Sunday, November 17, 2013

My First School Visit Went Like This...

Such an exhausting day.  Gonna invest in a robot that carries large boxes of books.  Or a husband.  Thankfully I had my dad.

Morgan, UT - I once lived right beneath that "M."  Ish.
So all went down in my hometown school - Morgan Elementary!  I saw teachers I still remember, including my own beloved 1st grade teacher Mrs. Tyrrell who made this whole thing possible!  (thank you)


I entered the school office.  "Hi, . . . I'm the visiting author for the day."  Did that just come out of my mouth??

"Oh hi!  Are you ready for your stack of orders?"

"Yes!"  They handed me stack and I sat in a room and signed books a while.  Then I went to set up in the gym for the assembly.  Everything was prepared just as I requested - doc camera, projector, etc. Sitting alone in the gym, I soon discovered the projector cord didn't match anything on my laptop.  Oh snap.

Rewind.

The night before, I googled "how to do a school visit as an author" and read "be prepared for anything to go wrong!"  Kids puking front row, power going out, computers shutting down, fire drills mid-speech, etc.  I prepared myself emotionally at that moment.

Return to assembly.

Oh snap.  As teachers and students filed in, and reality hit (I'm about to do an assembly!), I explained to someone about the cord.  Teachers set out to help solve the problem.  In the meantime, I said I could skip the book reading for now, and talk about other things.

The room continued to fill with kindergarteners through third graders, who surrounded me in rows on the floor.  The gym echoed loud with chid-chatter.  What do cool authors do at this point??  I sat down and got to know a few kids, asking names.  They were so sweet and so CUTE.  I got excited.  I returned to my chair, and got an idea.

I put a paper under the doc camera and wrote, "Hi everyone."  They could see my hand and my writing through the projector.  I heard a few "hi"'s, and suddenly little hands were waving at me, scattered throughout the gym.  Cool!  I waved back.  I then wrote, "Everyone make a silly face."  Terrific silly faces and giggling everywhere!  I made a silly face back.  This is awesome!  Then the room grew quiet as Mrs. Tyrrell stood to introduce me.

After a very very kind introduction, which included "Ginny was one of my favorite students . . ." :) (aw shucks), I started talking.  We never got the laptop to hook up, which means I didn't show them the process of writing my book, or art I made as a kid, or read my book on a big screen.  But I still had a blast and ended up drawing through my entire presentation.  I drew the mountain with the "M" on it, the river I played in, the grasshoppers I use to catch just around the block, and even drew the ninja turtles I use to draw when I was their age.  I'm from your hometown, and if I can do this so can you!


I talked about using shapes.  I drew a picture of Hippo from my book, starting with basic shapes.  Then I discussed drawing from our imagination.

"I need an animal, tell me an animal!"  A million hands shot in the air and little voices exploded.  Couldn't hear a word, haha.  I pretended to hear frog and wrote it down.  "Okay one more!"  Again, not a word. "Okay, lion!  Great!"  I wrote it down.  "Let's draw a frog-lion!"  I drew a frog-lion, and they watched and giggled and helped me know how to draw it.


Finally I stood and read my book aloud, holding it up high at an arm's length.  Half the kids probably couldn't see it very well from far away, but they heard the text and I think they got the idea.  Turns out I have most the story memorized, thankfully, since I couldn't see it.  I ended with a few stories about when I acted like Hippo, doing and saying things I didn't mean, just so my friends would like me.  Like the time I ate dirt, literally, when I was their age.

"Everyone say, 'I AM CHOOSING TO BE ME!'"  They all repeated with vigor, and gave me a round of applause.  Thanks kiddos.  I love you all.

It was roughly presented, and I know I talked too fast.  (I watched a video of me later - thanks to my sweet sister-in-law who taped me!)  But, it was my first and I learned what to do better for next time.

I enjoyed every second with the kids.  They were SO cute and kind.  They waved as they left, gave me high fives, and waved again when some saw me later at Literacy Night or at Ridley's grocery store at the book signing.

