Friday, November 16, 2007

Heading for NYC

This is not my work in progress. It's a page from Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS. I've been talking about LEAVES OF GRASS in schools this fall, as it's a big part of THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS. I've been extolling the virtures of revision. Now it's time to mush around in getting that first draft down -- how do we figure out what makes writing good? I'm off to NCTE to share some thoughts, and to be educated.

I'm enjoying my coffee, the quiet, and the cats early this morning. I'm almost packed. New York in November -- the tree won't be ready in Rockefeller Plaza, but I'm going to start celebrating the holidays -- Thanksgiving, anyway. It's time to be among my peeps at The National Council of Teachers of English annual convention.

I'm looking forward to some quality time with writer, editor, and teacher friends, looking forward to the conversations, the ideas, the inspirations. I love NCTE. It's where you'll find some of the most dedicated, passionate teachers from across the country who come together to share what they're discovering, and to learn what they want to know. They return to their classrooms recharged, and they send me back to the page ready to write. What a great kickoff for lucky me, as I plunge headlong into the new novel, but not before I spend one more week in schools, teaching personal narrative writing, in the D.C. area right after Thanksgiving. NCTE is just what I need right now.

I'll be caught in a whirlwind of various dinners and lunches and breakfasts and coffees -- ha! another forty pounds! (not!) -- but it's all good, all good work, and here's where we can see one another for sure:

Friday, Nov. 16 (today):

4pm: I'll be signing stock at Books of Wonder, 18 W. 18th St. New York, NY. This isn't an official signing, it's really an opportunity to meet the fine folks at Books of Wonder, and I'm really looking forward to this. If you wander past the store, stop in and say hey!

Saturday, Nov. 17:

9:15 - 10:15am -- I'm signing at the Harcourt Booth (#336) at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street (at 11th Avenue) Hall C, Level 1.

11:00am - 12:15 -- Speaking on program: "Learning to Read Like a Writer" at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, Olmstead Room, 2nd Floor. We're going to be talking about the teaching of writing in the elementary through high school classroom. I'm speaking with the wonderful Sarah Ellis, the fabulous Claudia Sharpe, and working again with Nancy Roser and Miriam Martinez from the University of Texas -- these women are phenomenal educators and great good friends -- do come bask in their presence, as will I. My segment of the program is entitled "Creating the Writing Toolbox."

Sunday, Nov. 18:

7:30 - 9:45am -- The Children's Literature Assembly Breakfast. Speaker is Allen Say, whose work I have admired for years -- can't wait to hear him speak. Can't wait to greet good friends. Can't wait for good coffee at that hour on a Sunday morning!

Jim and I are hoping for good jazz (we've got tickets to see Mulgrew Miller late tonight) and good weather and maybe a trip to Brooklyn. We've never been to Brooklyn and friends are saying we're missing out. So we shall see! I'll bring my camera. Stay tuned.

Happy Trails -- see you in NYC.