Your own creation, NO copyrighted material
– Include a brief description of the process you followed
– Deadline for entries is 12/15/09

JUDGING
Judging will be based on the following criteria. Please see the official rules for more details.
– Creativity (50%)
– Consistency with the book (25%)
– Fit and finish (25%)

AWARDS
– The winner will receive a $1000 scholarship!
– The winner will ALSO have their trailer featured on the Random House website.