Book signing was awesome - I was 15 minutes late though, due to the fun I was having with the kids surrounding my table at Literacy Night (where I was also selling books) giggling as I drew pictures for them.  I saw a lot of good friends and neighbors at Ridley's as well as enthusiastic strangers and friends of friends.

Thanks Morgan.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  Thanks family and friends for all your help!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blog Tour

1. What are you working on right now?

I have two other children's books currently in the works! Both are centered around learning a skill which enhances emotional health, mainly which oppose codependent behaviors, in a light, humorous, and secret way (you can't tell, you just think it's another great story with a great moral! muaha).  The one I'm most excited about involves learning the importance of taking risks instead of playing it safe all the time according to what our minds assume others want or expect from us.  

2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?

I plan to put my books in child-therapy offices.  They will teach emotional health in an enjoyable NON-preachy way (children smell preachiness from a mile away you know).  And they are pretty darn cute. . . 

3. Why do you write what you do?

I have struggled for years of my life deeply afraid of what others think of me.  I could barely speak my own opinion, share my own stories about my day due to guilt of taking someone's time, or have courage enough to get myself out of an uncomfortable.  I eventually became miserable, alone inside my head, and finally sought help.  I then found skills that have improved my quality of life by a million percent and I want to help kids and parents learn the same lessons.  Also because I'm an artist and my art is for kids - cute, fun, whimsical, colorful.  I'm good at putting words and pictures together to tell a story at the right balance.  You see, a good writer and illustrator knows how to tell a large part of a story with their images instead of words.  And I enjoy making people giggle!

4. How does your writing process work?


When I'm thinking of something I have learned that helps me be happy, I then think, "I want to write a children's book about it!"  I text myself the idea.  Later I write the problem which must be overcome, make up different scenarios in which the character faces the challenge and fails, and illustrate how their life was made more difficult due to their behavior.  Then I like having a moment of realization in my stories, through an internal or external source (aka: a wise mouse, or a sudden burst of assertion from with within), and then I like having the character repeat the scenario doing things in the new healthy way, and illustrating how things were much better due to the new behavior.  I write down all the different animals my main could be, drawing and sketching different ones, until I come up with one that feels right.  Then I find other characters with personalities that both challenge, contrast, and compliment my main character both emotionally and visually.  (large purple shy hippo contrasted with skinny pink flamboyant flamingo)

Stay tuned to know which authors to look for next!!

Inktober!!

Apparently it's a thing to draw once every day and post during October!  I've participated on 2 occasions this month so far......... haha.

Here they are!


(my phone takes bad pictures.... and my camera got stolen... and I don't have a scanner)



Thursday, October 24, 2013

# 9: GUILT Attacks

Hippo Challenge #9 (read the challenge here)

So does anyone else experience "Guilt Attacks?"  I do!!

First let's talk about Hippo (from my book You Should You Should for those who are new here).  Let's imagine that before he takes ownership of his individuality and identity, before his grand moment of assertiveness,.... let's imagine how he might have felt earlier in the game had he wanted to say "No, I don't want to do that."  Probably.... guilt.  Unnecessary guilt of course.

Might have gone something like this:



Possum:  "Hey you should come climb this tree!  Hang up side down, it's so fun!!"

Hippo:  "Ummm... well actually... the thing is... I mean climbing is great... and no offense, but you see, ... I kind of, uhh . . . maybeee . . .  Don't.  Like.  Climbing?" (Immediate panic sets in)  Oh no.  What is Possum thinking?  What if he doesn't like me now!?  He's going to be sad!  I don't want him to think I don't like him!  What is he going to say next?  What will he tell his friends?!  What will this mean for our friendship!  How rude of me!  It's not that big of a deal what I like or don't like, what was I thinking?  I'm not that important!  I can just suck it up and climb the tree if that's what he wants!  It's fine!  I'm sorry for saying that!

At the same time Hippo performs the unfortunate act of suppressing his own feelings and wants.  Telling himself others are important and he is not, that he doesn't matter, and putting the very worth and value of others above himself.  Therefore growing another small step closer to losing his identity.  Danger zone!

