730 BELLS GUEST POST: Ringing by Water

I'm so pleased this week to have Bonny Becker, a best-selling picture book author with keen insights on the writing craft, share what makes the bells ring for her--what makes her feel most alive.

"A brook, a pond, a pool, the ocean… I love water. Maybe it’s all those negative ions. I always feel good by the ocean or a waterfall. But it’s probably more the attention paid. Near the water, I notice the natural sounds—the sigh and push of ocean waves, the lap-lap of a lake, the burble of a creek. That always slows me down and I can start to really see.

"Of course, the pretty sparkles are a big part of it: who doesn’t love the way light gleams off tiny ripples or streams through an ocean wave? But I especially like to look to see what’s below. Wavering lozenges of light on the swimming pool bottom; the sand and small rocks gleaming beneath the water at a lake’s edge; the silvery flicker of minnows; the glide of a trout.

"All my senses get involved: that salty sea smell or the musty, green smell of pond algae. I like to plant my feet and feel the sand pile up and pull away again with the ocean waves or to step into the spray of a waterfall. Sometimes I pat the surface of a bath feeling the slight pushback of the water—my hand like a waterbug.

"I feel good just writing about it! A moment by the water is a moment “of bells” for me.
      Paying attention with all your senses 
                                                                                                   makes the bells ring.  

Bonny Becker is the author of twelve books for children, including the best-selling picture book A Visitor for Bear, and the award-winning The Magical Ms. Plum, a middle-grade featuring a magical third-grade teacher. Bonny teaches at the Whidbey Writers MFA Program in Creative Writing. Read more about her at her website: