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 .

Thursday, August 4, 2011

                                      Chautauqua, part 3.

Think I'll start with a few random bits...
This is a picture of the infamous Hall of Christ (THOC) where I was unfairly locked in !  

         This is the battery operated fan I brought with me to Chautauqua that saved my life during the 16 hours of no electricity and the hottest temperatures the area had in years! Although it was small, it packed a mighty punch, uh wind. It was suggested I might like to auction it off at the Thursday Night Auction, since the benefits went to the scholarship fund. I politely declined.  (I wasn't letting this little guy out of my sight!)

Okay, back to writer business.

         Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath and Keeper,   was right in line with Patti Lee Gauch's theme of digging deep for emotional connection. In her workshop, Singin' the Blues, she discussed the wealth of emotion expressed in the lyrics of many blues songs. These songwriters often took the seeds planted in their own life stories and turned them into song. They used the writing to help fill holes in their hearts. An example was an old video clip of Janis Joplin singing "Cry Baby". As you can imagine, it was raw, intense, gut-wrenching, heart-felt, and real. Kathi suggested using the same intense longing, yearning, crying out of the soul-like the blues- in your stories and characters. Listen to the music, get the mindset, then write.
    Kathi said it's easy to write about the things you love. But her advice, given to her by author M.T. Anderson, was "write what you fear or what you think you can't."   

      Kim Griswell spoke on the topic of plot. She sited as a reference  The Writer's Journey by  Christopher Vogler. It's based on Joseph Campbell's work on a hero's journey. Kim went through the 12 stages. She also handed out an extensive list of picture books and novels that exemplify a hero's journey. Here's a sampling:
  • Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate diCamillo
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen     
That's only a third of the list!

       I think I'll wait until the next post for Julie Agnone, along with Eileen Spinelli's talk on dealing with rejection. Stay tuned!                                


  1. Kathi was my mentor when I was at Chautauqua. Quite a lady.

  2. Oooh, I didn't know you were going to Chautauqua. :)

    I look forward to hearing more about your experience.

  3. You do know that this is my dream to go to Chautauqua Sheila keeps telling me to apply for grant
    You inspire me, Gayle you're a very special lady

  4. Your posts about Chautaugua are wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to share all about your trip. What a wonderful experience.