Teen Writers Bloc

A Blog by the New School Writing for Children MFA Class of 2012

Archive for November, 2010

Trailer of the Week: Ally Condie’s Matched

Posted by Sona Charaipotra On November - 30 - 2010

matched Trailer of the Week: Ally Condie’s MatchedToday marks the release of former English teacher-turned-author Ally Condie’s Matched, the first in a trilogy about a dystopian society in which all your major life decisions are made for you: who you are, what you do, who you marry, and even when you die.

Cassia Reyes aims to stick with the plan, but then, on the day he’s scheduled to die, her grandfather gives her a poem — clearly contraband. It is the Dylan Thomas classic, telling her: “Do not go gentle into that goodnight.” Then, despite the fact that she’s been looking forward to marrying her match, her childhood best friend Xander, she finds herself thinking about a stranger she shared a fleeting moment with. Intrigued? That’s just the beginning.

The trailer for the book is pretty clean and straightforward, given the high tech premise of the novel. But I think that’s why it works, it gets right to the point and leaves you curious to learn more. Check it out below:

Ally Condie’s Matched hits bookstores today. Will you be reading? What did you think of the trailer?

Kevin Joinville: To MFA or Not to MFA, That is the Question

Posted by Kevin Joinville On November - 30 - 2010

 Kevin Joinville: To MFA or Not to MFA, That is the QuestionI’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I learned the alphabet. It seems that our society puts a lesser emphasis on the arts as some believe that it has no useful properties other than the aesthetic. For me growing up though, that wasn’t the case. From a very early age I was able to use it as a mechanism that took me away from a less than ideal home life. I used writing as a way of transporting myself to a world that I could control and enjoy immensely. It allowed me to enter a place where the outside world did not affect me. Without knowing it, every time I had reached back into my imagination, it turns out that I was developing a skill that would come in handy later in life.

Although I have developed my imagination, I know that I have to gain discipline. I’ve never been any good in English and my undergrad transcript will reflect that. My quest for the MFA was born out of a desire to gain that discipline and to learn how to tell a story effectively. I have all of this imagination and all of these great ideas. What I need now is to be able to use them in a way that is appealing to others. This thought is what has brought me to the New School.

The issues that are dealt with in the literature that we’ve discussed so far, appeals to me in that it is relatable. A lot of children’s literature deals with escaping from issues that the protagonist feels may overwhelm them. There are parts of my own life that I would like to share with others and the best way I can do that is by gaining the discipline needed to express myself boldly and efficiently.

To get an MFA is a very personal issue. If you enjoy writing, then write. It’s fun. If you want to get published then maybe an MFA is the way to go but you certainly don’t need it to be successful. All you need is a story to tell and the discipline to write it.

Author Q&A: Wendy Raven McNair, of the Asleep Awake Trilogy

Posted by Dhonielle Clayton On November - 29 - 2010

 Author Q&A: Wendy Raven McNair, of the Asleep Awake TrilogyAs a child I longed to see people like me in the fantasy books I treasured, doing fantastical things and going on magical adventures. So I was thrilled when, as I was working on a forthcoming three-part blog series titled, “Do Brown Kids Go to Outer Space? A Search for Multicultural Kids in Fantasy and Science-Fiction,” I came across author Wendy Raven McNair and her fantasy trilogy featuring African-American protagonists. I immediately went to her website and found out all I could about the author and her books, Awake and Asleep. I downloaded her book and poured over her world of African-American super-beings.

I caught up with Wendy to chat about self-publishing, ethnicity in books and what inspired her to write.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

I grew up in the projects of Houston, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, an accomplishment I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. I never travelled outside of Texas until I was an adult, and since then I’ve lived in Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Massachusetts, and now reside in Georgia. Before I became a writer, I held many different positions: assistant teacher, manufacturing plant line technician, quality lab rep, office assistant, restaurant hostess, and bank teller just to name a few. My newborn daughter inspired me to pursue being a writer because I wanted to teach her by example to go after her dreams. Now, I’ve discovered that my life experiences are great resource material for my stories.

Can you tell us a bit about ASLEEP and AWAKE? How did you come up with the concept for the series?

