Posted on November 17, 2017

What I’m Thankful For

It’s a crazy world, and it’s easier for me to make a list of things that I’m NOT thankful for—which means it’s a really good time to step back and think carefully about what I AM thankful for. We need to remember that there’s still a lot of good in the world. This isn’t comprehensive, but a few things I am thankful for right now. I hope this inspires you to make your own list.

  1. As always, I am thankful for my wonderful family—they keep me grounded and love me no matter what.
  1. I am thankful for my friends, especially my friends who push me to try greater things, whether I think I’m ready or not. 
  1. I am thankful for good books that give me new ways of seeing the world.
  1. I am thankful for a warm house and hot tea on cold mornings.
  1. I am thankful for living in Alaska, a place of beautiful landscapes and independent yet friendly people.
  1. I am thankful for the American democracy that encourages us not to settle for what is, but reach out for what is best for all of us.
  1. I am thankful for people who try to change the world to make things fairer and greener and better for their neighbors near and far.

What are you thankful for? Answer in the comment section, or post your own list on social media!

Posted on November 11, 2017

Veterans Day

First posted here on 11/11/16:

Veterans Day has always meant a lot to me, as I grew up an Army brat, my husband is a Navy vet, and it was also my mother’s birthday. Here’s a little history of Veterans Day, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, D.C., became the focal point of reverence for America’s veterans.

Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation’s highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe). These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as “Armistice Day.”

Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action. If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was “the War to end all wars,” November 11 might still be called Armistice Day. But only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out in Europe. Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part. Four hundred seven thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.

Armistice Day Changed To Honor All Veterans

The first celebration using the term Veterans Day occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947. Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran, organized “National Veterans Day,” which included a parade and other festivities, to honor all veterans. The event was held on November 11, then designated Armistice Day. Later, U.S. Representative Edward Rees of Kansas proposed a bill that would change Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In 1954, Congress passed the bill that President Eisenhower signed proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day. Raymond Weeks received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Reagan in November 1982. Weeks’ local parade and ceremonies are now an annual event celebrated nationwide.

For more information and a Teachers Resource Guide, check out http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/.  Happy Veterans Day, and thanks to all our vets!

Posted on October 27, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017!

Update November 4:

I’m up to 3869 words so far! Hope everyone is having a good NaNo month.

NaNoWriMo is the nickname for National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge to write a novel from November 1st to the 30th. I’m trying it this year for a couple reasons.

The first reason is that I am leading a teen group of writers at my local library, and we have adopted NaNo for our November activity. We’ve already started brainstorming our novels, and I’m looking forward to working with them as they rise to the challenge and have fun with their writing.

The second reason is that I am looking to recapture the excitement and enthusiasm of my first NaNo experience. Back then, I hadn’t written a whole novel before, and took it on as a challenge. I wrote like mad that month, and soon the words and ideas flowed like a river. I recall one day writing about Bob and Kitty walking home for the USO dance and suddenly thinking, “He’s going to propose!” And he did! That book wasn’t very good, and probably won’t ever be published, but I loved the sensation of characters telling me what to write. That got me hooked, and I’ve been a writer ever since.

 

Do you want to try NaNoWriMo? Check out the adult version at https://nanowrimo.org or the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program at https://ywp.nanowrimo.org.

Posted on October 20, 2017

National Day of Writing: #WhyIWrite

National Day of Writing: #WhyIWrite

October 20, 2017 is the National Day of Writing. Writers and classrooms all over the country are celebrating writing and thinking about why we write. You can see more about today at the National Writing Project site at https://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/events/1047.

I’ve written before about this topic, but here’s my answer for today. I write so my readers know they aren’t alone. 

Many times in my life, I’ve read a book or story that made me nod yes, think I’ve felt like that, or That’s what it’s like for me too. Books have helped me feel less alone, and given me the courage to do what I need to do in my own life. I want to give others the same gift, help them see they are not alone. 

We may feel alone at times, but really, we’re all in the same boat. All humans have the same emotions, and many of the same experiences. Whether you’re male, female, gay, straight, trans, black, brown, white, able, disabled—whatever categories you identify with—you have more things in common with others than you might think.  And reading helps you learn that, or remember that if you already knew. I hope that reading my stories will add to that knowledge.

