Of Mice and Men

Do any of you remember the high school biology class where we learned that mice living in colonies with small numbers got along fine and were healthy? Once more mice were introduced to a level of overcrowding, tempers flared and they began turning on each other, showing aggressive behavior and illness even with enough food to go around. I don’t know why the Boston bombing made me think of that, but it did.

This week I lost two cousins. Both died after extended illness, so no shock accompanied their deaths, only sadness and compassion for their families. I so wish there was more that I could do to help the family heal. The one thing I can do is let them know my love stands with them on this journey. Time will have to do the rest.

My current novel has reached the exciting, fun point I call “putting in the Shakespeare.” That is when I weave in all the foreshadowing clues that help the reader guess what is going to happen. Sometimes it is misdirection and sometimes a hint of the real outcome. For me, it is exciting, rewarding and oh-so challenging. I love it.

No one was better than Shakespeare at weaving in intricate plot parallels and subtle humor. His plays are timeless for that very reason. I could never hope to be at Shakespeare’s level but I know I am getting better at writing and have developed a method that works well for me. That is exciting. I love passing on my experience and techniques to young writers when I work in schools.

In large schools, I work primarily with one grade level all day. In small rural schools, however, I jump from one grade to the next, hop-scotching through different skill levels, trying to remember where I am, what materials should be deleted and what should be added. Recently, I recognized things were going right over students heads, or so I thought, but then later I read some of their work and was astounded at their depth of understanding. My hat is off to the wonderful teachers who work with our children every day.

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About Barbara K Tyner

A graduate of UCCS with a degree in English Lit., Barbara writes Children's Literature and fiction. Her popular children's series, The Badger Books, is co-authored with Barbara's daughter, Laura. Her first novel, "Wait Here, Wait There" deals with grief and Alzheimer's, two topics that are very difficult to manage in real life. Barbara volunteers doing school programs and speaking to support groups. National Parks, hiking, and snow-shoeing are in her list of favorite hobbies.
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