Monday, November 12, 2012

Snow on the Mountain...Time to Tell Stories

In the Navajo tradition when snow falls on the mountains, it is time to tell stories.  One of my Navajo friends remembers life in the hogan in winter.  "The fire was warm and my grandfather would lay back on his blanket, his arms behind his head and gaze up at the ceiling.  I would wait for the stories to begin...stories of the creation, stories of his youth.

I too remember my grandparents telling stories.  After a Sunday dinner, the adults sat around the linen covered table.  We children crawled under the table thinking the white table cloth would "hide" us.  And then the stories began...tales of my grandparents youth.  Favorites included the time my father got sprayed by a skunk or my grandfather's stories about sleeping in a hut with his brother in the winter and having to break the ice in the bucket to wash in.

The story telling tradition is part of life for the Navajo.  The importance of story telling is demonstrated in the story tellers rug....

And this story tellers seed pot glazed with horse hair....

And of course a writer needs to own this story teller bracelet.

Story telling is an art.  It is also part of what makes us human.  Stories are the way we pass down who we are and what is important.  Stories are the way we communicate...the way we share.

Stories are the reason I became a writer....Stories my parents and grandparents told.  

When you tell a story to someone it becomes a part of them.  They can retell it in their words, change it, make it theirs.  A story told is a gift.

Go ahead try it. Give the gift a a story to someone you know, snow on the mountain or not.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Not as Easy as it Looks!

What do Navajo Fry Bread and Writing Have in Common?

Navajo Fry Bread.  A simple staple on the rez.  Looks so easy....

 There is a real knack to this:  round it over your fist, stretch it, knead it, flatten it, make it round.  Apparently I have not mastered the technique.   This one ended up on the ground.

I didn't 
 have a grandma to teach me the tricks...there are always tricks of the trade. There are always tricks of the craft or skill...think Navajo weaving(see previous blog).      

I don't think she is amused....

This one is mine...a little misshapen.

But we have plenty to go around...

The proof is in the pudding...with a little salt or sugar sprinkled on top.

Never as easy as it looks...think writing.  How many times have you said (have I said), "I could write a book like that" ?   Like anything else worth takes practice.

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Beginnings....

Finally got this double weave rug off the loom.  

This is the classic weave for a horse blanket.  

A Navajo friend told me that if the flat weave is algebra...this is calculus.  I am not so good at math....

Nothing like a fresh new warp for a new beginning...a chance to get it right this time...maybe perfect.  I plan on trying a raised outline weave.  Fingers itching to begin.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Beatrice's Dream Short Listed

More good news for Beatice!

The SLA Information Book Award, organised by the School Library Association and sponsored by Peters, is an annual award designed to slaiba1reinforce the importance of non-fiction and support school libraries whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available.
Now in its second year as a national book award, the SLA have just announced this year's shortlist, whittled down from over 100 submissions received.

Check it out: