You have walked into my Diary. Welcome! Hopefully, my musings will touch you. Check out my novel "The One That Got Away" on amazon http://tinyurl.com/ljcj8xh

He’s Got Talent!

Dear Diary,

I want to introduce you to an amazing artist that I have had the pleasure of collaborating with on my upcoming children’s book Eggsplats and Mudpie Rainbows (due to be published this summer). He has been able to breathe life and spirit into the elusive vision I had for the illustrations to go along with my whimsical words. His name is Mr. James P. Cottage.

James Cottage grew up in Springfield, New Jersey, and graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied Illustration and Creative Writing. He worked for a major retailer designing and illustrating signs for about seven years before deciding to focus on his passion for children’s books.

He has illustrated a children’s book called Grandma Found a Gecko by Vincent Golphin which is a witty romp pitting Grandma against a mischievous gecko who has taken a fancy to her shoe. (Available on amazon)

James has also provided the illustrations for an educational e-book called Whale Fall, written by Robert Bajor. Whale Fall uses a natural phenomena by the same name to engage it’s readers in a conversation about what happens when we lose someone we love. Whale Fall contains a robust glossary, beautiful full color imagery, and breath-taking videos to tell the story of Baleen, a blue whale near the end of her life.
Currently the book contains one chapter, which will be expanded throughout the year. (available on the itunes store)

He also works on a web-comic, at www.after-comic.com. (For a donation, he will send you the comics)

More of his work can be found at: www.jpcimagery.com

 

 

Dear Diary,

This children’s book began several years ago as disjointed poetry scattered throughout my journal. Over time, a theme emerged. I tweaked them and compiled them into a picture book. I desired just the right kind of pictures, but was unsure exactly what I wanted. Years past before the illustration ideas crystallized and I found the perfect artist to breathe life into the pictures that capture the spirit and mind of a child. I am very happy to be sharing this with you today.

 

Last Will & Testament

Dear Diary,

 

Don’t bury me.

I do enjoy wandering through graveyards,

touching the crumbling stone,

reading the names and trying to imagine their faces and whispers of their lives.

 

But don’t put me here,

where someone is paid to tame the weeds and trim the grass,

ready for loved ones who rarely visit and move on with the cacophony of their lives.

 

I don’t want to be stuck in one spot.

I didn’t do that in life. I don’t want to do that in death.

 

Instead,

Burn me,

then fill my waiting angel figurines with my essence,

distribute them to my children, as an unassuming knickknack

on a shelf or bookcase amidst the breeze of their lives.

 

With the rest of me,

Spritz me on my favorite spots in life…

 

Columbus, Ohio, where I drew my first breath. Known to me only in faded black and white photographs, propped on my grandfather’s knee, face covered in ice cream or gently held by my grandmother in the handmade christening gown of my heritage.

 

Trenton, New Jersey, where I honed mud-pie skills, won a trophy in the town Independence Day parade, and kissed the neighbor’s boy.

 

Brighton, New York, where I taught myself to ride a bike by leaning against the playground’s chain-link fence, and sat on a freshly painted snowplow, ruining my favorite blue coat with the red trim.

 

Redmond, Washington, where I perfected the art of catching grasshoppers and toads, and entered into the realm of neighborhood chase games, skits and big wheel races.

 

Los Gatos, California, where my first action was to lay on the warm grass to soak up the California sun. I salted slugs and played endlessly at handball, 4-square, hopscotch and jump rope games.

 

Aptos, California, where I first realized the call of the sea striking the sand was entwined in my spirit, tasted the driving need to write and draw, had my first boyfriend and broken heart.

 

Fairport, New York, where I waited for the school bus in tremendous snowdrifts without wearing a hat or boots because it was uncool, learned to ski by flinging myself onto diamond trails, a plethora of parties, friends, deep infatuations, theater, dance and song.

 

Houston, Texas, where the sky was so high and the clouds so big. I was a Yankee serving Apple Brown Betty at a Texan steakhouse while chasing an art degree. Everything seemed possible. My dreams were as big as the state.

 

Athens, Ohio, where I raced the train across the tracks to get to class on time, and it lulled me to sleep at night. I capered across the cobblestone streets uptown in my college town, wearing short, flippy skirts, flats, and lacy ankle socks.

 

Northern Virginia, where most of my children were born and my teaching career began.

 

Orlando, Florida, where I chose as my home to answer the calling of the sea and sun, and give voice to my poetry and prose.

 

And finally, Edinburgh, Scotland, hometown of my ancestors, where upon stepping into the land and wandering through the abundances of closes, I too, felt strangely at home.

 

I have no single hometown to be buried.

I have many places I have lived, played, laughed, loved, cried, and prayed.

 

Sprinkle me, thus.

If it can be done.

When I am done.

 

Antinapping Ninja

 

Dear Diary,

“Napping is fun.”

My children would always snicker and scoff when I would say such a thing. But I really wish someone would send me to my room and tell me to go take a nap.

Especially when I am grumpy and whiny and my eyes are doing that droopy thing. If you asked my Kindergarten classes what is Mrs. Kelli’s favorite thing to do they would pipe up quite readily with the answer- take a nap. Once, I actually had a student offer to watch the class for me so I could put my head down on my desk and take a snoozer. I couldn’t accept his gift, but it was a lovely gesture.

