Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Ten Authors and Artists Share Their Inspiration

Yes, today’s re-blog is a teacher talking about writers and artists of children’s books; but the words of inspiration work just as well for writers and artists of adult books :-)

A Teacher's Reflections

There I was, listening to the best children’s book authors and illustrators at the Eric Carle Museum of picture Book Art, talking about what inspired them.  I couldn’t write fast enough (yes, I took a flurry of notes) or listen hard enough.  I strained my ears so I wouldn’t miss a word.  And, there were so many words and ideas spoken.  I wonder if the artists realize that while they shared their stories of inspiration, they were also inspiring their audience.  Me!

When I read a book aloud, I tell children in my class, “The words go into your ears, then into your brain and straight to your heart.”  Now, the tables were turned; I was the listener and that’s exactly what happened to me.  Here are some of those words:

Mo Willems:
“When I was a Cub Scout, the King Tut exhibit was at a museum…

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Children Don’t Forget

Completely *Delightful* re-blog today :-)

A Teacher's Reflections

I wish I could remember everything important, like the titles of all the books I intend to read this summer.  I can recall stories galore of yesteryear, with crystal clear pictures in my head.  The present often seems cloudy in comparison.   Children remember everything.  The tiniest detail is there beside them, for the longest time.  Isabelle is a case in point.

My library read-aloud group started the year reading Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems back in September.

It is the story of a dog and a cat, living in Paris.  Of course it is so much more, as Mo Willems weaves stories of growing, bravery, and fear throughout the book.  He also paints a verbal picture of life on both sides of the tracks. Does having all the conveniences and necessities dictate a better life?  Better hold on and read the book!

Since the backdrop for the…

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Seventy-Three


Alexander M Zoltai


She was The Witness—she was objective—yet, in spite of years of experience, she was still quite nervous…

She’d just arrived by shuttle (by order of the World Leader) from Lafri Pertru and was ushered into an inquiry (suggested by the World Leader) with a man claiming he was the longed-for Divine Messenger who would fulfill the prophecies of all other religions.

She could make no comments, ask no questions—The Witness only witnessed…

But, she was acutely aware of the significance of the religious leaders’ questions and comments:

Skiron Blret—“As the Prime Priest of the Naidiest religion, I ask how you could possibly be a Prophet—our Skalit Pondreker was the last Prophet.”

Mentre Veokre—“For the love of Belru, how can you make such claims?

Burint Senk—“I demand a miracle to prove what you claim…”

Luu Frdi—“Speaking for the Consolidated Brethren of the Order of Holy Worshipers, I find you to be a mere man, of no consequence… I have no questions.”

The comments continued—round after round; and, the religious leaders began attacking each other…

She sat through these embarrassing proceedings, listening to these men acting so pompous and proud and wondered what the Claimant was thinking…

The Claimant spoke at that moment:

“I am the One all your Scriptures speak of—I am the Promised One, come to unite all religions, all peoples, all territories—I am willing to meet with each of you singly; however, this gathering is not appropriate for seeking the Truth—your disputes and pride do you no justice…”

She stopped being nervous—started being extremely curious—wondered at this Person who was more spiritual that all the others combined…

She wasn’t looking forward to going through the exhausting ritual of reporting to the World Leader—The Probing…

She wished she could just go somewhere and contemplate…


Eventually, the religious leaders each went their own way—stoking the fires of distrust and hatred amongst their followers…

The riots began not long after the inquiry.

The Claimant was confined for his protection.

The anarchy, within one quarter-revolution of the planet, consumed 450,000 lives…


The World Leader demanded a private conference with the Claimant.


“So, you are the one causing so much mischief, responsible for so many deaths?”

“No, Your Honor, I am the one who has been in your jail—I suggest you question the religious leaders and their followers about the unrest and crime.”

“You have no fear.”

“You are correct and I respect you for noticing.”

“What shall I do with all these crazy religious folk?”

“I recommend calling the religious leaders into your presence and instructing them to quell the actions of their followers—perhaps promise them their own incarcerations if they cannot accomplish a return to order…”


The Claimant remained silent.

The World Leader said, “Will you tell me of your Faith?”


The riots were quelled and the World Leader spoke to all the people on the NewsNet:

“O, peoples of our World.

