Hi, I'm Denise.
I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, author, neighbor, dreamer, gardener, citizen, community adviser. I am a little of this and a little of that - some of my mother and some of my father. I’m French and Irish and third in a family of eight.
I grew up in an old farmhouse in a small town in Michigan with six sisters and one lucky brother. (Yes, he agrees with that statement!) Geese, sheep, chickens, cats and dogs, and a VERY large garden, always in need of weeding, kept us busy. (Though there are a few photographs that reveal I may have spent more time eating green beans than pulling weeds.) Some of my fondest childhood memories include a treehouse, swing set with a glider, tire swing on a hill that made it feel like you were floating on air, bumpy homemade ice rinks, a rickshaw, building snow forts and blanket forts, a trusty 10-speed bike, “hotel” vacations, and a red barn with a sign that read "Pax Tecum" meaning "peace be with you” in Latin.
I am passionate and competitive, creative and curious. I am a private person, but I love people. Especially the ones who wave at you when you let them take cuts in a construction zone. Or smile at you just to smile. I think we are all connected and that most people in this world are good and kind. I love quotes - so much wisdom in so few words! I love to take walks and I find cleaning to be calming. I get annoyed in grocery stores when people stand in the middle and chat. By all means, catch up with your friend, but please, move over.
A few things that make my heart grow and glow: farmer’s markets (such happy, healthy places!), sipping a latte at Uptown Coffeehouse, the joy I feel when I’m on a bike, being with my kids and husband, spending time with my girlfriends of over 45 years, being anywhere by or on the water, sitting by a bonfire, reading, writing poetry, snoozing in a hammock, and traveling.
My senses come alive when I go somewhere that I’ve never been before! On a recent trip to France, I was astonished at how little sleep I needed; I didn’t want to miss out on anything! Being home, however, also brings me joy. As much as I enjoy seeing new things and meeting new people, my heart will always belong in Michigan. Tallulah: Mermaid of the Great Lakes is my way of showing the pride and devotion I feel for this place I call home.
When I was young, I wanted to be a detective or a reporter. I thought digging for the truth, gathering facts, investigating situations and people, using all my senses (especially my hound-like nose) to get to the bottom of something, researching, asking a lot of questions, coming up with various solutions, and ultimately “cracking” the case, sounded fun and interesting.
Funny how things turn out. As a writer, that’s what I do. I have a gazillion notebooks, I ask A LOT of questions, research my topics, use all of my senses, poke and prod my characters and stories into shape, and if I’m lucky, I create a storybook that kids – and parents - want to “crack” open over and over again.
The idea for my first book, Buzzy the Bumblebee, came to me when I discovered scientific research that suggested bumble bees are not aeronautically equipped to fly. My first thought was, “It’s a good thing bumble bees don’t know that!” Soon followed by the question, “What would happen if they found out?” To this day, I feel it is a wonderful way to inspire people to “bee-lieve” in themselves and their dreams.
I was recently asked, “What are your dreams and goals?”
Helping others tell their stories, sharing my enthusiasm for reading and writing with schoolchildren and teachers across the country, and encouraging children and adults to tap into their imaginations to create richer, fuller lives are continuing goals for me. Other aspirations include embracing imperfections, Soultreats, (more on this to come!), keeping my senses alive and open to inspiration, and living in the moment in order to be the best mother, daughter, sister, friend, citizen, dreamer, gardener, and grandma (yes, I’m going to be a GRANDMA!) that I can be.
“What if you wake up some day, and you're 65 or 75, and you never got your novel or memoir written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools or oceans because your thighs were jiggly or you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen.” - Anne Lamott