2017/04/04

Random Facts: If I Were to Scream

Da Goddess @ 12:00

If I

    were

to scream because I had to define “subjunctive mood verbs” I’d be well within my rights to do so. Mostly because I had NO FUCKING IDEA there was such a thing!

I love the language of writing. I love that it’s often tricky and sometimes even downright ridiculous. But I also hate it when I come across something about which I’ve never even heard. Or, if it had been covered during an English course, it was so convoluted I simply blacked out from sheer confusion and lunacy of the whole shebang.

I mean, c’mon! Subjunctive mood verbs? When did someone find themselves so bored that they had the time to conjure up such a thing?

Was is used in the first and third person singular past. It is used for statements of fact.

Were is used in the second person singular and plural and first and third person plural. It is used in the subjunctive mood to indicate unreal or hypothetical statements. The words if and wish usually indicate the subjunctive mood.

Ridiculous, right?

At least I now know. And because I took the time to find out, my head hurts and I think I deserve some relief.

Sigh.

2017/03/02

Happy World Book Day!

Da Goddess @ 15:06

If you know me, you know I absolutely adore books. I love the written word. I love getting lost in the written word. I love the feeling I get from reading, even if that feeling is of frustration or anger at the writer (if I’m involved enough in a story to get upset, then the author’s done something right — they made me CARE!).

My mom gave me the second greatest gift of all when she taught me to read. The first gift, obvs, was love. But even if she hadn’t loved me, I’d still have reading. And reading is power.

A good story will draw you in. It will make you FEEL. It will make you forget the real world for a while. It will open your mind. A good story will open your heart. It will take you to places that only exist in the imagination. It will help develop your imagination. And, dare I say, a good story will inspire you to reach for the stars, and beyond.

There are no goals without imagination, without dreams or dreaming. How do you learn to dream, to believe something is possible if not for the stories other people tell?

I often ask kids about their favorite books. I ask them what they like about the story and the characters. Many kids tell me how they’re inspired by the ideas set forth in the books they read. They tell me how the story could continue, what adventures the characters might find in a new chapter (or seven!). When a kid can tell you what they’d like to have happen next? Well, my friends, that’s magic! That’s imagination. That’s the sign of a child whose brain has been engaged. And that’s a big win in my (pardon/no pardon the pun) book.

Whether our children are reading physical books or on an electronic device, WE ARE WINNING! They’re learning. If their minds are engaged in reading, they’re developing tools they’ll need to become whoever they dream they can be. Because, and here’s the secret, when they read, they can become the characters in the stories, if only for a while. And if they can do that for a while, they begin to believe it’s possible more and more often…in real life. That astronaut in the book? That could be me! That brave knight/princess in the story? That could be me! The character who just discovered a new tribe or animal? Me! Even when the author includes a physical description of a character, while you’re reading, that description falls away and you begin to inhabit the character. If you were to close your eyes in the middle of the tale, your face is the one you’d see if the character looked in the mirror. That’s the power of reading, of imagination. That’s how you start teaching kids to dream.

When I was little, I loved stories that inhabited colorful lands full of colorful characters. Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing. Sneeches, with or without stars upon thars, were fun playmates on days I was kept inside. Or maybe one of the twenty-twenty Daves would come by to save…the day from absolute boredom while stuck in my cave. Chances are, the Cat in the Hat would also stop by, if only to help me find trouble to squeeze out of by the lash of an eye.

As I got a bit older, Trixie Belden became my muse. With her and the Bobwhites, I solved neighborhood mysteries that no one else could have solved. I traveled with her, laughed with her, cried with her. When I felt lonely, Trixie was there for me.

Always, always have a book. When you’re watching TV, have a book to read during commercials. Going to the doctor? Take a book. Got a lot of books and spend a lot of time at the doctor’s like I do? Ask if you can bring in a few to start a lending library. Old magazines will only last so long.

As soon as possible, get a child their own library card. Make the library or bookstore a regular part of your week. Investing in a child’s mind is investing in the possibilities of their future. Let them become invested, too, as they tell you what they’ve read and what it means to them.

I know I’ve told the story many times of how Mojo would walk into walls because her nose was stuck in a book. And how LD was potty trained with the help of book on dolphins, porpoises, and whales. He was so proud the day he was allowed to take that book everywhere he wanted because he was finally out of diapers. And let’s not forget how my kids would do their chores or finish dinner because their reward was a trip to the library or bookstore!

As my kids grew up, people would give them gift cards for Borders or Barnes & Noble so they could choose their own gifts. Instead of ONE present, they ended up with many. And they were the kind of gifts that kept giving because they turned out to be creative, thoughtful, and funny people. Had they only had TV or video games, I doubt I’d be saying the same (or I’d be lying about them).

