Posting got a little tricky yesterday. Sorry to deliver in segments. I didn’t finish revising the desert story last week for the same reason: too many unexpected stops and starts — mostly good ones with friends and family. On the advice of another friend, who sometimes reminds me to stay in the moment, I enjoyed the moments and look forward to finishing the story, hopefully, this coming week.
One highlight of the week will be paying a Skype visit to Wallenpaupack Middle School in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. Beth Troop, the teacher who arranged the visit, is a friend of many years. We met in the days when she worked in editorial for Boyds Mills Press before she completed her degree in education and went on to become a teacher. I look forward to seeing Beth and meeting her 7th graders on Friday.
When I agreed to visit a primary school in Kirksville, I decided to drive up on Sunday — it’s more than a four hour drive — to be there at 8:00 Monday morning. I wasn’t excited about making the trip, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Sandy surprised me by saying she was going with me. She knew there would be little for her to do Monday while I was working, but she went anyway, and the drive was far more enjoyable than I had anticipated.
Yesterday, while I spent the day at Kirksville Primary School giving eight 30-minute talks, Sandy whiled away the hours waiting for me, much of it in the hotel lobby where we’d spent the night. She picked me up after school and we drove back home, arriving at 7:00.
Mates do acts of kindness for mates. I offer this as a great example. Thank you, Sweetheart. I love you.
On Tuesday I’ll have the pleasure of visiting a Springfield school to talk to 1st grade classes. They are studying about writers and it turns out I’m one. The challenge will be to find concrete explanations to fit their world of experience. If anyone wants to share a thought or quote, I’ll work them into my time with the kids.
Maybe I should start a list. The reason why I love being a writer is ____. The kids might like that and their teachers can make copies for their work folders to keep and remember.
I mentioned promising news yesterday. I’m on the trail of a new book. No contract yet. But I’ve been here before and have a good feeling that we’re headed in the right direction. Still some work to do but I think we’ll get there.
On Friday I had a very fine time talking to kids at Sanibel School in Sanibel, Florida. My thanks to principal Barbara Von Harten and media specialist Libby Payne for facilitating my visit, and to all the teachers who supported the event.
If you haven’t read and responded to the students’ poems for this month’s Word of the Month, you have today to do so before I erase February to make way for March.
Friday I visited third grade classes at Eugene Field Elementary School in Springfield. The kids brought their questions written on note cards and they listened well when someone else was talking. Good teaching at work!
As we concluded, teacher Courtney Becker asked me what advice I would give their students about writing. It was an excellent question and one that might be answered in many ways. I’ll tell you what I said but am curious about how you would answer the question.
We had already talked about the importance of reading. I told them to observe the world around them, think about what they see, and make notes in case they decide to write about it. I said that writers pay attention to details. They don’t just look at flowers. They see the life going on in and around the blossoms. They see things that many people miss because they are paying attention. What writers observe brings them pleasure and a never ending world of possibilities to think about, read about, and write about.
How would have answered Courtney’s question?