Dana Meachen Rau

Creative Process

On Christmas Eve

For Christmas many years ago, my aunt gave me a small flat package wrapped in red foil paper. Inside was a story my grandmother had written for a school assignment back in 1914 when she just 14 years old. My aunt gifted me this treasure because I was the writer in the family, and she often commented that I had inherited Grandma Meachen’s creative genes.

Practice Shouldn’t Be Perfect

When I enter a bookstore or gift store, I’m immediately drawn to the journals. They come in all shapes and sizes, lined and unlined, covers for every taste: flowered, funky, silly, or serene. Slick, soft, leather, marbled, gilded, and more. I’ve purchased many journals in my life. To me, they represent expansive possibility. I line them up on my shelf and admire the beauty of their eclectic spines. They make me feel like a writer.

The Gift of Quiet Solitude

My mind is often full. As a writer and professor, days are packed with a constant stream of things to do, places to be, lectures to prepare, papers to correct, stories to write, emails to answer. The printer whirrs, the microwave buzzes, people enter and exit around me. That’s the stuff of life.

I always feel like somebody’s watching me!

166 eyes stare at me from my home office wall. I’m not delusional. It’s nothing creepy. Our house isn’t haunted. It’s my family’s POP collection.
POPS are plastic figures of pop culture characters from movies, television, music, and games. And since 2014, my family has collected them. Sometimes they distract me from my work…like today…as I brainstorm the role they play in my life.

Before Groundhog Day

I have a new idea for a story, and it’s deeply steeped in art. This week, I’ve been diving into research. Way back when (25 years ago), I graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, with a double major in creative writing and art history. Over my career, I’ve obviously put the creative writing part to good use, but I haven’t exercised my art history muscles in a while.

Risky Business

I spent last weekend at the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference (NE-SCBWI) in Springfield, Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to be chosen to present two workshops, but along with shuffling my papers on the podium and hoping my Power Point would work, I was able to sit in on many other workshops as well. And as always, I came away with tons of tidbits to apply to my own writing projects.

Work in Progress

Last fall, I became a college professor. That’s part of the reason this blog was rather quiet for a while. From September to December, I was fully immersed in studying required texts, drafting lectures, making tests, and reading papers. I’ll never know which lessons stuck with my students. But I do know one thing for sure. I learned a TON!

Tinkering with Words

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to discover A Mighty Girl blog had listed one of my early readers, Robot, Go Bot!, among its 25 Books Starring Science-Loving Mighty Girls. I love that readers are finding this book an inspiration to curious, science-minded girls. But it’s funny, too, because Robot, Go Bot! was not conceived as a science book.

Humpback Moments

One of the perks of being a writer is that you can coin new phrases, put them out in the world, and hope they catch on…

humpback moment: (noun) an unexpected wave of emotion

Here’s how the phrase originated. My family often visits friends in Cape Cod. For years, we had been considering going on a whale watch, but we always worried that we’d shell out a lot of money and not see too many whales.

The Blank Canvas: Part 2

When we last left the canvas in my dining room, it was still blank, but I had made a pile of colorful textured paper, too. You’d think I’d be ready and eager to make art!

Nope. I didn’t have a plan, and that scared me.

Art and fear go hand in hand, at least for me.