Hours after I’d left the auditorium where Lois Lowry spoke yesterday, I was still thinking about what she said. I was thinking not only about how interesting and smart and articulate she is, but also about the things she said about writing. I wasn’t just thinking about her message, but also about what the other two published authors (Barb Rosenstock and Sandy Pugh) I’d heard this week had said. And I was thinking about how we can continue to bring the experience and wisdom of published writers into our classrooms and how what they say can inform me as both a teacher and a writer. Perhaps one of the highlights of my teaching week was after Barb Rosenstock spoke, when one of my students looked at me and said, “It was just so cool that she said all those things that you tell us all the time. I mean she is a published author and she said the same things you tell us about writing.”
*Writers are interesting people. I would love to sit down for tea or dinner with any of the three I met this week and chat about everything from writing to books to world events, to children.
*Writers have the most wonderful way of using words, not only when they write but also when they speak. They seem to have a gift for choosing just the right words to communicate. I admire their precision.
* Writers know that writing can be hard, and it can be messy, and they sometimes have bad days.
*Every writer I have ever heard speak, including the three this week, emphasizes the importance of reading. If you want to write, you must read. “Read a lot,” they say. “How can you write if you don’t read?” they ask. “You must read, and you must read widely.” Two of the three I heard this week said, “Read anything. Read cereal boxes!” And they were not with one another when they said that!
*Writers really do get many of their ideas from everyday moments. They notice, they eavesdrop, they connect, they think.
* It is energizing to listen to and connect with published writers. So much to learn.