pattycakes: musings on life, love, writing...

A Fan Letter from a Fifth Grader

February 19, 2010

Tags: fan letter, writing, author visits

In today's mail, I received the sweetest fan letter from a 5th grade girl all the way from Scottsdale, AZ., and it made my week!

As part of a class project, she had to write to a company, an organization, or a person who she admired--and she chose ME! (more…)

Elementary School vs. Middle School Kids

February 19, 2010

As a children's author and writing workshop facilitator, I have the honor and privilege of working with elementary and middle school children. And, through my work, I have learned that spending time with each of these groups can be as different as brussel sprouts and chocolate sauce.

On their best days, elementary school and middle school children can be more alike than different. They want to be loved, accepted, admired, and respected--and will treat you the way they like to be treated. But on one particular day this past week, well, I observed and experienced glaring differences between the two, and I wanted to share them with you. (Please know that these comments are NOT in any way to say that ALL elementary or middle school children are this or that way--or all time. Also, please forgive me if any of these offend you. This is not my intent!) (more…)

Smiley Face Moments + School Visits

February 11, 2010

Tags: inspiring young writers, writing, school visits

I love school visits. Yes, even the-swarm-of-butterflies-in-my-stomach-before-I-start-presenting-in-the-cafeteria-gymnasium-atorium-after-wiping-ketchup-off-tables-dealing-with-multiple-personalities—and-last-minute-changes-just-seconds-before-I-am-to-begin-giving-kids-(who-need-them)-gentle-reminders-to-be-good-listeners-wishing-I-could-remind-some-teachers-of-the-same--making-mental-notes-to-underline-and-star-the-clause-that-reads: “teachers-need-to-intervene-when-kids-misbehave-because-I-don’t-discipline-kids”-in-my-contract-for-next-time-moments.

I really do. Because all I have to do is look into those sparkly eyes in front of me and know that I am in the right space (or should I say the "write" space?) and the right time to (hopefully) inspire little writers to write and to love writing.

Creative Work = The Fountain of Youth?

February 5, 2010

Tags: art, creativity, Nevelson, sculpture

American Sculptor, Louise Nevelson (who is the subject of an upcoming book of mine*) once said, “If you have creative work, there is no age or time.”

Although I have these words hanging on my quotation wall in my writer’s studio to remind me of this, I’ve had three recent experiences when I wished that I had them embroidered on a hanky or tattooed on my chest so I'd NEVER forget. (more…)