(Kiki and me. Picture by Roger Farrington.)
Been pondering the speeches given by the Literary Lights at the Boston Public Library on Sunday. Now that we’re over the cold (my son was home sick for the last three days) I finally have time to blog about them. I don’t recall everything that was said but some things stood out.
First up was Jerry Spinelli who talked about readers being co-creators of books along with the author. An author can write it, a publisher can print it, but unless a book is read it is not truly a book. He thanked all the young people in the room for being co-creators of stories through reading.
His point was immediately reinforced by the student who introduced the next author, Karen Hesse. This young girl was so passionate about Karen’s books that it brought tears to my eyes. Karen hugged her and presented her with a journal. Write in it every day, she said. Watch the kaleidoscope of life swirl around you and put down every detail here. When this journal is finished, she said, start another.
The next author was Grace Lin (read her full speech HERE.) Her advice to young writers is good for … uh, older writers too! She described how certain she was that the first story she wrote was the best story ever. How she sent it to several publishers and got rejected. And how she put it away and (sounds simple, but is, in fact, hard to do!) wrote another. And another, and another, until she was published. When she went back to look at the first story, she realized that it wasn’t the best story ever after all. But because she never stopped writing she got better and better. Great advice for writers young and old!
The last speaker was Neil Gaiman who talked about the importance of daydreaming! Daydreaming, making stuff up (not just good excuses for not doing homework), imagining things, these are all good things, he insisted. Absolutely vital for the human race, or words to that effect. Ha! It’s good to have someone (other than John Lennon) stand up for dreamers!
There you have it--the words of the masters. Definitely inspired me to keep writing!