Sunday, April 11, 2010
ODE TO RICHARD PECK
Wow, what a fabulous time I had in Hattiesburg, MS, at the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival. There were lots of great folks, including my roomies Hester Bass and Sarah Campbell. Check out Sarah's great pics and wrap-up of the conference here.
And yes, Richard Peck was there. For those of you who don't know, Richard Peck blurbed my book. So he was one of the first professional people to read the book and give me any sort of feedback.... so it was pretty special. And of course, now his name appears on the cover of my book.
When I met him on Thursday, I said, "my only claim to fame is your name on my cover." He hugged me and said that I was going to have plenty claims of fame all my own.
He also signed my reading copy. And had all sorts of brilliant things to share with the audience. Things like this:
"We write by the light of every book we've ever read."
"English invented childhood: Americans invented adolescence."
"Politics is not only the enemy of art: It is also the enemy of education."
"No one ever grows up until he has to. On our pages, he has to."
"Childhood is a jungle, not a garden."
"Kids are not looking for authors in books; they are looking for themselves."
"Story with all dialogue is a chatroom; story with all action is a Gameboy."
"Dialogue is best written standing up."
"A story unites what the computer divides."
"Airports and books were made for each other."
And finally, this one, which was a great comfort to me after writing LEAVING GEE'S BEND... but which generated a great deal of discussion among the attendees. Clearly, not everyone agrees:
"We don't write from experience; we write from observation."
I think maybe we write from both. And I am SO SORRY I did not get a picture of me and Richard! It never once crossed my mind. And now I am so sad. Sigh....