Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Writing About Writing

Today I’m writing about writing. My last two weeks were filled with writing.

I worked as Roanoke County Public Schools’ Writer-in-Residence at Cave Spring High School week before last and at Northside High School for four days last week and three this week. In fact, today was my last day. Last October, when I agreed to be writer-in-residence, I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the job.

I only have to work 35 days—seven days at each school. Earlier in the school year, I spent a week at William Byrd, Glenvar, and Hidden Valley. Each school was different, and working at each was an enjoyable experience. My faith in high schoolers has been restored. The kids I encountered were polite and interesting. And interested in writing. Who knew there was a guy at Cave Spring who wrote formal poetry, including epic poetry? Or a guy at Northside who's writing novels and publishing via Lulu? Or girls at a couple of schools who write about escaping to a meadow? (What's with meadows? They're full of ticks and chiggers!)

Working for Roanoke County Schools has been pure joy—such a different experience from my 26 years working for Roanoke City. I took early retirement from Roanoke City in 1997. I got out alive—for a while, I didn’t think I would.

At Lake Writers last Friday, we decided the winners of our Lake Writers Essay Contest, a competition we started three years ago to honor the memory of Tony Torre, who loved writing about people and places. All the high school winners were from Hidden Valley High (where a lot of kids are interested in writing). Judging was so tough we had to declare co-first place winners, the first time this has happened.

All last week and most of this week, the Rocky Mount Writers—a new writing group that I sort of helped found (although Marion and Heather did most of the initial work) have been posting on the RM Yahoo group. Some members—newcomers to the area—have started blogs.

Saturday, I went to Richmond for the SCWBI workshop that the Mid-Atlantic branch sponsored. There I was able to thank Sue Corbett (Miami Herald book reviewer and author of the wonderful middle grade novel, Twelve Again) for the good comments she gave me about my work-in-progress mid-grade novel, Stuck, in the CNU contest.

Since Saturday, I’ve been revising Stuck—a lot. The creative writing classes at Cave Spring and Northside gave me some really good critiques. They remember being ten (the age of my main character) more than I do. Their “ten” is more relevant than my “ten”—the world has changed plenty in the last half century. Someday, I’ll write about how.

Tomorrow, May 3, Valley Writers Club celebrates its 25th anniversary. Naturally, I’ll be there.

I’ve got plenty of ideas for articles I need to develop. I used my drive to Roanoke every day as think time. Maybe I’ll work on those ideas now that my job is over. Or maybe I'll work on the novel. Whatever—I'll write something.

One of these days, I might even be writing about writing about writing?



Blogger House on the Glade Hill said...

You can borrow my ten year old sometime and peek into her brain. I have been told by her teachers that she is an excellent writer. Maybe she can help...
I have found some good thinking time on top of the Grassy Hill Preserve (I think that is the correct name for it). It is a mile and a half hike to the top. The first half of a mile is the worst. There isn't a great view, but the feeling of accomplishment is still there.

See you next week!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I can't wait to read your manuscript, Stuck, and I'm thrilled with our group in Rocky Mount. Thank you!

4:21 PM  

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