Three Things A Writer Needs According to Faulkner

Here are three things a writer needs according to Faulkner.

This is a terrific thought and so very true.  Thanks Mr. Faulkner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was sixteen years old, I decided I wanted to put to pen my story of a girl who wants to be a Kabuki actor, but couldn’t because she was female.

For over twenty-five years I never got further than the first chapter of the book which was then titled, Two For the Kabuki for as many years.

Experience:

Thank goodness I waited to write it.  I need experience both as a human being on this earth and teacher.  Without the experiences, my book would have been very superficial and not what it became.

I used to blame myself for waiting so long to write it.  As if I didn’t write it, someone else might do so first.  Maybe so.

Observation:

I needed all those years to observe people.  A great place to do so was in my drama classroom. For twenty years, I taught middle school students.  Middle school is the most complex of all the years for a child.  They arrive to you as an eleven year old and leave as nearly a fourteen year old.  Wow.  Think about that!

The middle school years are the ones of the body changing, hormones a moaning, pimples, facial hair, squeaky voices and lack of poise.  Even the greatest athlete of the group can trip over himself on the way to the cafeteria.

I noticed the girl give up their long locks of hair and trying something more daring right around seventh grade.  As if the approaching high school years beckon them to mature in to the young adult they will become.

I listen to people’s conversations a lot, or rather I eaves drop on conversations.  Who needs to write original dialogue? People sometimes express themselves far better than I can.   I keep my ears peaked at all times.

Imagination:

I have quite an imagination.  I’m still afraid of the dark and think strange noises are some alien trying to get me. I won’t put my foot outside the sheets and when I do, it stays on top of the mattress.  No dangling my vulnerable foot over the edge of the bed.

Because of my experience as an actress and director, I rarely have trouble getting the juices to flow once I open the door to them.  Frankly, I have more trouble prioritizing which creative activity I should do first.  I always seem to have several irons in the fire–teacherspayteachers products, this blog, social sites to keep up, a play version of Bumbling Bea and a book or two rolling around in my mind.

I wish I could put one first over the rest, but I simply can’t.

But Mr. Faulkner obviously knows what he’s talking about.  If I could write what he did, maybe I’d be quoted instead of him.

Nah, I doubt it.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net or here.  I’d love to here from you.

author's signature

 

 

National Haiku Day Bumbling Bea Style

April 15 is National Haiku Day. I’m going to honor national haiku day Bumbling Bea style.

You gotta wonder who thinks up these national days….

CHERRY BLOSSOMS

When I think of Haiku, I think of gorgeous flowering trees in Japan.

I’m sure there are poets who write them without thinking like I do.

I did a little researching and found Creative.Writing.Now. com.  It’s a website founded by writing teachers about writing.  One of their pages is about haiku poetry.  

The following are typical of haiku:

  • A focus on nature.

  • A “season word” such as “snow” which tells the reader what time of year it is.

  • A division somewhere in the poem, which focuses first on one thing, than on another. The relationship between these two parts is sometimes surprising.

  • Instead of saying how a scene makes him or her feel, the poet shows the details that caused that emotion. If the sight of an empty winter sky made the poet feel lonely, describing that sky can give the same feeling to the reader.

In honor of National Haiku Day, April 15 I created a few haiku about the characters of my award winning book, Bumbling Bea. There are several acknowledgements to the Japanese culture in the story so it only seemed fitting.

 My haiku aren’t about trees, flowers and clouds, but they are about the nature of human beings.  (Get it, get it?)

Bumbling Bea

Beatrice about Michiko:

Laughing and bowing

Her voice strong and dramatic

I wish I was her.

Bumbling Bea

Michiko thoughts about her mother:

You loudly scold me

Stretching, growing up I cry

This life’s mine not yours.

Bumbling Bea

Peter’s reflection about the  Michiko sabotage:

Devil leaves of three

Softly touch innocent skin

Oozing mounds erupt.

Bumbling Bea

Bumbling Bea would say:

I take over you

blurting outrageous things

Always regretting them.

Mr. Brace quips:

As father I’m bound

To family duties

Begrudging all.

Mrs. Brace to Mr. Brace:

Can’t you see I’m sad?

It’s hard to forget

Happy days, sweet nights.

BB chapter 16

The Cast’s thoughts:

Performance is super

Michiko adds spice and flare

But what’s with the freeze?

Lost?  You won’t be once you read my book.  Check it out here:

http://tinyurl.cpm/n5at3o

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

 

Student Survival: The Importance of Pleasure Reading for a Kid

So, let’s talk about pleasure reading for a kid.

Recently, I was looking for a  pleasure reading book to purchase for my upcoming trip over seas. I was having a difficult time finding one. I saw a child who was nearly eating a book while he read it–in the time I looked over one aisle of books, he read three (all right, they were short, but still…)

 

books

Some people are selective about the genres they read.  I usually gravitate toward books with quirky characters in ordinary appearing plots. I say “ordinary appearing” because it is always intriguing to find the characters going somewhere else than you expected.

However, I am known to cheat and read the last chapter of a book if a. the story is moving too slowly for me or b. I’m dying to know what happens. When I was a child, my mother would scold me for doing so–still haven’t kicked the habit.  Sorry, Mom.

I worry about kids’ reading preferences. It seems many writers write for whatever trend is popular the time. A few years ago, it was zombies and time travelers. Not every child wants to read fantasy or graphic novels.  That’s why I penned Bumbling Bea.  If you haven’t picked up my book, you might want to try it.  I promise you, it isn’t your run of the mill plot! Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/n5at3oh

I ran on to an article concerning this concern and I thought you’d be interested, too.

