Tag Archives: books

Nonfiction Reader Challenge 2023: “Run Towards the Danger”

‘When I first met concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins, after three and a half years of suffering from post-concussive syndrome, he said, “If you remember only one thing from this meeting, remember this: run towards the danger.” In order for my brain to recover from traumatic injury, I had to retrain it to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered my symptoms. This was a paradigm shift for me…’ Sarah Polley

I have been a fan of Sarah Polley ever since she starred in “Road to Avonlea”. Although I knew that being a child actor has its challenges, I was saddened to read about the trauma that Polley experienced being a child actor in “Road to Avonlea”, as well as “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen”, and a theatre production of “Alice in Wonderland”.

Polley’s writing is raw and real as she writes a series of essays not only about her time as a child actor, but also about a high risk pregnancy, why she didn’t testify at Jian Ghomeshi’s trial—“Most of the lawyers I have spoken with insist that nothing should change in the way that sexual assault cases are tried…but that they would…never advise a woman they loved to come forward in a sexual assault case”—and her recovery from a concussion, which inspired the title.

Each essay is powerful on its own. Taken as a whole the collection, though dealing with some very difficult topics, is rewarding to read.

Sometimes I felt Polley was writing my own story, as someone who lost her mother young to cancer, or as someone who suffers from anxiety. For example, Polley writes, “I cannot, sitting here, in my forty-one-year-old body and brain, remember what it felt like to be certain that expressing a fear would make it worse, that the humiliation of people knowing that I had a fear could be worse than the agony of living with it alone and unexpressed.” (Although, I sometimes still have trouble with that today.)

Other times my own paradigm was shifted. Polley writes about her concussion treatment, “We are questioning some of the basic tenets of ‘wellness’ wisdom we have previously taken to heart, which implores us to take it easy and be gentle and accept our limits without specifying what limits are acceptable.” Hmmm…Acceptable limits?

I continue to follow Polley’s career and am glad that she keeps breaking ground. Most recently Polley won an Oscar for “Best Adapted Screenplay” for “Women Talking”. Admittedly I could not finish reading the book, written by Miriam Toews, but I hope to catch the movie despite its heart wrenching subject matter.

“Run Towards the Danger”—my sixth book for the 2023 Nonfiction Reader Challenge— is hard to categorize. It was published in 2022, so it doesn’t quite make the 2023 list, and is not meant to be a memoir. The book touches on the subjects of the arts, relationships, and health.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler


WOW Blog Tour for “Hope and Fortune”: Book Review

In the fairy tale “Hope and Fortune” by Marissa Bãnez, Esperanza (Spanish for Hope) chases a beautiful butterfly into the Fabled Fairy Forest and gets lost. Golden Tree advises Esperanza to go deeper into the forest and ask the twelve fairies for advice. Esperanza visits each fairy, and they give the child some life advice in the form of rhyme.
Although the story does have an arc—child gets lost, finds help, then finds her way—the book is more a collection of poems with advice to help guide a child through life. Having said that, these poems are presented in a gentle and nonthreatening way.
There is much to love in this book. First of all, the fairies represent different genders, generations, and cultures. Second of all, the book is multilayered with lots of symbolism to unpack. For example, many of the fairies are accompanied by “spirit animals”, e.g., The Fortune Fairy of Confidence has a leopard. As well, the colours often are symbolic and some fairies have symbolic clothes. Finally, some Fairies give a nod to different cultural icons, such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Bãnez hopes that the layers in the book will springboard into further discussions.
The pictures are beautiful and a fantastic complement to the story. My favourite fairies are the Fortune Fairy of Strength and Courage, represented by an Asian warrior, the Fortune Fairy of Imagination, represented by a head scarf wearing Muslim, and The Fortune Fairy of Beauty, represented by a heart radiating energy.
Bãnez hopes that the book will grow with a child, and I can see that happening, as each reading would allow the child—and adult—to discover a different aspect, whether in the text or pictures. This book is one that invites you to read it many times.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Be sure to check out the other stops in this tour.

Purchase a copy of Hope and Fortune on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author

A first-generation immigrant to the U.S. from the Philippines, Marissa Bañez is a graduate of Princeton University and a lawyer licensed to practice in New York, California, and New Jersey. She has published legal articles for the prestigious New York Law Journal and the American Bar Association, but her true passion is in her children’s stories. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, whose childhood was filled with many original stories and puppet shows made up entirely by her mom. In her free time, Marissa likes to travel, design and make clothes, cook, binge-watch Star Trek shows and Korean dramas, and occasionally strum a guitar.

