TRANSLATION


TRANSLATION
by Sharon Stevens
Recently a student brought textbooks into our bookstore to sell. None of them were being used for the next semester, and a couple were so damaged we were unable to buy them back. Rather than tossing them into the dumpster they decided to leave them with us after we explained that the Mortarboard at WTAMU had a fundraising project to recycle used books.
After the students left I thumbed through some of them. One was “The Western Heritage” and covered not cowboys or cattle drives, but Greeks, Romans, Thucydides, Aristrophanes, and the like, the very basis of our civilization. All Greek to me. Another of the books was “Searching, Researching Internet and the World Wide Web”. More Greek.
By far the most interesting of those left behind was the ones with a language I couldn’t decipher, unable to make heads nor tails of the titles. One of the books even appeared to be an inspirational day book with an inscription or dedication handwritten in Chinese characters. Thats when I discovered they were written in Korean. Or at least this is what the one page printed in English read.
I would have loved to have known the story of who wrote the words. I wonder if it was given to a student by his or her parents as they prepared to leave their ancestral home to cross the world to study at a foreign university? Could it have been inscribed by a beloved teacher or grandparent and given as a gift to give them strength as they ventured out into the world?
Who would ever know the memories treasured within? Surely not me. I can’t read Korean, and I don’t have friends that can translate either.
This reminded me of a letter I found in Loula Grace Erdman’s scrapbooks housed at the Cornette Library on the campus at WTAMU. Erdman’s publisher R.T Bond with Dodd, Mead & Company Inc. sent a note dated November 14, 1960 concerning her book “Years of the Locust”, informing her that this was to be translated into Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Indonesian. The body of the letter explained, This will pay you only about Sixty dollars-but think of the fun you will have in reading your own writing in Urdu!
Barbara Brannon author and marketing manager for Texas Tech University Press received inspiration from Erdman’s book, The Wind Blows Free for her Christmas greeting with music and verse for “Red Hawk in the Sky/Fe’lark in the Grass, Two Plains Fables for the holiday season 2011”. Brannon will be the guest speaker for the January meeting of Panhandle Professional Writers (PPW) and will be speaking on “Circles of Desire: A Workshop for Refining Your Plot and Synopsis (Fiction or Creative Nonfiction).”
And this is what links me to this blog. You never know where you will find that next bit of trivia that will brighten your story, or even lead it in another direction. A word, phrase or quote can change things in an instant, drag you back to reality, or give your character dimensions you never knew they possessed.
Even though you think a book has no connection to the story you are writing you may find the catalyst to spur it forward. Any genre can benefit with a fresh look from another perspective to keep it bright and alive instead of stale and flat. Reading something outside your focus just might be the ticket to help you break free.
Take for example my last blog about buses. Who knew that it would link to so many memories? And one of the responses from “Neeks” spurred me to share with my writing critique group her idea of using three words and making a story out of it.
To get back on track. Beginning with the January meeting of the Panhandle Professional Writers I am going to set up a table of all sorts of discarded books from our bookstore in hopes that someone might find inspiration within the pages. All proceeds will go to benefit the Frontiers in Writing Conference.
There will also be an extra jar for loose change collected for scholarships for Opportunity Plan Inc., This is one of our pet projects at our Buffalo Bookstore.
On display will be all sorts of books. Some of them on public speaking can help spur you on with how to face an audience at a booksigning or as a guest speaker. We ALL need to be prepared. Government books can direct you to write about politics or political history. What a great time to live in a democracy! It doesn’t have to be just about Freedom or Civil Rights to make a good story. Look at “The Help”. What a tale Kathryn Stockett wove around a period in our history.
And how about a book on marketing to expand your horizons on social media or community projects or marketing in general. Retail, salespeople, customer service can open your eyes to the workplace or writing for business, or even a “Chicken Soup For the Soul”.
What about exercise? These books never go out of date and those used in physical education can be useful when you hit a wall in your writing. It only requires a few moments to get out of your chair and stretch that can brighten your focus to face your worst writers block.
Come see what books you can find to inspire you in your writing. Celebrate the journey, not your destination. You never know where you will find something that will help in the translation.
Loula Grace Erdman’s letter from Dodd, Mead tells her, This is a Franklin Publication and is a part of the American effort to bring the best things in America to the Attention of the World Beyond. Now we will both stand up and face the flag while the Star Spangled Banner is played.”
Please make plans to attend the Panhandle Professional Writers bi-monthly meeting on Saturday January 21, 2012. PPW is a wonderful, active, organization that is doing some great things for all levels of the writing community. The Frontiers in Writing Conference at Amarillo College in June will be an exciting time for any writer. Jodi Thomas’ Writing Academy in July rounds out the summer programs.
PPW’s meeting will be held at the East Campus of St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 4600 S. Western, Amarillo. The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is $10 and requires an R.S.V.P. Please call or email Janet Taylor, Hospitality Chair, at 282-1227 or “mailto:ppwlunch@gmail.com” by Tuesday, January 17. There is a $5 program guest fee, which will be deferred if the guest joins PPW that day. PPW dues are $30 annually and renew each January. (That’s this month, folks!) Students with school ID will be charged a $1 guest fee. Our January program, Circles of Desire: A Workshop for Refining Your Plot and Synopsis (Fiction or Creative Nonfiction), will be presented by writer, photographer, musician, artist, and Marketing Manager at Texas Tech University Press, Barbara Brannon. Janet Cooper Taylor 1918 S. Tyler St. Amarillo, TX 79109 806-282-1227
Sharon Stevens
Advertisements

