First Reading

I started young as a writer. Really young, but don’t we all? When I was in first grade, I dictated a poem to my mother who wrote it down so I could give it to Mrs. Woodside, my teacher. It was about Christmas, my gift to my teacher. My mama probably still has a copy in a scrapbook somewhere. Mrs. Woodside–plump, gentle, nearing retirement, with an odd affection for owls–gave it to someone in the principal’s office to read to the whole school over the intercom.

Nobody told me first. I was embarassed and then elated that my gift had been so well received, so enthusiastically shared. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t signed away those audio rights. It didn’t matter that my copyright was ignored. I certainly didn’t have to worry about a cranky PW review.

The poem was simple and heartfelt and uncensored and celebrated. Probably my entire career has been spent looking for one day just as good.

Today’s highlights: lunch with Julie Lake, author of GALVESTON’S SUMMER OF THE STORM (; dropped off donation copies of signed books for Texas Book Festival; dinner tonight with authors Dianna Hutts Aston (; LOONY LITTLE) and author/illustrator Janie Bynum (; ALTOONA BABOONA), who is apparently Austin-ish bound.

Reading TOO BIG A STORM by Marsha Qualey (Dial, May 2004), a story of a young girl in the 1960s fretting the fate of her older brother who’s gone missing in the Vietnam War. Just received my copy of Joseph Bruchac‘s latest, THE DARK POND (Harper, 2004).