She is currently working on her second book, Hues and Harmony (How the Singing Rainbow Butterfly Got Her Colors), a story about mixed or multiracial children, self-discovery, and respect for others as told through the life and adventures of a caterpillar. It is scheduled for publication on July 20, 2023.

You can find her online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marissa.banez.7/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-banez/

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

Nonfiction Reader Challenge 2023: Book Review of “How to Make a Plant Love You”

Having studied horticulture and also believing in the healing power of plants—I am a member of the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association, though not accredited—I am always on the look out for plant related books, especially ones with a unique angle. So when I read about eco-model Summer Rayne Oakes in Ingrid Fetell Lee’s “Joyful”—my favourite nonfiction read in 2022—I knew I had to read Oakes’ book.

There’s lots in this book I had learned before, but there were several practical exercises with a unique angle that I loved. For example, have you ever considered going on a “plant date”? That is, get to know your plant before you take the plant home. Where is the plant from? What are the plant’s needs? Is your plant high maintenance and does that suit you? As the author notes, “Developing a mind-set that encourages us to care for the needs of our plants will allow us to experience ‘plant love’ instead of ‘plant lust’.”
This book could fall into the category of either science, with all of its descriptions of how to take care of plants, or health, with all of the examples of benefits of taking care of plants.
If you are considering getting your first plant, or if you have a stash of plants that is not flourishing, I recommend you read this book to get a holistic view of adding plants to your indoor space. Recommended also to those who are interested in the health benefits of having plants.
What about you? Do you have a plant related book that you can recommend?

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

Nonfiction Reader Challenge 2023: Book Review of “Keep Moving”

The second book I am reviewing for the Nonfiction Reader Challenge 2023 is “Keep Moving”, which is a book of quotes and essays written by Maggie Smith, an award winning poet who has written poems such as “Good Bones”. The book was written after her divorce and deals with her grief and beginnings in her new life. Smith also writes about her children, two surviving and two not.
The book is divided into three parts: Revision, Resilience, and Transformation. Every quote ends with the phrase “Keep Moving”. A lot of quotes resonated with me, but I will leave you with two:

“Ask yourself what part of you is holding on to pain because it is familiar, because letting go would require you to do something different, to fill that space…”

I’m trying to shift out of the same pain stories that I keep telling myself.


“Revise the story you tell yourself about failure. Consider yourself an apprentice in the world. Learn all you can. Gain experience. KEEP MOVING.”

I like the thought of being an apprentice in this world.

This is a book you can pick up again and again for some inspiration.

The book is part memoir, part poetry (the arts).

What’s moving you these days?

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2023 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Stop: “From Promising to Published” by Melanie Faith

I’ve read many writing craft books over the years. What I like about this writing craft book is that besides many helpful chapters on topics such as writing your biography and whether to simultaneously submit, there are also unique chapters on areas of my writing life that I would have never thought about. It’s like talking to your writing bestie who tells you the tiny details that other people forget or don’t think are important.

Three chapter examples to show you what I mean:

  1. A little bit about personal space

Readers now expect you to share personal details about your life (and one should be juicy or quirky). This chapter helps you to prepare what feels safe to share. What don’t you mind becoming public property?

  1. A Boomerang of Support

Support your friends’ art. Buy their books, go to their readings, give reviews. Your goodwill will pay itself forward and multiply. By nurturing others’ art, other people, although not necessarily the same person whose art you nurtured, will nurture yours.

  1. Celebration Station

Set up rewards for every milestone of your writing life. Too many times we just focus on kaboom moments when we should also be focusing on accomplishments like writing a sloppy first draft. Focus as well on accomplishments like how far your writing skills have come.

Chapters have writing exercises at the end of them, so you can practice what you’ve read about.

Visit the WOW blog to learn more about Melanie Faith and to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book (enter by December 18).

