I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Write From the Soul

      Life has been hectic. Last Thursday I left with a carload of women writers to drive to Birmingham, AL for the regional SCBWI Fall conference. The other 3 women were all signed up for a day long writers' Intensive on Friday by the keynote speaker, Darcy Pattison. I didn't sign up for the workshop but since I'm no longer a driver, I take rides where I can find them. I was sharing a room with one of my other delightful writer friends, Doraine Bennett- who was also going to the writers' Intensive. So what, pray tell, did I do on that free Friday?

I sat out on the deck of the hotel and wrote. 

Then, I went to the movies. I rarely buy food at the movies but the smell of the popcorn grabbed me and wouldn't let go, so I caved and bought some. And of course, you can't eat popcorn without something to drink. Ten dollars later (yikes!) I was ready for the movie.

BUT........ I needed to carry popcorn and a drink with only one hand. Why you ask? Because the other hand was sweeping in front of me with the white cane I now use. A dilemma, indeed.

I went over to one of the theater staff (they all look like they're about 15 years old, don't they?) and asked for some help. A very nice young man graciously offered to carry both drink and corn for me. Walking down the hall, I commented on how dark the hallways were for people with vision issues. He said he'd tell the manager. At the theater door, he asked where I wanted to sit. When I explained I needed to sit in the very back, in order to see the entire screen, he suggested we take the elevator to the top floor and not walk up all the stadium seating rows. I hope he said that because of the vision, not because he thought I was too old to walk the steps!

Did you know there were elevators in movie theaters???? I didn't. 

Once in the theater, it was very dark so he helped me find the row and seat. I thanked him and he left. As I removed my sweater and visor, I made a discovery. I was still wearing my clip-on sunglasses!!!! No wonder the hallways and theater seemed so dark. (Geez, feel much like a dummy, Gail?) But what a polite young man not to mention the sunglasses to me :-)

Saturday was the conference day - one keynote speech, 4 break-out sessions previously chosen when we registered, lunch, panel Q & A on publishing, writing, querying, and autographing books purchased there by the conference speakers. We fit all that in between 8AM and 4 PM. Oh, and I had a professional critique on my MG book. This was all followed by a 3 hour ride back to Atlanta with a different driver and friend, Cathy Hall. 

We had lots to talk about while the beneficent Mr. Hall drove. (Hey, that's what Cathy likes to call him so who am I to argue!) You see, there's a writing contest prior to the fall and spring conferences. Winners are announced (surprise) at the conference itself. And...... Cathy won 1st place in MG and YA fiction! Woo Hoo! Very exciting. Not only did she win free tuition to the next conference and a free night at the hotel, she also was invited by the senior editor who read all the entries, to submit the complete manuscript for consideration. How awesome is that! You go Cathy!!

The rest of the hecticness- is that even a word?- finishes this weekend.

I'm off to Charleston for 4 days. I'm interviewing friends and family members of a wonderful, gentle-spirited man who was a blacksmith and artisan. I'm writing a picture book about him. Many of the wrought-iron gates, fences, railings, and grills made in Charleston were made by him. I plan to go around the town and photograph them.

Who says retirees are sedentary?


  1. It was nice to see you at the conference

  2. Glad to hear you had a great time at the conference.

    I didn't know that theaters had elevators. Interesting. So, what movie did you wind up seeing?

    Your picture book sounds interesting. Good luck with that.

  3. Sounds like you had a good time at the conference! I heard that Darcy Pattison's intensive was well, "intense". Ha.

    Have a safe trip to Charleston!

  4. Hello! Sounds like a busy, productive time, and I agree - all cinema staff look like they are fifteen and on the verge of a popcorn fight. At least they do in my local cinema!

  5. Aw, thanks for that shout out, Gail! That was the quickest drive home ever! (Thanks for the company!)