Tuesday, June 16, 2009

teen writers' boot camp

Last week I led the "fiction track" of the Explorati teen writers' boot camp. Twenty young writers and I gathered together every day for four days to focus on writing. Whooee! (Meanwhile, other groups concentrated on writing nonfiction, screenplays, or poetry.)

The camp turned out to be just what I needed to feel happy, alive, and inspired. Is that hard to believe? It shouldn't be, but it's kind of boggling how many cultural messages are out there about how "difficult" it is to be around teenagers; how much trouble they are; how touchy, out-of-control and maddening they can be; how etcetera. . .

Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe I simply like teens in a way that most people don't. I suspect it's a combination. At any rate, "my" young writers were generous, sensitive, fun, funny, interesting, entertaining, and kind. Not only that, but they were excellent writers, and highly motivated to write even better than they already did.

I felt really blessed to be there. And I can't wait to read their books in the future!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My mom has passed away

Yes, it's been a long time since I blogged.

My mom got really ill in March, and left this world on the last day of April. I was able to go to Florida for just about three weeks and be with her, and I'll always be grateful that my "job" allowed room for that.

Mom was happy with her terminal diagnosis, and refused treatment that she believed would be ineffective anyway. She felt she had lived her life; she wanted to join my dad and see what was next. She thought I should write about people like her, people who feel ready to go. "I don't believe I'm the only one," she said.

Maybe one day I'll write more about the subject of death and dying. For now, it's enough to feel all that I'm feeling.

I'd like to share something my mom wrote:

"Have you ever waked up in the morning and looked at the floor and there was the sun right there on the floor? And you looked around to see where the sun was coming from, and found out it was coming right in through your window, even though the window was shut tight. That's a funny thing about the sun--it can come in when the window isn't open, and just sit there on the floor smiling."

I love that.

Well, now you know why there's been a lack of posts from me lately. I'm one of those people who gets very quiet when I'm feeling a huge amount.

Today I woke up and looked at the flowers and felt as if they were telling me something: It's important to bloom even if you could get torn up by a strong wind or lashed by a torrent or even struck by lightning.

We can't know what's next. We can't make sure that there will always be a wonderful climate with just the right amount of sun and rain. But we can go on blooming just the same.