I highly recommend “From Promising to Published” by Melanie Faith.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Don’t forget to make stops at the other blogs on the tour.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2022 Linda Schueler


I have always been a sporadic journaler, usually picking up my journaling pen when life becomes really tough. For a while I did “morning pages” a la Julia Cameron, and even though I found it to be beneficial, somewhere along the line I put away my journaling pen.
At the end of my very tough 2021, I started to do morning pages again, and I found myself slowly starting to relax into life again.
So when I had the opportunity to review “Mindset Medicine: A Journaling Power Self-Love Book” by Mari L. McCarthy, I knew I had to seize the opportunity. What a better way to expand my journaling practice.
In chapter 4, the chapter about wanting things, a door cracked open and let a little light back into my life. Sad to say, somewhere in 2021 I had stopped believing that the things I wanted mattered. But, according to McCarthy, “WANTING great things for yourself doesn’t make you selfish. WANTING great things for YOU just means you love yourself.” and “In fact, one of the things you can want is the means to help more people.” Hmmm, I pondered those thoughts for a while, and then I decided to let myself want things again.
After that easing of some of my heartache, I was committed to finishing the book and the journaling exercises. I love McCarthy’s different take on things. For example, one thing that I have always thought, and that McCarthy validates is that “affirmations can be difficult to repeat and keep in the forefront of your mind as you’re bobbing and weaving your way through the day”. Instead she asks you to “transform your life by asking the right questions”. Wow! I love this idea so much that I now have a top-10 question list that I can refer to again and again.
This is a book that can be read over and over to remind yourself to love the journey, pivot to better feeling thoughts, and establish rock-solid boundaries. I highly recommend the book, and I am thankful that I was able to review it.
Good news! You can enter the giveaway over at WOW by March 2, 2022 for a chance to win a copy of your own by clicking here. Don’t forget to visit some of the other blog stops too.
Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2022 Linda Schueler

About the Book

Want the Cure for Culture Chaos?
Grab your pen and pad and prescribe yourself, Mindset Medicine: A Journaling Power Self-Love Book.
The news, the fear, the media, the texts, the constant bombardment of electronic sludge. It can all tear you down and rip you away from being YOU! 
You can choose to give into this madness and be manipulated into submission. Or you can join the Journaling Power Revolution, reconnect with your higher self, and love yourself without conditions. 
In her third book, award-winning international bestseller author Mari L. McCarthy reveals a journaling power path that leads to an awareness of how vibrant your life will be when you…
Understand why you absolutely have to love yourself first
Tap into your hidden gifts and talents
Declare why others must ALWAYS respect you
Establish rock-solid unbreakable boundaries
Promise to be YOUR own superhero!
Most importantly, Mindset Medicine explains in rich detail why the most empowering and loving relationship you can ever have – is with YOU!
Find out more about Mindset Medicine on Amazon.com.

About the Author:

Mari L. McCarthy, Founder and CEO – Chief Empowerment Officer  of CreateWriteNow.com, teaches curious health-conscious action-takers how to use Journaling For The Health Of It®️ to heal the emotional, creative, physical, and spiritual issues in their tissues. She also shows them how to use this powerful personal transformation tool to know, grow and share their True Self. Mari is the multi award-winning author of Journaling Power: How To Create The Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live, Heal Your Self With Journaling Power and Mindset Medicine: A Journaling Power Self-Love Book. She’s also created 20+ Journaling For The Health Of It® Self-Management 101 Workbooks including Who Am I?, Take Control Of Your Health! and Start Journaling For The Health Of It® Write Now.
Find out more about Mari by visiting her website CreateWriteNow.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube.

December 2021 Bookish Resolutions

I hope that you found some sort of peace and comfort during this holiday season. Although still challenging, my celebration this year was better than last year’s.
On this Boxing Day, I am posting my last “Bookish Resolutions” post:

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

Well at least I am wrapping up my year with two books that count towards this challenge.

“In-between Days” by Teva Harrison
I read Harrison’s book “Not One of These Poems Is About You”, and then I decided to read this book, her “hybrid graphic memoir” about living with incurable breast cancer. Harrison decided to write and draw her way through living with the disease, and this collection is the result. I didn’t find it to be a downer, but instead very raw and honest.

“The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations” by Oprah Winfrey
I bought this book for my husband a few years ago, and it has taken me that long to finish the book, dipping in and out of it over the years. It has a lot of goodness in it, and it is meant to be savoured. Maybe I just wanted to savour it for a very long time.
From the epilogue:
“…as long as you are asking the right questions of yourself, the answers will readily reveal themselves. Who do you want to be? How can you allow who you want to be to thrive in all aspects of your life?”

You can see my list from the whole year on my Mount TBR post.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.


Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“I Hope This Finds You Well” by Kate Baer
Baer makes erasure poems—turning the negative into positive—from comments she receives or things she reads on the internet. My favourite is “Re: My Daughter’s Struggles”.

