Notes from Candice Ransom

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

September.  Yellow tickseed has overtaken chicory in roadside ditches.  Goldfinches are fixing to switch to olive plumage.  To me, it’s seemed like September since mid-July, when Walmart swapped beach towels and grill tools for back-to-school notebooks and gel pens. School supplies remind me of waiting at the bus stop the day after Labor Day, dressed

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A Working Writer’s Career, Part One

Note:  This is my latest Knock Knock essay for Bookology Magazine, an online publication about children’s books.  I am one of several contributors to the Knock Knock column.  One Sunday morning in May, 1970, I sat on the mustard-colored sofa in our living room with the Spring Children’s Books issue of the Washington Post Book

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Off the Grid

Saturday I jumped in the truck with a bottle of water and a 25-year-old Virginia topographical map.  Where I was going Mapquest, Garmins, and smartphones were useless.  I drove north on Route 11, then west on Route 220, then, after some miles, made a left onto a windy road that doglegged around Tinker Mountain, ran

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Hitting the Refresh Button

Confession:  I don’t know where the refresh button is on my computer, or what it does.  I only know I’ve been told to “refresh” a page for up-to-date information (I think).  I just click out of the Internet and start over.  Don’t laugh. In 1982, when my husband bought my first PC (an Osborne we

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Happy 25th Birthday, Big Green Pocketbook!

About this time 25 years ago a box of books landed with a thud on my front porch.  Comp copies of my first picture book. The idea for this book came to me in the summer of 1981.  We were living in our Greenbrier rental house.  My niece Susan was staying with us for the

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Meet the Boys . . . Faulkner and Edison!

The November afternoon I took Atticus to the SPCA, I didn’t leave empty-handed.  I brought home two boys because a house without a cat isn’t a home.  They were in the same condo at the shelter, but their stories are very different. This is Edison (my name—at the shelter he was called Yogi Bear).  His

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What Happened to Atticus?

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted any funny pictures of Atticus on Facebook, or even mentioned him.  The truth is, Atticus hasn’t lived with us since November.  Here is a look back at two years with Atticus, and what happened. I got him from the SPCA in December 2014 at age five months. 

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The Winter of Our (My) Discontent

Inauguration Day.  Except for exercise class, I stayed home.  We have no TV and my husband took the newspapers with him to work.  But the Internet sprayed me with the day’s events.  People would not stop talking.  Talk, talk, talk.  By the time I went to bed, my stomach was in knots. Saturday I left

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Tooth Fairy’s Night: The Story of One Book

Today is the launch day of my newest–and first 2017–book, Tooth Fairy’s Night.  It’s a Level 1 Step into Reading, written for the newest readers.  And here is how it came about. In the spring of 2015, I was restless and in need of “filling the well,” as most long-term career writers must do from

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Flipping the Switch: 2017

I’m late putting up a New Year’s post, owing to the fact I had a book due, I was hospitalized, and there were all those holidays.  Being in the hospital for three days (and three mostly sleepless nights) gave me plenty of time to think about the coming year and change.  A new year usually

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Angels in the Woods

It starts in late October when I pick up special-issue Christmas magazines.  Something fires in my brain.  Visions of cut-out sugar cookies, homemade breads for neighbors, our house turned into a picture-perfect vintage winter wonderland . . . For Type-A control-freaks like me, Christmas represents the pinnacle of overachievement.  Pull out garland, lights, and mistletoe! 

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Go Out. Report Back.

Last week I wrote about being “between selves,” referencing an essay by writing teacher, Heather Sellers.  I’m still mining that essay, “The Wizard in the Closet,” which is about how Sellers’ FSU writing mentor, Jerome Stern, shaped her into a writer (and a person). As Stern’s grad assistant, Sellers often ran errands for him: “picking

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