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 A Woman for All Ages

 

by Eileen Birin

 

    While still living in Chicago, I attended a writing seminar conducted by Dr. Dennis Hensley, author of seven books and more than fifteen hundred articles. The meeting focused on how to be a successful freelancer, and Dr. Hensley made it a point to tell us that he always carried a notebook, camera and recorder with him wherever he went, even on vacations, sometimes to the dismay of his wife and family. He knew there were, and possible even looked for, stories everywhere.

     One story in particular, I have never forgotten can be summed up as follows.

    While on a mini-trip driving the scenic back roads of the mid-west, the Hensleys came across a small town, enhanced with charm and character. They stopped. With camera and notebook ready, Dr. Hensley set out to explore the town's historic treasures.

    He was fascinated by what was once a decorative opera house, art deco architectural style, now in various stages of deterioration, which stood in the town's center. Therein laid a story.

    While inquiring about the old building, Dr. Hensley was delighted to learn there was a senior resident who had recently taken it upon herself to record the history of this turn-of-the-century town, its notable buildings which included the opera house, as well as, some celebrated happenings. She was hoping her memoirs and research would provide younger generations, caught up in fast-paced progress, an American small town experience.

    Dr. Hensley was even more impressed with the woman herself and once back in his motel room made a quick long-distance call with a "hold the press" edict. This woman's article needed to be published in the next magazine issue.

    "Now Dennis, wait a minute," the editor responded. "Why such a rush? Let's wait and see what the lady comes up with and see if we can actually use the material."

    "But you don't understand," Dennis exclaimed, "the woman is 101 years old!"

    This 101 year old aspiring writer lived to be 104 and had seven magazine articles published in the second century of her life. She believed that you live the first 100 years and then write about your life the second century. Mark Twain held a similar belief, but his was a 50/50 split - maybe a bit more realistic

    I don't recall Dr. Hensley ever mentioning the woman's name or the name of the town, but that's not important. What matters is that a centenarian was able to invest her time and years of experience so wisely. Wouldn't it be great if we were all so privileged?

    With the start of each new year, this woman for all ages inspired me to start today fulfilling my own writing dreams and goals. There's no guarantee I'll be granted a second century of life, but one thing's for certain, I'm not waiting. TODAY I start the rest of my life, writing and otherwise.



Put the FUN in Learning!

Mother Lode

The Ultimate Collection of Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy

Over 5,000 Ideas for Tots through Teens

By Kas Winters 

USD $20.00


Get that Book out of your Head and into Print

by Kas Winters


 

An Interview with author,

Kas Winters

 

By Jodi Cisman

 

PEORIA – Kas Winters lives in a world without technology. She is a front-runner for a mother’s campaign to replace cell phones and PS3’s with old wooden spools and recycled newspaper.

She has deemed herself the Mother of Family Ideas and conveys it through her book publishing company, Winmark Communications.

“I feel a real urgent need to get what I know and do out there to make a difference to families,” Winters said.

At the top of her endless list of specialties and interests are inexpensive family activities.

As the oldest of five siblings, a mother and stepmother of six and grandmother of seven, creative project ideas are innate.

“These crafts help kids develop their learning and imagination,” she said. “Kids are not learning how to think and solve problems anymore.”

She reminisced about the days when a cardboard box with circles drawn on the top passed as a suitable play kitchen.

“Now, they have the whole kitchen toy. There’s no imagination required,” she said.

She brings her ideas to the classroom in an after school program at Ira A. Murphy Elementary School in Peoria.

“When I get into the classroom, these kids don’t even know how to make paper airplanes,” she said. “To me, that’s just mind boggling.”

Lisa Kluge is a reading specialist for kindergarten and fourth grade students at the school.

She has been working with Winters for two years and praised her for her individuality.

“We have other teachers that are very creative, but Kas is a breath of fresh air because of her enthusiasm,” Kluge said.

Winters utilizes recycled items found around the house because it is free and forces children to use their imagination.

“When parents get hit with the economy and the way things are now, they can’t go to the Toys’R’Us and spend $50 for a toy,” she said.

Although Winters enjoys working with children, she would like to spend more time with her first love: writing.

“I realized that writing was like eating and breathing: I gotta do it,” she said.

Winters has written 15 books, illustrated 30 and edited 17.

She is currently working on a book that will help authors “Get That Book out of your Head and Into Print.”

“I love doing things with kids at school but at some point, I am going to run out of energy,” she said.

Winters admitted that writing her own book is her favorite outlet.

“The way I see it is if I can help people get their books published with my book, I’ll have more time to work on my own stuff,” she said.

Her idea for the book developed after receiving several e-mails from aspiring authors asking for advice on how to get their work published.

“Unless your initials are J.K., it’s going to be hard,” she laughed. “It’s not a gold mine unless you hit it big.”

Although technology takes the back seat when doing children’s activities, she feels it could be an author’s best friend.

“With online capabilities and publishing software, everybody’s out there writing a book,” she said.

There are over 86,000 self-publishing companies on the web, including iUniverse, Lulu and Amazon.

“I know authors who are doing very well with their books and I know authors who have a bunch sitting in their garage,” she said.

Whether doing crafts with kids or getting a book published, Winters is all about the art of penny pinching.

“There are a lot of ways to start without spending a lot of money,” she said.

 


Encouraging Children to Write

by Kas Winters

How do children learn to love writing and drawing? For me it began when I was very young. My father worked in an office where they tossed reams of papers that were printed on one-side only. Long before the advent of recycling, he used to bring them home for his kids to write and draw on the clean sides. There was always a huge stack of paper available for me to cover with good stuff. 

It has been said that you learn to write and draw by writing and drawing. Having materials at hand enabled me to do plenty of that! Now I can't guarantee that simply supplying paper will create a writer or an artist, but it will keep kids busy doing something fun and productive. Don't forget to hang their gems on the refrigerator door for all to enjoy!


Ideas from  Kas Winters, "The Mother of Family Ideas"

Encourage Young Writers Day

April 10

 

 

Make a "Blank Book" and give it to a child. Simply take several sheets of  blank paper and fold them in half. Then take a sheet of heavier paper for a cover (if you have some) and fold it in half. Assemble the blank sheets in a stack with the cover on top. Staple the book together along the fold. If your stapler doesn't reach, you can use half sheets of paper instead of full sheets and make a smaller book. When the blank book is done, let your child fill it with words, pictures or both. I frequently do this with classrooms full of young students and they have an amazingly good time. They take it very seriously too, I've even had kindergarten students ask me, "How do you spell "Illustrated by"? If it's really a great effort, you can make copies and give them to family members who will appreciate them.


 

Eileen Birin

Author of

 

Let's Get Published

Audio Book/CD

 

AND

 

Go Ahead.

Self-Publish

 

selfpublishcover.JPG (61967 bytes)


 

The Wall

An Enchanting  Story for Children of All Ages with Reading-Thinking-Writing Activities

by the

Phoenix Writers' Club

Edited by Eileen Birin




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08/19/15

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