Thursday, July 28, 2022

Out and about

Mystery Mountain, July 27, 2022

 The weather has been steamy hot these past couple of weeks. Neither Bailey nor I are fans. We've done a few longer hikes but mostly short. Here are a few shots from Weld and Mystery Mountain.  We're at 113 mountains climbed. Bailey naps more and more these days and has gained weight; he definitely doesn't have the same energy level (nor should he at 85 dog years old). But! We carry on.  

View from Mystery Mountain

Byron Notch

Byron Notch

Byron Notch

Mt Blue

Whitecap Mt 

Mystery Mountain 

Stats as of July 27, 2022

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Writing is Revising


About 30 years ago in 1992, I started writing a young adult book called The Mosquito Test. The title idea came from a road trip up north with a high school distance runner. Mike would run in the State Class A High School Championships. On I-95N, I pulled into the breakdown lane for a call of nature. I ran into the woods on this warm Saturday morning in early June. The moist, wooded area was somewhere between Newport and Bangor.  Man, it was buggy. Trying to care of business and not get eaten alive proved challenging and got me thinking about a challenge Maine kids might conceive of for friends to join their club. That's when the club's Mosquito Test came to my mind. 

At the same time, I had 3 English students living with Cystic Fibrosis and another, a former ski racer, battling cancer. I couldn't help thinking of a kid born with what at the time was a terminal disease befriending another kid who just started confronting cancer. And what if they became friends and partners in tennis?  

Somewhere in my files there's a one-page letter from my friend Monica Wood who read a 215-page draft of The Mosquito Test. She commented on the believable characters, the intriguing plot, and the battle the two main characters faced with cancer and cystic fibrosis. Then she wrote something to the effect of, "Try writing the book in first person using Scott as the narrator." 

Rewrite the 215 pages? 

I did. 

The teenaged narrator's voice drew in YA readers and created a more believable story.  Once I got over my hangover, I loved writing from Scott's perspective. 

I'm teaching Writing Practicum this semester for UMaine. This morning as I read the second draft of a  grad student's manuscript, I discovered she took my advice (or my hints) and revised her piece. She went from a third person limited point of view to first person POV. The opening chapter of her YA novel is much more lively and believable with a teenager telling the story.]

Few pieces are written in a single draft. Most of us try this-n-that until we discover what works. It is and will always be true:  Writing is revision.       

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Old Books

Most books grow old like their authors. Their words, phrases, and scenes become obsolete; their plots and characters do as well. But we can still learn from old books. We see what once was and come to understand what might be next. Old books have their place in the world just like all of us. 

I wrote this note while reading Cloud Cuckoo Land and thinking about two of my books from the 1980s and 1990s, The Mosquito Test and Play On! 

Friday, July 22, 2022


I just finished reading a fabulous young adult book titled In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner. Like a lot of YA books, it’s a coming-of-age story.  At the end of the book, Zentner writes his acknowledgments featuring the people who helped with the book. Some folks are paid editors; others are friends who inspired; still others are readers who have a certain expertise. Reading this collection of acknowledgements is another way to showcase the struggles writers may experience with their projects as well as who helped. Writing is not a solitary affair.  

Click on photos to enlarge

Monday, July 4, 2022

Fourth of July on Whitecap... Hike #100

Looking out at Sunday River's White Heat and the Mahoosuc Mountain Range.
Click on photos to enlarge and scroll with right arrow key. 

Today started with a food gift from my neighbor Gina and then a fun email chat with long-time friend, Bill Morgan, retired teacher and coach who splits his time between Maine and Florida. 

After a solid writing day--I'm closing in on the ending of a full draft--the old mutt and I headed down the road to Whitecap Mountain for a 4.5 mile hike. A solid wind kept the bugs away--except for a lone horse fly not quite a mile down Isle (Orange) trail. Little bugger. I may have nailed him with my lemon eucalyptus spray... I hope he can't see for a month. 

About 3:00pm we met two separate families hiking up Starr (Orange) trail. Both groups were half way up, and when I said 1.2 miles to go, I could see the weariness in their eyes. It's a steady hike--a real hike, especially for families with kids 12 or below. I suggested if they got to the merge of Yellow and Orange and had had enough, that they trek out on Yellow to get a great view of Sunday River, The White Mountains, the Mahoosuc Range, and Old Speck Mountain where the AT traverses its summit. 

Bailey Tuckerman developed a bit of a limp in his right leg on the way down. After examining it, I figured the soreness developed after a busy week of hikes and walks. I'll give him a few days off and perhaps a respite at daycare... Here we come, Aunt Sharon.  

Finally, I know I said I wouldn't count hikes this year, but my hiking app, AllTrails, automatically counts them... so, there you have it... #100.  Happy 4th! 

"Are we there yet?"

Ascent on Starr

Bailey's Carin

Old guy, Old Dog 

Sunday River

Full bush blueberries 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Point of View

I've been chatting with a grad student who's writing piece. Our discussion is on point of view and active/passive voice. Monnie does a great job in her 1995 book, Description, of highlighting point of view. 

Click on photo to enlarge. Once enlarged, use the right arrow key to scroll through.