Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thanks, Studebaker & Weisenborn!

I've had a great time this spring speaking at various schools and libraries about writing, becoming an author and the creative process. Each visit has been special in its own way - I've met wonderful people who've gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, in particular the great folks at Dover Public Library in Dover, Ohio. And this past week I capped off the season with a fantastic visit to Huber Heights.

I had the privilege of spending time with the students and staff at Studebaker and Weisenborn Middle Schools - it was a full day: four 40-minute student presentations and then one 2-hour staff development session with teachers and administrators. Tiring, sure, but truly outstanding. Why? I have to give a special shout-out to Library Media Specialist Christy Barker.

In addition to setting up the logistics of my visit, Christy worked with her colleagues to hand-select the students that came to each presentation. The majority of them were either in an English/Reading class or were interested in writing as evidenced by their participation in programs like Power of the Pen. I've spoken to big groups where I knew only a few were really intrigued by the topic, and that's cool - I try to make things fun for everybody. But I love knowing that my audience is already, if not passionate about books and writing, then at least interested. I enjoy intimate, interactive sessions, and that's what these were. The students had great questions and a few even shared their writing with me. I could tell Christy really cared about them and, for a few, had made special arrangements so they could attend.

One of my favorite things about the visit was that several of the students already had RIVAL - they'd been given the books through an essay contest that took place before I arrived. And each of the staff members at the after-school development session was given a copy, too. I made a joke about the school district helping my sales figures (and, all joking aside, it's true - I'm grateful for every copy sold), but more than that it showed a level of interest and respect that just made me feel great. For a new, contemporary author who spends more time being a working mom than doing "authorly" things, that really made my day, my week and my spring.

So I'd like to send a public thank you to Christy and the staff and students at Studebaker and Weisenborn Middle Schools. Thanks to all of the students and librarians and teachers who've hosted me this spring. It was a privilege to spend time with you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Smash... hm

I'm a sucker for arts-related shows--that's a no-brainer, since my debut novel is about rival singers. So I got really, really excited when "Glee" first appeared. I loved that show until it became what "Glee" is now, which is... just not something I want to spend any real amount of time on.

Lately I've been watching "Smash," which had a lot of promise in those early episodes--plus it's about rival singers, so what's not to like? Now, though, I'm debating whether I still like it. This great article from the New Yorker sums up why pretty well, though I don't agree with every point (I'm not a huge Ivy fan, for example). I found it well-written, fun to read and spot-on in parts. If you have a love-hate relationship with this show, you might agree.