Now that his feelings are suppressed and self-worth appears less than others, he's prone to another feeling.  Lots and lots and lots of guilt.  Then, normal day activities can become increasingly riddled with lots of unnecessary yucky guilt.  Ever caught yourself in a guilt attack?  Mine have been muuuch fewer and farther apart!  :)

Buuuut, I had a sudden one yesterday, completely out of nowhere.  It went like this:



Me:  "I'm going to the store!  Wanna come?"  Wait... unless you don't want to... I'm sorry I asked... you can stay home if you want... okay Ginny calm down.

Roommate:  "Yeah I'll come with you!"

Me:  "Okay."  (still feels guilty but shakes it off for the most part)

On the way to the car - 

Me:  "Sorry we have to walk all the way across the street to my car, I couldn't park closer!"

Roommate:  "It's okay Gin, I had to park all the way down there last week!" (points farther away)

Me:  "Okay."  (still feels guilty but tries to shake it off again)

On the way to Smith's - 

Me:  "Oh my goodness I just passed our turn!  I'm sorry!!  I always do that!"  I'm so dumb, she probably wishes she was with a different roommate who knows how to go to Smith's!  Plus I don't know what to talk about right now... I should apologize that she had to come with me.

Roommate:  (chuckles)  "Have you done that before?  Oh that's funny Gin."

Me:  "Yeah."  Good thing I have good friends.  She's just entertained.  But still.  Uuuuugh.

At Smith's - 

Me:  I'm sorry I'm taking so long to buy my things!  I'm sorry I forgot which part of the store the chips are!  I'm sorry I'm taking up the whole top part of the cart while you are taking the bottom!  I'm sorry I still don't have exciting things to say or funny jokes to tell while we're shopping!  I'm sorry I'm not as fun as x or y or even z!

After checking out - 

Me:  (Quieter and gloomier)

Roommate:  " . . . Are you okay?"

Me:  "Yes, I just keep doing dumb things."  And I'm sorry you had to see it all.  (guilt is heavy now)

After we get home - 

Roommate:  "Let's watch Haunted Mansion!"

Me:  "Okay."

Roommate:  (observes my gloominess)  "Or we don't have to, if you'd rather watch it another time that's totally fine."

Me:  "No I do want to watch it."  (Next I practice my skills and take a healthier turn for the better) . . . "Do you ever have moments where you feel guilty about every thing you do?  I'm having one of those moments and it's getting to me and I'm trying to shake it off and calm down."  (I finally came out of my head and put my feelings and thoughts in words!  Points for me on the healthy board!)

Roommate:  (Shared her own experiences she sometimes has which are somewhat similar.  I was able to remember we're all silly humans, and I'm okay.)

***

At least I recognize what happened and can learn from it.  That's what important!  It's okay to have crazy moments especially if we're using them to learn.

Once again, there I go being incredibly vulnerable telling the whole online world about my anxieties and codependent moments.  However, I've had a lot of people reach out to me privately and thank me for talking about this.  I'd like to encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences here in comments so you can all find out you're not alone (and thanks to those who were brave and have already done so)!  We're all silly humans!  :)  We're all equally important.  We all deserve good things.  We all deserve to get our wants and needs met, and feelings are okay whatever they may be.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

First Mommy Blogger To....

Guess what?!?

I recently discovered to my wonderous surprise that Mommy Blogger "Painter Mom" at "Confessions of a Knuckle Painter" spotlighted an entire post about me and my new book!




(click here to check it out)



This is a deeper Mommy blog, focusing on being real in all aspects.  A mother of both young kids and teens, she's funny, sincere, and includes a unique perspective on not only parenting, but on being human, facing life's challenges with a sense of humor, and on not being perfect but shooting for the best.  I'm not a Mommy and I get a lot out of reading her blog.  Also, she's a best friend of mine.  <3  I thank her for dedicating a surprise spot for my book and I on her blog.