I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as a kid. I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as an adult. I do know I’d never have dared to dream of becoming a nurse if I hadn’t read books about candy stripers and nurses. I’d have never dreamed of being a photographer, either. I wouldn’t be passionate about wildlife if not for reading “Born Free” or even “Misty of Chincoteague”. That’s how powerful the written word can be.

I wish you a very happy World Book Day today — and every day! May the book be with you.

* Inspired by Definitely Dreaming

2017/02/26

Closed Borders

Da Goddess @ 05:11

Back when the bookstore, Borders, was still around, I’d often take the kids over for storytime and to just look at/read books. It was a wonderful way to spend the day. It was a treat for all of us.

Borders was brilliant in that they always had carts and racks of books on clearance set up at the entrance of the store. I always stopped to take a look. ALWAYS. And 99.98% of the time I’d end up with a stack of books to sort through and purchase.

Best part? I’d find so many $2 books for the kids that I’d always have a special treat/reward for them at the end of the day or week or after they accomplished something special.

Two of my favorites were “Showdown at Lonesome Pellet” and a book of mazes. A long time ago I blogged about “Lonesome Pellet” and I may have even mentioned the maze book. I’ve found where to get a copy of “Pellet” but haven’t yet solved the mystery of the maze book.

I don’t recall the name of the book (which, of course, makes finding it nigh on impossible) but I recall quite clearly the look and premise of it. It was colorful, inside and out, and to get from one page to another, you had to “jump” through a hole. A literal hole. In the page. There was always more than one, too. Sometimes you went through to the next page, sometimes you went through a few. No matter, it was FUN! Each hole took you somewhere new, kinda like a choose your own adventure story.

I’ve tried googling the book using every description under the sun to no avail. Why can’t I find it?! Why did Borders have to close? WHYYY?? They were so helpful and informative when it came to researching even the vaguest book description.

Someday, maybe someday, they’ll be back.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

2017/02/04

My Official Valentine’s Day/Early Birthday Wish List Item #1

Da Goddess @ 03:41

I’ve written plenty in the past about my love for Honeyboy Edwards. I’ve talked many an ear off several unsuspecting friends about Honeyboy.

At this point, if there were even the merest chance that anyone I run into DOESN’T know Honeyboy is part of my heart, my soul, my very DNA, I’d be surprised if they were surprised by this first item on my not-so-distant wish list for Valentine’s Day, or birthday.

It is, of course, a brand new release of David Honeyboy Edwards. I want the CD. I want the DVD. And, God help me, I need another copy of his book in my collection (I foolishly loaned it out and never got it back, the bastards!).

So, there it is.

What do YOU want for Valentine’s Day?

2016/12/16

True Love

Da Goddess @ 21:20

I laughed myself silly over this.

2016/11/30

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Da Goddess @ 07:09

Everything You Want Me to Be is a tragic, but oh-so-true-sounding novel about Hattie Hoffman’s life and death in a small town.

Whereas I normally don’t care for books with multiple narrators, Mejia deftly uses the construct to tie the not-so-distant past with the present and how Hattie’s death came to be, what impact it has on those left behind, and how her murder is eventually solved.

The teens ring true to those we know, especially in a world consumed with fame. The digital age plays a significant role in both the events leading up to the murder and in solving it.

Touching, disturbing, and heartbreaking on many levels, you won’t be able to put down this gripping tale until the last word is read.

2016/10/28

Flexible Wings

Da Goddess @ 17:14

I recently won a giveaway on Goodreads.com for Flexible Wings by Veda Stamps.

Despite the fact this book is for tweens, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the lead character.

Here’s my quick review:

Flexible Wings is the charming story of Summer Stevenson and her struggle to find her place in a new neighborhood.

Being the daughter of a military parent is tough, but both of Summer’s parents have military backgrounds. Dad is recently retired and Mom is still serving our country. While many admire the Stevensons for their service, Summer just wants to have both parents at home and she wants to live in one place for a change. So, when her parents move the family to Valencia, California, Summer is NOT pleased. She has to leave behind the one home she really loved, has to leave behind her best friend, Esperanza, and worst of all, she’s going to have to navigate a new school and new kids.

The only shining light in the midst of this doom and gloom is – finally – the chance to join a swim team!

Stamps beautifully captures the voice of tweens and deftly illustrates the conflicting feelings of being a military dependent. Her characters are engaging and the story moves along at a good pace. Middle grade readers will easily make their way through the book, hopefully finding the strength and courage to tackle new situations and deal with bullies just as Summer does.

I look forward to reading more from Veda Stamps as she’s proven herself to be a wonderful storyteller.

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