Tag Archives: change

Where Hope Springs

Yesterday, I posted here for the first time in over a year. I was lucky to get to announce my friend Alison Goldberg’s cover reveal for her upcoming picture book I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES.

This morning, I’m scrolling back through all the supportive comments, the happy tweets and retweets, the Facebook joy and many shares of this important moment in Alison’s life and career. And once again, I see our community for what it is—a spring. spring-of-waterA spring of unparalleled beauty, sparkling, life-giving, earth-quenching. A rushing source of courage and creativity and optimism, of belief in the value and potential of our young ones, of conviction that story matters and can make a vital difference.

I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES, like my BABYMOON and so many others, is a “love” book. It’s meant to invite moments of simple enjoyment between children and those who care for them, to help them snuggle, share a giggle, or dream of adventures. Books like this knit relationships together in warmth and safety.

But they do something more too. They nourish children with the good food of rich language, of deep caring, of a world that makes sense. Just because junk food exists—or deadly poison, for that matter—doesn’t mean it should be given to children. Junk—like cheap, thoughtless language. Or poison—like hatred, evil, violence.

There is no way to permanently protect children from these things, of course, and some never have a moment of peace between their first breath and the terrors of the world. But some do. I have to believe that if these young people are filled with good food, they will grow strong and happy. They will not be satisfied with junk or tempted by poison. They will have drunk from the spring of love, and that is permanent. It changes them. It makes them who they are meant to be, and we all need that. The whole world needs it.

So write the love books. Publish the love books. Fill our homes and libraries, shelters, schools, and park benches with them. And if you have the chance, pull a young one close and read one to them. Nourish them with laughter and hope. Encourage them to believe that a better world can exist. Because it can, and with their help and ours, it will.

Enjoy the day,

Hayley


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I write for young people and live to make kids laugh. My picture book BABYMOON celebrates the birth of a new family and is coming from Candlewick Press. WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW, a narrative nonfiction picture book, is coming in spring 2019 from Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books and will be illustrated by Diana Sudyka. I’m represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. I also blog for the agency at https://emusdebuts.wordpress.com.

 

Some Things Never Change

Thankfully, some things never change. Like horses. Horses never change. I fell in love with them when I was two years old, and they are the very same creatures now as then. In a world whirling with change, that’s pretty precious. They smell the same, sound the same, act the same. They are as gorgeous, fragile, and dangerous as ever.

When I was a kid, the horses I knew were ponies. Down and dirty, backyard ponies housed in old sheds. They were fenced in with a motley assortment of boards and wire.  They received only rudimentary vet care. They were hardly trained and could be very unpredictable. They were good teachers, though. Nothing will teach you to hold your seat in the saddle like a sudden left-hand turn at a full gallop. Their lives were simple. They were happy and healthy animals, loved by their people, and content to trot kids through the woods for hours.

Now I ride at a beautiful, beautiful barn. It was designed and built for the management of well-bred dressage horses. Every possible care was taken to make sure they would be comfortable and safe. The horses have a live-in manager to watch over them. They get dental care. Massages. Acupuncture.  

But you know what? They are no different in most ways from the shaggy little guys I knew and loved. They are still creatures of flight that will flee from imagined danger into very real danger in the blink of an eye. You still have to win their trust. You still have to remember to watch out for their hooves and their teeth.

When I was a pony-mad girl, I only knew I loved horses and wanted to be near them. Now I know how they nourish me.

For one thing, horsemanship and riding are difficult. Anyone can provide basic care for a horse, but to really understand them takes a lifetime of devotion. I love that. I’ll never, ever, learn enough and that’s okay. To ride well, whatever the discipline, takes patience and focus. To persuade a horse to participate as a partner rather than force him to obey takes delicacy and respect. Even the littlest is huge–a miniature horse can weigh 250 pounds–and they are both strong and opinionated. They do not suffer fools. 

My work as a writer nourishes me in a similar way. Writing is difficult and takes a lifetime’s worth of learning. I love that. I’ll never, ever, learn enough and that’s okay. Writing requires patience and focus. Even the littlest bit of writing–a 250 word picture book–is huge and opinionated. To try to force words to do anything is both foolhardy and likely fruitless. They’ll run away from you every time and once loose, are hard to capture again. Beautiful writing, like beautiful riding, takes delicacy and a respectful attitude. 

So I try. I try to ride well, despite achy joints and the many pressures of life. I try to write well, despite the same achy joints. Both disciplines are difficult. Both are beautiful. Some things never change, and for that, I’m grateful.

Enjoy the day.