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From the coming novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

D.J. Houston, Author

Paint Brush Dreams

One thing was sure: He was right to defend Miss Greenlee.

I imagined she had her artistic license framed somewhere at home, too, because she let us paint pictures of whatever we wanted. She encouraged us to render our art as we saw fit and never questioned our choices; you could draw conclusions in the dirt and call it art, for all she cared . . .

For those who would squash dreamers and their dreams, God had surely sent Miss Greenlee as the antidote . . .

 CLICK for Story: Dream Teacher and Witch

Copyright©2008, 2013 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

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Visionary Fiction – Mystery Novel – Havenwood School – Special Teachers – Inspiring Stories

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From the coming novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings by D.J. Houston

Christmas Tree MagicHow to trim a Christmas tree on the night before Christmas Eve when you’ve never had one, and the stores are closed and there’s no box of decorations stashed anywhere to draw from, is — or so I learned that night — like refurbishing an empty house without money . . .

You create something out of nothing with whatever is to hand and make up the rest as you go.

As Forest Gump’s own mama would say, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”  And to that I would add, “when you bring out the Artist in people.”

C L I C K for Inspiring Christmas Story

Copyright©2008, 2012 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

Mystery Novel – Inspiring Stories – American Literature Treasures – Life Journey 

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NEW peek at the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings  by D.J. Houston, Author

Katy Winthrop’s Gingerbread Man

Miss Greenlee’s class learned to make Art out of gingerbread men. And not just any old brown paper cut-outs of gingerbread men, but real-cookie keepsake ornaments you could dangle from a Christmas tree!

Using her curvy metal cookie cutter, we molded the figures from sheets of rolled-out gingerbread dough we’d made by ourselves with arithmetic and a recipe.  A loop of fuzzy white pipe cleaner wire was attached to the top of each man’s head for a hook, while the dough was soft.  And then we set our little men aside to dry in the window sills.

We watched the dough harden for three whole days under the frosty window panes before Katy Winthrop couldn’t stand it any longer . . . (more…)

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HI Everybody! SURPRISE!

It’s me, TRUDIE, your HAVENWOOD TALES Narrator character 🙂

GUESS WHAT ?!! 

B I G  N E W S  — I’M on PINTEREST at http://pinterest.com/trudiehaven/

And it was a BIG DEAL to get there, too!

I confessed to the folks at Pinterest that I live in the 1940s in Heartland America.  I even admitted to being precocious and said I could see the future.  But they said all I needed was a Facebook or Twitter account, and they’d send me an invitation to join.

Simple, right?  So I asked my author — who is (as you probably know) none other than my friend and confidant, D.J. Houston — to sign me up for Facebook BUT

(more…)

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Inspirations from HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

D.J. Houston, Author

Art supplies kept mysteriously appearing on my table at school . . .

When I wasn’t reading, I was doing chalk or pencil drawings and watercolor paintings of the birds and flowers and forests I knew.

I even made my first attempt to draw the human face — a silhouette profile of Mister Walling, infused with a golden light.

I was adding the finishing touches when I felt Miss Greenlee’s presence arrive behind me like a soft sigh . . .

C L I C K  H E R E  for “Art of Dreamers”

Paranormal Mystery – Inspirations – Adventure – American Literature Treasures

Copyright©2009, 2012 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

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PART II of  the excerpt from HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings– “Spring in Heartland America”

Missed PART I ? CLICK HERE

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I must say, I had the most godawful urge to stick my tongue out at spiteful old Miss Hickey, the Latin teacher. Her mission in life since before she was born had apparently been to hate anything and everything new and different; that much seemed obvious. But I’d figured out enough about human nature to know that it probably wasn’t really me she was mad at. I just didn’t know who.

I did put an end to her using me for a firing range, though. Daring, considering she had that willow switch hidden under her desk. But it was easy!

One day, I hung outside her classroom door with my arms stacked full of fresh library books till she sniffed me out. And when she huffed over to shoot me the daggers, I just gave her my goofiest grin.

Now, nobody EVER smiled at Miss Hickey. So after both her eyes popped out of her head and rolled on the floor like gumballs (. . . that’s how I saw it, anyway), needless to say, she never bothered to glare at me again. Blame it on the power of imagination, if you like.  But, hey — Mission accomplished.

