Since we’ve moved into our new house in a new state, there have been challenges and frustrations. At the end of the day, the one thing that always brings joy is the beauty of the sunset.
I’m enjoying the view. It’s good for the heart and soul.
As I ponder on how to proceed with my writing career, I came across this from Jamie Swenson, an energetic author and early literacy storyteller/library associate. Her words are food for thought.
Deep Thoughts: For years I’ve been told that it is not talent, but perseverance that defines a published vs. non-published writer. Without perseverance, they say – none would succeed in this industry. But perseverance alone is not the key. In my mind, the key is willingness to grow, be flexible, reinvent yourself, and expand your vision of what a successful career as an author/illustrator means. Those who simply persevere – they may carry the same exact story around for years – they may not quit – but it’s unlikely they will succeed. In this world, you must be open and willing to revise – but more than revision – it’s personal growth. You must be willing to throw the story away and start anew. To look at your work and ask yourself the hard questions. This is, in so many ways, more difficult than simply not quitting. I raise my glass to those of you who know what I’m talking about – and continue to produce the very best for the world. *Raises Glass – CLINK* That is all … you may go on with your day … ~Jamie Swenson
What are your thoughts?
A few days ago, I read an e-mail from the son of a World War II veteran whose father had just passed away. There were many things he said in praise of his father, but there was one sentence that struck me the most. “We are slowly losing the Greatest Generation.”
My dad was part of that generation – the generation that grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. My dad didn’t speak much about what it was like during those times, and he was especially tight-lipped about his service in the Air Corps. If you wanted information, you had to pry it out of him. It wasn’t until my mother passed away that he felt the urge to tell us about his time during the war. He was a First Lieutenant and part of the 20th Air Corps, 505th Bombardment Group based on Tinian Island. My dad was a navigator on B-29 bombers. He was part of the crew that mined Tokyo Bay and Shimonoseki Straits, and he searched for survivors after B-29 bombers were shot down.
Before my dad left for service, he and my mom became engaged. They promised to write each other every day. And they did. Hundreds and hundreds of letters passed between my mom and dad during those years he was gone.
After they got married, the letters were stored away. When I was younger, a friend and I found them in the attic. We secretly read some of them and giggled at the expressions of love. At that time, it was hard to believe my mom and dad could be so silly in love. Those letters are now in my possession – all of them. You don’t get letters like these anymore. They’re filled with history – not the history of the war, but the history of what it was like to be alive then. The letters are about love, loneliness, and longing. They’re about meeting new people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. They’re about broadening horizons and learning about the world around you and how to survive.
Those letters are what this post is about. I’m sure my dad left them in my care because he wanted his children to know what he was never able to tell us face-to-face. He wanted us to get to know them (mom and dad) through the words of love they wrote to one another.
It’s time for me to tackle those letters and read the words written by my mom and dad so long ago. Who knows what secrets I might learn from the Greatest Generation.
Chasing Freedom: The Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony Inspired by Historical Facts is written by Coretta Scott King award-winning author, Nikki Grimes, and it’s illustrated by Michele Wood, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner.
Grimes has created a story that brings together two famous historical figures. She begins her story with Susan B. Anthony inviting Harriet Tubman to her home for conversation and tea before the Annual Convention of the New York State Suffrage Association. In the hours before the opening of the convention, Susan and Harriet take turns sharing memories from their lives. The reader learns of the hardships faced by both women as they stood up for their beliefs. Susan talks about her work in the antislavery and women’s rights movements. Harriet reminisces about her life as a slave and conductor on the Underground Railroad. Included in their conversation are other famous historical men and women who lived during the same time period. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Frederick Douglas, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Horace Greely are just a few of the figures who influenced their thinking. Grimes has used her magic with words to spin a story filled with historical facts and information. Along with the impressive illustrations by Michele Wood, this book is well-worth reading. Back matter includes short biographies of those figures mentioned in the book, an author’s note, additional notes, and a bibliography. Make sure to check this book out.