One More Moment, Please

“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
~A.A. Milne, WINNIE-THE-POOH

FIXMEUP600Piglet and Pooh’s thoughtful exchange opens the “Fix Me Up” music video featuring Zach Sobiech, Sammy Brown, and Reed Redmond of A Firm Handshake.

The “Fix Me Up” soundtrack sprouted from the trio’s resolve to bring beauty and goodness out of 18-year-old Zach’s terminal diagnosis and impending death from osteosarcoma. In “Fix Me Up” Sammy pleads, “One more moment, please.” The Piglet/Pooh dialog fittingly echoes Sammy and Zach’s heartache, love, dread, and hope. By communicating their conflicting emotions with such urgent truth and transparency, the life-long friends remind us that sooner is better. Their message has hit a universal cord, as proven by Zach’s #1 hit single “Clouds”.

Bestselling children’s book author Kate DiCamillo uses music to create a specific mood in her books. In 2006, a New York Public Library Author Chat participant asked,”Which music would be the best soundtracks to accompany your books?”

DiCamillo answered,  “I wrote Despereaux to Bach, Winn-Dixie to Van Morrison, Edward to Rachmaninoff. Does that help?”

I’ve toiled to find the perfect songs for my work.  For children’s books, I’ve found that Veggietales Radio produces better results than Etta James. For my family memoir, baroque keeps me serious, but too stuffy. Buddy Holly helps me remember, but I find myself dancing instead of writing and regressing to an age nobody else remembers.  Colbie Callait helps me forget, but that’s not good when you’re writing a memoir.

I could waste a lot of time selecting songs and never do the work. My distracted mind needs music of focused urgency. Tuesday, my craft received a defribulating jolt when I won the “Fix Me Up” Deluxe Edition CD and music video DVD in a door prize drawing.

I’d already received a what-are-you-waiting-for kick in the pants while laughing, crying, and crying some more through Zach’s mother Laura Sobiech’s memoir, Fly a Little Higher.

Laura wrote Fly a Little Higher  in only twelve weeks, just months after her son’s death–with no lack of professionalism or clarity. I hadn’t been so inspired by a family story since Atticus raised Scout and Jem in To Kill A Mockingbird. And I’d never experienced such a graceful, life-giving death in someone so young–or old–ever. The Sobiech experience spoke to me. It said, “What are you waiting for?”

I bought extras for gifts. Shhhh.

I bought extras for gifts. Shhhh.

 

Zach (and Laura) raised the bar to billowy heights, but Zach’s short life reminds us to share our talents, not hide or waste them. And now we have his music to encourage and inspire us to reach higher in whatever we’re doing.

Now my favorite ear candy while writing for children: “Sandcastles” and “Star Hopping”. For living, breathing, memoir writing, and everything else: the “Fix Me Up” soundtrack set to repeat.

A Firm Handshake‘s melodies soar; their words stir, yet fill you with hope. By baring and sharing the fruit of their young, wise souls, the trio challenges others to be real, to step into the unknown despite our fears, and to live while dying.

“Because, let’s face it–we’re all dying.” ~ Laura Sobiech.

To experience more of this story, go to Zach Sobiech’s Page on the Children’s Cancer Research Fund website, especially SoulPancake’s  documentaries preceding and one year after Zach’s death.

Other links for you

I’ll leave you with KS95’s Largest Choir’s singing “Clouds” .

Zach Sobiech-RIP
May 3, 1995 – May 20, 2013

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.”
~A.A. Milne, WINNIE-THE-POOH

EVERY SOUL A STAR

Did you know that some people call the total solar eclipse Nature’s Greatest Coincidence? During this phenomena, the moon and the sun look the same size from the earth. But the moon is 400 time smaller. Coincidentally, (or not), the sun circles the earth 400 times as far away as the moon. That’s why they seem the same size to us. If the moon were even a few miles smaller in circumference, it wouldn’t hide the face of the sun.

EVERY SOUL A STARMiddle Grade Fiction
Age Range: 8-12 years
Grade Level: 3-7
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hachette Book Group
Text copyright © 2008 Wendy Mass
Cover photo copyright © 2008 Pat La Croix/The Image Bank/Getty Images

 AWARDS

California Young Reader Medal
First Annual Homeschool Book Award


WHY EVERY SOUL A STAR IS A KEM GEM

KKRISTI’S TAKE
EVERY SOUL A STAR took me on a stellar journey where I learned about individuality, friendship and astronomy. Wendy Mass weaves together three points-of-views to show us how it feels to be an outsider. Ally, the alpha girl, Bree, the beauty and Jack, who wants to hide in a box, learn that their uniqueness is what makes them radiate from the shadows of ordinary life. Wendy has channeled the mesmerizing energy of a solar eclipse into a fairy-tale ball, only there’s no magic or evil, just truth and hope that connects us universally. This is one of those books that I didn’t want to end because I had met three very dear friends, and without them, there was a void.

Favorite line
“And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now.”

KEM Sapphire
EELISE’S TAKE
The collision of celestial paths in a solar eclipse is a perfect backdrop for the meeting of three very different lives. In EVERY SOUL A STAR, Mass masterfully alternates between Ally, Bree, and Jack’s first-person perspectives and elicits a sympathetic response from her readers towards each. By the end of the story, I was invested in all three kids, their flaws, their insecurities, and their personal growth.

Mass’ description of the solar eclipse was also a highlight. My only opportunity to see a solar eclipse for myself was during second grade. We were forbidden to look outside (under threat of certain blindness!), so I was thrilled to “see” the big moment through this novel.

Tip: For extra glory, read Ally’s chapter 7 while listening to MPR showcase a very dramatic Buffalo Philharmonic.

KEM Diamond
MGrayMARRAS’ TAKE
In EVERY SOUL A STAR, Wendy Mass treads where few writers dare to go–into the galaxies of three fictional adolescent minds, in first person, and in present tense. What a brave soul. She shines as a psychological  genius–a prerequisite for anyone who loves teenagers.

Mass camouflages astrophysics amidst entertaining character dialog and reflections. The subliminal lessons work so well, I’ve reserved August 21, 2017, the next mainland total eclipse, to camp in the middle of nowhere with a red flashlight and a telescope. If EVERY SOUL A STAR can ignite a late-in-life star-gazing passion in me, imagine the astronomically bright potential for a 13-year-old reader.

Favorite line
“I sure as heck won’t tell them that it used to belong to my dad when he was a baby and that he left it in my crib when he took off. And I definitely won’t tell them that I say good night to it every night before I go to sleep.

It’s just too pathetic.”GEMrub

Every Soul a Star Book trailers by Maria M.


Every Soul a Star Book trailer by Sarah Simmons

EVERY SOUL A STAR Resources

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