The launch party

Hi everyone,
David and Laurie
Writing partner Laurie Edmondson and I enjoyed the launch party on Thursday of our new kit, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. Here are a few pics from the party. Lots of people came so we had plenty of opportunities to show off the new DVDs, teacher guide, student writing journal, and three trade books used as examples for some of the lessons. We go national on the 19th at IRA in San Antonio but I bet it won’t be any more fun than we had at Drury on Thursday.
Kit on display 2Digging in
I’m grateful to Drury University, especially President Todd Parnell and former Director of the School of Education and Child Development Chris Craig for their encouragement and support throughout the project. The university provided the studio and financed the production of the DVDs and Brian Shipman used his considerable talents to produce and direct them.
David giving brief remarksExplaining the kit to a teacher
This is a project I began as Drury’s Poet Laureate and I’m pleased to say that it reflects a true collaboration involving the university, co-author and interim Director of the School of Education and Child Development Laurie Edmondson, and me. There’s even an online graduate course offered to those who wish to take LET’S WRITE for credit. One teacher has already written about LET’S WRITE as part of her master’s program.

Many others gave valuable assistance along the way, particularly technology expert Damon Hargraves who developed the prototype for the DVD format we eventually selected.
David and Charles Taylor
Now comes the hard part: getting out the word to elementary schools across the country that we have a unique teaching tool to help students develop their writing skills. We’re ready when everyone else is! Here’s the contact information for anyone who wants to learn more and/or place an order.

Stourbridge Distributors
812 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431



Announcing a writers’ workshop

BULLETIN: It’s my pleasure to be added to Renee La Tulippe’s video library of poets reading their work. This also includes an interview and a number of links to other information about my work. If you are not familiar with Renee, her own delightful poetry, or her masterful site, I urge you to click on this link and prepare to stay a while!

Hi everyone,

In May of this year, Writers Hall of Fame planned a one-day writers’ workshop in Springfield, Missouri for people with an interest in learning more about various aspects of writing. Unfortunately, our timing was in conflict with several other area events and our price ($85) was thought to be a bit much by some of those who responded. We had a number of people register, but not quite enough to make the workshop jell. Sadly, we cancelled and voted to try again in the fall, and with a lower price. The reason for the event, in part, is to raise money to fund our college scholarships for graduating high school students who want to pursue a career in writing. Naturally, we want the workshop to be successful financially as well as for those who attend the event.

So now we’re set to go again. The date is Saturday, October 13. The event, called AWAKENING THE WRITER WITHIN, will be held in Lay Hall on the campus of Drury University. The day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. Subjects covered during the day include:

What You Need to Get Started: The Simple Nuts and Bolts of Writing.
Writing What You Know and Love
Ways to Earn a Living as a Writer
Are You a Children’s Writer? Here’s How to Find Out (Guess who’s teaching that one?)
Who Are You? Where Did You Come From? (Genealogy)
What Do You Want Your Family to Remember? Capturing Your Wonderful Stories
Writing by Ear: Words that Sound Just Right
Sounding Off — and Other Letters to the Editor
Self Publishing
Trade Publishing
Agents: What Does It All Mean?
Is Betty White Right? Learn About Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and Why
Wrapping It Up! With the Section Leaders

Speakers include Kaye Calkins, Shellie Foltz, George Freeman, Jonathan Groves, David Harrison, Sara Eaker, Todd Parnell, Maryann Wakefield, Wayne Groner, Patti Hobbs, and Resa Willis. Collectively they represent many years of experience and success in their various fields of writing. We’re proud of our slate and are confident that those who attend will find much to learn and enjoy.

The price is only $50 and it includes a morning snack, a box lunch, and coffee/soft drinks/water throughout the day.

Registration Deadline is Friday, October 5. The workshop is limited to 75 registrants. Fur further information or to register, contact Gail Gourley (417-616-0554) or

I realize that most of you who normally visit my blog live too far away to join the fun on October 13, but a good number of you live closer. I hope that you’ll register for the day if you spotted anything on the program that might appeal to you. Also, many of you have your own blogs so please help by passing along this link and/or posting to Facebook, Twitter, etc. I will appreciate it!

Parroties and couplets galore

BULLETIN: Today I’m interviewed by Kathy Temean on her blog: . The subject is the importance of choosing themes.

BULLETIN: Since I posted the note below, other delightful parroties have come in. Check out B.J. Lee at the very bottom.

Hi everyone,

I don’t know if it’s over yet, because more poem parroties continue to be posted, but as of yesterday morning seventeen poets have contributed thirty + entertaining poems on the post dated August 24. They include Jane Yolen (4), Cory Corrado (2), Jeanne Poland (2), Renee La Tulippe (3), Julie Krantz, Robyn Hood Black (2), Steven Withrow, Vikram Madan (3), Marilyn Singer (2), Avis Harley, Buffy Silverman, Pat Lewis (3), David Harrison (2), Joyce Sidman, Douglas Florian, and Taylor McGowan. Take a few minutes to read them all from top to bottom. It’s well worth the time. My thanks again to Pat Lewis for suggesting this thoroughly enjoyable exercise.