Why do you write? Tell us here, and add #WhyIWrite posts to your social media today. Happy National Day of Writing!

Posted on October 16, 2017

Happy Alaska Day!

We are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska this year. You can see some events at the Alaska Historical Society website at http://alaskahistoricalsociety.org/about-ahs/150treaty/calendar/.

For more about the holiday, here is a reprise of a post I first ran in 2013:

October 18 is Alaska Day. This is the date in 1867 when Russia handed over Alaska to the United States. The ceremony took place in Sitka, Alaska’s capitol at the time, and representatives from both countries officiated. One hundred Russian soldiers lined up on the left side of the flagpole and 250 American troops in full uniform stood to the right. A cannon salute was fired, the Russian flag was lowered, and Captain Pestchouroff said to the American commander, “General Rousseau, by authority from his Majesty the Emperor of Russia I transfer to the United States the Territory of Alaska.” General Rousseau accepted, the American flag went up, and that was that.

Sometimes formal pomp and circumstance doesn’t go as planned–oops. One account on the Alaska Day Festival website states, “The Russian flag stuck fast in the lanyards during its lowering. Several soldiers were unsuccessful in their attempts to climb the flagpole and free the flag. A sling was rigged and a Russian soldier raised to the flag, but he dropped it after freeing it. Gasps were heard as the flag dropped onto the Russian soldiers’ bayonets. The ceremony continued with the quick raising of the American flag.”

Today, the date is marked by a state office holiday and a few local celebrations in Alaskan towns. Sitka has the best; their Alaska Day Festival lasts several days including  races, dances, entertainment, and a reenactment of the transfer ceremony. See more about the history and their festival on their website, http://alaskadayfestival.org.

Posted on October 9, 2017

#FellowshipofWords #TRW17 Unleash Your Story

Happy Teen Read Week! Here’s some info from the YALSA website:

Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually in October the same week as Columbus Day. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. 

The 2017 event will be held Oct. 8 – 14th, featuring the theme ‘Unleash Your Story.’ Library staff, afterschool providers, and educators are encouraged to leverage this theme to encourage teens to tell their own stories as well as find stories, biographies, autobiographies, folktales, and more in their local library.  Join the conversation on Twitter with #TRW17.

As you may know, I’ve been writing about the #FellowshipofWords this year, encouraging everyone to connect with each other through words and books. (See more on the first #FellowshipofWords post at http://lynnlovegreen.com/2017-the-fellowship-of-words-year-fellowshipofwords/.) Teen Read Week™ is a great way to do that. 

Go to to their website at https://teenreadweek.ning.com or follow #TRW17 to see what libraries are doing, find great reads for teens and more!

Posted on October 6, 2017

Alaska Book Week 2017

This year’s Alaska Book Week of October  1-7. This is a time for us to celebrate Alaskan authors and books. Events have been happening all over the state, from book signings to talks to a bookmark contest! See more at http://www.alaskacenterforthebook.org/alaska-book-week/.

I’ve been posting shout outs to some of my favorite Alaskan writers on my Twitter feed. Here’s a genre cross-section selection of Alaskan authors to explore. (Disclaimer: some of those are personal friends; some have won awards but I haven’t read their books yet. But I think you’ll find at least one that’s your cup of tea.)

Jennifer Bernard writes contemporary romance. I love her fireman series and baseball series. http://www.jenniferbernard.net

Kris Farmen writes contemporary and historical literary fiction. His novel Turn Again is one of my favorites. https://krisfarmen.wordpress.com

Erin Hollowell is a poet who lives in the Homer area. Her latest book is Pause, Traveler. http://erincoughlinhollowell.com

Eowyn Ivey write historical literary fiction. The Snow Child is brilliant. http://eowynivey.com

Joan Naviyuk Kane is a poet with family connections in King Island, and her latest book is Hyperboreal. http://joankane.strikingly.com

Nancy Lord has written several books, and I just bought her new novel pH. http://www.writernancylord.com

C.M. McCoy writes YA paranormal, and I love her novel Eerie. http://www.cmmccoy.com

Jeremy Pataky is a poet who lives in McCarthy. His latest book is Overwinter. https://www.jeremypataky.com

Don Rearden has written fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays. His novel The Raven’s Gift is stunning. https://www.donrearden.com

Cinthia Ritchie is a poet and novelist. Dolls Behaving Badly is one of my all-time favorite novels. And her blog is great! https://cinthiaritchie.com

Dan Walker’s new YA novel Secondhand Summer is on my to-be-read list. http://danlwalker.com/index.html

Happy Alaska Book Week, and happy reading! 🙂

Posted on September 29, 2017

Back to School: Authors for Earth Day

It’s fall, and everyone’s back in school. I will attend the 2017 Ak Cross Content Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska this weekend. I’m looking forward to talking to Alaskan teachers. Now, it seems like a good time to remind folks of another great program for classrooms: Authors for Earth Day.