TEACHING CREATIVITY


TEACHING CREATIVITY

by Sharon Stevens

“Teach kids to understand everything but to fear nothing.”

Kevin Honeycutt

Almost twenty years ago I sat next to Kathy Gist at the Frontiers in Writing Conference at Amarillo College. She had submitted a story for the contest and all of us in attendance were waiting for the results. Kathy won in not only her category, but the best of all the writings that year. The judges for her wrote magazine articles and their talk was about getting your work published. They loved her story! She had taken a sweet memory of her father, and after his death she had taken fabric from his old shirts and quilted them into a wall hanging for her and her family. She wrote that she gathered them up and buried herself within the folds and grieved with each cut but healed with each stitch.

The look on Kathy’s face was priceless as the presenters listed all the publications and magazines that would be interested to carry her story. They told her to submit it now, as quick as she could and to as many as she dared. And she did. She sent her work to Guidepost and Country magazine among others. It was published in Country and then she found out she had won the Guidepost Short Story Award. The prize for this was a week in New York City with five other winners who would spend their time visiting with agents, publishers, other writers, and teachers of the craft of writing.

I thought of Kathy today as I watched Natalie Bright finish up power points for her own presentation. How blessed I was to be beside her as she went over each graphic chosen especially for this talk. Our daughter, Andrea Keller, a teacher at the Sally B. Elliott Elementary School in Irving Texas, had invited Kevin Honeycutt to Skype, and Natalie to speak at their special author’s event. Natalie teaches creative writing for children at various workshops in Canyon and Amarillo, Texas, She is also the Program Chair for the Frontier in Writing Conference and a blogger for Wordsmith Six Blog. Natalie and Jodi Thomas would be traveling to Dallas for the Dallas/Fort Worth Writers Conference this weekend and had graciously consented to give a talk to the kids over writing and a connection to oil. Natalie and her husband Chris have Sunlight Exploration, as a geologist with an oil and gas business, and she had written the book “Oil People” as a middle reader.

My husband, Joe Stevens was the photographer for the book. He has such a gift in photography, where did he tap into this talent?

Jodi Thomas is a guest speaker at the DFW Writers Conference and her topic is, “To Teach Creativity, Writing Deeper.” And this brings me to the inspiration for this blog.

How do you teach creativity, how do you ingrain writing? To inspire, sure, to instruct, ditto. You can do all of these things. But to be able to take those lessons and create a story is something that comes from within. As I watched Natalie I was overwhelmed with all the emotions exploding in my heart. The colors, the graphics, the whole kit and caboodle came alive and sang to my soul.

I felt the same way when I took Creative Writing classes from Jodi Thomas and DeWanna Pace at the urging of my good friend Connie Hirsch. Jodi taught each of us in the class to write from our own heart. They taught us the craft of writing and the mechanics, but it went so much deeper than that or higher above. They inspired us to tap into ourselves and find a way to transfer that onto print. I also am touched in so many ways with each guest speaker at Panhandle Professional Writers like Barbara Brannon from Texas Tech University Press as they share their passion and gifts. In just a couple of hours they take a simple subject and weave a connection that we can use to our own benefit.

And then again my heart is so full as I watch my daughter gather ideas using all she learned with her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, but also with Podstock, Follett Higher Education, Destination Imagination, BrainPop, Girl Scouts and on and on. And then there are the people who have touched her life such as Dr. Alice Owen, Dr. Elaine Roberts, and Elaine Plybon. Who was their teacher that gave them their gifts? Andrea has volunteered for years every which way she can, and stores tidbits everywhere she goes. Teaching children with Autism keeps her sharp in all the ways she can give them a voice. Her creativity knows no bounds. Where did she find this spark? How does she transfer it to others? It boggles the mind. My husband and I may have given her life, but the extras she created on her own.

