Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summertime...and the Livin' is Easy...NOT!

School is officially out for summer, and it's time to get crackin' on my writing.

I put my novel aside for the school year to focus on creative projects for my students.  The results were pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself.

My students and I collaborated on creating a program honoring veterans and educating the audience on the challenges they faced throughout the years.  We made the Marines cry with, "Sticks That Made Thunder," a bluegrass tune by The Steeldrivers.  (Done with permission, of course.)  The National Guard presented us with a Patriot Award for our efforts.

My writing partner, Cathy, my husband, and I created and produced a kid's musical on rangeland ecology called, "Hairy on the Prairie:  The Search for Montana's Bigfoot."

The last program of the year was written almost entirely by the fourth grade kids.  The fourth grade recorder program used to be so boring, so we decided a few years ago to modify a musical and write recorder parts for it.  That turned out well, but was a ton of work for me.  Last year I started having the kids write their own program, recorder songs included.  I select a them and some songs that go with it.  The kids have to write short skits that match the theme.

The them I picked this year was, "Western Legends."  One can always tell that a skit's been written by ten-year-olds when a cattle drive involves ordering pizza via smoke signals, an alien abduction, and an appearance by Edward Cullen.  (They made the most epic rip on Twilight that I've ever seen.  Bwa ha haaa!)

The best part of the program was that a real-life western legend, Chief Joseph Medicine Crow, the last war chief of not only the Crow tribe, but of nearly any Plains tribe, made a surprise appearance.  The kids asked his permission to tell the story of how he became a chief by counting coup against the Germans in WWII.  He sang his war song for them and reminded them to stay in school so they can become, "good citizens of their community and of these United States."

One unfortunate side effect-a dual stomach infection resulting in vomiting blood in the last few weeks of school.  Stress sucks.  So, I planned on taking the summer to finish The Rider of Nealra.  So far, I have no idea when I'm going to work on it between family obligations, a performance with Rhonda Vincent,  and, well, more family obligations.

Writing is still an integral part of my life, but I want it to be my life.