Becca Wilhite Blog

November 11, 2014

Capturing the Best Stories

Filed under: books,giving,lists,recommendation — becca @ 4:32 pm

Tonight we have a ladies’ night Literacy activity. We’ve all been instructed to bring a used book to exchange. As obedient as I generally am, I couldn’t do it. I had to go out and buy a new copy of the book I’m exchanging. Partly because I can’t give up my original copy… okay, so Totally because I can’t give up my original copy. I love this book – not just the words, but the pages and the bends and the marks on the paper and the smell and all of it.

I’m “exchanging” Dodie Smith’s I CAPTURE THE CASTLE because I love it so, so much. And because it’s unlikely to be stir-y. I don’t want to cause any stirs tonight. I’ve wrapped it in red paper and a raffia bow. The red paper now has my handwritten favorite quotes (from the novel) all over it, and if I didn’t have to (I totally don’t have to) hand it over, I’d keep it because it looks lovely.

Quotes like these:

“Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.”

“How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!”

“Perhaps watching someone you love suffer can teach you even more than suffering yourself.”

“Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing.”

“No bathroom on earth will make up for marrying a bearded man you hate.”

“Truthfulness so often goes with ruthlessness.”

“I have noticed that rooms which are extra clean feel extra cold.”

“Oh, comfortable cocoa!”

“Miserable people cannot afford to dislike each other.”

“Do Americans kiss each other all the time?”

and

“Perhaps if I make myself write I shall find out what is wrong with me.”

The favorite one is about our main character learning to cook – but it didn’t really go with the others. So I didn’t add it there. But here it is for posterity and whatnot:

“I scrubbed some rather dirty-looking chops with soap which proved very lingering, and I did not take certain things out of a chicken that I ought to have done.” (I know, right?)

November 18, 2012

We have a winner…

Filed under: food,giving,rambles — becca @ 9:54 pm

Randomness has occurred, my friends. Things are happening. I’m telling you what. Sian, congratulations. You win REACHED for your very own (or to arm-wrestle over with your girls, apparently).

More randomness. Ready?

Thanksgiving is this week. I’m bringing mashed potatoes (with cream cheese, of course) and pie (ditto) and rolls. Bring on the white starches. What are you bringing?

Did you see the Steelers’ jerseys tonight? Because, um. Wow. They look like prisoners. Bumblebees. Something weird, I guess. My friend Matt said “Pitts-burglars” and I remembered why I’ve adored him for like 20+ years. Because he’s cleverer than I, and I love people who are cleverer than I.

What should I get my senior in HS for Christmas? She wants grown-up stuff, the kind that prepare a kid for college, and I want to go more along the lines of Little Tykes toys and board books. Know what I’m saying?

September 10, 2012

WINNER! WINNER!

Filed under: giving,Uncategorized — becca @ 5:51 am

Tara Wall, you are the winner of the DVD of “The Book of Jer3miah” — so let’s hear some celebrating. Congratulations to you. I’ll get that right out to you so your family can enjoy the mystery and the adventure.

Got the image from Amazon, so you could buy it there, too. Options, people. That's what we're all about.

All the rest of y’all can watch it online or buy yourselves a copy, if you like.

And thanks again to the generous folks at Deseret Book for donating the DVD.

September 4, 2012

Win Free Stuff! No, Really.

Filed under: giving,recommendation — becca @ 8:25 am

Guys! I have a thing for you to win! I know! Exclamation points!

I have some very clever friends. And some very clever acquaintances. And some of those people are married to each other. (Sheesh. I know.) So I may be pushing it when I say this, but for purposes of right now, let’s say My Friend Jeff Parkin [1] (what? We’ve had dinner together…) made a really fun web series with some of his film students. It’s called “The Book of Jer3miah” – and it’s a conspiracy thriller (totally appropriate for audiences of many ages). And the series is available online. And also, now, the series is available to buy on a disc. And more also, now the series disc is available RIGHT HERE. It’s here, beside me, in this room.

Here is some information:

(Because we love information.)

The New York Times reviewed it and called it “a tight, suspenseful little series” with “quick dialogue and funny supporting characters,” and concluded, “when celestial smackdowns are a plot possibility, things can get pretty hardcore. And that makes for good web drama.”
Here’s a link to the trailer: http://jer3miah.com/ (Click on the red bar that says “Watch Exclusive Trailer.”)
Did you click it? Did you watch it? Do you want it? Okay. Here’s all  you have to do. Comment on this post, and I’ll pick a winner and mail that winner the disc. Life doesn’t offer you winnings THAT EASY very often. Hey, winner? You have to live in the US or Canada, because shipping is pricey, don’t you know.
*  *  *
Conspiracy! Thriller! Filmed at a place that looks a lot like the university I attended, lo these many years ago! Check out the trailer, and watch the TED talk, and comment to be in the running. I’ll choose a random winner on Saturday, how ’bout that?
[1] this links to his TED talk, which is awesome — about the power of Story.