In that glorious Spring before I turned seven, little could suppress my urge to learn. I had given myself free rein.

With reading treasures I culled from Havenwood School’s library and the books of her own Miss Greenlee loaned me — books filled with beautiful illustrations and intriguing photographs that could tell their stories without even needing words — the whole new world Mama promised me when I first started school was mine to explore every day.

Through books, I could marvel at masterful statues in London and Greece, canal boats in Venice, four seasons in Paris; explore Ireland’s pastoral sheep farms, and scamper with wild goats in the Scottish Highlands.

Aboriginal Dreamtime

Aboriginal Dreamtime

I could wonder at the linear depictions of skinny Egyptian queens and kings and track the hieroglyphic stories of their lives. I could listen to Dreamtime Story spirits of Australia’s Aboriginal people, and feel the throbbing rhythms of African Zulu warriors dancing the hunt as their pictures came alive for me. And I could dream of my life’s journey carrying me across the vast oceans of earth, to make friends with fascinating people in foreign lands.

Through books, I became enthralled with the art and culture of my Native American ancestors, and amazed by the genius of Renaissance Men in America. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, witty Samuel Clemens with his pen name, Mark Twain, all spoke to me. 

And I would later come to know the Founding Fathers of my nation, and realize–after the dark years that followed my own generation’s folly–how much the character of these great men and others of their ilk helped shape a Neo-Renaissance awakening.

And in my youth, their foresight, will and wisdom inspired me to believe in my ability to help in this world, and fueled my determination to visit my friend Mister Walling again, even if it had to be a secret . . .


C O N T I N U E D C L I C K  for Surprising Part III

Author D. J. Houston

Copyright©2011, 2014 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

Magical Mystery – Social Commentary – Coming of Age Story – American Literature Treasures

Founding Fathers

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Excerpts from the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

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Spring blossomsRain was another week coming to wash the sin from the charred remains of Peterson’s Salvage Yard, leaving behind no scarcity of pristine air to clear my head and lungs as I wandered the woods and countryside. Any desire for vengeance that haunted me after the fire was soon purged from my heart by the merciful, relentless beauty of Spring in Havenwood.

In the meadows and pastures, lines of fat raindrops clung like jewels to the undersides of new branches too green to absorb them, backlit by a cautious sun. Yellow-budding tulip trees drank thirstily of the fresh, pooled rain. And redbuds and dogwoods bloomed pink and white in the patches of light and shadow cast by canopies of hardwood trees, greening to life in the fertile woodlands.

I soon returned to school to discover all manner of winged creature, lending song and sound and motion to the Spring outside our classroom . . .

Ruby throated hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbirds zoomed on invisible wings from flower to flower, sharing nectar with the honeybees in the gardens we’d planted. And as the apple orchards sprinkled their delicate blossoms onto the breezes, sweet brown wrens whistled duets with the chickadees and chirping sparrows to the counterpoint, drumming staccato of woodpeckers courting their mates.

I took to drawing pictures of whatever Mother Nature offered those halcyon days, using up boxes of colored chalk and watercolor paints faster than art supply mail orders could arrive.

I was also reading every book I could get my hands on.  And because I was so far ahead in Arithmetic and so hungry for Art and Reading, Miss Greenlee made a special place for me at the back of the classroom where I could spread out my work on a nice long table with a window view.

Gnarly old Miss Hickey, the Latin teacher, disapproved, of course.

I caught her peeking through the windows before she could duck. But she didn’t dare complain to Mister Attabee; he’d already put her in her place that famous day under the hickory tree in the schoolyard, defending Miss Greenlee’s artistic license to do whatever she pleased.

Maybe she wanted her own artistic license. Maybe she was just jealous. But whatever the case, “Hickey Witch” just had to make her spiteful point by glaring at me with those snaky eyes and that squinched up face of hers whenever I passed her classroom door on my way to the library . . .

C O N T I N U E D  – C L I CK  for PART II

D.J. Houston, Author

Copyright©2008, 2014 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

From the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

Magical Mystery – Inspiring Stories – Life Lessons – Artists of Spring – Heartland America

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