Indie Book

Promoting the Pleasures of Reading: Why It Matters to Kids and to Country

June 10, 2017

Advocacy, Inquiry, Literacy, Reading, Teachingpleasure reading

by Lu Ann McNabb

This post is written by member Jeffrey Wilhelm.

Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want and Why We Should Let Them was this past year’s winner of the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in English Education.

The research findings that we report in Reading Unbound have profound implications for us as teachers, for our students, and for democracy.

In our book, we argue that pleasure reading is a civil rights issue. Why? Because fine-grained longitudinal studies (e.g., the British Cohort study: Sullivan & Brown, 2013; and John Guthrie’s analysis of PISA data, 2004, among many others) demonstrate that pleasure reading in youth is the most explanatory factor in both cognitive progress and social mobility over time.

pleasure reading

Pleasure reading is more powerful than parents’ educational attainment or socioeconomic status.

This means that pleasure reading is THE way to address social inequalities in terms of actualizing our students’ full potential and overcoming barriers to satisfying and successful lives.

We think that our data explain why pleasure reading leads to cognitive growth and social mobility.

The major takeaway for teachers is to focus on pleasure in our teaching. Pleasure has many forms: play pleasure/immersive pleasure, when you get lost in a book—this is a prerequisite pleasure and we can foster it in various ways, such as teaching with an inquiry approach, using drama and visualization strategies, etc.; work pleasure, where you get a functional and immediately applicable tool for doing something in your life; inner work pleasure, where you imaginatively rehearse for your life and consider what kind of person you want to be; intellectual pleasure, where you figure out what things mean and how texts were constructed to convey meanings and effects; and social pleasure, in which you relate to authors, characters, other readers, and yourself by staking your own identity.

Kids (like all other human beings!) do what they find pleasurable. You get good at what you do and then outgrow yourself by developing new related interests and capacities.

Book

Play pleasure develops the capacity to engage and immerse oneself, to visualize meanings and relate to characters. It is the desire to love and be loved. Work pleasure is the love of getting something functional done. Work pleasure is about the love of application and visible signs of accomplishment. Readers engaging in this pleasure cultivate transfer of strategies and insights to life.

Inner work pleasure involves imaginatively rehearsing what kind of person one wants to be. As our informant Helen asserted: “It’s not really learning about yourself, it’s learning about what you could be . . . .” and “Characters are ways of thinking really . . . They are ways of being you can try on.”

Inner work is the love of transformation—of connecting to something greater, of striving to become something more. When our informants engaged in this pleasure, they expressed and developed a growth mindset and a sense of personal and social possibility.

 pleasure reading

Intellectual pleasure is pursued for the joy of figuring things out; it develops the capacity to see connections and solve problems. Our informants developed resilience, grit, and proactivity through the exercise of this pleasure. Erik Erikson argued that staking one’s identity is the primary task of early to late adolescence and that this is achieved through evolving interests and competence.

Social pleasure involves this human developmental project because it involves relating to authors, characters, other readers, and the self in ways that stake identity. Social pleasure is the love of connection—to the self, others, community, and to doing significant work together.

This pleasure develops social imagination: the capacity to experience the world from other perspectives; to learn from and appreciate others distant from us in time, space, and experience; and the willingness to relate, reciprocate, attend to, and help others different from ourselves.

In other words, it promotes cognitive progress, wisdom, wholeness, and the democratic project. In fact, all of the pleasures were found to do this.

Our data clearly establish that students gravitate to the kinds of books they need to navigate their current life challenges, and that many ancillary benefits accrue in the realms of cognition, psychology, emotional development, and socialness. So much so that we developed the mantra: Kids read what they need!

 

This finding led us to be more trusting of kids’ choices and to ask them about why they chose to read what they did, and eventually to championing these choices. We likewise found that each of the marginalized genres we studied (romance, horror, vampire, fantasy, and dystopia) provided specific benefits and helped students navigate different individual developmental challenges.

Our data also establish that young people are doing sophisticated intellectual work in their pleasure reading, much of it just the kind of work that the Common Core and other next generation standards call for. So making pleasure more central to our practice is not in conflict with working to achieve standards.

girl reading

Standards and all the other significant goals described here can be achieved if teachers value interpretive complexity as much as they do textual complexity, if they create inquiry contexts that reward entering a story world and doing psychological and social work in addition to more traditional academic goals, and if they provide opportunities for choice and meaningful conversation.

Given the benefits of each pleasure, we are convinced that pleasure reading is not only a civil right, it is a social necessity of democracy.

That is why we urge you to promote pleasure reading in your classroom and school, and it is why our book is filled with practical ideas for how to do so while promoting each of the five pleasures. It is monumental work—and it is work we must undertake with the greatest urgency—particularly at this moment in history.

books

What are some of your favorite genres to read? Perhaps you have a child who might enjoy reading my book, Bumbling Bea simply for the fun of it.  I think they’ll enjoy it!

Check it out here:  https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516988757&sr=8-1&keywords=Bumbling+Bea

I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Indie Author Podcasts

Being an Indie Author Has Its Perks

Bumbling Bea podcast

Let’s talk about podcasts. I find being an indie author has its perks.

In truth, I wasn’t much of a pod cast listener until I was interviewed for one. Ha!

One of the best things about indie publishing is we indies help one another. I don’t know if traditional authors support each other, but we do. In a very short time, I have made some great friendships because of Bumbling Bea.  This wasn’t anything I expected either.

A very nice author, Jed Lie (Jedlife.com) posted through a Facebook indie author group which I am a part of that he was accepting children book authors for his podcast, Reading with Your Kids.

He would interview us for free!

I jumped at the chance to be included and was lucky enough to be interviewed.  Here it is:

Isn’t that nice?

This isn’t a sort interview either.  Who does that?

Indie authors do.

Every time I am interviewed either for a website, a book talk, a video or now a podcast the interviewer asks wonderful questions which seem to originate from the person’s connection to Bumbling Bea.  In other words, their personal experiences are the jumping off point for the interview.

Here is another interview you might enjoy:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/20/authorblogspot-another-author-interview-of-me/

or this one:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/06/28/three-times-a-charm-an-author-interview/

or this one:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/12/author-interview-typewriterstories/

Gosh, I didn’t realize I had so many!

Deborah Baldwin book talk
I GIVE BOOK TALKS

Book talks are awesome, too!  I am amazed by the astute questions which students ask of me and of course, Bumbling Bea. Sometimes the questions are so insightful and some ideas I hadn’t thought of for the story.

One of my favorite is, “Do Michiko and Beatrice stay friends?  What about their parents?  Do they stay together?”

Hmmmm.

Well, you’ll just have to read Bumbling Bea to find out.

If you are interested in Bumbling Bea, you can find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523044536&sr=8-1&keywords=Bumbling+bea

 

Bumbling Bea podcast

 

 

Again, I’d like to thank the interviewers for their generous time and support of me and Bumbling Bea.

I never expected anyone to enjoy Bumbling Bea and I’m thrilled when someone reads it.

As always, contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Bumbling Bea

Exclusive Interview of My Main Character

http://www.tabislick.com/2017/09/bumblinginterview.html

Recently, my main character Beatrice Brace was selected for an exclusive interview with the Slick Writing Corner blog.  Thank you so much to Tabi and the Slick writing Corner.   Here is the interview:

img_1002

*Intro music begins to play as lights hit front stage*

Tabi: Welcome back! How’s everyone feeling tonight?

*Audience goes wild, clapping their hands and whistling enthusiastically*

Tabi: Awesome, well thank you all for joining us. Tonight we have a very special guest all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia put your hands together for Beatrice Brace!

*Beatrice enters the stage as the audience applaud*

*The two take a seat and the audience follows their lead*

Tabi: So, Beatrice, I hear you’re trying out for the lead role in your 8th grade school play. Could you tell us a little bit about the part you’ll be auditioning for?

Beatrice: I want to play the leading role of Pocahontas in our annual school play about Pocahontas and John Smith. Even though the script isn’t very factual and sort of dumb, I still want to play the lead role.

Tabi: And why is that?

Beatrice: This is my last time to audition for the school play. My Grandpa Percy passed away during the play rehearsal time when I was in sixth grade and in seventh grade I had to have my tonsils taken out and missed the show. So if I’m going to perform Pocahontas, this is my last time. Plus, if I get the leading part, I’m guaranteed to make friends with the popular kids before we move to high school next year. High school really scares me.

Tabi: High school can seem pretty scary, but once you’re there it usually gets less scary. You mentioned being guaranteed friends with the popular crowd, could you explain this a little bit?

Beatrice: Popular kids like other kids who are in the limelight.  Somehow they think that will rub off on them, so they stick close to them to survive. I think I’m stupid, pudgy and not very talented. If I am cast as Pocahontas at least for a Nano second, I’ll be popular with those kids. There are only three other eighth grade students auditioningmy two friends Jerri and Peter and this Japanese girl, Michiko. The three of us are shoe-ins. I don’t know about Michiko.

Tabi: Could you tell us a little bit about Michiko?

Beatrice: Ugh. Okay, if I have to… Michiko Tannabe is a girl who is visiting from Japan for the school year. She is the same age as I, but a complete opposite of me. She is petite, slender, delicate, very talented and super smart. She wears cat ears and dramatizes everything in her life.

Tabi: I guess auditioning for the school play makes sense then.

Beatrice: I think she’s kinda pushy and a know-it-all. My alter ego, Bumbling Bea, takes care of her for me. Well, I should say Bumbling Bea tries to take care of Michiko for me, but it backfires big time thanks to Peter’s failed sabotage attempt with poison ivy.

Tabi *Look of shock*: Poison ivy? Yikes! Unless you’re like me and are in the 15% who aren’t allergic. And what is or who is Bumbling Bea?

Beatrice: As I mentioned, she’s my alter egosarcastic, rude and a know it all. She says too much and needs to think before she speaks. Ha! If she did, she’d vanish. She shows up out of nowhere and takes over. Whenever I am awkward or unsure, Bumbling Bea blurts something to make me feel better about myself.

Tabi: I see. And what about your friends, what are Jerri and Peter like?

Beatrice: I think everyone should have a Jerri in their life. She’s the kind of friend who can speak honestly to me about myself.

Tabi: That’s a good kind of friends to have. And what about Peter?

Beatrice: I think everyone probably has a friend like Peter in their life, too. He’s kind of nerdy and awkward, but hysterically funny at the same time. Sometimes I just call him “P” to get his attention.

*Beatrice’s alter ego takes over*

Bumbling Bea: There’s a reason, but I’m not gonna share that, too. Jeez!

*Beatrice returns. Tabi glances with concern to the audience before returning her attention to Beatrice*

Tabi: Uh-uh… I see. And how did you meet these two?

Beatrice: We met in kindergarten and have been pals ever since. We live in the same neighborhood and together we ride our bikes to school every day.

Tabi: How nice! It’s good to have friends nearby. On a different note, let’s get to know you a little bit more. What’s your favorite song on the radio?

Beatrice: I like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift’s “I’m only Me When I’m With You”?

Tabi: Really? What do you like about these songs?

Beatrice: When I first heard “Lights” I looked up the meaning of the song.  One opinion is that it is about depression and how she beats it.  Sometimes I’m depressed, but I always remember whatever is bothering me will pass in time.  I just like Taylor’s song because I can dance to it.  

Tabi: What about your favorite movie?

Beatrice: I like all the Stars Wars movies and Marvel Comics, especially Wonder Woman.  She’s awesome!