July 9, 2012

Good Stuff

Filed under: giving — becca @ 11:00 am

Guys, listen. My dear friend L.T. is involved in this great charity thing. I’m not asking you for money — I’m giving you an opportunity to help out if you’re looking for a way to share your bounty.

Here are the deets:

L.T. Elliot is a part of a team working to raise funds on behalf of special needs kids in Nicaragua. The Los Pipitos School in San Juan del Sur helps educate and enrich the lives of children who, due to their limited abilities, would be otherwise unable to take advantage of a regular classroom education. In early August, volunteers are going to Nicaragua to bring school supplies and funds to help keep the school running.

About The School

This special needs school provides an educational experience for the mentally and physically disabled that a regular school cannot. Their goal is to help their students develop to their full abilities and be able to live as normal and independent lives as their disabilities will allow. Disabilities range from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome to mental retardation and brain damage. Beyond the classroom, they provide activities that these children would not otherwise be able to do, including teaching them to surf, dance, and make music.

 

What they need

It costs the foundation $150 per month to pay for the teacher’s salary and $200 per month to pay for bus transportation for the students at the school. Many of the students are confined to wheel chairs and live in communities with dirt roads; therefore if the foundation does not transport them to school then they will not be able to attend. Also, they desperately need school supplies. Unfortunately they cannot rely on the postal system to receive the supplies so they rely on visitors to bring supplies with when traveling to Nicaragua.

 

How you can help

All children deserve an education, and too often special needs children are overlooked. In order to keep the school in operation for another year, it’s our intention to raise $4,200 to go toward teacher’s salaries and the cost of transportation for the children. The remaining portion will be used to buy and transport school supplies as well as help the school to buy new chairs, desks, and chalkboards for the classrooms. Help these children by being the change you want to see in the world. No contribution is too small: $1, $5, whatever your can give; every dollar counts. Time is short and we need your support to give these children hope for a brighter future!

HERE is the link to the funding page. (It’s kind of like KICKSTARTER; you can donate from that there page.) This is a sweet way for those of us who are privileged in every way to help out some who are… not so much. Thanks to L.T. for being a great example of humanitarianism and heart-felt charity. (Visit her blog here to get her take on the project.)

June 6, 2012

Benefactors

Filed under: giving,gratitude — becca @ 7:26 am

People are kind.

I know that’s not always the case. I know. I think of myself as kind, but I am certainly not always that way. I snark. I pick. I mock. I do, I know. But usually, I try. I try to be kind. And I think most other people do, too. And I appreciate it.

A friend is hiring my Kid 2 to clean at her house. I really, really hope this works out for everyone. My Kid 2 is a great worker. When she wants to be. I believe this is the definition of being 14. (Almost 15. I remember. How could I forget?) And my friend is perfectly cpapble of cleaning her large and lovely home, but she’s willing to hire my Kid to help her, because my Kid 2 recently rediscovered that the money tree we planted is not, in fact, fruiting this year. And New York is calling. So, she cleans. And it’s good.

A whole load of people were kind to my Kid 4 yesterday. He attended his first cub scout day camp. Oh, the joys of being a smallish boy surrounded by many, many other smallish boys. Many kind people drove, attended, served, protected my boy yesterday. And he came home raving about the joys of gluing birdhouses, shooting BB guns, and (wait for it) archery. Just like Hawkeye. The Avenger, not the M*A*S*H  doctor. He doesn’t know who that is. But he knows the Avenger, and he “hit the second ring in the target” and was feeling pretty darn proud.

People are kind to me. Giving me the benefit of the doubt, being thankful for service, appreciating my words. It feels good. I’m grateful. It’s heart-filling to get these kind words, and it makes me want to be better at benefactoring. So often I think it has to be financial, that I can’t really offer much if I can’t offer dollars, but that’s crazy. It is. I can offer so much more than money. I can offer time. I can offer sustenance. I can offer BREAD, people. I can offer sympathy, and I can listen to someone talk, and I can change a baby. I can bring in a meal. I can sit by a bedside. I can read a story. Sometimes I can even write one, and that can help too. I can mow a lawn. I can wash dishes or laundry or a car. I can seek out goodness and comment on it. I can write a thank-you note. I can give an honest compliment. I can stand in the right place. In a time of tragedy, my dad likes to say, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Because the Being There is often the most important kindness we can offer. Also, there’s the “Don’t ask what you can do, just do what you can do.” And you know, I always think of those things in times of injury, or illness, or tragedy, but it doesn’t have to wait. Everyone is going through something, and everyone has days when their cup runs dry.

