5 Lessons I learned from Roald Dahl

© Dirty Foot Butterscotch

I’m just going to jump right in with my list… I mean, everyone has been celebrating Roald Dahl this month. After all, it is his birthday month. I adore Roald Dahl, and even though I’ve been busy with the upcoming book and interviews, I’d hate to have to wait another year to honor him. So, Happy Birthday Mr. Dahl! Thank you for inspiring so many, including a little piece of candy like myself! I always wondered if the Butterscotch and Buttergin, from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, were somehow related to my family…

5 Lessons I learned from Roald Dahl

#5 To Dream Big and to Believe in the Impossible

Before I ever read C.S. Lewis or J.K. Rowling, I enjoyed growing up reading the wonderful words and exploring the worlds of Roald Dahl. I learned there were friendly giants hiding in plain site and mean ones who were too dumb to find me. I learned about telepathy and the power of a good heart and strong mind. I learned that through reading, anything was possible. I also learned that it’s okay, to leave your abusers, and some grown-ups truly are Twits, and Monsters and Madmen aren’t always who you think they are.

Photos from: BFG, Matilda, and Revolting Rhymes

#4 A Title of a Book or an Idea for a Story is as easy as turning a word, and that NONSENSE is the Universal Language of Childhood.

I enjoyed the preposterous names of characters and places. I enjoyed reading about places and gadgets and foods and creatures… all NONSENSE. And if you have noticed from some of my posts, I LOVE NONSENSE. Take Esiotrot, for example. Prime example of pure Dahlian Genius: A story about a little old man, in love with his neighbor, a little old lady, and how he tries to woo her/win her love in return. The story does involve a lot of senseless tortoise buying, but it is still a cute story… and all from turning a word.

 

#3 The Importance of a Great Illustrator

All hail the magical Illustrating talents of Quentin Blake. His unique style set Roald Dahl’s books apart from so many others that crowd the shelves of libraries and bookstores, around the globe. And I don’t know about you, but the characters always looked how they were described…

 

 

#2 That the Littlest People, the shy, quiet, forgotten nobodies… usually have the biggest hearts and the saddest beginnings, but in the end… they still manage to become someone’s hero.

 

 

#1 The Importance of Food in a Story

From reading his stories, I was always tickled by the different foods. It was in his books that I first learned that food was an important element to a story. When poor Bruce had to eat the whole chocolate cake, I felt his pain. When Violet ate the gum that tasted like a full meal, well… I love roast beef and blueberry pie! My mouth watered right along with the descriptions. And then the newt in the water glass, the tv dinners for supper… too many to recall off hand. But later, as I am pursuing my writing “career,” I have found that food truly is an important element.

When I saw there was a Recipe Book, I was ecstatic! I couldn’t wait to “try” Snozzcumbers(BFG), Mosquitoes’ Toes and Wampfish Roes Most Delicately Fried (James and the Giant Peach), Bird Pie (The Twits), or Eatable Marshmallow Pillows (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory).

snozzcumbers

Snozzcumbers (BFG)

mosquitoes-toes

Mosquitoes’ Toes and Wampfish Roes Most Delicately Fried (James & the Giant Peach

bird-pie

Bird Pie (The Twits)

marshmallow-pillows

Eatable Marshmallow Pillows (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory)

I have since found out that there is in fact, another Recipe Book, and SO MANY more books from the Creative Genius of Roald Dahl’s mind. How lucky this world has been to have had such a talented being living among us, showing us a side of this world we hadn’t yet seen.

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In Loving Memory of Roald Dahl September 13, 1916- November 23, 1990

 

 

Interview with Calayla Cantor

Hello and welcome back! Today we have a very special guest, Calayla Cantor, famous Folksinger/Zitar player…

Welcome, Calayla! 

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Calayla Cantor: Hello Dirty Foot, and Hello to your great audience. I am happy to be here!

DFB: And we are definitely pleased to have you here as well. Now, I know you’re a busy performer, and I am so grateful you made time to sit down with me.

I have prepared 15 questions for you today, shall we begin?

CC: Fire away!

DFB: Okay, first question… I think you’ll find this one fairly easy, How long have you been singing?

CC: Since 1987

DFB: Wow, okay… 2nd question, on a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you sing?

CC: Do I think I sing? How well? Hmm… I’d really have to say a solid 8.

DFB: Really? Alright, I like your confidence. Humble and not too arrogant. Question 3, Do you write your own songs?

CC: Yes, every one of them. I enjoy expressing myself through creative word use.

