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jada_jinny.jpgI can’t believe it has been over a year since I’ve written here, dear readers.  There has been many a time when I’ve started a paragraph and never filled a page… many a time when I’ve crossed the street, chanting a phrase I would want to write…until I boarded the train, or sat down in my office, or got lost in any number of micro tasks that filled and smothered like so many styrofoam beads.

“But that’s real life,” I often say, about hard work, competition, sacrifice.  You do what you have to do, you have obligations, you can soar on the small winds of efficiency, and become drunk on the feeling of being needed.

Three things awoke me and reminded my soul that I do, in fact, love writing and can’t wait to get back to it again.

One

was the honor and pleasure of participating in the Brooklyn Museum Children’s Book Fair.  This year was even better than the last — I was more prepared yet more relaxed, and my table companion was the friendly and funny Melanie Hope Greenberg, author of so many bright and beautiful books that my children had read, including Mermaids on Parade and Down in the Subway.  We traded Brooklyn stories on friends and places we had in common, and we swore we had the best spot which was on the edge of an aisle and conveniently near the cash register.  (The Brooklyn Museum runs very well-organized and well-hosted events, I must say; they recently premiered Read Brooklyn: Authors Book Fair this past Saturday, March 12th, featuring over forty Brooklyn-based authors, and I will be sure to bookmark it for next year!)

Two

was the realization this past January that my oldest was no longer a little girl.  This may sound trite… the passage of time, they grow up so fast… but amidst the hurrying and the worrying over the years, it turned out that she had listened, and absorbed, and formed a strong sense of self on her own.  Wheeling through that peculiarly grueling New York rite of passage, the search for the right high school, my husband and I discovered that our daughter knew exactly who she was, and more surprisingly, who we were.  She spoke calmly, but confidently, in interviews about things that we never knew she pondered:  why our differences made her better; what mattered to her now at this point in life; what she hoped she could do for others.  I was so proud, yet mystified, of this wondrous creature in front of me — not unlike when she was just born, and I was both puzzled and mesmerized by this new spark in front of me.  And like most writers, I could not begin to express what I thought and felt; I could only scribble a halting, heartfelt poem to her, along with a trinket and a small porcelain cat, stuffed inside an envelope.  Reading it, the poem made her smile.  Reading it, the poem made her father cry.

Three

is the opportunity and honor of participating in the PS282 Readathon as a visiting author.  (I love how schools raise both literary awareness and funding through these wonderful readathons; our other family alma mater, PS8, also has a wonderful annual readathon called “Celebr8.”)  I get to appear tomorrow in front of eager young kids and engage in a discussion about storytelling:  what makes a story? who is the protagonist? who here can tell me about a hero’s journey?  Just when your heart falls asleep, something in life happens to wake it.  For me, it is the moment when I read aloud to a group of kids and the words — my words — mesmerize them.  What a moment.  I shouldn’t waste it.  I need to bring out the loom and weave again.  “Did you know…” I plan to say at some point in my presentation, “that the Underground Labyrinth ends on a cliffhanger?”

Except that this writer’s year will not be a cliffhanger.  I’m going to make sure I find the resolution on that one.

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P.S.  Here is the discussion deck that I use to discuss the elements of storytelling.  Enjoy! good_storytelling2

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