“the untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself” by Michael A. Singer
A gift for my birthday, I found this book about inner peace and freedom very appealing. However, freeing myself is easier said than done. Luckily, the author himself states that this path takes a lifetime of work. I have the companion journal, and I will tackle it in the new year. I look forward to further insights.

“How to Avoid Making Art (Or Anything Else You Enjoy)” by Julia Cameron
Cameron nudges you in this graphic novel to remember the things that can stand in the way of you and your creative process. For example, “Talk about it so you don’t have to do it.”

“The Listening Path: Six Weeks to Deeper Creativity” by Julia Cameron
I’ve been trying to hone my listening skills, but a lot of the exercises Cameron suggests either I already do or are ones that do not appeal to me. Still the book did nudge me to remember to listen in different ways. Most important for me though was that the book brought me back to doing “Morning Pages” and “Artist’s Dates”.

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Not much writing done this month. Whenever I meditate though, I’ve been hearing the call to write again.

Read related literature to my novel writing.

Not done.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month.

“I Regret Telling My Mother Her Traditional Chinese Soup Was ‘Gross’” by Katharine Chan
I lived in China for three years, and it was very much a “food as medicine” culture. I enjoyed the reminder through this article, as the mother explains to her daughter the benefits of each food that was in the soup.

“How to Tell Your Mother She Can’t Go Home Again” by Heidi Croot
I was put in a similar position with my father, so this essay really resonated with me.

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

“Ten Cents a Pound” by Nhung N. Tran-Davies; illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
What I like about this book:
-the lyrical language
-the repetition and refrain
-the setting
-the theme: a mother explains to her daughter why she should be leaving her village for a better life
-the drawings: the closeups of hands and feet

“Natsumi’s Song of Summer” by Robert Paul Weston; illustrated by Misa Saburi
What I like:
-the sensory description
-the main character loves insects
-a cross cultural encounter
-the setting
-but especially that the book is written in a series of tankas (five lines and 31 syllables)

“Friends Forever” by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
The third of a series, this is a graphic novel based on Hale’s life in grade eight. I can totally relate, especially the part about being thought too sensitive and hiding my feelings, and suffering with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. I wish I had had this book back then.

Submit one story to a contest per season.

I have already done this.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

Not many were offered this month.

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

No, I didn’t do this.

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I did this.

Blog at least twice a month.


Weekly treasure:

One of the art installations in my city’s “Winter Illumination” exhibit



I wrote two.

Well that wraps up my “Bookish Resolutions” for this year. Although I didn’t accomplish all what I wanted to this year, I am proud of what I did do.
As mentioned in last week’s blog post, my format will be different next year. See you in 2022.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

September 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

September has been a better month for me. It’s not been so tumultuous, and I am enjoying the peace I am experiencing. I know though that I have several important decisions to make, but in the meantime, I am going to savour the peace.

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

“The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books” by James Cross Giblin

Though the latest reprint of this book is 2005, I was using it in a course as recently as 2017. I only skimmed it back then, but took the plunge this month to read it as a book study. Read more about it on my Mount TBR 2021 post.

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Read more about this book below.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“Escape to Reality” by Mark Cullen with Ben Cullen

You may have seen him on TV or heard him on the radio, but have you read any of Canada’s most famous and loved horticultural expert’s books? In this collection of short essays, Cullen (with the occasional piping in of his son) writes about everything from the value of a gardener’s work to how to think like a plant.

Consider this:

“Experience tells us, according to <Peter> Ladner, that local food reduces our dependency on oil. A Canadian study on ‘food miles’ estimated that sourcing fifty-eight food items locally or regionally rather than globally could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about fifty thousand tonnes annually. That is the equivalent of removing almost seventeen thousand vehicles from the road.”

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This is hands down one of the best books I have ever read in my life! My book club partner and I took our time over it, savouring it over several weeks. 

There are just too many fantastic learnings to mention here, so I will leave you with this video about “the honourable harvest”.

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.


Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

I haven’t been writing every day.

Read related literature to my writing.

Not done.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month. These are the two that I analyzed:

“Why I resigned from my tenured position teaching climate science in college” by Heather Short

Why I like this:

-it’s a timely piece, and it mentions several things I have been thinking about lately

-it’s an expert’s point of view

-it’s a mixture of facts and opinion

Favourite quote:

‘Teaching this to an 18 year old is like telling them that they have cancer, then ushering them out the door, saying “sorry, good luck with that.”’