DFB: and what genre is it that you mostly sing? I’m sorry, that was question #4…

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CC: Well, I play the Zitar, which is a guitar-type instrument played in India. And I sing folk-type songs… so, I don’t know, does that classify as a genre?

DFB: *Laughs* I don’t know, maybe! Okay, question 5, If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?

CC: Am I still playing the Zitar?

DFB: No.

CC: Hmm. I don’t know… Maybe I’d spend more time traveling, and advocating for a cleaner environment, and encouraging more people to spend time outdoors. More than I already do, that is!

DFB: Okay, let’s get to the more interesting questions…

CC: Uh oh.

DFB: No, they’re nothing bad… well, maybe… Question #6, what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your MP3 player/IPOD, right now?

CC: Well, I’m not sure if it’s embarrassing or not, but it is a funny song I try to listen to every Friday morning. Kind of a throw back to when I lived in Las Vegas… The Toast Song, by Bob & Tom.

DFB: Oh my gosh, really? I love that song!

CC: Yeah, it’s great. It really makes me smile. They used to play it every Friday morning along with some other fun songs…

DFB: Yeah, I remember. Perfect. And no, I don’t think it’s embarrassing at all. Moving on… Question #7, where is the strangest place you have ever performed?

CC: That would have to be in a broken-down elevator.

DFB: I’m sure there’s a story behind that…?

CC: Oh yes. So I once did an impromptu performance in an elevator that got stuck when the power went out. The backup emergency lights were on, but that didn’t help the toddler and his mom, who were both petrified with fear. So I began singing to them. In fact, I sang until the power came on again, about an hour and a half later.

DFB: Really? What did you sing?

CC: Is that an official question 8?

DFB: Um, no… but I’m so curious and I’m sure my readers are too… please?

CC: Okay, you twisted my petals! I started out with a couple of my own songs, you know, like, “Papers Rustling in the Wind,” and “Warm Evening Breezes.” But then as they began to relax, and the kiddo was falling asleep, I switched to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and just sang it en-loop. It’s something I’d do all the time for my nieces and nephews to get them to sleep when they were little.

DFB: That’s a great story! Question #8… What is the craziest gift you’ve received from a fan?

CC: A super-tiny pencil. It was actually a standard-sized pencil, at least I’m assuming it was. But it had been sharpened down to the metal of the eraser end.

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DFB: Um… that is a bit weird… on to question #9 since I don’t have a clever response to that! What is your greatest indulgence?

CC: Well balanced, liquid fertilizer and well-drained soil. I like and need to look and feel my best since I have such a long performing season.

DFB: True. You being a Petunia and all, you perform Spring to Frost, right?

CC: Question # 10?

DFB: NO… nevermind! Question 10, Do you have a favorite place to be or visit?

CC: Yes! Anywhere sunny! And by the way, yes. Since I’m a Petunia, I perform non-stop from Spring to Frost.

 

DFB: Thank you.

CC: No problem. What’s question 11?

DFB: What book or books are on your shelves at home, waiting to be read?

CC: You’re probably going to think I’m a slacker, but “Harry Potter & the Cursed Child.”

DFB: JK Rowling’s book? You haven’t read it yet?

CC: No. Have you?

DFB: No. Not yet. I’ve been incredibly busy with work.

CC: Me too. When you do get a chance to read it, maybe you can call me back here and we can discuss it?

DFB: That would be awesome! I’d love to. Alright, last four. Question 12, What upsets you, what makes you mad?

CC: I HATE Bullying. I was bullied as a kid and teased for my glasses and buck teeth. I’ve of course had braces since then, but I still wear glasses. I absolutely HATE Bullying. Did you know next month is National Bullying Awareness Month?

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DFB: Yes, I did. And I see you already are wearing your Awareness Ribbon.

CC: Yes, thank you for noticing. It really is important to me. I feel we need to all work together to fix both ends of the spectrum. Help the victims AND the bullies.

DFB: I agree. *sigh* This is getting good, and we’re almost to the end. Question 13, What is one thing folks would be surprised to find out about you?

CC: You know, it never ceases to amaze me. I’m constantly getting emails, or letters asking me what kind of shoes I like, etc…BUT,

DFB: …you have no feet!

CC: I have NO FEET! I do have roots that I like to keep warm and somewhere in between moist and slightly damp, but definitely no FEET. Hence, I don’t wear shoes.

DFB: Alright, hopefully, some of your fans paid attention to that! Last two, Question 14, Are you a hugger, or a non-hugger? and why?

CC: I am totally a hugger! Whenever I can, I’m hugging people. Fans and family alike! I love the closeness and instant warmth you get from a hug, and I like to share that feeling with others!

