Language

I’ve always been fascinated by language.

That interest started when I was a little kid and my baby brother was learning to talk. I could understand him when the grown-ups couldn’t, and that made me feel important. I now realize that was because he was using intonation patterns instead of words to communicate.

I was almost five years old when we moved from the East Coast to California and I found the dialectic differences interesting.

As a kid I hoped to learn every language in the world, but had no idea how many languages there are. Obviously that never happened.

I did study Latin and German in High School and French in college but have forgotten most of those. I also took lots of electives in Linguistics, although my major was English.

The only language besides English that I actually know much of is American Sign Language. I worked at California School for the Deaf for years, married a Sign Language Interpreter, and raised three Deaf foster kids.

Do you suppose my interest in languages is why I tend to talk too much? 😉

Prejudice

Since Martin Luther King Day is Monday this seems like an appropriate topic for this post.

To pre judge is to make a conclusion with having all the facts.

Long ago humans assumed that anyone who looked different was probably coming to invade and take over their territory. Although they may have been mistaken, they often weren’t, and that prejudice helped them prepare to defend and protect what they had.

But this is the twenty first century. Times have changed and it’s too bad that we are still dealing with prejudice against each other.

Of course if I were walking down a city street and saw a group of men who were dressed like members of a gang it would be wise for me to avoid them.

But, for the most part, we shouldn’t pass judgement on other people (Someone even more famous than Martin Luther King said that.)

Hankies

When I was a kid my grandmother, who lived on the other side of the country, always sent me a pretty handkerchief as a Christmas gift.
I guess when she was young cleansing tissues hadn’t been invented yet.
Although I never used those hankies to blow or wipe my nose, I liked getting them because they were pretty. And I’ve kept them all, but almost never look at them.
Now that the cold and flu season is here I’m so glad we don’t have to use that kind of fabric squares to blow our noses today.
Men kept their white handkerchiefs in their pockets, but women often stuffed them in their sleeves. And they would use them many times before they were washed. Just think of the poor women back in the past who had to wash them by hand. YUK!!
I have no idea who invented cleansing tissues, but I’m SO glad somebody did!

Social Networking

Back in early 2009 when my first book was under contract I decided to get involved in social media because that was supposed to help market them. I joined Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.

Later I learned that it’s best to focus on just one of those, and chose Facebook.

I also got my own website, Janet Ann Collins.com, and began blogging regularly twice a week. At first I only used Blogspot, but now also use Word Press since those posts show on my website. Unfortunately, most of the comments I get on either one are spam and I delete them.

The original purpose for doing all those things was to help sell my books. I don’t think that has accomplished much in the way of sales, but I’ve become a social media addict.

I have about 2000 Facebook ‘Friends,’ but most of them are either other writers who want me to buy their books, or people I personally know. Facebook has recently made it difficultly for anyone I don’t interact with regularly to see my posts.

And I’ve learned posting often about my own books on social media is likely to get me blocked for spam.

But I enjoy keeping in touch with old friends and acquaintances so I check in with Facebook at least once a day and share all my blog posts there.

I also have a professional Facebook page, Janet Ann Collins, Author, but only post about my books and writing there.

Social networking will probably never make me rich, but I enjoy it and intend to stay involved.

Family

Like many people, I’ve been happy to see and spend time with lots of my family members during the holidays season.

There’s something special about being with people who share a lot of the same memories.

According to my old dictionary from college, a family is “a group of people related by blood or marriage.” Of course since today many couples don’t bother to get legally married that definition has probably been expanded.

My family includes, cousins, second cousins, cousins once or twice removed, in-laws, cousins, parents and children of in-laws, and many more. When we first got married my husband gave up trying to remember all the relationships and just called them “step-neighbors-in-law.”

Whatever you may call them, even extended families share similarities, whether those are caused by heredity or common experiences.

I’m thankful to have such a wonderful family and hope we can all keep in touch.

A New Year

Monday will be the first day of 2018!
As the song says, “This is a day of new beginings. Time to remember and move on.”

And, as the older song reminds us, we probably end 2017 by thinking of Auld Lang Syne, which means ‘old long since.’ In other words, we remember the past as we think about the future.

Even those of us who don’t actually make New Years resolutions usually think about our hopes for things we would like to accomplish and see happen in the new year.

No matter if 2017 has been a good or bad year for you, I hope 2018 is much better. I won’t use the term “New Year Resolution,” but is there anything you hope to accomplishes in the year to come?

And may 2018 be a year of peace on Earth and good will to everyone.

 

The Losers Club

Andrew Clements is a great writer and I’ve enjoyed his other books, but The Losers Club is the best one yet.

It’s about Alec, who loves to read but isn’t doing well in school because he reads instead of studying what he’s supposed to. He has to go to the after school program and DOESN’T want to participate in any of the club activities there, so he starts his own club. He plans to just sit and read without interruption and doesn’t want to be bothered by other kids, so he calls it the Losers Club.

But the club keeps growing, and soon Alec is popular.

I love that the book mentions lots of good books for kids including many of my own favorites. (Yes, I read books for kids all the time.)

Andrew Clements has taught Middle School and obviously understands kids, but I wonder if Alec, the main character in the book, is based on himself when he was young.

Merry Xmas

I remember my third grade teacher becoming furious when a boy in our class wrote “Merry Xmas.”

“NEVER replace the name of Christ with an X” she shouted. Of course today no teacher would dare say something like that in a public school, but this was back in the 1940s.

And she didn’t realize that the letter, x, represented the cross.

During the middle ages most people were illiterate, and those who couldn’t read and write would sign documents with an X to show they were Christians.

Whatever your beliefs, I hope this Christmas is a merry and wonderful one for you.

Winter

Remember the Christmas Carol, In the Bleak Midwinter?

Actually, Christmas is only at the beginning of Winter. That season officially starts on December 21. That’s when the Winter Solstice happens. It’s the shortest day of the year – at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

I’m glad we have lots of beautiful lights and decorations to help make this season bright in spite of the long nights.

Slime & All

Okay, this is the last time I’ll blog about my own books for a while.

Slime & All looks like a picture book and I really like the art by Alexander Morris. But it’s actually an early chapter book at second grade reading level. Each chapter is one page long in large print.

Younger kids will enjoy hearing it read to them, too.

The book is about a giant talking worm who wants a friend. Everyone is afraid of him, but he finally meets a boy who does befriend him and introduces him to other kids. As a result they both end up with plenty of friends.

I hope this book will encourage kids to befriend others who are different from themselves, such as those with Special Needs.