Tabi: I agree! Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite. Good choice! And do you play a sport?

*Bumbling Bea takes over, giving Tabi a look like she’s a crazy person*

Bumbling Bea: Heck no.

*The Audience laughs*

Tabi: Haha, okay moving on. So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bumbling Bea: Anywhere but here.

*The audience watches as Beatrice returns*

Beatrice: I’d like to visit England and see Stonehenge and Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Tabi: Ahh, now the auditioning for the play makes more sense. Do you dream of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays?

Beatrice:  I doubt it.  His plays are in iambic pentameter, you know?  I’m afraid I’d forget the lines and mess up the rhythm of them while doing so.  

Tabi: Well, I wish you the best of luck in auditioning for Pocahontas. Now, you said Michiko is also auditioning for the part, correct?

Beatrice: Yes.

Tabi: What would you say is her best quality?

Beatrice: Michiko is fearless and driven. She doesn’t care if other students like her. She knows what she wants and goes for it.

Tabi: Those are great qualities. What do your friends think of Michiko?

Beatrice: Jerri becomes fast friends with Michiko. It takes Peter longer, because he’s more interested in making money to buy a scooter than anything else. At first, he doesn’t even notice her.

Tabi: and what do you think Michiko thinks of you?

Beatrice: I think Michiko doesn’t even notice me until she is forced to work with me on the play. She probably thinks I’m stupid and boring. Maybe she’s right, but I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking so. I’ll show her!

*Michiko enters the stage unexpectedly*

Michiko: Oh, Beatrice. I brought you some of my mother’s almond cookies which you like so much.

*Awww sounds ensue from the crowd at the touching gesture*

Beatrice: Thank you, I guess.

Michiko: What are you doing?

Beatrice: I’m being interviewed about my Bumbling Bea story.

Michiko: Oh that story. I’m glad we’re past that, aren’t you? It was a crazy time for both of us.

*Michiko turns to Tabi*

Michiko: Tabi, has Beatrice shared how it ends?

Tabi: Why, no actually.

Beatrice: No, duh. And I’m not gonna. She’ll have to read it.

Michiko: Exactly! I agree with you, Beatrice. It wouldn’t be any fun to know the ending before you read the book. Then you’d have to call the book a different name.

*Beatrice looks confused by this*

Beatrice: What? I don’t get it, Michiko.

Michiko: Beatrice, you’d have to call the book a different name because the story would be backwards. You could give it a title like Fable of Bea Bumbling. That would be a good name for a play. I can see it now, a group of sound effects men are lined up on the stage with their gongs reads to announce your entrance. A narrator, me, promenades to the center of the stage and strikes a dramatic pose. A Kabuki pose would be best, I think.

Beatrice: Oh brother. Here we go again.

Tabi: Okay, well that’s all the time we have this evening. Don’t forget to go and grab your copy of Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin!

*Outro music begins*

Tabi: Next Friday we’ll be joined by a real, live private investigator who solves murders around Absentia and he’ll  be here to show us how it’s done. Come on, you know you don’t want to miss the exclusive interview with Felix the Fox!

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/120288238627586

If you’d like more information about the Slick Writing Corner, check it out here:

*Intro music begins to play as lights hit front stage*

Tabi: Welcome back! How’s everyone feeling tonight?

*Audience goes wild, clapping their hands and whistling enthusiastically*

crowd cheering

Tabi: Awesome, well thank you all for joining us. Tonight we have a very special guest all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia put your hands together for Beatrice Brace!

*Beatrice enters the stage as the audience applaud*

*The two take a seat and the audience follows their lead*

Tabi: So, Beatrice, I hear you’re trying out for the lead role in your 8th grade school play. Could you tell us a little bit about the part you’ll be auditioning for?

Beatrice: I want to play the leading role of Pocahontas in our annual school play about Pocahontas and John Smith. Even though the script isn’t very factual and sort of dumb, I still want to play the lead role.

Tabi: And why is that?

Beatrice: This is my last time to audition for the school play. My Grandpa Percy passed away during the play rehearsal time when I was in sixth grade and in seventh grade I had to have my tonsils taken out and missed the show. So if I’m going to perform Pocahontas, this is my last time. Plus, if I get the leading part, I’m guaranteed to make friends with the popular kids before we move to high school next year. High school really scares me.

Tabi: High school can seem pretty scary, but once you’re there it usually gets less scary. You mentioned being guaranteed friends with the popular crowd, could you explain this a little bit?

Beatrice: Popular kids like other kids who are in the limelight.  Somehow they think that will rub off on them, so they stick close to them to survive. I think I’m stupid, pudgy and not very talented. If I am cast as Pocahontas at least for a Nano second, I’ll be popular with those kids. There are only three other eighth grade students auditioningmy two friends Jerri and Peter and this Japanese girl, Michiko. The three of us are shoe-ins. I don’t know about Michiko.

Tabi: Could you tell us a little bit about Michiko?

Beatrice: Ugh. Okay, if I have to… Michiko Tannabe is a girl who is visiting from Japan for the school year. She is the same age as I, but a complete opposite of me. She is petite, slender, delicate, very talented and super smart. She wears cat ears and dramatizes everything in her life.

Tabi: I guess auditioning for the school play makes sense then.

Beatrice: I think she’s kinda pushy and a know-it-all. My alter ego, Bumbling Bea, takes care of her for me. Well, I should say Bumbling Bea tries to take care of Michiko for me, but it backfires big time thanks to Peter’s failed sabotage attempt with poison ivy.

Tabi *Look of shock*: Poison ivy? Yikes! Unless you’re like me and are in the 15% who aren’t allergic. And what is or who is Bumbling Bea?

