Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Would You Say Such a Thing?

I have always loved my quirky students the most. Most first graders have a mind of their own, anyway, but the bold, brazen ones hold a special place in my heart.

I love the grand announcements they make. Some of them are so good at this, that you can almost hear the fanfare of a full orchestra building behind them. One of my favorites was from a class long ago from a girl I'll call Scout, because she had the spunkiness of Scout Finch.

"I'm getting a new sister," Scout announced.

She was an only child, and this was definitely exciting news. The class started to gather around her.

"We're adopting her," she went on.

"That's wonderful!" I said. "Is she a baby, or is she an older child?"

She looked thoughtful, as if she was searching for the right answer. "She's two. Her parents were in a car accident."

At this point, I was trying to keep the tears from coming, and there was a blanket of hush over the crowd. Scout truly had the floor.

"How sad!" I said. "Did you know her family?"

She nodded. "They were our friends."

I searched for the right thing to say. "Well, she's so lucky to have you."

She smiled, definitely pleased with how her announcement had been received.

Her mother came by to pick her up for an appointment that afternoon.

"Congratulations!" I said.

Scout's mother had a puzzled look on her face, as she stooped to tie her shoe.

"On your adoption!" I said.

More puzzled looks. "We're not adopting ..." Her voice trailed off, as she slowly turned toward Scout.

Scout's focus was on the nearest escape route. She shot me a "thanks-for-snitching" look.

Her mother's voice boomed through the open window as they headed out to their appointment. "Why would you say such a thing?!"

But I knew why. Scout had her audience. She got to provide the details she wanted to create the story she wanted them to hear.

She was a born fiction writer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Geeky Writer Joy

I'm still basking in my geeky writer joy well over two weeks after attending the annual SCBWI conference in New York.

Everyone takes away a little something different from the award-winning authors, publishers, agents, and people who appreciate all-that-is-the-written-and-illustrated-word.

I have attended many a conference, small and gargantuan, over the past years. At each one, I've gotten tidbits to take away with me; to mull over and to incorporate or apply to my own writing.

This year had a very common thread for me. The thread was simple, but it spoke volumes. It was basically, be kind to each other. Support your peeps. You are all in this thing together. When you break it all down, we all have the same hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities. Prop up your fellow illustrators and writers -- whether it be with just a kind word of encouragement, or a positive comment on a blog post.

Writing and illustrating can be a lonely process. Hang together and support each other.

And now ... the answers to the last Trivia Tuesday questions. (See previous post for pictures, etc.!)

1. Who is the awesome author/SCBWI Team Blogger/cupcake aficionado on the right?

That is Jolie Stekly, a.k.a. Cuppa Jolie!

2. Identify the author of the upcoming, One For the Murphys.

Linda Mullaly Hunt's One For the Murphys will be released this May!

3. Name the Texas Sweetheart on the left.

That is Jill Alexander, the author of The Sweetheart of Prosper County and Paradise.

4. Okay, I sort of cheated with this last photo. That is Peggy Conway Haywood, my mom! It is one of my favorite pictures of her. She taught me to appreciate and cherish art in my life!