Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A New Take On An Old Tale

I love works that respect the oral story-telling tradition. They are few and far between. So when my friend Becky Mushko asked me to read her advance reader copy of Ferradiddledumday, I couldn't wait. This is an Appalachian retelling of the Russian folktale, Rumplestiltskin. Full of local plants, Appalachian names, and a real feeling for life in a mountain holler, Ferradiddledumday begs you to read it aloud. I read it first as printed matter, then retired to the basement and read it as it was meant to be read: out loud to a collection of very impressed stuffed animals.

Becky received a terrific cover blurb from Sharyn McCrumb, New York Times Best Selling Author and another Appalachian writer, who said, "Becky Mushko's retelling of the European folk tale Rumpelstiltskin brings a new world perspective to the old story, illuminating the frontier setting with a wealth of detail: plant names, folk traditions, and regional dialect. If the story had happened here, it would have happened like this."

High praise, and well deserved. The book comes out in January and includes a teaching guide. If you have children, or if you teach, or if you love the oral tradition, go out to Cedar Creek Publishing's distributor and pre-order this wonderful story. You won't be sorry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Radio Silence

It's been nearly three weeks since my last post. Sounds like the start of an AA confession, doesn't it? In a way, it is.

I have several reasons, er, excuses, for my silence.

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas decorating
  • My husband's surprise birthday party
  • Christmas cards
  • Christmas shopping

  • Check, check, check, check. Not the last one. I finished my shopping before Halloween.

    But there is a real-er reason. WRITER'S BLOCK.

    I couldn't write a thing for those weeks. Not the Christmas letter. Not a word of revision in a novel. Not a blog entry. NOTHING.

    Then I confessed the block to Edna Whittier, a fellow writer. She gave me a kick in the pants. The next morning, writer's block was gone.

    Snapped off the Christmas letter. Wrote a near-final essay for NPR. And am now digging into Max 1 (again! Sigh) to fix the problems an agent was kind enough to point out.

    And I'm working through the reading slush pile as well.