Beatrice: As I mentioned, she’s my alter egosarcastic, rude and a know it all. She says too much and needs to think before she speaks. Ha! If she did, she’d vanish. She shows up out of nowhere and takes over. Whenever I am awkward or unsure, Bumbling Bea blurts something to make me feel better about myself.

Tabi: I see. And what about your friends, what are Jerri and Peter like?

Beatrice: I think everyone should have a Jerri in their life. She’s the kind of friend who can speak honestly to me about myself.

Tabi: That’s a good kind of friend to have. And what about Peter?

Beatrice: I think everyone probably has a friend like Peter in their life, too. He’s kind of nerdy and awkward, but hysterically funny at the same time. Sometimes I just call him “P” to get his attention.

*Beatrice’s alter ego takes over*

Bumbling Bea: There’s a reason, but I’m not gonna share that, too. Jeez!

*Beatrice returns. Tabi glances with concern to the audience before returning her attention to Beatrice*

Tabi: Uh-uh… I see. And how did you meet these two?

Beatrice: We met in kindergarten and have been pals ever since. We live in the same neighborhood and together we ride our bikes to school every day.

Tabi: How nice! It’s good to have friends nearby. On a different note, let’s get to know you a little bit more. What’s your favorite song on the radio?

Beatrice: I like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift’s “I’m only Me When I’m With You”?

Tabi: Really? What do you like about these songs?

Beatrice: When I first heard “Lights” I looked up the meaning of the song.  One opinion is that it is about depression and how she beats it.  Sometimes I’m depressed, but I always remember whatever is bothering me will pass in time.  I just like Taylor’s song because I can dance to it.  

Tabi: What about your favorite movie?

Beatrice: I like all the Stars Wars movies and Marvel Comics, especially Wonder Woman.  She’s awesome!

Tabi: I agree! Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite. Good choice! And do you play a sport?

*Bumbling Bea takes over, giving Tabi a look like she’s a crazy person*

Bumbling Bea: Heck no.

*The Audience laughs*

Tabi: Haha, okay moving on. So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bumbling Bea: Anywhere but here.

*The audience watches as Beatrice returns*

Beatrice: I’d like to visit England and see Stonehenge and Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Tabi: Ahh, now the auditioning for the play makes more sense. Do you dream of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays?

Beatrice:  I doubt it.  His plays are in iambic pentameter, you know?  I’m afraid I’d forget the lines and mess up the rhythm of them while doing so.  

Tabi: Well, I wish you the best of luck in auditioning for Pocahontas. Now, you said Michiko is also auditioning for the part, correct?

Beatrice: Yes.

Tabi: What would you say is her best quality?

Beatrice: Michiko is fearless and driven. She doesn’t care if other students like her. She knows what she wants and goes for it.

Tabi: Those are great qualities. What do your friends think of Michiko?

Beatrice: Jerri becomes fast friends with Michiko. It takes Peter longer, because he’s more interested in making money to buy a scooter than anything else. At first, he doesn’t even notice her.

Tabi: and what do you think Michiko thinks of you?

Beatrice: I think Michiko doesn’t even notice me until she is forced to work with me on the play. She probably thinks I’m stupid and boring. Maybe she’s right, but I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking so. I’ll show her!

*Michiko enters the stage unexpectedly*

Michiko: Oh, Beatrice. I brought you some of my mother’s almond cookies which you like so much.

*Awww sounds ensue from the crowd at the touching gesture*

Beatrice: Thank you, I guess.

Michiko: What are you doing?

Beatrice: I’m being interviewed about my Bumbling Bea story.

Michiko: Oh that story. I’m glad we’re past that, aren’t you? It was a crazy time for both of us.

*Michiko turns to Tabi*

Michiko: Tabi, has Beatrice shared how it ends?

Tabi: Why, no actually.

Beatrice: No, duh. And I’m not gonna. She’ll have to read it.

Michiko: Exactly! I agree with you, Beatrice. It wouldn’t be any fun to know the ending before you read the book. Then you’d have to call the book a different name.

*Beatrice looks confused by this*

Beatrice: What? I don’t get it, Michiko.

Michiko: Beatrice, you’d have to call the book a different name because the story would be backwards. You could give it a title like Fable of Bea Bumbling. That would be a good name for a play. I can see it now, a group of sound effects men are lined up on the stage with their gongs reads to announce your entrance. A narrator, me, promenades to the center of the stage and strikes a dramatic pose. A Kabuki pose would be best, I think.

Beatrice: Oh brother. Here we go again.

Tabi: Okay, well that’s all the time we have this evening. Don’t forget to go and grab your copy of Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin!

*Outro music begins*

Tabi: Next Friday we’ll be joined by a real, live private investigator who solves murders around Absentia and he’ll  be here to show us how it’s done. Come on, you know you don’t want to miss the exclusive interview with Felix the Fox!

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/120288238627586

An exclusive interview of my main character, Beatrice.  This is such a clever idea.  Thanks to Tabi Slick for inviting us.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Reading Groups: An Indie Writer’s Dream

Reading Groups:  An Indie Writer’s Dream

There are good teachers and there are outstanding teachers.  Some teachers are willing to support a new writer and others are not, although I haven’t met any yet.

There’s a exemplary school in Columbia, Missouri–Ridgeway Elementary School.

Have you heard of it?

If not, you need to check it out here: https://www.cpsk12.org/Domain/30

Ridgeway Elementary School teaches using individual guided education program. Both of our daughters were educated at Ridgeway.  Ridgeway students understand how to learn, study and learn.

Although it is not a magnet or charter school, it works much like one.

There is a wonderful 4/5th grade teacher there, Maria Cox, who asked to use my book with her reading groups.

What?

Emphatically, I said yes!