Each and every person connected together share the essence of their creativity. Some exude through their very soul. The definition in my 1890 Webster’s dictionary only describes creativity as related to creation as in birth. And maybe it is nothing more than that. But I believe creativity is what takes a scene or an idea and gives it life, and helps it to explode with vivid colors bright with everything that gives us spirit.

I won’t be there to watch Andrea shine, or as Natalie gives her talk or Kevin Skypes, but I will be blessed to hear them as they share their excitement when they return home, or watch their postings on facebook or email. As God and John Wayne are my witness I know with their creativity they will touch the life of a child, or a parent, or a teacher. And each of those will return to their own homes and their own families and pass these moments on to their siblings and to their friends, AND this will perpetuate an endless cycle of heritage and legacy for eternity. What a treasure!

I think words taken from the musical drama “TEXAS” says it best. “Take good news where you are going, say to the waiting dead that your brothers intend good things. And here where you once followed the Buffalo, a kind and happy people will build their homes and cities in joy and Thanksgiving-trusting in one another, friends to one another. Yes, that’s what I mean, honored warrior and chief. And we will remember your suffering and the suffering and sacrifice of your people and of my own Mother who sleeps in this ground where you will sleep, and so will the better and more beautiful make this land because of you. And our children, and children’s children will remember. WILL REMEMBER!”

Sharon Stevens

THE KEEPER OF THE DREAM


THE KEEPER OF THE DREAM

by Sharon Stevens

Barbara Brannon of Texas Tech University Press and I were just visiting about Andy Griffith and “The Lost Colony” this past week. Paul Green wrote this symphonic drama as well as our own musical drama “TEXAS.”  There is no doubt in my mind that Griffith probably returned as often as he could and sneaked backstage to join the magic circle with the cast and crew that gathered there before the show.

In our area William Moore, the director of “TEXAS” would do the same. I can’t tell you the times he attended performances of the Canyon High School musicals or dramas and you could hear his booming voice echo ‘bravo’ for the kids from his seat in the audience.

And I bet the Moore’s, the Harpers, the Brantley’s, the Hess’, and the Raillard’s may have seen him perform as they traveled to all Green’s dramas throughout the country learning everything they could so that our rendition in the Pioneer Amphitheatre in Palo Duro Canyon would be as strong as it could be. Most all are gone now, and may they all rest in peace after a job well done. But I will always wonder if it’s a coincidence that Griffith died on July 3rd and this is the same date on the letter Margaret Harper wrote to Paul Green asking him to consider coming to our area to see what he could do. The rest is truly history, just as “The Lost Colony” and its 75th year.

Where would we be without all those who touched our lives and inspired our hearts? They are truly keepers of our dreams. And their legacy reminds us to be keepers as well.

Bravo Andy Griffith!

Sharon Stevens

TEACHING CREATIVITY


TEACHING CREATIVITY

by Sharon Stevens

“Teach kids to understand everything but to fear nothing.”

Kevin Honeycutt

Almost twenty years ago I sat next to Kathy Gist at the Frontiers in Writing Conference at Amarillo College. She had submitted a story for the contest and all of us in attendance were waiting for the results. Kathy won in not only her category, but the best of all the writings that year. The judges for her wrote magazine articles and their talk was about getting your work published. They loved her story! She had taken a sweet memory of her father, and after his death she had taken fabric from his old shirts and quilted them into a wall hanging for her and her family. She wrote that she gathered them up and buried herself within the folds and grieved with each cut but healed with each stitch.

The look on Kathy’s face was priceless as the presenters listed all the publications and magazines that would be interested to carry her story. They told her to submit it now, as quick as she could and to as many as she dared. And she did. She sent her work to Guidepost and Country magazine among others. It was published in Country and then she found out she had won the Guidepost Short Story Award. The prize for this was a week in New York City with five other winners who would spend their time visiting with agents, publishers, other writers, and teachers of the craft of writing.

I thought of Kathy today as I watched Natalie Bright finish up power points for her own presentation. How blessed I was to be beside her as she went over each graphic chosen especially for this talk. Our daughter, Andrea Keller, a teacher at the Sally B. Elliott Elementary School in Irving Texas, had invited Kevin Honeycutt to Skype, and Natalie to speak at their special author’s event. Natalie teaches creative writing for children at various workshops in Canyon and Amarillo, Texas, She is also the Program Chair for the Frontier in Writing Conference and a blogger for Wordsmith Six Blog. Natalie and Jodi Thomas would be traveling to Dallas for the Dallas/Fort Worth Writers Conference this weekend and had graciously consented to give a talk to the kids over writing and a connection to oil. Natalie and her husband Chris have Sunlight Exploration, as a geologist with an oil and gas business, and she had written the book “Oil People” as a middle reader.