“I come to you with sadness and fresh insights.

“You may already know that I am very angry with certain religious leaders, even though they did bring their followers to heel; yet, that was only after massive carnage…

“You may not know that I am meeting regularly with the new Prophet of the Grendia Faith.

“He is truly a fount of wisdom and is a pure and honorable man—unlike the leaders of the other Faiths.

“I have ordered meetings between this Prophet and these other religious leaders…

“A meeting between the Prophet and each one of the other leaders, separately—each meeting in my presence.

“These will be followed by a general meeting with all of us in attendance.

“I hope to learn much more; and, I pray the other religious leaders can learn what religion should truly be.

“I will speak again to all of you after these significant meetings; but, for now, please remember, no practice is a real religion if it leads to anger or distrust or violence.

“May you all prosper and find occasions to facilitate your unity…”


She was still The Witness—she was still objective—she was now a member of the Claimant’s Faith…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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Let’s Be Bored!

Just to clarify, today’s re-blog is not a “message” to any of my friends who might have gotten a new phone—honestly, it was just the next one in my bookmarks :-)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

The first screens that bothered me were in minivans. Back around 1998 when an in-car VCR first was a thing I asked my mother, “But when will the kids be bored?” I remembered long family car rides from Florida to Canada and back every summer, staring out the window, making up games in my head about the dividing line, learning to read the map, playing Alphabet or Punchbuggy, counting cows. I remembered the year I decided–decided!–I would no longer get carsick from reading.

I’m sure big chunks of those rides were boring. And don’t get me started on my Dad smoking with the window cracked. But they were also where I developed some of the life of the mind. The ability to think and dream and plan and guess for hours at a time, unbounded by schedules or plans or classes or teams or “having something to do.”

As an…

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Writing ~ in Spite of Everything . . .

We live in “Interesting Times“… Writing ~ in Spite of Everything . . .

Humanity is going through trials and tribulations never before imagined by the human race…

Personally, I think all these disorders are becoming fearfully dangerous because humanity is purging itself of the ideas and systems that aren’t worthy of our new role as a Global Family—the ideas and systems that run on greed or privilege or pure egotism—things that favor a few and punish many…

I think it’s the last thrashings of systems and movements and entrenched beliefs that are “…lamentably defective…”.

Some writers are thriving in this atmosphere—using the chaos to fuel their stories…

Some writers are wilting on their literary vines…

Some are trying to write; but, so much negative is happening that they’re honestly swamped by feelings and thoughts that render them wordless…

Some are paralysed by doubt and fear…

Some, shamefully, are trying to make a buck off the backs of others’ sufferings…


The purpose of this post is to help you write ~ in spite of everything—even if your everything is just a constant rush of common mundane emergencies.

There was an article on Writer UnBoxed a few months ago that spelled-out methods to arm yourself against having your writing hijacked by “life”…

The article’s called, Survival Pack or How to Keep Writing No Matter What; and, I’ll now do my normal excerpting to encourage you to read the whole thing :-)

The article begins with:

“What if life never got in the way of writing? What if I told you there was a way to guarantee you’d always be able to write? (Even if you have ‘writer’s block’. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even on those days you can’t get out of your own way.)”

And, just before sharing a personal case study, the author says:

“…maybe you’re so far out of the writing life, so off your writing game you can’t imagine finding a way back to your work in progress.

“Or even to writing—at all.”

Then, a list of Survival Pack ideas is given (there are example life problems along with how the survival pack idea was applied…):

1. Plan Ahead. Look at your calendar a day or week in advance.

2. Create an optimal work environment—physical, emotional, and mental.

3. Predictable Problem—make a plan.

4. Disaster Planning—plan for the truly unexpected.

Don’t let the brevity of that list of Survival Pack ideas make you think there aren’t any powerfully effective techniques in this article…

The author continues with:

“Sometimes small fixes aren’t enough….Things are really tough—really tough—and the pressure is on. Writing is truly last on your mind (or maybe not on your mind at all).”

That’s followed by the author’s personal example of a time when her husband’s depression was affecting her writing.

This is not a light-weight article…

However, here’s the author’s deceptively simple summation:

“It’s all about choice. I can choose and you can choose, too. We can do this.”

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com