I was invited to Ridgeway and spoke to these great students about my book as well.  You gotta give these kids some credit.  It was a very warm room and nearing lunch time.  They sat quietly and asked terrific questions.

I could tell Mrs. Cox had prepared the students for the occasion.

Deborah Baldwin book talk
I GIVE BOOK TALKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ridgeway Elementary book group

Mrs. Cox sent to me photos of the kids reading the second printing of Bumbling Bea.  I updated and tweaked the story a bit and I wanted these kids to be the first to read the new version.

It was thrilling for me to see the students’ faces as they picked out sections they enjoyed.

That’s an author’s dream.

Would your class like a set of Bumbling Bea books?  This can be arranged for you, too. Mrs. Cox used the copies in her reading groups.

I have a play adaptation of Bumbling Bea, too.  I’m looking for a drama class to workshop the show with me.  I’d be willing to come to your school and present a book talk at the same time as the workshop occurs.  Is this something you’d be interested in?

Write me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com and we can chat about it.

Kabuki Theatre for Girls

Kabuki Theatre for Girls

Kabuki theatre for girls

Kabuki Theatre for Girls? Readers ask me why I created a story which included Kabuki theatre. Here is the book:

http://tinyurl.com/n5at3oh

When I was sixteen years old, my parents and I traveled to Japan for a vacation.  My grandparents were missionaries in Japan prior to WWII and my mother wanted to visit the country again.  She hadn’t visited her birthplace since attending college in the US in the early 1940’s.

Mr. Tannabe (yes, I used his name in the book to honor him) served as a tour guide showing us around Japan. Mr. Tannabe owed his faith in Christ to my grandfather who baptized him in the ocean.  He felt indebted to my family because of this. He wined and dined us and showered us with many gifts.  Nearing the end of the trip,  Mr. Tannabe treated us to seats at the National Kabuki Theatre in Tokyo to attend a play.

Mr. Tannabe knew I loved theatre.  I will be forever grateful to him for this experience, because the impetus for Bumbling Bea came from this performance. I was struck by its pageantry, spectacle, story, movement and style.  Then I found out that women originally portrayed all the characters.

kabuki theatre for girls

You are kidding me, right?  Why aren’t women performing Kabuki Theatre today?

Here’s a quick history lesson for you:

It’s possible Kabuki Theatre was first created by a woman named  Okuni of Izumo in the 1590’s (around the time of Shakespeare). She was thought to be an iron worker’s daughter in service to a shrine of Izumo.

From   An Outline Drama of Japanese Theatre written in 1928 (I’m paraphrasing here) the supposed Okuni may have been on a tour seeking contributions for the shrine.
Okuni’s dance was one of worship in praise of a Shinto god.   Her dance met with such welcome in Kyoto that she remained, to be identified with a new dramatic movement rising from the midst of the common people. Okuni was beautiful and graceful which appealed to the people regardless of the religious reasons.

Kabuki theatre for girls

Now, the plot thickens….

A young man was sent by his parents to become trained as a priest. He saw Okuni dance and admired her beauty and poise. He came from a military family and wasn’t interested in the priesthood, but more focused on social aspects.  He found her dances too restricting.  Over time, he convinced Okuni to adapt her dance movements to the music of the day (some of which he wrote). Later, this form became known as Kabuki–the art of song and dance.

More time goes by…

Okuni becomes the Beyoncé of the time. Her dances were quite sensual.

She was invited at least once to perform for the royalty of Japan.   As in many circumstances in the entertainment business,  imitators sprang up.  Both women and men were performing some form of Kabuki. These were men who were otherwise unemployed or women of ill repute (prostitutes) and considered lower class citizens. Plus, those sexy dances, you know?  Kabuki gained a poor reputation.

More time goes by….

Well gosh.  Now, the women weren’t allowed on the stage (you know, because they are females and acting all sexy like).  There were lots of young unemployed men willing to take their places. The stories involved male and female characters, so the men took up playing the female characters as well.

To this day, men portray both the female and male roles in Kabuki Theatre.

There is lots more to the history of Kabuki Theatre, but this gives you a very quick story explaining why a woman from the Midwest would craft such a story.

Kabuki theatre for girls
Kabuki Theatre has a style all its own.

I think one of most unusual aspects of it is a character could be passed from one generation of actors to the next.  Sort of like your grandfather was a Kabuki actor who played John Smith.  Then, your dad becomes a Kabuki actor and he inherits your grandfather’s role of John Smith PLUS whatever celebrated movement your grandfather created in the part.

Now it’s your turn.  Not only are you portraying the role your grandfather and father portrayed, you are sharing your family’s legacy.

Except you are a girl named Michiko.  You want to honor your grandfather, and in your case, your uncle. But heck.  You are a girl and the only family member interested or willing to train in the Kabuki Theatre.

Kabuki theatre for girls–that’s Michiko’s challenge and it was mine, too.

After attending only one Kabuki Theatre performance when I was a sixteen year old,  forty-four years later, I give you Bumbling Bea.

If you are interested in reading Bumbling Bea, check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/n5at3oh

kabuki-actor

Write me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

Bumbling Bea fan

Author Blog Spot: Another Author Interview of Me

I’m very flattered.  A great blog, Author Blog Spot asked to interview me about independent publishing and my book, Bumbling Bea.  Here it is:

Hello everyone!  Today I am speaking with Debbie Baldwin.  Hi Deborah.  Thank you for being here.

 Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a very little girl.  I penned my first story about a pig when I was around five years old.

That’s interesting and so young.

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My father was a radiologist and he would bring home to me the recycled orange colored papers that divided the x-ray films.  I LOVED them and wrote many a story on them.  I didn’t take my writing seriously until about five years ago, however.

