Writing Wednesdays, Meditative Mondays and more…

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Given what we’re facing as a world, I wanted to do my little bit to help out and so, here’s what I’m hoping and planning to do:

Every week, by Wednesday, I’ll be uploading a short writing prompt (in April, as it’s national poetry month, these will be poetry prompts) on YouTube and Twitter. My first prompt was included in last month’s blog post. The latest prompt (below) draws inspiration in part from William Wordsworth’s Daffodils (a poem quoted in my debut novel CLIMBING THE STAIRS because it was my mother’s favorite poem and the novel is loosely based on her life as a teenager in India during WWII). This writing prompt also draws inspiration from Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple‘s poetry book, EEK, YOU REEK!

Wondering how these two rather different-sounding quotes (” When oft upon my couch I lie /In vacant or in pensive mood/ They flash upon the inward eye/ Which is the bliss of solitude / And then my heart with pleasure fills / And dances with the daffodils” by Wordsworth and “Eek you reek / You make a funk / Where you have been / You stink stank stunk” by Yolen and Stemple) might be related? Watch:

I’m also planning to share a short, inspirational and motivational meditation on the writing life – or just more generally the creative life, every Monday, starting sometime this month.

In addition, so far and so long as I can, I’m hoping to host a book giveaway each month on twitter. We just received a stay-in-place order, so this means I will likely only be able to mail the winner a book once this order is lifted. This week, I am doing a paired book giveaway with my dear friend Leslie Connor. If you follow me on twitter (@padmatv) you’ll see that I’m giving away a signed copy of her latest, A HOME FOR GODDESSES AND DOGS and she’s giving away a signed copy of my latest, THE BRIDGE HOME on ig (heyleslieconnor).


I recently received my first copy of THE BRIDGE HOME with the beautiful golden Walter Dean Myers Award seal on the cover, as you can see!

Given all that we’re facing right now as a nation, we’re in discussion about whether  to pause my monthly COOKING UP STORIES writing prompt (featuring a book and paired with a recipe by Chef Amanda) at Highlights Foundation for a few months, and resume it when things take a more positive turn. In the meantime, however, the Highlights Foundation is hosting many free online events. Last week, I had a wonderful chat hosted by my dear friend Sara Aronson for the Highlights Foundation’s community gathering last week (here’s the link).

This month, I’ll be participating in two afternoon panels at the Kweli conference online this Saturday, April 4th; and on Wednesday, April 8th at noon EST at the VCBF’s Facebook page (I’ll be doing a free webinar online that they’re hosting), and later in April, I’ll be contributing to the Texas Library Association’s Annual Conference online (April 20-21st). Maybe I’ll see you there?

I thought I’d also share some useful links I came across for school-aged kids (and parents and teachers) that provide useful scientific mini-lessons: NOAA is hosting webinars for school age children, including by my dear friend Catalina Martinez: https://seagrant.whoi.edu/suggested-educational-resources-for-use-during-school-closures/webinars-noaa-live/; here’s a link for those interested in meteorology : https://www.weather.gov/learning; and The Mosaic Expedition has put together a collection of resources on the Arctic:  https://mosaic.colorado.edu/education/mosaic-mondays/mosaic-monday-march-23-2019. So that’s for the oceanographer in me!

Finally, here’s a list of organizations that would surely be happy to have you contribute, if you can, at this  difficult times: No Kid Hungry which strives to provide every kid in the USA with at least a healthy lunch especially at this time when school lunches are being shut down because of COVID19, #FirstRespondersFirst which I’m told is doing its best to provide health care professionals with all they need, (and of course others I’ve mentioned earlier, such as ASHA for education , Books are Wings , The Concerned For Working Children, Sankara Eye Foundation, CRY, Freedom TrustV-excelCommunity Volunteers in Education, Engineers Without Borders, Environmental Energy Study Institute, Global Green Grants Fund, Southern Environmental Law Center, Wild Aid, Wild Net, kiva).

It’s a strange episode in the history of humanity that we’re living through right now, and I ardently hope that just as the characters in THE BRIDGE HOME are brought even closer together by the calamities they face, we’ll come together to work for peace in our world in the face of this new challenge we’re facing. It’s not easy for anyone right now, but if we can thinking of giving as much as we can (even giving something as small as a smile to a stranger while maintaining your physical distance), and not taking more than necessary (so avoiding to the urge to stockpile and not taking every last bit of any particular item), I think it helps.

Oh my gosh – I almost forgot to share some lovely news. THE BRIDGE HOME won the Paterson Prize! Award-winning and critically acclaimed author and poet Peter Johnson (AMAZING ADVENTURES OF JOHN SMITH JR. AKA HOUDINI) referred to this as a “trifecta” of awards for THE BRIDGE HOME(the Paterson Prize, the SCBWI Golden Kite and the WNDB Walters Award). THE BRIDGE HOME is also on a few more children’s choice state awards lists, most notably in Virginia (a state where I lived for several years as a graduate student) and the Texas Bluebonnet, and on the Bank Street College of Education’s annual best book list, along with THANK U, a collection of poems edited by Miranda Paul, to which I contributed a tanka about a mathematical invention!

Until next month, when I plan to provide links in this monthly blogpost-newsletter to  Monday meditations and Wednesday Writing prompts posted in the interim! To leave comments, as always:

Thank U, stay safe, stay healthy, stay well! And in case you missed it, here’s a previous writing prompt about Sense of Place.

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