Tag Archive for Darcy Pattison

Old Posts Revisited: A Celebration of Four Full Years of Bloggy Goodness

I’ve been so overwhelmed lately, visiting far-flung schools, working hard on my “Shivers” project, all while fighting “flu-like symptoms” for the past ten days.

Anyway, part of my blogging experience has always been one of talking to myself in the dark. I’m never sure that anyone much cares. But, okay, so be it. Now that this blog is nearing the completion of its fourth full year, I thought I’d give myself a break by reposting a few of old favorites that newer readers might have missed.

It’s not abject laziness, it’s a celebration, people!

This one is from November, 2008 . . .

——–

Found this quote by Katherine Paterson, mentioned on the blog Revision Notes, by Darcy Pattison:

I was writing — learning and growing along with the children — until eventually I was writing fiction worthy of publication. It might have happened sooner had I had a room of my own and fewer children, but somehow I doubt it. For as I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time and space are those who have given me something to say.

I remember reading Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. Great book, and a fascinating look into the glory days of Old School children’s publishing, comprised of remarkable letters to Sendak, Wilder, Steptoe, Krauss, Brown, and many more.

Nordstrom was the editorial director of Harper’s “Department of Books for Boys and Girls,” 1940 to 1973, and her fingerprints are on such books as Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Charlotte’s Web, The Giving Tree, William’s DollThe Carrot Seed, and Harriet the Spy.

Anyway, one of the things I remember from that book is that she advised her writers against having children! Too distracting! The little ones would get in the way of the work. And, yes, Nordstrom, without children of her own, was absolutely right — and utterly wrong.

I think to write — and write well — is to go deep into yourself. It requires commitment. Time, energy, space (physical and mental). But like Patterson says, isn’t it nice when real life intervenes? Somebody scrapes a knee, competes in a swim meet, maybe needs a talking-to or a lift to a friend’s. That joyful noise pulls you away from the work, a distraction and an interruption, and yet feeds it, sustains it, motivates it, makes it all worthwhle. Every minute.

Again, that beautiful line:

I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time and space are those who have given me something to say.

An Author’s Adventures in Skype

Okay, this is pretty terrifying in a Mothra kind of way . . .
Yes, that’s my giant gob projected on a viewing screen. The picture was taken during a recent Skype visit. Quick, here’s a couple of other shots:
I’m still in the early stages of figuring out this Skype business. I’m not even sure how I feel about it yet, or whether I can (or should) fit them into my schedule. That said: It is undeniably cool to connect with kids from far-away places, schools I’d never visit if not for this amazing technology. So I’m leaning yes.
And it is amazing, as tired and cliched as that word sounds. Suddenly we’re looking at each other, waving, laughing, talking, snorting. It’s craziness and I think students really do feel a thrill.
The photos are from my first-ever Skype visit. Since I didn’t know what I was doing, just fumbling around, I didn’t charge a fee. And I still don’t. Though that might change down the road if I decide to pursue this in any kind of organized fashion. The visit was a result of an enterprising teacher, Tyler Samler, who reached out to me after reading Bystander with his class. We decided on a 20-minute Q and A session. I enjoyed it, despite having to comb my hair. However, I found it difficult to read the audience. In person I’m pretty good at glancing around the room, recognizing when I’ve got their full attention or when, perhaps, it’s slipping away. With Skype, I was less certain. Hopefully I’ll get better at that with practice.
Tyler wrote to me after the session:
The Skype session was awesome!  You’ve acquired some life long fans here at Hyde Park Elementary School. After the session we went around and had each student give imput and share their opinions.  It was a really good response. They enjoyed your sense of humor and your kindness. I think they were greatly enriched to have this opportunity. You’re a wonderful storyteller!
Thank you so much.
Tyler
NOTE: I reached out to gifted author (and swell all-around person) Mitali Perkins for advice on Skyping and she directed me to author/teacher Kate Messner, because “Kate is the real expert.” After a few seconds digging, I found this excellent blog post by Kate, which is a pretty good primer on Skyping from both the school and author perspective. If you’re a teacher, you should check it out.
For authors, Darcy Pattison wrote an impressive primer. She offers a lot of great tips, from lighting, to looking at the camera, all the way to suggestions for bathroom breaks. Darcy thinks of everything. The truth is, I would have never dreamed of putting on lipstick if it weren’t for Darcy.
Really. I mean it. I just have naturally rosy lips.

A Line from Katherine Paterson

Found this quote by Katherine Paterson, mentioned on the blog Revision Notes, by Darcy Pattison:

I was writing — learning and growing along with the children — until eventually I was writing fiction worthy of publication. It might have happened sooner had I had a room of my own and fewer children, but somehow I doubt it. For as I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time and space are those who have given me something to say.

I remember reading Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. Great book, and a fascinating look into the glory days of Old School children’s publishing, comprised of remarkable letters to Sendak, Wilder, Steptoe, Krauss, Brown, and many more.

Nordstrom was the editorial director of Harper’s “Department of Books for Boys and Girls,” 1940 to 1973, and her fingerprints are on such books as Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Charlotte’s Web, The Giving Tree, William’s Doll, The Carrot Seed, and Harriet the Spy.

Anyway, one of the things I remember from that book is that she advised her writers against having children! Too distracting! The little ones would get in the way of the work. And, yes, Nordstrom, without children of her own, was absolutely right — and utterly wrong.

I think to write — and write well — is to go deep into yourself. It requires commitment. Time, energy, space (physical and mental). But like Patterson says, isn’t it nice when real life intervenes? Somebody scrapes a knee, competes in a swim meet, maybe needs a talking-to or a lift to a friend’s. That joyful noise pulls you away from the work, a distraction and an interruption, and yet feeds it, sustains it, motivates it, makes it all worthwhle. Every minute.

Again, that beautiful line:

I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time and space are those who have given me something to say.