“C” is for Children’s Books

I’m most passionate about writing for children.  I wish there were more hours in the day that I could dedicate solely to researching and writing for my favorite group of people.

I could not be more excited to attend the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Letters and Lines Fall Conference this coming weekend so I can do just that.  I have been present at the annual conference for the past 3 years, but always as a spectator. I’ve been inspired and awestruck, taken copious notes, and filled notepads with ideas.  But I’ve mostly kept to myself.  I wasn’t sure I had anything to offer.

Move over self-conscious-former-writer-self.  Letters and Lines, here I come!  This year I’ll be equipped with 4 polished picture book manuscripts, looking forward to an appointment/critique with literary agent Karen Grencik, and signed up for a picture book intensive before the conference officially begins.  I’m staying the whole weekend, so even when I’m not taking part in sessions like “Writing with Illustrations in Mind,” “Minding Your Ps & Qs: A Picture Book Revision Workshop” and “Joys and Challenges of Writing Nonfiction,” I will have uninterrupted quiet time to write in my hotel room.  Heaven.

I will miss my family like crazy, but I think it’s good for everyone if Mommy feels fulfilled and rejuvenated.  My 3 little munchkins will always be my babies, but my favorite picture book manuscripts are like my babies too.  I’ve got enough love in my heart for all of them!

Here’s to a phenomenal weekend!

Write Your Own “I Am” Poem

Yesterday’s post, Hopeful and Blessed, was the result of a writing course exercise several summers ago.  I enjoyed the creation of the poetry, the way it unfolded, and how different pieces of my world blended together.  Try it out for yourself!

I Am…

I am (two special characteristics)

I wonder (talk about the future)

I hear (an imaginary sound)

I see (an imaginary sight)

I want (an actual desire)

I am (the first line of the poem restated)

I pretend (something you pretend to do)

I feel (a feeling about something imaginary)

I worry (something that really bothers you)

I cry (something that makes you very sad)

I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

I understand (something you know is true)

I say (something you believe in)

I dream (something you actually dream about)

I try (something you make an effort to do)

I hope (something you actually hope for)

I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

Hopeful and Blessed

I  am hopeful and blessed.

I wonder if I might get to be a mom one more time.

I hear heavenly whispers from my own mom.

I see the world encompassed by those who have gone before us, hand in hand.

I want to feel at peace.

I am hopeful and blessed.

I pretend that I’m not scared if it helps someone feel better.

I feel connected to all that I don’t yet understand.

I worry about worrying too much.

I cry when I feel like I’ve failed someone I love.

I am hopeful and blessed.

I understand the bond of moms and their children.

I say love means the most.

I dream I can be in many places at once.

I try to make myself a better person.

I hope I make a difference.

I am hopeful and blessed.

The Journey Begins

Photo by: Jenna Karwoski (2012)

A child of the ‘70s and ‘80s, I grew up in Bellevue, WA, a suburb of Seattle. I was a compassionate and playful girl, though I was also a school-loving, type-A, straight-A, goody-two-shoes if ever you have met one. I cultivated a wild imagination through books and writing. Most of my time was spent surrounded by the kids in my mom’s home daycare and many that I babysat. My sister and I practiced the art of serious sibling rivalry until one day we matured into college students, women, wives, mothers, and best friends. Our parents raised us with a moderate amount of dysfunction, but we try to use that to our benefit in terms of character and fascinating appeal.

I attended the University of Colorado @ Boulder and graduated with a degree in Marketing as well as a teaching certificate. I’ve always been a teacher in my core and I treasured my time teaching third grade. I fell in love with my school, my students, and the teacher next door…Mr. Adam Thaler. After a date under the stars on Flagstaff Mountain, orchestrated by many teachers who’d love to take credit for our mutual adoration, our love story began. Twelve years, a wedding, 3 children, and 3 cats later, we are living our beautiful, crazy, lovely, chaotic life just outside Boulder, CO.

Over the years I’ve aimed to grow and thrive and make a difference in the lives of my family, my students, and my friends. In time, another passion has crept back in from my childhood – writing. My fourth and fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Reardon, insisted that we write in our journals every day, and that one day we would look back and be thankful to have a glimpse into what was happening at that point in our lives. Mostly when I look back I’m embarrassed at the crazy things I wrote and my outlook on the world. The words, however silly, were mine. They came from my heart and my own confused, childish mind. I kept a journal every year until I graduated college. Then life got really interesting. Instead of writing down every moment, I told myself I was living every moment. I wish with all my heart that I’d continued writing. I would love a peek back into myself throughout the events, big and small, of the past 12 years. I thought I’d remember every little detail because at the time it didn’t seem possible to forget.

Through my writing, I’m excited to continue growing and making a difference. Here I will share my thoughts, my stories, and my passions. I will use my words to explore and find myself in each new stage of life, to stay connected to my family and friends near and far, and hopefully to touch a life now and then.

Thank you for joining me as I embark upon this journey.  I hope you enjoy the ride!