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  • June 3rd, 2011 | 10:08 AM
Friday Five - The Gary Schmidt edition

1. I'm reading Gary Schmidt's new book, OKAY FOR NOW. In three pages I was completely sucked into the story, rooting for the main character. I would have read it in one sitting except that it was nearly 1am and I knew I should get some sleep.

2. Reading Gary Schmidt's books makes me excited about writing middle grade and motivates me to get back to work on my two. Of course the flip side to that is if I play the compare game (hey, I know I shouldn't do it but that doesn't make it easy to stop.) and I realize how utter brilliant he is which makes me feel utterly ordinary.

3. Reading OKAY FOR NOW, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach very early in the book. That feeling you get when you realize another author has done something kinda sorta not exactly but somewhat similar to something you were going to do in your own book. It's not like it was a super odd-ball character or unusual happening, the sort of thing that you could peg from book to book. No one else will give it a second thought. But I will at times. Sigh. And then I will remember the teeter totter of brilliance versus ordinary. And then I will just have to knuckle down and find my own brilliance.

4. In 2010 Gary Schmidt spoke at our local SCBWI conference at Asilomar. I was memorized. His talk about working with incarcerated students reminded me of my own work in similar situations. He made me laugh. He made me cry. I wanted him to adopt me. Okay, maybe not adopt me but I wanted to be one of his students. I know he teaches in some distance education programs but I can't afford to sign on for a long term program. But I could afford some one-on-one time. I wish he would consider taking on a private student. Namely, me. (I have a similar writer crush on Beth Kephart and the same desire to somehow be a student in one of her classes some day.)

5. The first Gary Schmidt book I ever read was The Sin Eater, maybe 10 year ago. I remember being somewhat in awe, that you could write this kind of story, with this kind of emotion and so many layers for middle grade. I felt like it handed me a get-out-of-writing-jail free card and encouraged me to write my kind of books, the not-so-funny, probably going to hurt your heart kind of books.

If you haven't read any of Gary's books yet, you owe it to yourself to pick one up. Thanks Gary, for lighting the path.

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.



Comments

( 3 comments — Leave comment )
rosefiend
June 3rd, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Gary teaches at Hamline University. I wish you could go to it! He's pretty good to work with, though honestly I don't see how he keeps up with everything, because he also teaches at Calvin College in Michigan. Crazy.

But if you're able to drop by St. Paul in July maybe you can drop by the campus during residency. They offer lecture passes to some of the readings and lectures, and if you come by you can say hey. And you wouldn't have to pay back a bajillion dollars in student loans like I am going to here in a few years.
boreal_owl
June 3rd, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
I'm going to have to read some of his other books besides The Wednesday Wars, one of my favourites. I especially want to read Okay For Now because it's a sort-of sequel to TWW.
roseleaf
June 3rd, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reminding me I need to read Okay For Now! I loved The Wednesday Wars, and keep meaning to read more of his books. That'll be a good one to continue on. :-)
( 3 comments — Leave comment )
WHO AM I?



Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.






Susan Taylor Brown

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