Hmm, I wonder if more Mommy bloggers will think my book is worth some space on theirs too.  I'll let you know!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

#8 One word: Dating

First of all, to those who have sent messages to me saying how much they appreciate my stories here, thank you very much for your words and for relating to me.  Admitting to the world your weaknesses isn't super easy... but I know there was a time I definitely would have appreciated something like this.  And so, I share mine.  :)

Hippo Challenge #8 (read the challenge here)

So.  Dating.  :)

I'm twenty eight and single.  It's fine, I'm fine, I'm okay, it's fine.  Okay?  Twenty-eight and single doesn't mean I'm broken or a failure.  Haha, . . . what?  What do you mean you sense some insecurity??  ;)

Well, despite being fine, I also do want someone to share my life with.  I do want a family.  I want a lot of things and I've wanted them for a while.  So I finally decided to take new measures in my dating life in the last couple days.  What they are, I cannot say.  But with these new measures, a few things have come up that I've realized over the past couple years are a problem, and I'm still facing them now.

What do you do when you find someone you really like?  How do you act?  What do you say?  What do you do?  What makes you say and do those things?  Are you different when that special someone is around?  What is it that makes you act different?

Well here's what happens to ME.  First of all, it's pretty rare that I REALLY like someone a LOT.  But it does happen.  And when I reeeally like someone, I find that I reeeeally want them to like me back.  Not too weird yet, right?  Pretty normal.  But because of how badly I want them to like me, some interesting things occur.

First, the careful observations begin.

What does he wear, what does he eat, what music does he listen to, how does he talk, walk, move, what movies does he like, what things does he hate... my mind is constantly studying and picking up every piece of information it can gather.

Second, the mimicking.

This part is a little embarrassing and probably a little pathetic.  I suddenly find myself copying them, including words they use, how they talk, and I stick with topics I absolutely know they're interested in.  I copy their humor and jokes.  I sing songs I know they love.  Then it's really bad if I overhear a specific quality they like in a girl, because without thinking about it I suddenly ooze that quality whenever they're around.

At the end of the day, I go home, and I look at the kind of person I've been acting like all day, or on that date, or in that class they're in, or whatever it was.  And I'm like, "Who was I just then?  Who even am I???"

How nice would it be if I could just relax, enjoy the present moment, and simply be myself?  Know what I mean?

Yeah, so there's that.

However, to my credit...  I have had way, way, waaay more moments in dating situations over the past few months where I actually talked about things just because I wanted to, without knowing for sure if they'd care or not.  I told jokes I wasn't sure would be laughed at - and sometimes they weren't at all, and it was still okay!  :)  I am learning to share more and more of me, including fears and imperfections, and I have to say it feels so much better than stuffing who I am in a jar and wearing a mirror mask of what I believe others want me to be.  Life is way more worth living!  And far more enjoyable.  Best of all, healthy.  :)  That's what people want - they want to know US.  What do WE like, what do WE think, what do we have to offer them in return?  How can our talents, likes, dislikes, personalities, senses of humor, and unique qualities and passions enrich THEIR lives?  What weaknesses can they relate to and how can we help each other grow?  Relationships are a give and take.  When people-pleasing, both parties miss out, and both parties become frustrated.  Not just the pleaser.

"Cause very most importantly,
I am choosing to be me."
(10 points to whoever can tell me what book that quote came from)  :)




Thursday, October 3, 2013

#7 "But...You SHOULD Love This Movie!!"

Hippo Challenge #7 (read the challenge here)

Conversation in my living room tonight:


Roommate:  .....Am I the only one in this apartment who isn't in love with that movie?

Me:  Uh YES.  .  . Maybe you just need to be converted.  I feel like you would love that movie.  How can you not?  It's so cute and so funny!

Roommate:  I don't know.  I just . . . I'm just not really into the characters that much.  

Me (responding real fast):  OH how can you NOT?  They're so great!  I love them because [x, y, z...] and also [2x... 5y...] and I just feel like it's a movie that you would love!!  You just need to love this movie!"

pause ...  lightbulb moment ...

Me:  Actually, never mind.  You don't have to love it.  We can love different things.  We can be different people. 

Roommate:  (starts laughing)  "You should you should!"

***

Haha.  Yeah.  Sometimes I catch myself in Flamingo's shoes....  Sorry Roommate!