Vermont College of Fine Arts Faculty (Writing for Children and Young Adults):
These are the extraordinary people with whom I teach.
(no websites for these three)
An Occasional Post
May 31, 2010
I am a lifelong insomniac, but once asleep I have extremely vivid dreams. Many of these dreams recur. Some are terrifying nightmares. In others, I am laughing, speaking in foreign languages, or participating in book discussions. But one dream in particular bears posting.
Why? Because I dreamed an entire picture book, and I recognized it as the most brilliant idea on the planet. Did I want to get up and write it down? Of course not. Every minute asleep is precious. But even in my dream haze, I knew this story was too important to lose. (more…)
May 28, 2010
Like all of you, I'm sure, my heart aches over the disastrous oil gushing into the Gulf. But you know what? We are all responsible. We can't get away with putting all the blame on BP, even though the company ignored important safety precautions. We can't blame Obama. Yes, the feds have eviscerated regulatory agencies over the last ten years--and I believe the Bush administration played a big part in this--but it's not all about regulation.
The fault, dear Brutus, is in ourselves; in our insatiable demand for oil. (more…)
May 25, 2010
It's hot in Vermont. Too hot. I am obsessed with weather. My trusty Subaru Forester has a weather-band radio, and I have just learned that the new Subarus have eliminated this crucial feature. Why?
Vermont, paradise that it is, has weather issues, if you consider bugs part of weather, which I do. We are now in black fly season, which means wearing protective netting if you live outside of town (which I do). Black flies, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure, are worse than mosquitoes. Why? Because you don't hear them coming; you can't gleefully swat them DEAD. They swarm and bite and cause swelling, itching, and blood. Then we move on to deer flies (horse flies) and mosquitoes.
Fall is perfect, but hunting season means staying indoors.
Spring? Mud season. Defrosting dog poop. Muddy dogs. Lots of vacuuming and floor mopping.
Winter? Perfect, but only if it's cold and snowy.
How does this relate to children's books, you may wonder? Much of my writing ends up involving seasons, consequences of seasons, love of seasons. I can't imagine living without them. I get to complain--and I also get to feel like the luckiest person on earth.
Maybe I'll even post a garden photo.
May 17, 2010
Last Thursday I actually left Vermont and drove south to stay with my dear friend Robin before reading and signing at the wonderful indie bookstore, Porter Square Books, in Cambridge. The good bookstore folks had arranged for two back-to-back visits, first with kindergartners and then with first graders, who are much bigger and take up much more space even when they sit criss-cross applesauce (who invented that, anyway?).
Every group of kids has at least one sparkler-- one child who seems more alive, more inquisitive, funnier, and sharper (and maybe wilder and more demanding) than the others. Occasionally, a whole class sparkles like that; more often, there are three or four such children. But there is always one. I am drawn to these children. They are often challenging for their teachers, for obvious reasons. Probably their parents as well. And I love them. Where would we be without them? They make us question our assumptions and our routines. I'm glad to have met a few more of them.
May 3, 2010
Hey. I'm easing in to the blog world just as everyone else is probably leaving it. Throughout my life, I've either been an early adapter, a very late adapter, or a total non-adapter. I'm never in the middle, it seems. No Kindle for me. Barely even a cell phone. Early? I'll have to think about it.
So I'll probably use this space to post things I love, am obsessed with, or am enraged about. Let's hope for more love than rage, okay?