How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

I published my book independently.  I am a self-starter.  I didn’t want to wait around for a publisher who may or may not look at my book.  My story is somewhat unique in subject and although it is a good story, I knew it wasn’t mainstream.

Mainstream.  That’s the catch, isn’t it?  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Next time, I’d like to pay someone to edit for me.  Several qualified people edited it for me but I think it would be useful and more beneficial to have someone who’s an editing professional focus upon it.

Yes, and finding the right one is hard.  What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read, read, read.  There are many free resources now that will help you with your writing.  Keep your first draft to yourself.  If you expect your family to support your aspirations, you need to disengage from that hope.  Look for unbiased people to read your manuscript when you are ready.  Everyone’s opinion should be heard, but not acted upon.  Trust your instinct.  It won’t fail you if you are truly honest with yourself.

Lastly, a man whose opinion I wholeheartedly trust told me if I wait until my book is perfect, I’ll never publish it.  He reminded me that software is updated all the time, because if a company waits until it is completely perfect, they will never get the product out there.  Finish the project.  Just that action puts you way ahead of most people who only talk about their dreams, but never even take one step toward them.

book-talk

That’s good advice.  Thank you.  What or who influences your writing?

Because of my background in theatre, in particular, acting and directing, I appreciate stories with solid characterization.  In my thirty-nine years of directing, I have guided thousands of actors to create characters.  I am also a newly retired teacher having taught drama classes to students of all ages for as many years as directing.  Consequently, I am a good judge of one’s character.

I like many authors, but in particular, most recently, I have enjoyed Fredrick Backman’s books.  He weaves an unusual story with interesting characters.  My favorite novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” because again, it is an unusual story.  Jodi Picoult comes to mind because she writes about modern day issues from an unusual slant.

What are your latest releases?

Bumbling Bea is my debut novel. I am pleased to share that I am doing a second printing of my book, with a new cover and back and a few tweaks to the story which give it a punch!Bumbling Bea book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell me, Debbie, how long have you been writing professionally?  And do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time.  I keep up a blog, in particular-Dramamommaspeaks.com.  I am about to publish an audio CD of drama class lesson plans.  There will be a series of them beginning with a storytelling unit.  They will be helpful to any teacher.

Oh, yes!  Making lesson plans is hard enough.  So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing, Debbie?

I love to see a good movie and try to see one each week.  I read quite a bit, enjoy the outdoors and traveling with my husband.

And where do you reside?

We moved to Lawrence, Kansas about three months ago to retire near our family and FIRST grandchild. It’s wonderful to be with our daughters, their husband and our wonderfully precious granddaughter.

I know exactly what you mean.  Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled?

My book signings are very sporadic, as are book talks, but I do announce them on the various social  sites.  I am willing to travel to surrounding states for book talks.

That’s great!  Thank you so much for spending time with me.  Debbie’s website is: www.DeborahBaldwin.net and her blog is:  http://Dramamommaspeaks.com.  You can “friend her” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BumblingBea/  Or follow her on Twitter at BumblingBea@dhcbaldwin

To purchase Bumbling Bea, go to:  https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356#customerReviews

Bumbling Bea: The First Chapter

BB chapter 16

There has been a lot of traffic on the blog lately and I can’t help but wonder if folks are wondering about my book, Bumbling Bea. So, here is chapter one:

Chapter One

It was Peter’s fault.

“P!” I yelled to get his attention, “do I look like old Macdonald on the farm to you?”

I was splattered all over with the gross stuff. I swear it was already curdling and the entire cafeteria of students could see it. I smelled putrid–like yucky old, blackened, moldy cheese long forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. It made me wretch a little but I still managed to get in his face.

“Why don’t you drink juice or water? Now I smell like I’ve been working in a cheese factory. You’re such a dweeb, P.”

When I was mad at Peter, I called him “P.” He’d been P. ever since we were in kindergarten when he stuck a couple of peas up his nose and had to go to the hospital to get them out. And like those peas, the name stuck. And he was clumsy, BUT only with me. He defended himself like he always did which irritated me.

“Jeez, sorry Beatrice. I didn’t mean to nearly flip over your backpack and spill two miniscule drops of lactose on your precious jacket. It was blocking the aisle between the tables like always. You are so mean these days.” Peter huffed, stomping away from the lunch room.

It wasn’t me speaking to Peter. It was Bumbling Bea. I’ve discovered I have an alter ego who I call Bumbling Bea. Strange and mean thoughts come flying out of my mouth. They didn’t even sound like something I’d think or say! Bumbling Bea hadn’t been around for long, but when she did rear her scary head, it was at the worst times.

One of the most memorable of times Bumbling Bea showed up was when we gave our choir director a tennis racket as a going away present. He was getting married and leaving our school. He was obsessed with tennis and was a pretty decent player. I thought it was neat, even though he had knobby knees and skinny, hairy, Minnie Mouse legs which looked kinda’ weird in his way too short tennis shorts.

I thought of the present when I saw him hitting tennis balls on the tennis court after school one day. He was mumbling something and from seeing his temper in class, I figured it was about his students.

            It was the first time Bumbling Bea arrived. I was class secretary for him (which made me feel super important even though he had a class secretary for every other class, too.) I thought I had power and the other kids listened to me. Bumbling Bea liked that a lot! At lunch one day I was sitting by myself, as usual. I turned to the table with the popular kids sitting behind me. “I think we should buy our music teacher a going away present since he’s getting married and leaving us. How about we give him a tennis racket since he loves the game so much?”

Everyone agreed with me (which was a first) and those who didn’t, gave me a dollar per student donation anyway. If giving money for a teacher’s going away present kept you in or near the popular kids, you gave it. And they did!

