“To write well takes education and practice.
To write exceptionally well is an art—through revision.
It is in the revision that the work becomes a work of art.”
I LOVE WORDS! I relish when they and I are up to something!* Without question, I am a bibliovore, a lexophile, and an illustration fanatic. I feel great satisfaction and inner warmth when surrounded by books—at home, in a bookstore, in a library—anywhere. Give me a captivating cover and title? A slice of heaven. Give me the feel of a book in my hand and the texture of the pages as I turn them? Cloud nine—maybe 9.1. My passion for literature, in general, is ravenous (can you tell?), my sweet spot being KidLit, and the whole shebang at that, from Board Books through Young Adult.
Not ’til my mid-thirties did I delve into children’s literature with serious intent, so began playing “catch up” with the plethora of books I hadn’t read or wanted to reread—and I’m still playing! One lifetime simply doesn’t allow time for them all sigh Let’s not even get into the link-after-link-after-link world of the internet for this “information addict”! And writing? Give me paper and a pen in hand, or a keyboard at my fingertips—I’m tickled pink, and a vivid shade at that.
Like anyone who takes the art of writing seriously, when I say “I am a writer,” the words never pass my lips without feeling a sense of dignity. Being a writer is much more than the simple act of putting pen to paper. It’s about many things, but as I stated in About “…this BLOG,” at the core of it all, whether fiction or nonfiction, writing is about expression and communication. As a reader and a writer/illustrator, for me it is about expression through art and language, images and Words—especially the Written Word. That passion is branded in my mind and tattooed on my heart. The entire process, from conception to completion, though sometimes frustrating, brings me great joy. I feel such bliss when playing with words to get them “just right,” and when I’ve gone too long not having written, an aching void develops.
My own journey to becoming a crafted writer has been a long and interrupted one. Having lost the writing works of my youth (forgotten at someone’s house and not remembered ‘til years later, they having never been returned), my recall of what was written isn’t crystal clear. The one thing I’ve never forgotten was my first poem, written when I was about 7 years old. “Fairies” was its title (yes, I know, but I was only 7 🙂 ), and it may have had 8 lines, but this is what I remember:
Fairies good, fairies bad,
Fairies happy, fairies sad,
Fairies weak, fairies strong,
Fairies right, fairies wrong,
Fairies big, fairies small,
There are no fairies, none at all.
Though I dabbled through the years (a few poems, essays), it was mainly a writing “drought” ‘til 1993, when my “Okie from Muskogee” friend, Carol said, “Dang, girl—you should be writing!” (Mind you, the poem that sparked that enthusiasm is one that, if I now had the desire to do so, I would massacre with red ink!) Having finally discovered writing as my greatest passion, I’ve since written and illustrated a number of board and picture books and am working on a Young Adult novel series, all of which I aspire to have traditionally published.
During that time I became a member of the SCBWI, ultimately having gotten heavily involved in volunteering for the New Jersey Chapter. I’ve met, and often befriended, fellow authors, illustrators, and many industry professionals. Our Chapter’s events are always exhilarating experiences which bring me such joy; they afford great opportunity to learn and discuss craft, along with invaluable networking. Sharing time with kindred spirits who harbor this same inescapable passion—is priceless.
God willing, I will walk this word-paved path for the rest of my life. I hope this blog about literature is a sunny stretch on that path. Thank you for travelling with me 🙂
Your kindred spirit in reading, writing and illustrating,
*NOTE: Used in my header, the partial quote “The words and I are up to something…” has been one of my favorites for many years. I first read it in a Writer’s Digest article featuring quotes from authors of all kinds, including poets. I gleaned this magical phrase from this:
Blessings the Body Gave (Ohio State University Press)
The Technique: I have the simple faith that words will show me the way. For a while, I feel totally ignorant; I have no idea what’s coming. I like that silence: I can feel hair rise on the back of my neck when I type a phrase that intrigues me—a sense of immediate complicity, as if the words and I are up to something.
By the way, if you’re curious about the titles on my “writer’s” shelf, click the image that heads this post for a close-up glimpse (though more books have been added since!) 🙂