Graduation is Saturday and I have a daughter getting her masters in education. Congratulations, Amanda! I’ll be taking some time off from this blog (not that I’ve been great about regular posts anyway. Sorry!) Then I’ll be back with summer writing ideas, plans, and more. If you feel you really need to find me check my backyard. I’ll be there with a book or manuscript.
What are you doing this summer????
I’ve been reading like a madwoman and researching poetry, writing to heal and memoir in preparation to work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual exploitation. The workshops won’t begin until June 1 but I want to make sure that everything I bring into the workshops serves to heal and to allow these survivors to tell their stories in healthy ways.
I’m also looking for short pieces of writing – poetry and prose — that will introduce these writers to survival stories. The more I read, the more I understand that no two people are going to respond the same way to the stories of others. But we can all use our responses to create our own testimony to hope.
I’ve written before about an amazing book called Storycatchers. It has made me keenly aware that it is a sacred moment when we capture someone else’s story.
Here are three more books that I’m finding most helpful in guiding the creation of these ten workshops.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what writing to heal does for us even if we choose not to share our stories. I think we’ve all packed away a few of our own stories of trauma and tragedy. So we’re all survivors. Writing our stories is a lot like going into a dusty attic and pulling out the boxes from all the corners. We don’t always recall everything inside those boxes, only that we set them aside because we weren’t sure what to do with the contents. As we write, we pull out tattered memories. We can either look at them and then hide them away again where they’ll probably continue to take up space. Or we can turn those memories over and study the texture and feel — the seams and fabric of the memory. In doing this, we might also recall why we boxed those memories up and put them aside. Only now we have the opportunity to see that we have little or no use for some of the memories. Or we can see that we can use the memory to see that we’ve changed our lives, or we’ve grown so that the memory no longer wears on us. Or we see that we can still change our own lives and let the memory guide us but never let it own us. I’m not sure this metaphor makes complete sense yet. It’s taking shape. But I am sure this is what I’ll encourage over the weeks I work with this group.
Members of the Wisconsin Chapter of SCBWI at the Author Fair at WEMTA. Back row: Janet Halfmann, Dori Chaconas, Stephanie Lowden, Jacqueline Houtman, Patricia Pfitsch, E. M. Kokie, and Jesse Klausmeier. Front row: Julie Bowe, JoAnn Early Macken, Ann Angel, W. H. Beck, and Lisa Albert
Hi all — I was hanging out last weekend with authors, librarians and media and technology educators in Madison, WI at the WEMTA (Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association) annual conference. This is such a great group of educators dedicated to providing the strongest literature and media possible to Wisconsin students and our group of writers absolutely loves working with them.
But that wasn’t the only big event this week. On Tuesday morning, I brought Lenard D. Moore, a friend and jazz and haiku poet to Capitol West Academy to perform his spoken word poetry with saxophonist James Dallas. This group of kids was amazed to discover that poetry is the same thing as lyrics to music and if they like music, they like poetry.
That evening Lenard brought his poetry to Mount Mary College where he performed his work with Dennis Klopfer’s jazz trio. People were on their feet! Dancing, Clapping. Loving it! Great week. But I am soooooooo beat!