Monday, December 31, 2007

Why New Year's Needs a Makeover

It's really odd how the language and ritual of bringing in the New Year have become so completely cliche and hackneyed. There is positvely nothing new about it. It's what we did and said last year, and the year before and the year before that. "Happy New Year!" and "So did you make any resolutions?"

The parties and gatherings are the same--glitter, noise, drinking, noise, and the obligatory midnight spit swapping-- not 11:52, mind you, but midnight. Followed by lots of sleeping and parades and football on New Year's Day.

Doesn't it make more sense, in the true spirit of invention, to do something different each year? Why not break out of tradition, expectations, assigned holiday behavior? What better way to sincerely invite in change than by breaking out of a rut?

So, here is the big question--
What do you want to invite into your life in 2008?

And how might you declare that on New Year's day? How will you make that known in some real or symbolic way what you want for yourself in the next 12 months? First you see it, then you go after it.

So rather than raising our glasses to you, because that's so overdone, Robin and I are lighting an entire runway full of candles for your takeoff. Here's to YOU and all you are dreaming up for yourself. Yeah, get those engines running. Buckle up and get ready for an breathtaking 2008.

Thanks for being such a wonderful part of our 2007! We have had a grand time, and look forward to much more of it in the next months. Cool stuff coming. The Shrinking Violets are back on duty!

Happy New You--
Mary Hershey

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Holiday Message from the Shrinking Violets

Dear Friends,

Robin and I are going to do a "show" versus "tell" here by bidding you all a brief adieu for the holidays. As introverts, we need to learn how to manage and allot our vital life energies. The holidays are a time of year that we need to be especially sensitive to the cumulative effects of frequent parties, shopping in crowds, mass transportation, visiting relatives/relatives visiting, and large groups of people coming by to sing on your porch. All marvelous events, and we are grateful for our life bounty.

So, where and when we can, we will tuck ourselves away, plug in and ready ourselves. We encourage you to do the same!

We will check back in with you on New Year's Eve to make a toast to you all! And, we promise much more to come in 2008. Do come on back.

Shalom, Namaste, Merrily & Merrily,

Mary & Robin

Monday, December 3, 2007

More Cool Introverts in Children's Literature

Hardly anybody ever writes anything nice about introverts. Extroverts rule. This is rather odd when you realise that about nineteen writers out of twenty are introverts. We are being taught to be ashamed of not being 'outgoing'. But a writer's job is ingoing.

For months now we've been running a marvelous quotation from Ursula Le Guin in our sidebar, and we thought it was high time we give this amazing woman her due.

Ursula Le Guin was born in Berkely, California in 1929, and is the daughter of anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and the writer Theodora Kroeber. Ms. Le Guin recieved her B.A. from Radcliffe and her M.A. from Columbia University. She later studied in France where she met her husband, historian Charles Le Guin.

She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, short stories, most often in fantasy and science fiction. Her works explore Taoist, anarchist, feminist, psychological and sociological themes. She has recieved several Hugo and Nebula awards and was awarded the Gandalf Grand Master Award in 1979 and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award in 2003.

Ms. Le Guin has an impressive body of work for children and young adults:
The Catwings Collection 1988-1999
The Western Shore 2004-2007
Very Far Away from Anywhere Else 1976
Leese Webster 1979
The Beginning Place, 1980
Solomon Leviathan's Nine Hundred and Thirty-First Trip Around the World, 1984
Fire and Stone, 1989
Fish Soup, 1992
A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, 1992
Tom Mouse, 2002

On writing process:
Ms. Le Guin's attitude toward creation is of discovering, not controlling, of listening, not forcing. She likens writing to archeology-- "the material, the story is there: it exists. You find it; you mine it out; you carry it up in buckets or in teaspoons, lay it out upon the table, push around the potsherds, ponder where they fit; fragments of gold leaf, bone, corroded flesh, the rim of a cup in buff grey or brilliant green, a knot of hair and faded threads, or on exquisite glass vessel entire . . . There is a story here, but it is up to the writer to make it whole."

"The mindset for writing, for me, is silence of the mind. An unbusyness. A listening. A bit like sitting on a California hillside in the evening hoping the deer will walk by."

On at what point she will share a work in progress:
"When it is done, as far as I can tell. With my husband first. Then my editor."

On whether is is hard for her to get useful, honest critiques:
"No. I am just afraid of them."

In an 2003 interview with Erika Milo, of West by Northwest magazine, she was asked:
"You once said, 'artists are performers-- they want a response.' What is is like to balance the desire for response against being an introvert?"

"Well, sort of fun, actually. The Hermit Crab creeps out of her shell and becomes a Ham for an hour. Then returns to her shell, happily, and slightly enlarged by human contact."

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