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Growing up in Louisiana meant strawberries from my grandfather's garden on top of homemade ice cream, listening to elders tell stories on the stoop, and carefree days beneath a cornsilk sky. Parents were old -- really old! -- and grandparents who lived across the pasture were at least a million years old.
In an era when a child was a child and clocks ticked too-loud in the rural quiet and calendars hung on kitchen walls, other than finding a doodle bug that wanted to play, my biggest worry was Santa Claus wouldn't come to a white-sided house without a fireplace. "Santa doesn't need a fireplace in Louisiana," my mother would say, then kiss my freckled cheek. Soothed by her words, I'd snuggle into Mama's skirt and embrace love's warmth.
As time passed and I stepped into life, love's warmth remained the common denominator, but I also realized growing up in Louisiana was a unique experience. Most kids didn't eat crawfish or boudin, avoid alligators in bayous, or come from a family that has been in what is now Louisiana since 1679. Nor did most kids have a grandmother who was half-French and half-Spanish and spoke French as a first language, a grandfather whose English-Welsh ancestors had emigrated in 1700, and a mother with 1800s German roots.
It was all so normal -- one great-grandmother speaking German, the other French -- that I didn't appreciate until later how my family traveled Louisiana's colonial history and into today. Louisiana's A-Z wanders much like a lazy river, from alligators to Zydeco music, a gumbo of personal and historical seasonings that infuse the soul.
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In a revolutionary new approach to writing and publishing, the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles turned convention upside down with Story Sprouts: CBW-LA Writing Day Exercises and Anthology 2013.
A fresh take on an old classic, the Anthology uncovers the creative process in its raw form, celebrating the seeds of story generation. Framing the authors’ contributions are the 10 writing exercises that guided them along their journey, as well as tips and techniques shared at the workshop.