Thursday, October 22, 2009

home again home again jiggity jig

Yellow flowers in Elissa's yard in Montana.
Copyright (c) 2009 Wendee Holtcamp

Just wanted to give a quick update. I'm back home in Houston after a very productive and awesome time in Montana. My goal was to write two full chapters of my book, and I accomplished that goal and even got another half chapter completed. So now I have to complete that last half-chapter, and I'll have a full draft of the baby into my editors. Yea! This book writing thing has been way harder than I ever imagined, on many different levels. I will be so incredibly happy to see my book in real-book-form one of these days! If all goes as planned, it should be on shelves in Fall 2010.

I got back Saturday evening after a crazy day of airport travel. Have been writing up several Animal Planet blog posts so I can again shift my focus back to finishing my book! I have a feature due mid-November so I plan to try to get my book draft done next week then shift my focus again to pikas, the topic of my next article.

Tomorrow I am giving a mini-photography workshop project to my son's middle school. A few weeks back I did a journaling workshop, and I'll be picking those up from students so I can read them. I had assigned them each an "outdoor observation journal" which I also use in the online writing class I teach (the next one starts Oct 31 if you're interested check it out!) But the next project I'm working with students on was inspired by the documentary movie Born Into Brothels where a handful of kids born into poverty (children of sx workers specifically) in Calcutta India's red light district were given cameras and it allowed them to express themselves in ways they weren't able to in words. I was touched by the updates I read of Avijit Halder the one child who made his way to America, first attending school in Utah and then being accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He seems wise beyond his years. At any rate the people involved in the production of Born Into Brothels have an awesome nonprofit called Kids with Cameras which inspired my idea to have these middle school students capture a day in their life, through the camera lens.

In other news:

I found out this week that I won 1st place (Gold) in the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) Awards for my article Dead Zone in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine! My editors at the magazine submitted it, not me, and I didn't even know about it until I found out I won! It made my week!

I went to see The Cove documentary at the Bozeman Film Festival (which is really just a movie shown at a theatre...). I really enjoyed it, especially since I'd written about it for Animal Planet, but it was not quite as exciting as I had hoped for, given the hype. What impressed me, though, is how much the film has made a difference in raising awareness of the issues, in helping the Japanese/Taiji locals become aware of the issue of mercury contamination, and in - so far - preventing the mass slaughter of the dolphins this year.

Elissa is an amazing cook and I'm trying out many of the recipes she made on my own. So far so good, though I'm still learning on some of the things, like how long it takes to actually caramelize onions! I am enjoying trying the recipes out on (my boyfriend) Doug and the kids. She follows the Paleo Diet which is high in meat, veggies, and fruits and low in sugar, dairy, and any grains other than whole grains. I'm trying to follow along with it sort of now that I'm back home. The Mark's Daily Apple has some info too.

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