Oh, I just came back from an amazing lunch at PICNIC in my hometown, NYC with six amazing women writers! How did I get to be so lucky? (And please forgive my blatant name dropping, but I AM so excited, and this is the lit.life, huh?) Well, let me tell you a story . . .
Last year a parent in my sons' school kept telling me about her childhood friend Rebecca, and that we would really like each other. "Her book is coming out in July, and the main character carries around a copy of A Wrinkle in Time." Nice! Then my sister told me about a book she was doing a blurb for where the protagonist . . . you got it, carries a copy of Wrinkle . . . well, I put two and two together. (I'm not just another pretty face you know . . . ;-))
In late August, I finally read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, and was entirely captivated. So I went to her website and sent her a fan letter and a bumbling would-you-like-to-have-coffee-with-me sort of thing. She did! She suggested we meet for breakfast at PICNIC on the Upper West Side and completely hit it off. She has long brown hair and the warmest eyes ever - she is so down to earth! We talked about growing up in NYC in the late 1970's (when her book takes place) and how different it is raising our kids today. I asked her if she would be interested in forming a children's writer's group - not a critique group or a workshop, but more of a support kind of thing. She was on board! We decided to meet once a month, and to invite a few other kid lit authors. She knew a few writers who might be interested, and I was hoping that Carolyn Mackler (who I was having lunch with the next week) would be interested too. Rebecca was the one who came up with the moniker Writers for Writers in the heading of an e-mail confirming our next meeting. It felt like an actual entity, a real thing. (Again, I keep pinching myself because I'm actually feeling like a writer, rather than just playing at being one. Although my grandmother always said that if you write, you are a writer . . . too bad that I didn't completely internalize that one!)
The next month Rebecca brought Daphne Grab, YA author of a beautiful book, Alive and Well in Prague, New York. (Check it out - I loved it!) And the after that, Rebecca brought Deborah Heiligman! (See last post) Wow!
Today, Rebecca couldn't be with us because she is in Chicago as part of a book tour for Newbery Award winning WYRM. But she still brought people! I was the first to arrive and just getting settled when in walks Elizabeth Winthrop, writer of over 55 children's books! I am in awe . . . then she tells me that not only did my grandmother blurb one of her books, but that we have the same agent, Edward Necarlsumer! (More jaw dropping . . . can't wait to tell him!) Then Daphne comes in, followed by Deborah, and Lucy Frank, another YA author with a new book out called The Home School Liberation League, and Carolyn rounded out the group.
FIVE outstanding author's and me! How did that happen? Deborah told us about receiving the phone call about her Printz Honor, (Will make a great blog post, Deborah!) we talked about awards, writing, not writing, websites, blogging, not blogging . . . and all of the above!
(Full confession now - I am ALWAYS scared to POST, but a very wise woman once told me, if you over-think, you'll never do anything. And then I imagine that nobody is reading or cares and this is a good spiritual exercise for me. So here it goes, I'm pressing the button!)
Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.
"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.