Authors in the Classroom

I’m back at the desk after a much-needed break from writing, and students are back at their desks too.  Kids heading back to school always makes me think of books and literacy. There are many wonderful worlds waiting to be discovered within the pages of books, and one of my joys as an author is sitting down at my computer and bringing those worlds to life.

I also enjoy doing school visits.  It’s an opportunity to reach readers of all ages (and maybe convert a few non-readers in the crowd). I love talking about writing and creating and publishing. I never forget to stress the importance of persistence and revision. Mostly I like to inspire others to find and nourish their own creative well.

When I was in Grade Four (yes, that’s me circled above), I knew I wanted to be a writer. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind. But I had no idea how to become one. I don’t think I even realized authors existed outside the pages of their books. Well, they did then, and they still do today. Only these days it’s a lot easier to find one willing to go into schools. It’s a great opportunity to leave our fictional worlds behind and meet characters who talk out loud instead of only in our heads.  And whenever I talk to kids I always wonder if maybe, just maybe, I’m talking to an author-in-the-making.

With Covid still in the mix, it’s a little harder to do in-person school visits, but I am available for virtual classroom visits. If you’d like to arrange one, feel free to drop me an email. And if you’d like a little more information on what I have to offer, check out the bio link here on my website and click on author talks.

See you at school!

Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. Would Tweet

 

I don’t remember Martin Luther King Jr. very well. I vaguely recall him speaking on TV and I clearly remember the collective sadness when he was assassinated, though some of that was download.jpgMLKundoubtedly influenced by the assassination of Robert Kennedy two months later. (In my child mind the spring of 1968 was all about public weeping).

While the man wasn’t part of my little girl world, his beliefs and words were. And since January 21st was Martin Luther King Jr. day, I thought I’d share a few MLK quotes that resonate with me as a writer.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” It applies to so much in life but it sure applies to a life in the arts. Writing that first line, dabbing that first swirl of paint, picking up that lump of clay requires a tremendous leap of faith.

“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” This quote reminds me of my neighbor who passed away unexpectedly last year. Ron was a mechanic, one of the best in the city. Retirement didn’t stop him either. On days when my words wouldn’t flow, I’d look out my window and see Ron in his driveway tinkering with a wrench and being the best he could be under the hood of a car. Humbled and inspired, I’d go back to the keyboard to do whatever best I could muster in that particular moment.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Much of what I do for others is private and not something I care to share (I don’t get why some are public about their good deeds). But one thing I do for others publicly is write. I write so people will be moved or informed or entertained. (And sometimes I write so Teen Freud will remember to empty the dishwasher or companies like Dearfoams will replace the two-month-old slippers that are already falling apart). I also write to get paid; it’s how I make my living. I like to believe there’s honor in that (see middle quote). But sometimes I spend too much time in the ‘how am I doing?’ loop and forget that this whole thing isn’t about me at all – it’s about the readers.

Which brings me to the last MLK quote: “We must use time
creatively.
” I’ll bet you money that if Martin Luther King were alive today he’d be on Twitter. And probably Facebook. For sure he’d have a website. He was a smart guy; he’d recognize the power of social media. But I doubt he’d spend hours tracking his progress or checking his likes or counting his retweets. He’d be too busy doing for others, doing it well, and having faith.

Don’t you think?