If you would like to read a collection of great couplets, scroll down a bit further to August 21. There you’ll find fifty-one couplets contributed by twenty poets, including Joy Acey (2), Jane Yolen (11), Don Barrett (3), Cory Corrado, David Harrison (8), Renee La Tulippe (4), Charles Ghigna (6), Taylor McGowan, Ken Slesarik (2), Jane Heitman Healy (2), Buffy Silverman, Sara Holbrook, Brod Bagert, Annalisa Hall (2), Jeanne Poland, Julie Krantz, Vikram Madan, Catherine Johnson, Charles Waters, and Rachel Hendricks.

I particularly want to acknowledge two of our contributors, Taylor McGowan and Rachel Hendricks. These young women are now in middle school but they began posting their poetry on my blog when they were 4th graders. It’s such a pleasure to watch young people grow up sharing a bit of themselves with us here. Thank you, Taylor and Rachel.

My thanks to everyone for pitching in so many exceptional pieces of work. Wonderful job everyone!


Good news from Sandy Asher

Hi everyone,

Sandy Asher sent me an announcement about her new one-woman play and, with her permission, I’m posting it here to share with you. If you are in a position to take advantage of this opportunity, or know someone who can, please take note:

Dear friends near and far,

Following their debut mainstage production in Margaretville, NY, on Memorial Day weekend, The Open Eye Theater is now booking a tour of my one-woman play, “Walking Toward America,” directed by Amie Brockway and featuring Patricia Van Tassel. A synopsis and YouTube promo link are below.

This is a huge job, but I’m very excited about it, and I’m writing to you now in hopes you can offer contacts who might be interested in booking this piece. The play runs about 75 minutes and is appropriate for ages 10 through adult. The script is inspired by the memoirs of my dear friend Ilga Katais-Paeglis Vise, who arrived in Oak Lawn, IL, as a 17-year-old, graduated from Northwestern University, obtained her master’s degree from National-Louis University, and became a teacher, originally of first graders and later of college students at Drury University in Springfield, MO, where she and her husband are currently enjoying their retirement. There will be a reading of the play at the Library Center in Springfield on July 14 and 15, directed by David Montgomery and featuring Annie Meek Montgomery.

Please see the synopsis and video below and feel free to get in touch with me or with Amie Brockway ( ) — or to forward this information to others.

Many thanks!


SYNOPSIS: On the eve of a three-generational pilgrimage back to her Latvian homeland, ILGA speaks to her grandchildren about their great-grandparents. In the winter of 1944-1945, ten-year-old ILGA and her parents left Riga, Latvia, to escape the Russian occupation of their city. Soon they were taken into a German forced labor camp, where they spent a brutal month — but fared better than the Jewish prisoners held on the other side of a barbed wire fence. Eventually, they walked 500 miles across frozen, war-torn northern Germany, survived strafing by Russian planes, and found their way to a refugee camp in western Germany. Six years later, they sailed through an Atlantic storm to safety and freedom in America. What makes ILGA’s event-filled story unique and compelling is that she was a child witness to the devastation of war and the sources of strength that got her family through it. In “Walking Toward America,” one actress plays ILGA as a grandmother and at ages 4, 10, and nearly-17, plus all the characters that populate her remarkable journey.

A note about Family Voices

Hi everyone,

I’ve mentioned Family Voices before but would like to give it another plug today. I’m reprinting a letter to the editor that was in yesterday’s paper here in Springfield, Missouri. Although it bears my name, at least four other people on our committee had a hand in perfecting what you see here: Kay Logsdon, Nancee Dahms-Stinson, Sony Hocklander, and Laurie Edmondson.

It’s hard to stress too often how critical it is to read every day to children, particularly those under five years old. If you have children in that age range or know others who do, please share this reminder. Thanks!

Reading to children

An invitation to join Family Voices

Editor’s note: This Sunday feature aims to give special recognition to a letter (under 300 words) that stands out for impact, style or in another intriguing way.

David Harrison

Spr ingfield

One of the most precious gifts a child can receive doesn’t have to cost a cent, and every parent can give it to their child. Sadly, too many parents unknowingly withhold that gift.

It’s simply reading to your child.

Failure to read regu­larly to little ones under 5 often sets in motion a sequence of serious con­sequences. Kids who en­ter kindergarten not knowing their letters are already months be­hind their classmates. If they can’t catch up by end of third grade, many will remain be­hind in every grade thereafter. Who wants to go to school when you feel frustrated? Anything, even dropping out of school, may seem better.

Failure to read to young children is not always related to income. Regardless of afflu­ence, many families are guilty of not setting aside that all-im­portant snuggle and read time. That’s why Family Voices was started, and summer is the great time to take advantage of what it offers.

If you have a child under 5, call Gail Gourley at The Li­brary Center. Here’s her num­ber: 417-616-0554; and email ad­dress: will make arrangements to record you reading to your child.

Your voice will be added to a collection of 25 previ­ously recorded sto­ries read by Spring­field celebrities. This personalized CD li­brary is yours free.

Your child will love this keepsake that features your voice as the first reader. It’s perfect if you travel or are away from your child or grandchild for any reason! We’ll also give you a free picture book for each child in your family under 5, no strings attached. We just want people to read more to their children.

Sound like a bargain? It is! All you have to do is get to the library. It’s cool in there. Cool books. Cool reading. Cool chances for your child.

David Harrison co-chairs the Fam­ily Voices committee. DavidL

Golden Pe n Award