“On Sept. 30, I hope people will do more than just take the day off” by Andrea Johns

Why I like this:

-it’s written from the perspective of a Mohawk woman

-it’s another timely piece, written as a reflection on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

-it offers solutions

Favourite quotes:

“It’s great to, again, have a holiday that recognizes the legacy of the residential school system. But there’s a lot of things that are tied to the residential school system: socio-economic issues and missing and murdered Indigenous women and land and economic inequalities.”


“I hope that people won’t just take the day off, like they would treat it like any other holiday, going to your cottage on potentially unceded Indigenous territories or spending the time not engaging with … the history of residential schools.”

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

“Woodland Dreams” by Karen Jameson; illustrated by Marc Boutavant

What I like about this book:

-every creature gets a unique, descriptive name: Big Paws, Velvet Nose

-repetition: every refrain starts with “Come Home…”

-sparse and poetic text is a delight on the tongue

-unique rhymes, e.g., schemer/dreamer

“Butterflies are Pretty Gross” by Rosemary Mosco; illustrated by Jacob Souva

-breaks the fourth wall

-very humorous (I’ll never think of breakfast in the same way)

-plenty of tongue pleasing alliteration (deliciously disgusting, pretty peculiar)

-fascinating facts presented in an interesting way, e.g. read about the sneaky Alcon Blue caterpillar

Special shoutout about the “little senses” series, written for those who are very sensitive, e.g., those on the autism spectrum. I read “It Was Supposed to Be Sunny” by Samantha Cotterhill. A girl adapts to not having her birthday party work out exactly as she wants to with the gentle help of her mother.

Submit one story to a contest per season.

I placed eighth in the first round of the latest NYC Midnight contest, which gives me 8 points. Yay! I submitted my second story. This time I got mystery, which I have never written before, but it was fun writing outside of my comfort zone.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

Suzanne Simard on her book “Finding the Mother Tree”. (Guelph Arboretum)

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

Not done

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I did this.

Blog at least twice a month.

Not done

Weekly treasure:

One of my local blue jays



I wrote three.

100 day challenge:

Read two chapters of a book a day. 

I didn’t do this, but I intend to get back to it, as there are two library books I wish to complete.

How was your month?

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

August 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

This was another challenging month for me with a lot of soul searching, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Here are my results:

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

“The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

In my third attempt to read this book, I finally succeeded! I don’t know why I didn’t finish the first two times, because it really is a wonderful book. Perhaps I just got distracted? Anyway, to read more about my impressions of the book, see the entry below.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben 

This quote sums up the book and the feeling that you will leave with after reading it:

“When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you no longer can just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.”

I believe the book should be required reading material in school.

Apparently also there is a related movie.

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Written by a poet, Nezhukumatathil weaves her story into observations of nature. A delightful read!

Favourite quotes:

“And so, I ask: When is the last time you danced like a superb bird of paradise? I mean, when was the last time you really cut a rug, and did you mosh, bust a move, cavort, frisk, frolic, skip, prance, romp, gambol, jig, bound, leap, jump, spring, bob, hop, trip, or bounce?”


“It is this way with wonder: it takes a bit of patience, and it takes putting yourself in the right place at the right time. It requires that we be curious enough to forgo our small distractions in order to find the world.”

“Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku” by Natalie Goldberg

I started this when I was on vacation in July and finished it upon returning home. Part history, part travelogue, I really enjoyed journeying along with Goldberg. The book motivated me to write several haikus about what happened on my vacation, and I wrote them in the book, so the book has become a keepsake.

“The Comfort Book” by Matt Haig

I loved this book so much that I bought it after I read my library copy. So much deliciousness here!


“…one of the most common feelings among people was the feeling of not fitting in among people. The comfort, then, is the weird truth that in one sense we have most in common with others when we feel awkward and alone. Isolation is as universal as it gets.”


“I used to worry about fitting in until I realized the reason I didn’t fit in was because I didn’t want to.”

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Very sporadic.

Read related literature to my novel writing.

No, I didn’t do this.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month. These are the two that I analyzed:

“My greatest pandemic discovery has been finding the wild in the city” by Andrea Curtis

What I like about this essay:

-Evocative language:

“We’ve also slipped down the side of steep embankments, threaded our way over boulders, passed ancient washed-out bridges, dodged storm water outtake pipes, graffitied underpasses and fjorded frozen streams.”

