Tag Archives: writing

The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey–Wow!

The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey–Wow!

Dylan Taggart is on the run in Stacie Ramey‘s newest young adult book. It’s a gem!! THE SECRETS WE BURY. You can preorder now. (It won’t be out until March 2018 . . . bummer . . . but I found a secret copy to read!) Here’s a teaser: “In an effort to escape his family, Dylan sets out on the Appalachian trail—but he can’t escape his past—or his secrets,” or a girl, hiking alone, called the Ghost.

This book is full of hurt and heart and has a special hero–Dylan Taggart. He’s a boy on the autism spectrum and watching him navigate the trail, as well as issues of his heart, provides a fascinating look at a special person. If you’re a lover of show THE GOOD DOCTOR, or the book THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, you’ll love this. Don’t wait. Order now!

Keep on reading!

Shutta

Love this List!

Love this List!

List of 500+ Fun, Cool and Interesting Words

Those of you who know me well know that I’m a “word-collector.” Or, rather, a “swashbuckler” of words–as is Mouseling in my upcoming book. (December, 2017)  I–We (Mouseling is my alter-ego) LOVE this list that resides on Tara Lazar’s site. It reminds me of the specialized journals I keep. One of them is just for fun words or phrases I’ve picked up while reading.  I should post a list of fun phrases. At any rate, stop by Tara Lazar’s site and check out her list of 500 fun words. And then see how many you can use in a poem or picture book.

Have fun writing!

Shutta

List of 500+ Fun, Cool and Interesting Words

The Wonders of Mud

The Wonders of Mud

I lay down my copy of Discover magazine, go outside and I kick off my lime green Crocs. I’m not tiptoeing through the tulips, but flat footing it into my weed-choked gardens. My feet break through the pale, sun-warmed upper crust to sink into the moist lower layers. No wonder dirt is good for you—it’s the color of dark chocolate.

I’ve always known that most of my gardening friends are “laid-back.” I never knew the reason why until today. Discover magazine reports that according to a new study a harmless soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae (M. vaccae), causes serotonin to be released in the brain. The study (“Identification of an Immune-Responsive Mesolimbocortical Serotonergic System: Potential Role in Regulation of Emotional Behavior,” by Christopher Lowry et al. Originally published in Neuroscience.) indicates that inhaling M. vaccae while working in the garden, or walking, can create a better mood and lighten depression much the way Prozac does.

This makes me, as a children’s writer, think back to making mud pies with my friends and siblings. Was it M. vaccae working on our brains that made those times so memorable and fun? I loved mixing up the dirt and water in a metal washtub we had. Then reaching into the cool mixture, we’d grab handfuls. And Oh! How satisfying it was—the feel of slapping a patty of soft mud from hand to hand, shaping it in the small curve of a palm—cool, rounded, perfect mud. Then we’d slam it down—splat!—on top of our makeshift kitchen counter (two boards over a stone barbecue pit Dad had built in the backyard).

It wasn’t easy to get them perfectly shaped. Often you had to add just a pinch or two more dirt to get the right consistency to hold the burger-shaped patties together. Sometimes we’d decorate with sprigs of grass, a flower, or something plucked from Mom’s garden.

We never made any money selling our mud pies, or our tree seeds (locust pods), or lemonade, for that matter. It wasn’t for trying. We would hold up signs and wave at the cars that went by our cardboard box-and-plank storefronts. Mostly what we collected were honks from the neighbors, and smiles as others waved back at us.

When the weather was really hot, we’d simply step into the cool mud in the washtub and began squishing it up through our toes. It was divine. (And not unlike the joy I felt many years later stomping grapes when my husband and I made our own wine.)

Much of the mud stayed between our toes, despite my mother’s earnest attempts at scrubbing us until we shined. There were four of us. And the minute she finished bathing one and started on another, the clean one would run outside in pajamas to jump about barefoot under the evening sky. Somehow, we always managed to go to bed with dirty toes.

It didn’t kill us. In fact, my siblings and I have been extraordinarily healthy. So today, as I bend to weed around my plants, I am again barefoot. I breathe in deeply, trying to get a big dose of M. vaccae. My feet have sunk in the cool earth; the dark, rich dirt has squeezed up through my toes. I am happy.

(Photo of feet c/o sarah-sunshinedaydream.blogspot.com)

Be happy, go outside!

Shutta