Book Review: Blue

Blue

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019

The more I read this book, the more I liked it. The keyhole cutouts in the delightful thickness of these pages seemed unnecessary, but my daughter enjoyed locating them; the book’s square shape and the large, simple, bold font is perfection. The lush, sumptuous color—bright but not unnaturally so—so beautifully textured, is stunning. Most of these pages, given the panoramic treatment in double-page spreads that bleed into the spine, would make perfect nursery art: the deep, twilight blue butterflies were like something out of a Technicolor fairy tale, the water shooting out of the garden hose captured the summertime magic of childhood, the granular texture of the snow against the smooth, sable brown of the tree was striking, and the brushstrokes depicting the frothy whitecaps looked so real, I almost expected to feel seafoam.

Simply titled, Blue has a very organic feel—a certain spirituality and harmony with nature (including human nature). It is a childlike, coming-of-age tale.

The concept is rather interesting, for how many unexpected ways can we describe blue using the word blue (i.e. besides light, dark, powder, navy, etc.)? It’s almost like a series of paintings turned into a poem. Everything that was described as blue was connected with an emotion, a state of being, or something gifted to us by the Creator; Laura Vaccaro Seeger totally nailed midnight blue.

Though few words, it tells a story. Each two-word set “maybe blue,” “true blue,” etc., I treated as the title of the story that the pictures painted. Blue is open-ended enough where you can add to the story, but not so open-ended that there is no story. I’m not a fan of wordless picture books (and this was close to it), but the way I felt while “reading” this timeless tale of friendship—the boy growing up while his dog grew old—resonated with me. No preaching, no message—just life—distilled into the most poignant parts.

It was sweet that the boy (now a young man who had yet to befriend another dog) met his true love through their love of dogs—her dog actually seems to choose him first, as if it sensed another dog lover, leading (or rather, dragging) her to her destiny.

My daughter liked this one, and I enjoyed reading it to her. Blue is the kind of book I read when I want not just to make a memory but a connection. If there was a complete set on all the colors, I would buy everyone one of these books.

Suggested activity: Numbers, letters, shapes, and colors are some of the earliest building blocks of learning. When I was a child, getting Crayola’s 64-count with the built-in sharpener was something quite magical. Try having your child come up with naming their own colors (they don’t have to be blue; I was always intrigued by names like periwinkle and lavender; if your child is older, you can come up with double adjectives, like mascarpone-white or tiramisu-tan. Someone has to come up with all of those names, after all. For a field trip, go to a paint store and get a handful of paint sample cards (which I’ve used to make Christmas cards: https://onelittleproject.com/paint-chip-christmas-cards/). And take time out to visit the author’s website. It’s gorgeous! https://studiolvs.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37534395-blue

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#Micropoetry Monday: The Writer’s Life

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He was a showoff
whereas
she just liked to tell people off,
but it was he who wrote the better stories,
for he followed the rule of showing,
not telling.

She was the Author & Finisher of the Book of Faith,
for she could take 5 sentences & 2 words,
& enlighten the masses with 5000 stories.

Her husband said her imagination
ran away with her,
but it was she who had run away with it.
All her life,
she’d followed that imagination,
like an imaginary friend,
& through it,
she had met the most amazing people
with whom she’d had
the most amazing experiences.

What I Learned from Writing for the College Newspaper

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When I wrote a book review,
I learned how much I enjoyed doing so,
for reading it and writing about it
was like getting two for the price of one.

When I wrote a review on a vegan café,
I tried something new.

When I wrote a series of articles on volunteer opportunities,
I found out that skills and talent—
not just time and money—
were also needed.

When I wrote an article on college internships,
I learned that investing in yourself
always requires you to invest your time.

When I wrote a movie review,
I learned how to write movie reviews;
I also learned that I much preferred writing book reviews.

When I wrote an article about Toastmasters,
it led to Phi Theta Kappa
becoming involved with the organization.

When I wrote about clubs on campus,
I found out that worthwhile clubs don’t just meet,
but serve their local community.