-Unexpected discoveries:

‘In his beautiful book about walking called The Old Ways, the British naturalist Robert Macfarlane calls unofficial urban paths, the ones trodden but not formally marked “desire lines.”’

-A thoughtful takeaway

“Hearing the voices from my family’s past 50 years later felt like coming home again” by Gayle Belsher

A couple of discoveries:

-The essay starts with a few facts.

-The essay mentions how the author’s journey links to the pandemic, which I am seeing is a common topic now in creative nonfiction essays.

Overall I am starting to see patterns, and I am going to try such techniques as peppering facts in my creative nonfiction essays.

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

These are the two that I analyzed:

“This Pretty Planet” by Tom Chapin and John Forster; illustrated by Lee White

The book is based on a song, so it’s not a surprise that the text is musical. Short and sometimes rhyming text make it easy on the ear; the illustrations also make it easy on the eye.

Favourite part:

“You’re a garden

You’re a harbour

You’re a holy place.”

“Peace” by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul; illustrated by Esteli Meza

What I liked:

-beautiful and creative rhyming pairs, such as correctly/directly

-peace explained in a child friendly way: “Peace is pronouncing your friend’s name correctly

-animals are featured in the pictures, and the author’s note explains how peace also affects animals

Submit one story to a contest per season.

Not a good month: I got five rejections. However, I am planning on repurposing two of those stories.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

I didn’t do this.

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

I’ve been working my way through a course about marketing writing.

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I have dropped out of one of my critique groups due to scheduling conflicts. However, I still continue meeting with my first critique partner weekly.

Blog at least twice a month.

I’ve completed this task.

Weekly treasure:

The birds that have been coming to my bird feeder have provided a lot of comfort. How many sparrows can you see?



I wrote four!

100 day challenge

Read two chapters of a book a day. This works well for me, and I will continue it.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

June 2021 Bookish Resolutions

It’s hard to believe it’s July already.

June was a tough month for me. I’ve always felt that I’ve been operating in life with a smudged map, but this month I’ve felt like my map has completely blown away. So I’m trying to embrace a sit spot for a little bit of a think instead of rushing off on my next adventure. This is particularly challenging for impatient me.

When one of my critique partners sent me this blog post about goal setting, one particular line stood out to me: “Goals are amazing but unless our goals map to growth, we’re simply writing a to-do list.” Yes, that’s definitely what I feel like. I am checking off my to do list instead of growing, so I decided that I am going to revise my bookish resolutions to reflect growth.

That’s why this month’s blog post will contain not only my goals from June but also new goals.

Old goal: Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

I’m certainly failing this challenge. None read this month.

New goal : I’m still going to pursue this challenge. At the end of the year, I may simply need to cull some of the books that I had hoped to read.

Old goal: Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

I could put “the river” by Helen Humphreys in either this category or the next. Whichever one, I love this book! 

Humphreys writes about a small part of the Napanee River where she has a waterside property. She writes about its history, what she has found there, the animals and plants there.

I do disagree with Humphreys’ belief that the river is indifferent to her despite her love for it. I believe if you love nature, it will love you back, just maybe not in a “human” way.

So many things to ponder, but I’ll leave you with a couple: 

“The British naturalist and writer Roger Deakin once said that watching a river is the same as watching a fire in the hearth. Both are moving and alive, and the feeling from watching both them is a similar one.”


“The river has pushed its banks many times. Does it have memory of this, or a reach beyond itself that it can feel, that it remembers? What does it feel its true size is? Does the river have a kind of consciousness?”

New goal: I’m still going to pursue this challenge.

Old goal: Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“Bluets” by Maggie Nelson

I listened to this book in audio form, because that was the only way I could without buying it. I’ve never taken to audiobooks, and I still don’t appreciate them, despite the fact that one of my primary modes of learning is auditory. Perhaps I miss the tactile sensation of turning pages. Also, I don’t know how people can multitask when they are listening to an audiobook. If I do this then I am constantly stopping and rewinding, because I have missed something. Finally, I love to write down quotes of my favourite parts, and this is hard to do when you are listening to something.

Well anyway, I love the book. There are 240 prose poems all related to the colour blue. Apparently half of westerners’ favourite colour is blue, and that includes me, so I enjoyed all the snippets of blue information—such as learning about the “blue” people (Tuareg), and that indigo blue was originally the “devil’s dye” until it was made holy, and that the colour of the universe was accidentally declared as turquoise—interspersed with philosophy and poetry.

