Today was glorious. It’s as if the Nor’easter brought spring in its wake. The sun was shining and I was smiling right along with it.
Until I realized that today was the day that author Lynda Mullaly Hunt was visiting one of the middle school’s in my district. I kicked myself. I had intended (since the fall when I learned of the visit) to schedule a meeting with someone at the school for today so I could be there for the event. I was fortunate enough to meet and visit with her last September at nErDCampNNE in Maine.
Alas. I didn’t pull it off.
I even looked at the clock and contemplated scooting out of school, spontaneously inviting myself to the cross-town event. The kicker was, the school is a stone’s throw from my house. I’d driven right past it on the way to work.
The day filled…as days do…and I didn’t think much about it until I saw live tweets popping up from the event. Thanks, Lanny for sharing some key take aways.
Arriving home, I asked my younger son how the author visit was. Normally his responses are nonplussed and monosyllabic. Do you know the kind? Mmmhmm.
Instead he replied, “It was good, actually. I got to be part of the writing workshop this afternoon.” I may have swooned. When pressed for more details he explained that he was one of two writers from his class to join the author. All in all he thought there may have been about 40 writers. “We had to write about cancer,” turned into an explanation of how they were challenged to write a scene that included both fear and longing. He explained the iterations of thought he and his writing partner had gone through before settling themselves on cancer as a key problem their character faced. Ultimately the longing was to fit in. He talked for a full five minutes. In addition to the writing he did this afternoon, he shared anecdotes about One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree. That’s as much as I get about school from him in weeks.
It was interesting that Qaiden took away the idea of complex motivations like a push of fear and a pull of longing. When I’ve heard you speak, or spoken with you, the message was similar in that you make the writing live by drawing on strong emotions you’ve experienced, even if what caused them was different.
Needless to say, I was both very excited for him and disappointed that I missed the opportunity. The sun was still shining and my smile came out from behind its clouds.
Lynda, you are often thanking teachers. I’d like to thank you. Authors who write for kids and visit schools may not fully realize the impact they have. You make writing real and impactful for young people in a way that school sometimes doesn’t.