DFB: Me too! So, what’s next? Question 15 is really just we’re curious, what’s next on your agenda, what are you working on right now?

CC: I was thinking about working on another album, or perhaps going on tour soon. I’m kind of in limbo as far as plans go, for right now since I’ve just wrapped up a few projects for this year.

DFB: Yes, you have been busy! Well, Calayla, I’d like to thank you again for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your new album.

 

CC: Yes, and I look forward to discussing the latest HP book, as well as seeing your latest, Adventure #3! Any idea how soon you’ll be releasing it?

DFB: I’m putting the finishing touches on now. Shouldn’t be too much longer, I hope!

CC: Great, good deal! Talk to you soon!

DFB: Yes, you take care!

Well, that was fun! And you heard it here… not too much longer and I’ll be releasing Adventure #3 Starring Spotted Bag, “That Terribly Ugly Feeling.”

Uh oh! I wonder what’s going to happen?

Until next time!

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DFB’s 5 Favorite Posts from August 2016

Alright! It’s good to be back!

Did you miss me?

“Who am I?” you say?

🙂 I’m just a little piece of candy, wrapped in cellophane, trying to understand this beautiful world.

I decided instead of doing a ‘Favorite Blog Posts’ I would tell you all about some great news in the world of Children’s Literature. So in no particular order, here they are:

* From slate.com 8/10/16 Post Title: Watership Down and the Power of Not-Quite-Appropriate Children’s Books by Nicole Cliffe

YESSS!!! This. Right. Here. I needed to hear this. When I wrote the first edition of ‘A Most Wonderful Remarkable “Something” Starring Spotted Bag,’ I was told by the library’s buyer that the language in my book was too grown for the age group I was ‘targeting.’ Well, apparently I am not the only one who speaks to children as if they are Real People and NOT imbeciles!

 

 

 

*  From LIHerald.com 8/10/16 Post Title: Wantagh author aims to make reading fun by Briana Bonfiglio

The Juggling Clowns of the Ever Changing Circus.” Whew! That was a mouthful! I like it!

I love long titles, and I LOVE nonsense! Written by a school teacher, illustrated by her mother, and available at her elementary school as well as the local town library, and on Amazon. I’m ordering my copy, I’ll let you know how it is!

 

*  From Your Houston News/ The Katy Rancher 8/30/16 Post Title: Katy art center stages children’s book as musical by (? I’m not sure by whom. It simply doesn’t list an author)
This is just exciting news! A children’s book, “Batina’s Best First Day,’ about the Tooth Fairy, has been turned into a musical of six songs and is scheduled to be performed by a cast of children at the Katy Visual Performing Arts Center, this fall. How cool, is that?
*  From SC Now Morning News 08/14/16 Post Title: Florence niece and aunt team up for release of first children’s book by Shamira McCray
Yay! What a neat story. I LOVE hearing about family members being supportive of young authors! Young Abigail’s book, “Baboon and Bad Revenge,” available on Amazon, represents not only her creativity but also her great aunt Dona’s positive effect on this young lady’s future!

* From Plainsman.com 08/30/16 Post Title: Sturgis teen to share new children’s book at S.D. State Fair by (? I’m not sure by whom. It simply doesn’t list an author)

And finally, one more great accomplishment for our young people! Young Danika Gordon has penned the newly released “Great Faces From South Dakota: How Big Can You Dream? ” In addition to kudos from the governor’s wife (First Lady Linda Daugaard), she (Danika) was given the auspicious honor of sharing her book two days in a row, at the S.D. State Fair. Great Job, Danika!

Well, I know it has been a while since my last real post (Besides the Frizz’s Happy Birthday Post), and I know that has been incredibly rude of me. I am sorry.

I do have a bit of good news, however!

I’m almost done with Adventure #3, and in honor of Porkchop (His birthday is in September), I’m hoping to have it complete and available THIS MONTH!

Also, this month, look for my next Character Interview with a special star of Adventure #3, Calayla Cantor!

Talk to you soon!

Love,

DFB

 

Happy Birthday, Ms. Frizzle!!

 

 

I grew up on the Magic School Bus.

Okay, not really, but I loved watching the Frizz take the kids on excellent adventures.

The way she explained how everything worked, is still genius today.

So, no, it’s not the Frizz’s birthday, but it is the wondrous Lily Tomlin’s, who just so happened to be the distinct voice of Ms. Frizzle!

Happy Birthday, Lily!

Thank you for reminding us to #TakeChances and #MakeMistakes #Wahoo