Authors for Earth Day (A4ED) started as an Earth Day presentation to empower students to engage in conservation. As the website puts it, “Authors for Earth Day (A4ED) is a grassroots coalition of award-winning children’s authors and illustrators who directly mentor young readers by giving them ‘an authentic research project with real-world impact.’

NOW A YEAR-ROUND PROGRAM. Each participant does one school visit a year with a unique twist: the author donates at least 30% of that day’s speaking fee to a non-profit conservation organization as directed by a student vote. Students research a list of five conservation nominees selected by their author and then vote for their favorite—the author writes a check to the winning organization. Our mission? To empower young readers to shape the world around them!”

So far, A4ED has raised almost $75,000, and they are hoping to go much higher this year, thanks to authors and teachers. Check out their website at www.authorsforearthday.org

and contact an author about speaking to your students this school year.

Yes, I am one of the YA authors in A4ED! If you choose me, I’ll talk about the beginning of Denali National Park and Preserve, and my selected organizations are Alaska Geographic, Cook Inletkeeper, Denali Citizens Council, Denali Education Center, and Great Land Trust. I hope to connect with students through a bit of Alaska history, and inspire them to learn more about the conservation groups in their community.

Posted on September 22, 2017

Nome, Alaska’s Anniversary

On this day, September 22, in 1898, the “Three Lucky Swedes”: Norwegian-American Jafet Lindeberg, and two Swedish-Americans, Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson, staked the discovery claim on Anvil Creek near Nome. People rushed to get in on the next big rush, many from other gold strikes in the north. Eight thousand people came from Dawson in the same week, and Nome became a boomtown. 

As with other gold rushes, many stampeders arrived to find all the good claims taken. Then, a group of claim jumpers took claims by force. It took a long time to get that straightened out. But there was one silver lining—in Nome, there was also gold dust in the beach sand, and people lined the beach to sluice there.

My characters Jeannie and Clint end up mining the beach in my book Quicksilver to Gold. I had a lot of fun researching and writing that book. You’ve probably seen this photo of me on the Nome beach. 

 

Lynn Lovegreen on Nome beach

 

 

Later, Nome evolved into a settled town. It is now famous for being the endpoint for the Iditarod sled dog race. But the TV show Bering Sea Gold and other pop culture stories keep the Gold Rush in people’s minds.

Posted on September 15, 2017

#FellowshipofWords and #WordsMatter

As my regular readers know, for my #FellowshipofWords this year, I have been highlighting ways we can connect with each other through words and books. (See more on the first #FellowshipofWords post at http://lynnlovegreen.com/2017-the-fellowship-of-words-year-fellowshipofwords/.) Joseph Janes’ column in this month’s American Libraries magazine is a good example.

American Libraries is the magazine for the ALA (American Library Association, Twitter feed  @amlibraries). Janes’ column discusses how words matter and the need for librarians to take a stand to protect our library patrons’ intellectual freedom. He says this more brilliantly than I could, so please read his entire column at https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2017/09/01/using-our-words-libraries-neutrality/. He mentions Merriam Webster’s Twitter feed (@MerriamWebster) and their use of the hashtag #WordsMatter.

I went online and read some of the tweets from Merriam Webster. They are often playful but also precise definitions that enlighten readers. Sometimes the image or timing of posts about words in the news adds commentary to what is going on in our world. Like Janes, I approve of this, and agree that sometimes it is necessary to engage with others by taking a stand in a civil, principled manner. Now I follow @MerriamWebster!

As I often say, we need to listen to each other. But we also need to speak at times, and it is essential that we use our words carefully.  Thanks to #WordsMatter, we have another way to make sure we do that.

Thank you, Mr. Janes and other librarians! And gracias, Merriam Webster!