I've just been invited to attend the 2010 Children's Literature Festival of the Ozarks as a presenter!
This is doubly special, not only because it's an honor to be asked, but also because I grew up in Missouri, so I get to see all my family and friends.
How psyched am I?
Forget the snow angels...it's cartwheel time!
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson
Bringing the Boy Home is on the preliminary list for the 2010/2011 Mark Twain Award!
I'm SO excited. There are twenty five books on the list now and the final twelve will be announced in January. Fingers crossed.
There are some great books nominated. Some really prolific, talented, award winning authors. Some Newbery Award winning authors. Wow.
It's a Missouri state award and--being that I grew up in Missouri, that makes it that much more special. Go-the Show Me State!
Everytime I get discouraged or frustrated or argh!!!! with my writing, I read this.
Oprah interviewed different people on what FAITH means to them. This is what Alice Sebold said:
GOTTA HAVE FAITH
The Flash from Heaven
By Alice Sebold
In some sense, faith is what I'm all about and also what can disappear in the blink of an eye. For a writer, it is as simple as words coming easily one day and failing you the next. During bleak times, when my characters sound like so many holiday-drunk relatives—and not the garrulous kind—I reassure myself that writing, like dreaming, is a function of my unconscious and will never leave me entirely on my own. I wake in the very early morning and like to start an hour or two before sunrise as if to catch the tailwind of my dreams. Also, pragmatically, I prefer to start when all the judges are still sleepy, including the harshest one—myself.
A difficult lesson, which I fought at every turn, is that what often must substitute for faith is discipline. Faith has a lovely ease about it, an ethereal ring. Discipline is the rod, the staff, your insecurities internalized and spouting rules and limits on your life. Why can't I just have faith that books will be completed? Why isn't faith alone enough? I hear my Southern roots respond. Faith doesn't dig ditches, they say; faith doesn't scrape the burn from the bottom of the pot. Ultimately, faith gives freedom, and discipline, its sister, makes sure the job gets done. Authors, when alone, often talk of page counts or word counts or how many hours they spent working that day. Rarely do we discuss our own attempts at poetry even though it is the poetry of others that routinely charges us with enough faith to go on.
Waking at 4 a.m.—3 a.m. when I am truly driven—is surely no fun for anyone, but having an image sneak up on you before the rest of the world wakes up is heaven. A small and precious secret that no one can see in the dark. Hours later, when the house stirs, and I hear my husband making a fresh pot of coffee in the kitchen, I begin to feel the pressures of the day invade. I feel as if the air around me literally changes, and the work that comes then is harder and driven by will, not grace. I finish up for the day—always in the middle of something with notes jotted down that make no sense to anyone (and if I leave my desk for more than a day, that often includes me)—and go into the world of responsibilities where that necessary if often oppressive goddess of discipline takes center stage.
The work I leave behind in my study is unfinished and unknowable almost every day. Characters come alive and die in an instant, metaphors wobble, and sentences shift meaning without my fully understanding how. After all, conscious thought is the death of creativity and to have faith in one's unconscious is the ultimate need of a writer—at least this one. Dreams go unfinished while we sleep but can be completed upon waking if we both have faith and are willing to do the grueling work of follow-through. In this way faith is a figment, a dream, a creation—something beautiful I never hope to lose.
Some people amaze me. Lisa Schroeder is one of them. Have you seen her list of books? If not, let me just list them for you so you can all be as impressed as well. (It's like printing out your finished story...when you have all those pages in your hand, you just feel like: WHOA! I did all that!)
Well, WHOA! Lisa did all this:
I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME came out in JAN 2008
FAR FROM YOU, came out in JAN 2009
CHASING BROOKLYN comes out in JAN 2010
AND ALSO arriving at a bookstore near you in 2010—a mid-grade novel, IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES, AND, AND, AND a picture book titled LITTLE CHIMP'S BIG DAY.
That's five books in three years!
Oh, my gosh! She's super-human. She can write in verse, from a tween's point of view, a teen's point of view, a boy's view point, a girl's viewpoint...even a monkey's view point for goodness sakes!
And I'm not even going to go into the fact that she facebooks, blogs, tweets, reviews, speaks at schools, works another job, has a family, and still smiles calmly in all her pictures.
A-mazing. Lisa, I salute you. And now that I've written something about cupcakes, I MUST have one...power of suggestion and all. It would be nice to have the book IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES and be eating a cupcake, but I guess I'll have to wait until next year for that delight.