I want to add to the pool of kindness this summer. I think it’s a pretty good use of my time and energy. It’s one of those “everyone wins” situations, and I love it when everyone wins.

April 18, 2012

Wherein I Use Many Words to Say Few Things of Significance

Filed under: books,Fifth Gift,giving,school,word count,writing process — becca @ 8:26 am

Today is the last day to enter to win TELL ME WHO I AM. So get on over and enter, if you haven’t. Because WINNING IS FUN. Remember that?

Also, New York. I am going. (Coming?) Soon. In a week I will be there. And I am excited more than I am nervous. Remember how I gave up fear for Lent? Still doing well with that, even though Lent is over. And hooray for me. I can ride a subway (or two or three)  alone. I can eat alone. I can buy an app that will tell me where to find one of the very few public restrooms in the Great City. (And possibly I can go a week without drinking any water, but probably not.) I can walk through Central Park alone. I can go see two (2) shows alone. I can write many words alone, when nobody is there to help me count them. [1] And I can be productive for hours and hours at a time. Especially when I’m not being tempted to watch period pieces on Netflix, due to the cost of wifi in the hotel.

(Sidenote: If you run an expensive, classy hotel, why do you charge for wifi? I’m just wondering. Wifi seems like one of those things, like oxygen, that should just come with your room these days. End sidenote.)

Prom is Saturday. Kid 1 has a pair of sparkly silver shoes and a web browser full of Prom Hair Ideas. Also a lovely borrowed dress. Photos to come, if you like.

I’m working on a new book. (It’s the one that follows the current book that is in the hands of Agent Meredith.) Maybe. I’ve never written a sequel before. Actually, that’s not true. I have 2 different series in my drafts folder. Each of them has at least three volumes started. And… None of them is publishable. So maybe what I’m saying is that I don’t know HOW to write a sequel, a series, a follow-up. I think it’s hard work. And we all know how I feel about hard work. But I’m learning how. By doing it (again). And it’s not so bad, in a first-draft/so-far-fewer-than-10,000-words kind of way. Not necessarily good, is what I’m saying, but not entirely bad.

Tomorrow I get to return to Mrs. G’s class to give them a pump-up cheer on their NaNoWriMo project. (Remember I told you they’re writing a book in a month? In 8th grade? Because Mrs. G is awesome?) I’m probably going to get a lot of questions like, “What do I do now? I can’t think of what should happen next.” And I’ll tell them to make something explode. Which is only half a joke. The other half of it is true: in a story, a great number of things can explode in order to move the plot along. Physically, emotionally, socially, psychologically… explosions make for great conflict, and conflict will move your story forward. (My own written explosions tend to be emotional and psychological, with an occasional social one. I should branch out into the physical explosion world. But that’s not really my style. We shall see…)

I am reading GRACELING. Because Agent Meredith suggested it. Someone with whom she was discussing my submission said it reminded her of Graceling. So I got it. And I’m reading it. Have you? Have your kids/neighbors/acquaintences, if you’re not a teenage-book reader? I have heard one amazing review of book 3 in the series (that comes out later this month), but little else about the series. And there is certainly an element that is similar to FIFTH GIFT. I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished it. Meanwhile, you tell me (you know, if you read it…)

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of TELL ME WHO I AM — do it today.

(Sorry. Sometimes I channel Señorita Bossy Pants. I’ll try to reign it in.)

[1] This is usual, actually. I don’t really write with other people around. Because I am easily distracted, that’s why. And I listen and talk and prepare snacks instead of pushing keys. But I might have to

April 16, 2012

Monday. It really is.

Filed under: books,familyness,giving — becca @ 8:04 am

Spring Break is over. The rain, the snow, the sun, the lazy, the productive, the hilarious, the movies, the competitions, the adventures, the mistakes. It was good, and I’m glad we had it. And I’m glad we didn’t plan anything or really try to go anywhere farther away than 30 miles. I might have exploded with the craziness of it all.

The back-yard daffodils bloomed in the snow this week. It was glorious, I’m telling you.

Back to school today, and we’re all trying to be glad. I am. I get to teach Kid 3’s Class of Fifth Grade Brilliance. Seriously, this class is amazing. The most well-behaved, intelligent, eager kids. We’re going to have some fun, I’m telling you. And later this week, I get to go back to Mrs. G’s 8th grade honors literature classes and see how they’re doing on their April version of NaNoWriMo. It was a blast to teach them “how to write a novel in a month,” even if I offended their sensibilities by telling them that at the end of April, they’d have a grand sense of accomplishment and a really terrible draft of a novel. (Most of them forgave me for saying so.)

Keep the comments coming for the giveaway, and I’ll draw a winner or two (two — you knew that already) on Wednesday.

Happy Monday. Hope it really is.

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