My first-ever public reading

I have a piece in the 3rd annual SCBWI-NM Enchantment show this month. This is not the first time I’ve participated in the Enchantment show, but it is the first time I was able to make it to the opening reception/reading (it took place last Saturday, on July 9).

The Enchantment show is a fun concept: participating illustrators come up with a piece inspired by a theme (this year’s was “Warm and Fuzzy). Participating authors are assigned one of these illustrations at random, and have to come up with a single-page written piece to accompany the illustration. I am really not a short-form writer, so I began doing this because I thought it would be good practice.

I was right, it turns out: it is good practice, and it’s taken my writing down paths I never would have anticipated. (Poetry???) In addition, the pressure of the “show” aspect (these pieces are hung in the Los Griegos library for all to see) means that I work harder on these pieces than I ever would for a writing exercise meant only for me, which is also good.

And this year, I read my piece at the reception – a brand-new experience and one again, good practice. I like reading aloud (I read my writing aloud while I’m writing it, anyway), I’m a practiced public speaker (even if not about my fiction writing), and this was a small and friendly crowd. I therefore didn’t expect to be nervous. Foolish of me! Reading in front of the illustrator (this year I got a terrific illustration from the fabulous Lois Bradley, an accomplished author-illustrator) made my knees shake as they had in my very early days of giving talks.

Despite my nerves, though, I had fun. Lois spoke a bit about her illustration, I said a few words about mine (titled “The Prickle Runs Amok”), and then read – and then it was over, and I could relax and enjoy the other readings.

Thank you for the wonderful inspiration, Lois – it was an honor to write to your illustration!

The Enchantment show hangs from July 1 – 31 at the Los Griegos branch of the Albuquerque Public Library. If you are in the Albuquerque area, I highly recommend stopping by before it closes!

“Play” – the 2015 Enchantment show

EnchantmentShow2015

Earlier this summer, I wrote a piece for the New Mexico SCBWI’s 2nd annual “Enchantment” show – a collaborative project between writers and illustrators. I love the Enchantment concept – illustrators create an image inspired by the show theme, which is then assigned to a writer, who writes a (no more than 1-page) piece in response (this article describes last year’s show).

The 2015 theme was “Play.” I received my assigned illustration in May; after much wrestling, what came to the surface for me was a poem. I haven’t written poetry as anything other than a writing exercise for twenty years, so this was a little frightening. But the challenge of writing it, of polishing and revising to make it the best it could be, was exactly what I needed. It allowed me to get back into writing.

Here is my finished piece (gulp):

Along the Red Clay Road

Along the red clay road we go.
We gallop forward, we do not slow –
Our arms enlaced, with matching stride –
Our song, it will not be denied!
With a hey and a ho and a hey-nonny-no….
 
The sun is our companion, though
it is not constant; night does always follow
day. But through the dark we do abide
Along the red clay road.
 
Hey and a ho and a hey-nonny-no!
We’re crossing to the other side –
We’ll leave behind the tears we’ve cried –
They were so long ago
Before the red clay road.

The Enchantment show hangs from July 1 – 31 at the Los Griegos branch of the Albuquerque Public Library. If you are in the Albuquerque area, I highly recommend stopping by before it closes!