You can read more about it in this article:

New goal: I will continue with this goal.

Old goal: Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

My summer writing challenge, as set by my daughter, is to write a novel, but I confess we have slacked off lately. I need more motivation to do this.

New goal: Continue with this goal, but find a way to actually do this. Ideas?

Added goal: Read related literature. I need to figure out an actual number.

Old goal: Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week.


“Collectively Speaking” by Chelsey Clammer

So much to love in this essay, especially the term “a resilience of women”

One of my favourite quotes:

“As an editor, I hold people’s stories. As a trauma survivor, I help those stories find their voices. Because it’s the experiences I’ve had that guide me in encouraging other survivors to find a voice. It’s the editor in me that helps to shape that story into something tangible—something we can see. Read. I give feedback about specifics. The mechanics. But as a female trauma survivor, I hold. Help. It might look like I’m by myself, but I’m never alone. I’m holding people’s stories. Guiding, even, the therapeutic activity of crafting a voice for your experience. I’ve read about so much trauma—have seen the ways so many people have survived to tell the story of those who haven’t.”

“The Glass Sliver” by Robyn Fisher

I can totally relate to her experience.

Favourite quote:

“Sometimes, this whole caregiving thing does seem like a wilderness experience. I mean, you got your sandwich, your canteen, your first aid kit. You even got your map and compass. But you’ve never been on this trail before, it’s all new to you. And last night’s storm washed part of it away, so the map does not resemble the path anymore. You’re bushwhacking now, hoping you’re not too far off the trail, and the way will show itself soon.”

“Le Pen de Amazon” by Helen K. Hedrick

Hedrick writes an essay using a choice of words from the book she is reading. I love this idea!

“The Birds: June is for Juncos” by Leanne Ogasawara

“Until the pandemic, I had always considered myself to be a city person. I never thought much about ecological issues until I came back to the US in mid-life. To be sure, Japan was not perfect in terms of the environment–not by any means. But I think it is safe to say that in Japan nature is not held as “standing reserve.” Rather than seen merely as a resource to be used, nature and the seasons are something to which people in Japan strive to be attuned. Deep listening is an especially humbling act, as the ephemeral and transient quality of sound demands attention and focus.”

New goal: Add in some analysis. I will analyze what I like about two creative nonfiction essays per month, which I hope will inform my writing.

Old goal: Read 5 picture books per month

My favourites:

“I Talk Like a River” by Jordan Scott; illustrated by Sydney Smith

The main character is comforted when his father tells him that his stuttering is like talking like a river. Based on a true story.

“A Year of Everyday Wonders” by Cheryl B. Klein; pictures by Qin Leng

A year of firsts and a few seconds and some lasts.

“In a Garden” by Tim McCanna; illustrated by Aimée Sicuro

A rhyming picture book.

My favourite rhyme:

“In a garden

full of green

many moments 

go unseen.”

“A Thousand No’s” by DJ Corchin; pictures by Dan Dougherty

The main character gets a lot of “Nos” for her idea, so she asks for help.

New goal: Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

Old goal: Submit one story to a contest per season.

I submitted a poem and a creative nonfiction essay to The Fringe Literary Contest.

I submitted a creative nonfiction essay to the Amy MacRae award.

New goal: Continue with this goal.

Old goal: Attend one writing webinar per month.

“Outside” virtual book launch—Sean McCammon with Susanne Ruder (New Star Books)

New goal: I’m going to be flexible about this.

Old goal: Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.

I have been working on my American poetry course. 

New goal: I am going to be flexible about this.

Old goal: Attend a writing group session per week.

Now that it’s summer, one of my writing groups is only meeting every second week, so it may not be doable.

New goal: Meet when we can over the summer and revisit in September.

Old goal: Blog at least twice a month.

New goal: I will continue this.

Old goal: Weekly treasure:

New goal: I will continue this. It’s one of my favourites.


Old goal: HaikuForTwo

I wrote three this month.

New goal: Continue, as I love this.

New goal: I’m going to go back to doing something similar to the 100 day challenge where I break down some of the stuff I want to do on a daily basis. It helped me complete the German novel I wanted to read. Currently, I am reading a horticultural therapy related novel, two chapters a day.

It was good to reevaluate my goals and see what was working and what was not. How’s your goal setting going?

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler