In her book RADICAL REFLECTIONS, the incomparable children’s author & educator Mem Fox, of Australia, (the creator of KOALA LOU) says that she gets, maybe, four good ideas a year in writing for children.
One, two, three, four.
This cheers me up because, in calculations for my warm fuzzie for the just-ended National Novel Writing Month 2010, I have to ask:
Have I measured up to my goals?
We shall see.
Saturday evening our pals GiGi & husband Jerry came over straight from the airport to endure my spaghetti & meatballs after their day-long flights home to North Florida from a Thanksgiving in NYC that collected their family from hither & yon.
They are good story tellers & their tales helped distract us from the fact that the best teen in the universe, home for Thanksgiving from her first semester of college in New England, had just flown northward that day.
“How did you do with your writing,” GiGi asked me. They had been over for brunch at the beginning of the month & I had announced my goals as a Picture Book Rebel in NANOWRIMO 2010:
four new picture books, written
a picture book idea, a day
To put the screws in tight, I had also, impromptu, announced this during the Author Panel, Elementary Section, at the Florida Association of Media Educators 2010 conference, conveniently held in November .
Here’s where the four picture books are:
A story set at Easter-time – written & 1st draft read t0 crit. crew.
A story about the origins of a favorite food – writing begun & pages to date – three- ready to read to crit.crew. The research tastes yummy.
A p.b. biography about an abolitionist – writing revised, after a hiatus of three years – not quite ready to read to crit. crew but 7 workable pages nailed.
(big blank space here )
– for unwritten fourth p.b.
But Fourth, Unwritten P.B. is 1 of 23 new p,b. ideas (not 30) that I came up with, which are ready for this Thursday’s meeting with my crit crew.
I have taken my victory laps around the neighborhood on my daily walks.
This would be a I Wish I Could… instead of an I Did! had I not ponied up, got my NANOWRIMO halo & publicly announced goals. AND the best part of this month was written by someone else.
Jane Yolen (TOUCH MAGIC, one of her books about the craft of Story, great for readers & writers) an incomparable talent of the world, who can’t be categorized, only, as a writer for children, although that is how I came to her, sent me a new, unpublished poem early each morn, which she penned or penciled or keyboarded, each day of November.
Yes, that’s right.
She did this as an advocate for The Center for New Americans.
Her poems sailed out to fulfill her November writing pledge.
It was to create a fresh poem each day, delivered privately for personal use only, to the luckies who pledged in turn, to donate to The Center. I thank my critique partner M.R. Street for her graciousness in alerting me to this.
Do you follow tennis? Imagine if Chrissie Evert shows up at your doorstep, to show you her swing.
Have you prayed for racial strife to end ? Imagine if you answer the knock & meet Desmond Tutu, there to bow his head in prayer with your family.
Well, this is November 2010 for me. It’s been birthday & anniversary & Easter & Christmas & New Year’s & like my first successful bike-riding moment at age 8 (“You’re a late – bloomer, Jan,” a newspaper editor once told me) & events of similar good force. In one month.
30 Days Hath November
In 30 days I could fall flat
Or I could soar.
It’s up to me to open the door.