My husband, Joe Stevens was the photographer for the book. He has such a gift in photography, where did he tap into this talent?

Jodi Thomas is a guest speaker at the DFW Writers Conference and her topic is, “To Teach Creativity, Writing Deeper.” And this brings me to the inspiration for this blog.

How do you teach creativity, how do you ingrain writing? To inspire, sure, to instruct, ditto. You can do all of these things. But to be able to take those lessons and create a story is something that comes from within. As I watched Natalie I was overwhelmed with all the emotions exploding in my heart. The colors, the graphics, the whole kit and caboodle came alive and sang to my soul.

I felt the same way when I took Creative Writing classes from Jodi Thomas and DeWanna Pace at the urging of my good friend Connie Hirsch. Jodi taught each of us in the class to write from our own heart. They taught us the craft of writing and the mechanics, but it went so much deeper than that or higher above. They inspired us to tap into ourselves and find a way to transfer that onto print. I also am touched in so many ways with each guest speaker at Panhandle Professional Writers like Barbara Brannon from Texas Tech University Press as they share their passion and gifts. In just a couple of hours they take a simple subject and weave a connection that we can use to our own benefit.

And then again my heart is so full as I watch my daughter gather ideas using all she learned with her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, but also with Podstock, Follett Higher Education, Destination Imagination, BrainPop, Girl Scouts and on and on. And then there are the people who have touched her life such as Dr. Alice Owen, Dr. Elaine Roberts, and Elaine Plybon. Who was their teacher that gave them their gifts? Andrea has volunteered for years every which way she can, and stores tidbits everywhere she goes. Teaching children with Autism keeps her sharp in all the ways she can give them a voice. Her creativity knows no bounds. Where did she find this spark? How does she transfer it to others? It boggles the mind. My husband and I may have given her life, but the extras she created on her own.

Each and every person connected together share the essence of their creativity. Some exude through their very soul. The definition in my 1890 Webster’s dictionary only describes creativity as related to creation as in birth. And maybe it is nothing more than that. But I believe creativity is what takes a scene or an idea and gives it life, and helps it to explode with vivid colors bright with everything that gives us spirit.

I won’t be there to watch Andrea shine, or as Natalie gives her talk or Kevin Skypes, but I will be blessed to hear them as they share their excitement when they return home, or watch their postings on facebook or email. As God and John Wayne are my witness I know with their creativity they will touch the life of a child, or a parent, or a teacher. And each of those will return to their own homes and their own families and pass these moments on to their siblings and to their friends, AND this will perpetuate an endless cycle of heritage and legacy for eternity. What a treasure!

I think words taken from the musical drama “TEXAS” says it best. “Take good news where you are going, say to the waiting dead that your brothers intend good things. And here where you once followed the Buffalo, a kind and happy people will build their homes and cities in joy and Thanksgiving-trusting in one another, friends to one another. Yes, that’s what I mean, honored warrior and chief. And we will remember your suffering and the suffering and sacrifice of your people and of my own Mother who sleeps in this ground where you will sleep, and so will the better and more beautiful make this land because of you. And our children, and children’s children will remember. WILL REMEMBER!”

