Clancy Knows What He Likes

I’ve been a Una Belle Townsend fan since I read Grady’s in the Silo back in 2003. I’ve bought her books for family members and I’ve used them in the classroom.

Last year, the boys in my fourth grade Reading Lab made a year-long project out of Townsend’s Toby and the Secret Code. Our word wall always contained a mix of English and Spanish words. After we read Toby, a story with reference to the Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I, our multi-lingual wall also included Choctaw words.

Townsend’s latest picture book may be my favorite yet. Clancy is one of those rare stories that doesn’t have one scene too many. It starts where it should and ends on just the right word.

Clancy is a charming goat who likes the taste of wood even if he doesn’t care much for nails. Sorry, but I’m not giving away any more of the story. You’ll have to read it for yourself, then you’ll want to find a classroom of second graders with whom to share it.

I bet they laugh as heartily as you do.

Too Many Irons

My dishes are always done. I do a load or two of laundry almost every day. I’m not a neat freak. Indeed, I’m far from it; I share my space with a man, two dogs, and two cats. What I am is a writer. It is easier to wash dishes or sort clothes than it is to tackle a problem I’ve encountered in a story.

It’s hard for me to start writing. It is even harder to stop once I get going. The hardest thing, though, is sticking with one project.

As the author of six, seven, I’m not sure how many unpublished novels, I know that it is essential to visit the novel every day to maintain the thread. This is just as important when you’re revising.

I set aside time each day to revise. Then a poem happens. Or I have an insight that requires the rough draft of an essay. Then, when it is time to get back to the revision, I find that I’m out of time. Ha! It’s happening right now.

My teachers called me hyperactive. My mother said I had too many irons in the fire. I never did find out if they were clothes-pressing irons or branding irons. I could stop to do some research to find the source of that saying, but…my revision!

I love the book I’m working on. I don’t know why I get distracted. Writer friends, do any of you get stymied by your next great idea?