I was so excited. I checked out tennis racket prices on the internet, Dave’s Discount and the hardware supply store. Dave’s had the best price. Most everything was less expensive at Dave’s Discount. My Dad told me it was because Dave bought up all the things other businesses couldn’t sell. Dad thought Dave’s had good deals even though sometimes their stuff fell apart after one use. Their price for the tennis racket was awesome and one my class could afford.

Since I found the tennis racket right away, I had a little bit of time left over before Dad picked me up so I looked around at the girls’ clothes. Normally, I didn’t look at your typical girls’ clothes because they were always way too pink and way too fluffy. Not at Dave’s, though! I found a black and white polka dotted bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and a package of panties—things were so cheap.

“You want me to put them in a Dave’s Discount box, honey?” wondered the clerk lady who smelled like cigarettes and chewing gum.

I heard about the Dave’s Discount boxes before. People used them to store about anything in them after they got them home: extra cat litter, broken toys, a bed for a puppy and so forth. They were sturdy, kind of a brownish tan color with black stripes printed on one side of them and the words “Dave’s Discount” plastered over the stripes.

Being so proud of myself for a. finding the tennis racket and b. buying the bikini, flip flops and panties all by myself, I accepted two boxes instead of one. I mean, they were free, you know? Dad said not to turn away free stuff if anyone at a store ever offered you anything free. I thought Dave’s Discount box was one of those free things he was talking about.

“Mom, we got a deal. The racket only cost thirty-six dollars.” I announced as I arrived home.

“Don’t forget to take off the price tag before you wrap it, Beatrice,” my mom reminded me as she whisked off to teach her art classes.

Mom! Sheesh. Sometimes she thinks I’m a baby…

My brother, Edmund, helped me wrap the box rolling it two or three times in wrapping paper and tying it with gobs of ribbons and a bunch of bows on it. We put the box in another box which went in another box. We thought it was so fun to unwrap when you received one of those sort of presents. Edmund laughed and laughed each time we played the trick on him.

This is so awesome. I said to myself. And when I tell him I chose the present, he will think I’m one of his coolest students for doing this for him.

That was Bumbling Bea talking. You see? Why would it matter whether my teacher thought I was the coolest student he had ever taught during his teaching career? He had thousands of kids he’d taught already and I was a lousy singer.

It was finally time to give the present. On the last day of classes before summer vacation, we usually sang through the year’s music one more time. The whole choir was singing happily, but they kept turning and looking at me. I was singing loud the way I never do because I was so excited about our present. Well, Bumbling Bea was singing exceedingly loud because she thought I was a better singer since I thought up the present.

It was the second time Bumbling Bea appeared.

Finally, the end of the hour came and it was time for the present. I stood lifting my head proudly, “We are sad you are leaving Oak Grove Middle School. We wanted to give you something to remember us when you are off in your new life.” I gave him the big box saying, “So, here is a little something to use to take out your frustrations on your new wife.”

Huh? What was that I said?

I was kinda’ nervous which was unusual for me and it freaked me out. So I tried again. “I meant, here’s a little something to use to take out your frustrations in your new life.”

Oh man. That wasn’t right either.

I tried one more time, “Oh, you know when you have a bad day at your new school and want to strangle your students, you can use this instead.” I cringed.

My teacher stared at me. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Beatrice. I’m never frustrated with my students.” He smiled at the rest of the class and ignored me.

I felt different on the inside of myself. Kinda’ smart aleck-y, but I didn’t know why. Maybe I was way too excited or nervous or awkward? When I am, I do dumb things to cover. It was how I felt that day. I wanted to sound grown up and cool and in charge, but I said three super dumb things to my teacher.

But I did more than say three dumb things.

Way more.

When Edmund and I were wrapping the tennis racket, Edmund’s pet ferret, Bernie, got loose from Edmund’s clutches and darted around my room. We were so busy screaming at Bernie that while trying to catch him, I guess my big fat foot accidentally pushed the box with the tennis racket under my bed. I picked up the other identical box with my new swimming suit, matching flip flops and the package of new panties and wrapped it instead.

Yes, you read it right: it was the box containing my new bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and the new panties.

NEW PANTIES! NEW PANTIES!

But see, I didn’t know it was the wrong box because I wasn’t looking at my teacher when he finally opened the last box. I was busy picking up the left over wrapping paper.

Somebody whispered, “Beatrice, you left the price tag on the box.”

“Embarrassing,” another snickered.

THE PRICE TAG WAS SHOWING. THE STUPID PRICE TAG WAS STILL ON THE PRESENT.

I looked up and before I knew it, Bumbling Bea quipped, “There’s the price tag. It shows you how much we like you and I wanted you to know all us chipped in for it.”

Again with the dumb statements!

My teacher opened the box and there was no tennis racket.

BUT, there they were: the panties. Oh, the swimming suit and flip flops were there too, but all I saw were the PANTIES. It was as if they grew from a regular size to the size of a goal post on a football field. HUGE.

I stammered, “What? How did those get in there?”

My confused teacher said something to me, but the whole class was laughing so loudly I couldn’t hear him. I grabbed back the box and ran out of class and hid in the girls’ bathroom.

People called me “Panties” for days afterward until my mother heard them one too many times and threatened to call their parents.

Later I got the right present to my teacher but by then every kind of damage had already been done and I still forgot to take the price tag off the stupid present. I gave up.

Peter said later in the summer he saw my teacher hitting balls with our present tennis racket out on the court. He was back in town visiting his mother or something. I guess he hit one ball a little too hard, because the tennis racket’s webbing unraveled and when it fell to the ground, the handle fell apart, too.

Yup. Bumbling Bea steps into my skin right at the wrong time. Lately, there are more times she appears than I have until a crazy girl who wore cat ears visited from Japan. She made me see what I was doing by taking on my bumble-bea-ness herself. It’s all a little scary when you think about it.