Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I'm Probably The Same Person No Matter What I'm Doing

Today at taekwondo I was training with Gen, who is a lovely woman, very sensitive to others' needs, very caring. She is one of those martial arts students who is always encouraging others during drills and even when sparring. In spite of the fact, by the way, that she is an imposing, if not frightening, sparring partner.

Anyway, I am not any of those things. I am not an imposing, forget about a frightening, sparring partner. I'm also not the kind of martial arts student who encourages others with comments about how well they're doing. I'll offer to stop if I think someone is going to pass out or ask if people are okay if I think they're injured. I'm not a monster. But I'm not the kind of training partner who goes, "Good! Good! You're doing great! Don't forget to breath! Only another half minute! You can do it!" My attitude tends to be, "Breath or not. I don't care. When do we get to do poomse?"

While training with kind and generous Gen this morning, I started worrying that my sucky attitude in the dojang might be representative of how I behave in other parts of my life--say, during group writing critiques. This is significant because this Saturday I'm attending the day program of the Whispering Pines Writers' Retreat, which includes informal group critiques in the afternoon. It's been years since I've been in a group critique. In fact, I haven't done it since I was one of the speakers at Whispering Pines four years ago. I'm very fearful I'll sit there with a mindset that will be the group critique equivalent of "Breath or not. I don't care," and everyone will be able to tell.

I may have to leave early to pick someone up at a train station. That might not be a bad thing.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Looking Forward To A Retreat Could Get You Through The Holidays

I like to have something to look forward to at the beginning of the year to help get me through the ordeal of the holidays. If you're a member of the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, looking forward to the 2008 Whispering Pines Writers' Retreat on Feb. 29 through March 2 could be what you need to make the month of December bearable.

The author mentor at the 2008 event will be Mark Peter Hughes. You remember Mark Peter Hughes. I was obsessed with him this summer, not because I'm a fan of his books (I've never read any) but because he quit his job this year to focus on writing full time and then took off on a cross-country promotional tour with his family. I was expecting trauma, if not on the trip, then when he got home and had to face writing full-time without a visible means of regular support. If that's the case, he's been keeping it to himself. No sobbing or chest pounding at his website. Maybe he'll talk about it at Whispering Pines.

Ilene Richard will serve as the illustrator mentor. Kaylan Adair of Candlewick Press and Emily Mitchell of Charlesbridge Publishing will attend as editor mentors.

Another Thing That Could Make December Bearable
: The prospect of winning a book. Forget about finding jewelry, stock, iPods, or computer innards under your tree. You could find an e-mail from me on Christmas Day telling you you've won My Life Among the Aliens.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Laurie Halse Anderson Had My Beautiful Room

Laurie Halse Anderson was the featured writer at the Whispering Pines Writers' Retreat this past weekend. She's posted pictures and a description of the event at her livejournal.

I was there last year, sleeping in the same bedroom. It really is a great bedroom.