My world spins on an axis of storytelling. In every part of my life, it is the stories that bring people together. It is the stories that keep the love, laughter, and hard work flowing. It is the stories people have told that I remember, calling each one of them up to relish as needed. It is the stories that I hold close to me because they provide connection, understanding, and mysteries to ponder. I am grateful to the storytellers, each and every one of you.
I live in a Confluence of Creativity that inspires me every day. The people who work with children’s books, creating them, teaching them, promoting them, putting them in the right child’s hands … they are dedicated to being creative. It fills me with awe when I hold a book, when I hear a teacher’s enthusiasm for a book they’re reading out loud to their class, when I observe a librarian telling a book’s story with puppets and suggestions of scenery. This is creativity … and we’re blessed when the next generation is inspired to follow in their creative footprints.
I am grateful for the writing, leadership, and example that Anita Silvey has been for my life. I have long admired her books about children’s literature, the excellence of The Horn Book magazine under her editorial leadership, and her ability to hold an audience enrapt. In recent years, I have been encouraged by her example of focusing on the writing of nonfiction for young readers and especially her books about women scientists. Her biography of Pete Seeger, another one of my heroes, is the best I’ve ever read. Anita is a class act and an extraordinary woman.
Did you read album liner notes? (I know, what’s an album?) Many of my album covers are worn out because I read through those notes over and over, especially those that had lyrics for all of the songs. I appreciated knowing who the musicians were for each song. I used to imagine their studio sessions and how they interacted. If you look up “liner notes” online, you’ll find articles mourning how liner notes placed the album in a specific time and place. They were recording history for the future. I even dreamed of writing liner notes when I grew up. I’m grateful for the people who did write them … and the artists who made them beautiful. CDs often included liner notes (in miniature) but now, with streaming music, we need a website that has readable images of all of those liner notes of decades past … and going forward.
What’s your best place to think? Mine is in the shower. All kinds of ideas are borne in that soothing cascade of water. I get a lot of writing done. I have to focus to remember what I’ve composed in my head until I can write it down. I’m grateful for the privilege of taking a shower. I have to think fast. I am sharply aware that the world’s water resources are threatened so my thinking has to occur quickly. How about you? Where do you do your best thinking?
It may seem a bit circuitous, but I’m grateful for this Gratitude Journal. On Day 47, as I anticipate another 318 days of making a selection, I stepped back to consider. I began this effort for many reasons, but one of the most important was a daily intention for being positive in a discouraging world. In my usual fashion, I began to figure out how I could be more efficient, preparing a week’s worth of entries, gathering my visuals, and … (calming breath). I realized that the point is not production but a daily reminder, a daily opportunity to write, a daily reason to interact with friends and family. I am grateful that you’re taking this journey with me.