AWP: Our panel, “What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Writing for Children and Young Adults,” seemed like a success. At least we had a good time. It seemed as if our audience did. At least there wasn’t much shuffling, squirming, and reading of programs while we were talking. 🙂

Heather Bouwman organized us and moderated the panel. My buddies from my writing group, Shelley Tougas and Kirstin Cronn-Mills, and I joined Sheila O’Connor to fill out the panel.

We all are used to talking in front of groups, so we were surprised by how nervous we were beforehand.

I wonder if everybody who gives presentations runs over what they forgot to say or wish they had said during the program. I do that in school, too, but then I get to see my students again in a few days, so I can add or correct or fix what I missed. There’s no second chance when it’s a conference.

Anyway, one thing I wanted to say is that I think every writer should write poetry, even if he or she never publishes any…It’s such a terrific exercise in conciseness and paying attention to language and lyricism. I think writing for kids uses those skills, absolutely and entirely.
I never felt that as fully as when I wrote Beauty Missing, Hair Hissing: Medusa Tells All for the “Other Side of Myth” series published by Capstone. That book started out as a longish lyrical poem and then condensed itself into the snarkier voice of Medusa in which it was published.

Anyway, AWP was fun, and I had a grand adventure with my two buddies. We were reduced to uncontrollable laughter several times.
We became the Three Musketeers of Vehicular Safety (in our cab to the airport), and the Three Musketeers of Row 19 (in the aircraft). Yeah, we tried to be reasonably quiet. Not sure how well that worked. But we had fun.

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