Sharon Stevens

TRANSLATION


TRANSLATION
by Sharon Stevens
Recently a student brought textbooks into our bookstore to sell. None of them were being used for the next semester, and a couple were so damaged we were unable to buy them back. Rather than tossing them into the dumpster they decided to leave them with us after we explained that the Mortarboard at WTAMU had a fundraising project to recycle used books.
After the students left I thumbed through some of them. One was “The Western Heritage” and covered not cowboys or cattle drives, but Greeks, Romans, Thucydides, Aristrophanes, and the like, the very basis of our civilization. All Greek to me. Another of the books was “Searching, Researching Internet and the World Wide Web”. More Greek.
By far the most interesting of those left behind was the ones with a language I couldn’t decipher, unable to make heads nor tails of the titles. One of the books even appeared to be an inspirational day book with an inscription or dedication handwritten in Chinese characters. Thats when I discovered they were written in Korean. Or at least this is what the one page printed in English read.
I would have loved to have known the story of who wrote the words. I wonder if it was given to a student by his or her parents as they prepared to leave their ancestral home to cross the world to study at a foreign university? Could it have been inscribed by a beloved teacher or grandparent and given as a gift to give them strength as they ventured out into the world?
Who would ever know the memories treasured within? Surely not me. I can’t read Korean, and I don’t have friends that can translate either.
This reminded me of a letter I found in Loula Grace Erdman’s scrapbooks housed at the Cornette Library on the campus at WTAMU. Erdman’s publisher R.T Bond with Dodd, Mead & Company Inc. sent a note dated November 14, 1960 concerning her book “Years of the Locust”, informing her that this was to be translated into Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Indonesian. The body of the letter explained, This will pay you only about Sixty dollars-but think of the fun you will have in reading your own writing in Urdu!
Barbara Brannon author and marketing manager for Texas Tech University Press received inspiration from Erdman’s book, The Wind Blows Free for her Christmas greeting with music and verse for “Red Hawk in the Sky/Fe’lark in the Grass, Two Plains Fables for the holiday season 2011”. Brannon will be the guest speaker for the January meeting of Panhandle Professional Writers (PPW) and will be speaking on “Circles of Desire: A Workshop for Refining Your Plot and Synopsis (Fiction or Creative Nonfiction).”
And this is what links me to this blog. You never know where you will find that next bit of trivia that will brighten your story, or even lead it in another direction. A word, phrase or quote can change things in an instant, drag you back to reality, or give your character dimensions you never knew they possessed.
Even though you think a book has no connection to the story you are writing you may find the catalyst to spur it forward. Any genre can benefit with a fresh look from another perspective to keep it bright and alive instead of stale and flat. Reading something outside your focus just might be the ticket to help you break free.
Take for example my last blog about buses. Who knew that it would link to so many memories? And one of the responses from “Neeks” spurred me to share with my writing critique group her idea of using three words and making a story out of it.
To get back on track. Beginning with the January meeting of the Panhandle Professional Writers I am going to set up a table of all sorts of discarded books from our bookstore in hopes that someone might find inspiration within the pages. All proceeds will go to benefit the Frontiers in Writing Conference.
There will also be an extra jar for loose change collected for scholarships for Opportunity Plan Inc., This is one of our pet projects at our Buffalo Bookstore.
On display will be all sorts of books. Some of them on public speaking can help spur you on with how to face an audience at a booksigning or as a guest speaker. We ALL need to be prepared. Government books can direct you to write about politics or political history. What a great time to live in a democracy! It doesn’t have to be just about Freedom or Civil Rights to make a good story. Look at “The Help”. What a tale Kathryn Stockett wove around a period in our history.
And how about a book on marketing to expand your horizons on social media or community projects or marketing in general. Retail, salespeople, customer service can open your eyes to the workplace or writing for business, or even a “Chicken Soup For the Soul”.
What about exercise? These books never go out of date and those used in physical education can be useful when you hit a wall in your writing. It only requires a few moments to get out of your chair and stretch that can brighten your focus to face your worst writers block.
Come see what books you can find to inspire you in your writing. Celebrate the journey, not your destination. You never know where you will find something that will help in the translation.
Loula Grace Erdman’s letter from Dodd, Mead tells her, This is a Franklin Publication and is a part of the American effort to bring the best things in America to the Attention of the World Beyond. Now we will both stand up and face the flag while the Star Spangled Banner is played.”
Please make plans to attend the Panhandle Professional Writers bi-monthly meeting on Saturday January 21, 2012. PPW is a wonderful, active, organization that is doing some great things for all levels of the writing community. The Frontiers in Writing Conference at Amarillo College in June will be an exciting time for any writer. Jodi Thomas’ Writing Academy in July rounds out the summer programs.
PPW’s meeting will be held at the East Campus of St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 4600 S. Western, Amarillo. The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is $10 and requires an R.S.V.P. Please call or email Janet Taylor, Hospitality Chair, at 282-1227 or “mailto:ppwlunch@gmail.com” by Tuesday, January 17. There is a $5 program guest fee, which will be deferred if the guest joins PPW that day. PPW dues are $30 annually and renew each January. (That’s this month, folks!) Students with school ID will be charged a $1 guest fee. Our January program, Circles of Desire: A Workshop for Refining Your Plot and Synopsis (Fiction or Creative Nonfiction), will be presented by writer, photographer, musician, artist, and Marketing Manager at Texas Tech University Press, Barbara Brannon. Janet Cooper Taylor 1918 S. Tyler St. Amarillo, TX 79109 806-282-1227
Sharon Stevens