Oak Hill Young Writers Inspire

Last night I spoke at the annual awards ceremony and author’s reception for the Oak Hill Young Writers’ Club in Sabattus, Maine. I knew that the event would give me a chance to brush up on my public speaking skills before my award reception Sunday evening. I knew that the event would give me a chance to see what my Creative Bookings clients were experiencing. I knew the event would be my chance to inspire a group of kids who were interested in the thing that I love most.

What I didn’t realize is how much they would inspire me.

The Oak Hill Young Writers’ Club started with a handful of children at a single school and have since grown to one hundred children throughout the the school district. The teachers and volunteers leading the charge are passionate about children and passionate about writing. They see cuts in school budgets year after year and have “band[ed] together to become a foundation of support for [the] children.” Through business and community┬ádonations, volunteers, and the kindness of local authors, they have focussed their energy on making writing appealing and cool for students through club meetings, writing contests, and scholarships.

After the speakers, I was honored to watch the attending young authors receive their t-shirts and certificates of participation for the year. The contest winners received their prizes. Their smiles, and the pride on their parent’s faces, lit up the room. In that moment, I was reminded of the pure joy of writing without the expectation of publication or money or awards.

I wish for you all a day of writing without ego.

Member Monday: All in the family

I know, I know. It isn’t Monday. I also know that I didn’t post on Friday. I was rerouted by a wonderful visit from my Mom and Dad, then my sister-in-law, her husband, and her two kiddos (under two years old) showed up. Needless to say, there was no peace or quiet but there was tons of fun. The 20 month old fell in love with our yellow lab. First word out of his mouth each morning? “LUCY!”

With all that was going on: parades, beach, playing outside, weeding gardens, going to baseball games, grocery shopping, laundry… no internet happened at all. No blogging, no email responses, no twitter and absolutely nothing wrong with that. It was great to get a break from the computer. The world in front of us and all around us is the one we must inhabit. Still, as a writer, the worlds I build in my WIP’s often seem as real, and as important as those flesh and blood settings in which I reside. A part of me needs the solitary activities of writing and drawing.

This makes me think about the upcoming summer months. Writing definitely has its rhythms. I write more in the October to December, and January to April season then most of the rest of the year, but I’d like to work all year long. I pulled my kiddos aside last night at dinner to discuss the fact that Mom still wants to work even when they are out of school. Did they have suggestions about how we would manage that? The conversation quickly refocused on them and whether or not they were old enough for jobs in town so I never got my answer. I’m curious, how do those of you with tweens and young teens make time to write in the summer?

At home today, waves of thunder and lightning crash outside my window. In the quiet space in between, the rain beats on the shingles, and birds twitter and chirp. My house is dark and calm and silent. Dog is snuggled on the rug. I am revising.

On the road to the NESCBWI Conference: Part 1: Toddler’s Eye View

Yesterday, I put my children on an airplane to visit my in-laws in Florida. I hugged them, kissed them and bid them farewell. Then I watched the plane leave and cried. I’m not a good flyer myself so transferring my phobias to this situation was par for the course. Also, (with my husband deployed) the three of us have gotten to be quite the team. The separation was a little like ripping a couple of bananas from the bunch. Nevertheless, I wiped my tears and got on with the business of being on my own and enjoying a week’s vacation. First stop without children? My sister-in-law’s home where she just had a new baby. She also has a cutie, cute toddler. I know– crazy.

But in a way it isn’t crazy at all. As soon as I walked in their house, I was transported back to a time of sitting on the floor, and bubbles, stones, squirrels, and sidewalk chalk, and putting things in, and taking things out, and bath time, and “what does the cow say?” It was a toddler’s point of view and it reminded me of why I got into the business of writing and illustrating in the first place.

Inspiration! It’s grand.

(PS: It also means short blog posts because someone always needs something– NOW!)