Napping is a decadent and luxurious exit from a busy day. It creates extra energy to conquer the rest of those nagging items on your plate with aplomb and vigor. It is an excellent attitude adjuster. Sometimes I even wake up with bright, new ideas to pursue or more efficient angles on tired subjects. It inclines me to have more prevalent breezy spells and winning smiles.

Most of the time my day is too packed to squeeze in a nap. I have to plan my naps carefully because a Thwarted Nap is worse than no nap at all.

A Thwarted Nap can cause me to don Monster Attitude. This development is best to be avoided for all involved. If I think the odds are stacked against a successful napping experience, it is best to just grab an energy drink and trudge napless through the rest of the day.

Aside from my busy schedule, I also have to deal with the Antinapping Ninja, my four-year-old daughter Sabrina. Napping has been off of her list of things to do for over a year now. But her hatred is still fresh. The mere mention of the word brings fire to her eyes and angry hisses from her lips. I have given up battling to get her to take a nap. But I will still battle to get mine.

Occasionally, I can grab a quickie nap while she is in Prekindergarten, but this is a dilemma because this is also the only time in the day that I am alone and able to do things without my four-year-shadow.

Sometimes I try to swing a nap on the weekend if I have reinforcements. I will tell her that I am going to ‘lay down’. It is best not to use the ‘N word’. I tell her to talk to Daddy or her older sister Gina if any need arises. Then I attempt to lie down in my bed.

My door will be cautiously opened by the Antinapping Ninja.

“Mommy, I’m hungry.”

“Tell Gina to get you a snack,” I grumble.

“Mommy, Tony stuck his tongue out at me.”

“Tell your dad,” I moan.

“Mommy, the puppy pooped on the floor.”

Silence.

“Mommy, can you put this dress on my Barbie?”

“No!” I roar.

Then Monster Attitude is awake and snarling.

Yesterday was a Sunday. All of the kids were home as well as my husband. I determined that I would wrestle a nap out of the day. I was very firm with my ninja. I told her that she was not allowed to open my door for any reason whatsoever or I would be mad. I reiterated to her that Daddy and her sister were extremely qualified to administer food, control her brother, adorn Barbies and clean poop. All seemed well at first.

I was drifting into la-la land nestled comfortably in my fluffy comforter and plethora of pillows. My mind detached itself from peanut butter sandwiches, laundry, paying bills and wandered into the realm of imagination. I was on the set of a movie that was based on my latest novel. Leonardo DiCaprio was involved. I was exhilarated. From the recesses of backstage I vaguely heard the Antinapping Ninja creep up to my door, but not open it.

Good.

I continued into the blissful spiral of sleep. I succumbed. Then I was rudely awakened by wails of utter despair. My daughter was outside my door, face in the carpet sobbing.

“I want my Mommy!”

My whole body tensed as I waited to see if she would just get over it and go away. She did not. I opened the door and let my little ninja enter the room. I said that she could go play or take a nap with me. To my surprise, she snuggled in with me and fell asleep almost instantly.

I was wide-awake.

So it goes. Another nap thwarted.

eggsmudcoverfb

Dear Diary,

 

Cover Reveal for my children’s book “Eggsplats and Mudpie Rainbows” due out in mid April. A whimsical rhyming parade of stuff that children find unendingly fascinating. Accompanied by amazing illustrations by Mr. Jim Cottage. More sneak peaks to come!

When Girls Grow Fierce

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Dear Diary,

In the midst of these turbulent political times, a pointed poem by a talented author and friend, Vincent F.A. Golphin:

 

WHEN GIRLS GROW FIERCE
for elizabeth warren

 

They grow fierce
girls who speak to power
eye-to-eye, without a blink,
nor stutter or mutter,
girls unmask,

show their woman,
frighten with truth,
strip naked the powerful

Unmasked and disrobed, the skinned sling

slurs and curses and lies, and dismissals,

like Pocahontas.
Those outdone rave,

usually wrinkly, old, white guys,
and the like-minded,

shocked naked by truth,
and shorn raw by the fearless jibes and convictions
of unusual girls that do not know their place.

 

The fearful retreat to thrones in their minds
scared by the fierce sound and sight
of girls armed with inconvenient facts,

possessed with confidence and courage,
bold revelation are girls fiercely grown
into women that scare the powerful.

 

Vincent F. A. Golphin is a widely published author and poet. His latest book, Grandma Found a Gecko, is for children. His last poetry collection, 10 Stories Down, was released in 2012 by Foothills Press. For more information – www.thegolphincollection.com.

 

 

 

Spirit

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Dear Diary,

 

The angel closes her eyes,

Breathes in

Slowly, steadily,

Filling her ordinary frame

With extraordinary spirit.

The kind of spirit

That stands undaunted before fire,

That trembles at the pain of a broken child,

That shields those who cannot shield themselves,

That spreads mercy like a salve,

That imperceptibly breeches walls,

That pierces darkness with a smile.

 

With the breath, the spirit expands and penetrates the fragile casing

Filling and

Chasing away the residue of weariness and despair,

Toppling impatience and the futility

Of being merely one

Battling small parts of the inhumanities of humanity.

 

She opens her eyes

And exhales

A deep whisper of Care

To echo in the vast turbulence .

 

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