When I wrote a story on one night of my life,
I found my journalistic niche.

When I wrote a mock syllabus,
I began to explore more forms of hybrid writing.

When I wrote about art on campus,
my interest in art and making it increased.

When I wrote a story on what I had learned from math,
I learned that it wasn’t math I learned (or at least remembered)—
it was that I could do difficult things,
and that math,
for non-math majors,
wasn’t just about solving equations,
but sharpening that attention to detail
that solving those equations required.

When I covered the literati and amateur nights on campus,
I learned how to gather quotes the introvert’s way.

When I wrote a story about professors switching careers,
I learned that it was never too late to change your mind—
that no education was ever wasted,
for it all led to our beautiful present.

When I wrote about editing a literary journal,
I learned that the process could be as interesting as the product.

When I wrote about a beloved professor who had passed away,
I learned that art wasn’t just good,
but it could be used to do good.

Through writing for my college newspaper,
I learned that I would never want to be a teacher—
save to my very own—
but I could be a tutor,
a mentor—
I could help others become better.

What I learned through doing,
I learned through writing—
in ways I never would have imagined.

But most of all,
I learned that there is a place for creativity in every vocation.

Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #1. Theme: Reminiscing

This “personal geography” poem was originally named, “Life, in Five Acts” (like a Shakespearean play).

The stanzas below were merely abstract introductions to much longer stanzas of a seven-page, narrative poem.

slc

Timeline

Spain: 1987
I lost half a sense,
which may have saved all the rest.

Saved: 1996
I lived with myself,
and knew not who I was.

Montana: 2003
I was Molly Mormon,
looking for Peter Priesthood.

Utah: 2004
I lost my faith,
but reclaimed my creativity.

Brian: 2013
And so a woman must leave her family
to create one of her own.

Hannah: 2013
I led her to milk,
but she would not drink.

College: 2014
I feared our future,
so I changed my present.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-april-pad-challenge-day-1

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #342, Theme: (Blank) Ways to (Blank)

This is what I call a “hybrid poem”.  This is my short list of what has worked (for me) to achieve more joy in my life, and even helped me become a better writer.

Happiness Tips

Marry for love, knowing that everything else could change.
Make your children laugh; find relaxation in play.
If a friend doesn’t reciprocate, let that friendship go. (Sometimes that means unfriending; keep it real.)
Seek out face-time.
Eat less, drink more…water.
Don’t feel guilty for needing help, for everyone born into this world has needed help at one time or another.
Find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Drive with the sunroof open or the windows down on a beautiful day.
Open your windows, pull back the curtains, and let the outside in.
Go barefoot once in awhile.
Appreciate each season, literally and metaphorically, for what it has to offer.
If you can’t find meaning in every trial, make something meaningful come from it.
Know that it’s okay to not be okay.
Pay it back, and pay it forward.
Learn from the mistakes of others.
Live for experiences, not things.
Listen, and you might learn something.
Know that even the cashier is worthy of your attention.
Do what you love, if you can, or find love in what you do (while you work towards the former), knowing that no job is forever.
Don’t try so hard to like foods you don’t, but be willing to try them in a different way.
Keep your eyes on your own plate.
Make learning lifelong.
Seek to outpace yourself, not others.
Help others, but never promise more than you can do.
Share useful information.
Watch less news.
Embrace minimalism.
Make time for coffee in the morning.
Know that you have value, and that no one can take that away. Your worth is not in your “usefulness,” but in the price Someone paid for you.
Find solace in spirituality.
Read.

Cheek to cheek

 http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-342

On Words and Colors

BW

A dictionary is to a writer
what a palette is to an artist.
We learn to use these new colors,
be they against a blank canvas,
a blank screen,
or a blank sheet of paper,
through passionate practice.
Coloring and writing between the lines
with shades of colors and subtext—
the hand and mind of a true artist of either discipline,
knows how to use both in the way
that delights or enlightens not just the creator,
but the recipient.