April 20, 2017
I'm always curious about where writers get their ideas. I've found the seeds of stories
in newspapers, songs on the radio and eavesdropped conversations. But sometimes, the kernel of
a story is found in things we experienced as children.
My father was the most fun, creative, talented adult I ever knew. Though this was lost on me
as a teenager, it was like winning the lottery in childhood. He had an endless sense of
adventure and play. His imagination was unstoppable. But he was a very busy dentist,
often working long, late hours. That made every second with him precious.
One of the things he did was share his love for electric trains with us. He built a ply-wood
platform, filled it with a metal track and collected Lionel trains. My brothers, sister and I circled
the track at night before bed watching him run the trains. There were often glitches. Sometimes
sparks. I remember spending a lot of the time watching Dad trouble shoot. But we were
together, feasting off of our father's enthusiasm.
My own children's love for trains began years later with Donald Crew's classic picture book
FREIGHT TRAIN. Its vivid, fluid pictures and simple, succinct text are perfect to read at
bedtime, again and again and again. But as a young, harried mother of four children, my train
memories lay buried, far beyond my reach.
They had slipped farther away by the time my first grandchild was born. But his love of trains
was contagious. Together, we collected a small army of Thomas and Friends wooden miniatures.
I was drawn in by their distinctive faces and personalities. My grandson knew these characters.
He spoke to them as if they were alive. He took them into the bathtub. He slept with one curled
in his perfect, little fist.
By the time my grandson was three, we lost my father to a terrible illness. A piece of me
disappeared with him and for almost a year I couldn't write. Not. One. Word. You see, it was my
father who believed I was a writer much before I did.
And then one day, I sat down and started to write a poem about trains. The trains my
grandson adored. I wrote from my grandson's point of view. I projected his voice speaking and
commanding his trains. This poem eventually grew into the picture book, TRAINS DON'T
SLEEP, publishing May 2, with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This book is a love letter to
my grandson, now eight and a half. It's a kiss blown to my beloved father, whose belief in me --
much like a locomotive--will always pull me forward. But it's also an encouraging nod to my
younger-self, content in the best hours of the day with her siblings and the father they were
certain was the greatest wonder the world had to offer.
Which bring me right back to the beginning. Stories can come from many places. Often the
seeds spring from something long forgotten. There are so many moments we experience that are
universal. The key is to dig down deep and mine those memories that speak most clearly to
you. It could be a memory you cherish, or one that may have been difficult, but left you stronger.
Shake them up and add creativity, imagination and personality. With those prime
ingredients and a bit of heart, it's likely you'll have the seeds to write something that will
resonate with many others chugging along too.
March 21, 2017
A poem can be
That sings until you care.
Demanding that you dare.
That makes you feel and stirs a need to know.
That shines through night
And leaves a golden glow.
Andria W. Rosenbaum/ all rights
January 27, 2017
Whispering wind, whisper to me
Open my eyes
For it could have been me,
Counted and numbered and stripped of dignity
To think, that it could have been me.
Children were lost, before they could dream,
Visions were shattered by yesterday's screams.
Battered and beaten and strewn about as waste,
Disposed of in schedule haste.
Ages of dusk
Over the pits, the breeze gently blows,
Six million stars sent up in s m o k e,
Six million souls yet
Stories I hear
Pictures I see
All blend together in Death's imagery
I will remember their whispering plea,
I know …it could happen to me.
Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum/all rights reserved
January 4, 2017
The moon hangs high in boundless sky,
Its light a friendly sight,
Its faithful glow will always show,
It soldiers every night.
With dreams so near and hopes sincere,
Your cares will lift away--
To unicorns with painted horns,
Who guard as children play.
So lay your head upon your bed.
Relax your legs and arms.
Without a doubt
You're sheltered from all harm.
(c)2017 Andria W. Rosenbaum/ all rights reserved
November 27, 2016
Viviankirkfield.com, Perfect Picture (more…)
October 21, 2016
One destroys. One inspires.
Hate begins as a tiny black seed with angry red eyes. You wouldn't think much of it. You may not even notice it at first. But Hate can not exist alone. Hate is hungry. Ravenous. Insatiable. It feeds on fear. The more fear it creates, the bigger and (more…)
March 10, 2016
Picture books are meant to be read out loud. They're made to be read to children.
But how many times have you pressed SEND then noticed a glaring problem
with your prose on your next read? Here's a tip to put into practice before your next
submission. STOP. Pull out your smart phone and record yourself reading your
manuscript. (Yes, there's an App for that!) Then play it back and LISTEN:
Does the structure stumble?
Are your descriptions fresh and fun?
Do your characters pop off the page, or fall down flat?
Does the plot move forward, or meander?
Does your dialogue trip the tongue, or flow naturally?
Do your words …sing?
Listening allows you to take a step back and be objective about your word choices.
A recording lets you to hear what's working and what's not. And who doesn't
love listening to someone else read?
March 10, 2016
Sun's shift seems slight,
winking at Earth,
warming the wind,
bathing the ground
calling on green to
enter the scene.
©Andria W. Rosenbaum
September 21, 2015
Summer left us
Packed her bags...her green...her light.
Fall moved in
With brown and breeze,
Grass and trees.
Andria W. Rosenbaum/all rights reserved