Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tulip and kerria

In my early days of writing, it was sufficient to go to a conference and listen and absorb as much as I could.  At this stage in the game I am finding it much more beneficial to go with a WIP in hand.  I came out of the NESCBWI nonfiction academy with more critiques and some concrete ideas on how to improve my manuscript.   It was well worth it for me.  This week, I revised and revised, whittling, carving and shaping the manuscript into a tighter story.  Next Tuesday, my friends and I will exchange notes, discuss what we learned and how we applied it, and critique revised manuscripts.  Can't wait!

On May 16th, I will be joining the CT Climate Change Education Communication Group on a field trip to Harkness Memorial Park to see how climate change has impacted that park.  The word "field trip" brings me such glee.

My favorite tulip reminds me of royalty.  The cascading yellow flowers are kerria, which grows in a bush. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What an overstuffed week it has been:  appointments, lectures, a webinar, a trip to Boston and the NESCBWI conference.  Early morning departures followed late night arrivals.  One evening, I drove an hour to see a lecture and view a short film, but it was well worth it.  It gave me a shot of excitement about things to come (I hope!).  The next day I was out the door at 5AM, headed to Boston. 

The full-day nonfiction academy at the conference was excellent.  The faculty (Tanya Stone, Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Elizabeth Partridge) was top notch and helpful offering activities to help our writing stay focused, captivating and plot driven.  The special interest group (SIG) session I attended was run by Loree Griffin Burns who was eager to answer our writing/publishing questions.  Both the academy and the SIG offered a rare opportunity to pick an author's brain.  I am so looking forward to returning to my conference critiqued manuscript and spending next week revising it.

As a handler, I introduced the speaker in one workshop.  Thanks to Toastmasters, I wasn't nervous at all.  In fact, when I found out I would be using the microphone, that actually pleased me immensely.  As I look back, I simply can not believe that in one workshop, I (Miss Offkey) sang solo in a circle of participants.  Unreal. 

Top photo:  Jane Yolen during the last minutes of the conference
Middle photo:  The uber busy registration table
Bottom photo: The poster contest and ballot box 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Forsythia and hyacinths (and frog)

Today my writing friends and I piled in a van and drove to Massachusetts to stuff 650 folders for the NESCBWI conference next weekend.  With eleven people helping, we got done in about two hours.  I met some of the people that are heavily involved in organizing the conference.  The NESCBWI has about 2,200 members and accounts for 10% of SCBWI's worldwide membership.

This is an uber busy week.  I'm going out of state five times, so I don't expect to get much writing done, but I will try. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Talcottville Gorge, Vernon - part 2

Usually, at the end of a conference, there is an open invitation to submit to some or all of the editors that attend, even if it's a closed house.  The invitation to submit comes with a deadline.  I've been molding and shaping something new, hoping to have it ready to send out to a conference editor because I'm not big on wasting opportunities.  The only stones I leave unturned are those I don't find and it irks me when I notice them too late.  BTW, I recently found another opp.  Goin' for it!  (nothing new there)

At Talcottville Gorge, I heard frogs, but could not find the slippery little devils.  They were likely on the opposite side of the stream that was too wide to cross.  Beavers gnawed into quite a few trees.  I'd love a photo of them lugging that big log, but they were hiding too.  Fish made random splashes, making it challenging to capture them with the camera (that's my excuse for the blurry Jaws shot).

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Talcottville Gorge, Vernon - part 1

Recently there's been a lot of studies on how we learn, but this week I wondered what's the best age to learn?  High school students can comprehend much more than younger children, but they may not be so open to new information.  Sometimes they think they know everything.  Elementary students need simpler ideas, but they have more open minds and many years to think about the material.  Middle graders fall somewhere in between.  Some of the subjects I write about are so important I don't want kids to forget them.  Success for me isn't fame, it's making an impact, educating and enlightening.

After spending too much time lamenting PB or middle grade, I finally got started on a new project.  Once the first two paragraphs were down, I decided that I needed a new starting point.  Oh joy!
I am heavily into volunteering at the upcoming NESCBWI conference and I've got over 50 emails to prove it.  I am amazed at how many volunteers are needed at these events.  It was getting crazy with time slots double booked, so I finally put my mind at ease by writing up a spreadsheet detailing my whereabouts for 3 days.  I'm timing, transporting, handling, tallying, registering and stuffing.   Yowzy!         

These photographs were taken at Talcottville Gorge in Vernon  The property was recently donated to the town.  Although it's a short hike, it was quite interesting.  Today, I'm posting photographs of the geography--a cave and waterfall.  Next time, I'll write about the signs of wildlife I encountered.