I’m delighted to say that I’ve just given permission to a teacher in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to use a story from THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES (The Giant Who Threw Tantrums) in a puppet show in May.
This will be part of a Steam Academy project to involve students in an after-school program in puppetry. The project requires that the students’ involvement includes a performance. This will involve third and fourth graders. Does this sound like fun or what!
THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES was published in 1972 so I’m tickled every time I’m asked about using work from it. Last year stories from the book were used in anthologies in France and South Africa. I think there are twelve translations of the original stories here and there around the globe.
I don’t think I’m a writer because of the incident described here, from Chapter 2 of This Life, but I believe the cumulative effect of many such incidents did.
“I was three years old in 1940 when my mom and dad were visiting some friends in the country. I went out in the yard to watch their dogs, which had caught a black snake and were having their way with it, letting it loose and recapturing it. I wanted in on the fun. I picked up the bleeding snake and threw it back to the dogs. That’s when my mother looked out the window.“
Nor do I believe my Drury College professor’s words of encouragement made me a writer, but they made me want to be a writer. Something long before that in my life had prepared me to take his words to heart. The stories behind that moment, and the moments that followed, are the reasons for the book.
At the end of the semester, Dr. Graham offered me some parting advice. “Just because you are going into science doesn’t mean you can’t be a writer, too. I hope you will pursue both paths. I think you have the makings of a writer.”
Dr. Graham says keep it up
I’ll become a writer.
Me, a writer? No way!
But wouldn’t that be something?
I pull my story out again,
read his notes.
Shouldn’t even be here,
me a science major.
That’s why I wrote about the wasp.
I think he thinks I could.
But teachers are optimistic.
I hold my story, read it again.
What if I could?
Who cares? Right?
Too many things to think about –
graduating, getting married,
Me a writer? No way.
But wouldn’t that be something?For the second time in weeks, this man made me examine my future.I never saw Dr. Graham again. I graduated and went on toEmory University to work on my master’s degree. When he eventuallyretired, he moved to California and died not long after that.
Tonight is a big night for me. For the first time since it came out, I’m introducing my autobiography, THIS LIFE, to the public. At 7:00 my editor, RACHEL KERSEY, and I will sit before an audience gathered at The Library Center in Springfield and talk about the book.
Rachel will come prepared with questions and I, hopefully, will come with answers. I may read a bit now and then to help provide further insight about how I chose the events in my life that I think eventually influenced me as a writer and poet.
The cover for THIS LIFE was taken by RANDY BACON when he was shooting Words and Pictures, the marvelous exhibit that has been on display at numerous locations around the area. I’m very grateful to Randy for allowing me to use the picture of me on the cover.
I’ve given many programs at The Library Center over the years. Most have been well attended by audiences that included numerous children. But tonight’s event is different. There won’t be many or any children there. This time the subject is for adults — writers, readers, teachers, librarians, parents… I don’t know what to expect and can only hope for a nice turnout. Wish me luck. Come if you can.
Today I’ll finish the Benchmark book. I may take a few days off, or at least cut back on the hours for a while. I still need to make a few more notes about the school visit to WOLF School this Thursday and coming up on the 12th is a program at The Library Center that will be a Q/A interview/presentation with my editor, RACHEL KERSEY, about This Life. I look forward to both events.
First shipment of my autobiography will be delivered to the Duane G. Meyer Library on the Missouri State University campus today.
For those of you who have placed orders, your books will be going out right away. And of course that’s true for new orders placed now. I can’t guarantee that your copies will arrive by Christmas, but there’s a chance they will. Sorry it’s a photo-finish but believe me, my editor RACHEL KERSEY, worked at record speed to make this possible at all.For anyone within driving distance of the MSU campus, you can pick up your copy to save time.
A second printing is planned soon after the first of the year when the Ingram shipment arrives. That one will be made available to book stories, libraries, and online sellers.