Just the other day I got to wondering about what must be going on with me. It’s been well over a year since I have posted anything to my blog. I have sat down and started a few, only to let them fall into my reject pile that sits next to my desk under a handy paper shredder. These blogs were started in earnest, but after reading them I felt they lacked the heart and soul that I would like them to have, in other words, they were boring!
After taking a moment to think back about not only my blog, but also about any writing in particular, I can say that they have mostly met the same fate, the whirling blades of the shredder, tearing them into tiny unreadable pieces of confetti. I have had a few that I have kept and all the stories that I didn’t now live up in my head until I can get them out on paper, but for the while it seems that I have hit the dreaded writer’s block.
Maybe I’m getting a little lazy as I get older, or that I am too tired after working all day, or that rerun on T.V. is just too important to turn off!
I have started to read more, some books, but mostly magazines and news articles. I found that in a lot of the writer’s magazines there are writing contests or just article contributions that I feel I would do good at, if I could just get started on something that would come out sounding good. One in particular asks for a story from my past on a given subject and I knew this was one I wanted to write about. I sat down and started to write and what I ended up with was just okay. It told the story but it didn’t really have much to it other than that. Instead of sending it to an early death in my shredder, I merely put it on my desk with the intention of coming back to it later and re-writing it.
That same day, after checking my mail, I received a very uplifting package from the students of St. Teresa’s Catholic school. A few weeks before, I was invited to the school to do a presentation for the students on my two books, Little Fish Lou and I’m Up in a Tree. I gladly accepted this invitation for I had the great opportunity to do the same thing at Sutro Elementary in Dayton the year before. In fact my last blog was on that visit and how I felt like a rock star for the day!
The package from the students contained all sorts of hand written thank you notes and cards for my visit to their school. I sat down in my chair, turned off the T.V. and read each and every one of them, marveling in how the students had decorated them with their own drawings depicting the characters in my books. I can say that I was truly touched!
The next morning as I sat drinking my coffee and looking over my magazine, the story came to me and how I wanted it to sound. Quickly I got on my computer and started typing away and in no time I had a story that I will now feel proud to send in.
Thinking about it later that day, I realized just how re-charged I felt by reading all those beautiful thank you cards from the students. The feeling that I got from their gesture of appreciation made me realize that that is why I like to write stories in the first place. To see the smile on their faces, be bombarded with the many questions they may have about me or my books, or just to know that someone out there loves a story that I created is the best feeling in the world!
To all of the students of St. Teresa’s, Sutro Elementary and all of the other wonderful schools out there, I would like to send you my thanks. One question that I get asked a lot is “What inspires you?” and I can truly say that it is you guys!