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Gary Schmidt was one of the first authors that I had the privilege of hearing. Presenting on “Writing for the Middle School Reader: War, Trouble, and Calamity”, Schmidt talked about the decisions that we make or, more importantly, the decisions that young adults are making. He asked, “What are the decisions that we make that help us turn our face away from childhood, and towards adulthood” and “When does a child say, ‘I believe this because I believe it?'” And, then, how do we address this in our writing?

Some awesome Gary Schmidt quotes include:

“The poetry will come later, but the story first!” (In recounting his 6th grade reading of Shakespeare)

“It was sort of a Holy moment.”

“When gods die, they die hard” (From his book, Wednesday Wars).

“Yeah, I used the same name. I really didn’t like her” (In talking about a character in his book who was obviously inspired by his 6th grade teacher, Ms. Baker).

“Love, in this world, folks, is not guaranteed.”

Schmidt finished by addressing St. Augustine’s questions on writing: Does the story serve? Does your reader grow? Does your reader have more to be Christian with.”

And, again, “Let us give them the stories tha thelp us turn their faces toward adulthood.”

And then, and then, and then…

I had the lovely opportunity to hear Mary Karr, poet and memoir writer. What I loved about Mary’s presentation was that she started with prayer. Yay for prayer before writing talks, yes?

In reminiscing about some past life events, Mary said, “The good thing about Christiands and stuff–ya’ll show up! You will bring a casserole. You will bring the jello.” And, I love that. I think because that is what I am about, or what I hope I am about. I know that sometimes I drastically fail, and sometimes it’s about performance instead of love, which is disappointing, but God is good in working on even that in my life.


Wow, I look like a college student

I have to say, though, my all time favorite Mary Karr moment was when she referred to her brain as a “squirrell in a coffee can.” Oh, good! I’m not the only one.

But, mostly, I connected with her on prayer and writing. I know that I write my best when I am doing so prayerfully. “Nothing will bring you closer to the Lord



Oh, man, I did my chef look!

Do I really need to say anything about this picture? I look cheesily happy and Michael Chabon just looks beautiful. Old enough to be my father, sure, but beautiful nonetheless. I heart him. Really.

Funny story, though, I told Michael to “look authorly” just before this picture was taken. To which he responded immediately afterwards, “Oh, man, I did my chef look instead.”

After M.C., there was an open Mic poetry reading which I read at (A cheesy poem I wrote for the spirit of the event, and then fiction because there were no fiction reading events! I will be talking to someone about this heresy).


Some Friday Stories

I was awoken at 5:30 this morning with an earthquake! Oh my! How did my Milwaukee friends fare, I wonder.

First session: C.S. Lewis and the Moral Obligation, a presentation by Michael Testa with Walden Media.

“Sometimes fantasy stories say waht best needs to be said” C. S. Lewis.

Did you know they used 47 real pigs for the filming of Charlotte’s Webb? And that children spend 7 minutes of daily leisure time reading?

Great presenter. Really good points about children readers. And, I really was able to take away the idea of ‘moral agency in the world of fantasy’ which will compliment my Henry James “conscious moral purpose” kick that I have been on for a while.

Final favorite quote from Michael, “If you’re teaching the Holocaust and your kids are not having nightmares on a regular basis, there’s something wrong with your teaching.”

On a more depressing note, I talked to an agent. Those suckers are mean! There was lots of bloodletting, mostly by me, and while I did not cry, I am currently sulking and blogging.

“Mommy, I don’t want to be a writer!”