Asleep is book one of a fantasy trilogy. Adisa Summers doesn’t know her boyfriend, Micah Alexander, can fly. In this opening story Adisa is introduced to the secret world of super beings as she’s falling in love with Micah, so it’s pretty intense right up to the very end.

Awake is book two of the trilogy. Adisa and Micah race against time to find a cure for Micah. When Adisa reconnects with the birth parents who abandoned her in a cotton field when she was only three, the shocking results threaten Micah and Adisa’s relationship, sanity, and even their lives.

My teen daughter inspired this trilogy. She loves fantasy stories, but my challenge was finding an age appropriate fantasy story with a lead character that reflected her, a teen and an African American girl. So I started the story knowing who the lead character would be. My initial fantasy idea was a superhero defender of the environment (my teen was learning about environmental issues), however the story was going nowhere. I did like the “superhero” idea, which evolved into super beings in the final story.

What’s your writing process? Where does your inspiration come from?

I’m a daydreamer, I always have been, so my writing process is simple. I daydream about my characters and write down what happens. I actually spend more time marketing, networking, and planning for or participating in literary events which all take away from my writing time and make up my typical day. For example, I’m taking time for this interview instead of writing, which is a great opportunity taking up some of my writing time. My ongoing struggle is to find balance between writing and all the other duties I perform as a self-published author. Usually I have to clear my calendar and just dedicate the whole day to writing.

What’s been the most surprising part of the writing/publishing process for you?

One thing it hasn’t been is boring! One surprising part has been the generosity of readers who are supportive and encouraging. Queries for my first published novel, Giant Slayers, received nothing but rejections. So I was thrilled to receive some positive agent responses to Asleep. But I decided to self publish since there are so many great alternatives available and reader response has been tremendous. However, I don’t have the money or resources a traditional publisher would provide, so I have to be a jack of all trades. It can be exhausting, but I get to do something I love, tell stories, so that keeps me motivated along with the positive feedback from readers.

 Author Q&A: Wendy Raven McNair, of the Asleep Awake TrilogyWhat’s the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten? What advice would you yourself give aspiring authors?

Keep writing! That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given. My advice to aspiring authors is to not give up. Exciting things are happening in the literary world that are giving authors more avenues to getting their work out to the public. The traditional publishing route can be very discouraging to aspiring writers but now print on demand and e-books are allowing these writers alternate routes to realizing their dream of getting their stories out to the public.

What was your favorite book when you were a teenager? What are you reading now?

One of my favorites was Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. I’m currently reading Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, the sequel to Parable of the Sower. Both authors are phenomenal writers and insightful storytellers.

What’s next for you writing-wise (and otherwise!)?

I’m currently working on a media project related to the trilogy that I hope to have up in 2011. Readers can keep updated through my website and blog. I’m also working on Ascend, the final book of the trilogy. After that, I may write a trilogy from Micah’s perspective. By telling this story through Adisa, much of Micah’s story is left untold, so exploring his side of things would be very revealing and a completely different story from Adisa’s version. So I believe it would hold many surprising revelations for readers. I’ll also be touring to promote the books.

Do you believe in being part of a “bloc” of writers? Are critique groups and writing communities helpful to you?

Ideally, yes, I believe a writing community could be very beneficial. Unfortunately, I haven’t found one that fits into how I work so I haven’t had the opportunity to experience it while writing my novels.

Thank you so much to Wendy Raven McNair for swinging by TeenWritersBloc.com to chat. Check out her website and books. They’d make great stocking stuffers!

Caela Carter: The Book I’m Most Thankful For

Posted by Caela Carter On November - 27 - 2010

secretgarden Caela Carter: The Book I’m Most Thankful ForWhen my family moved from Baltimore, I was eight-years-old, in the second grade, and right at the part when Mary finds Colin crying in the mansion.

I wasn’t too sure how to feel about moving. About a year before, when my brother (then six) and I had first been told that we were moving to New Jersey so my dad could have a better job in New York, I felt sad because, basically, that’s what kids in books felt when their parents told them they had to move.

But we were told that it was actually exciting, and my emotions followed suit pretty easily. Add to that the fact that my father, who had been commuting to New York every week and only home on weekends, would be with us again every single night, and that there was a huge pool in my new back yard, and I approached the pending move with mostly enthusiasm. But I would miss my school. And my library.

On my own, I was bumbling through Ann M. Martin’s Little Sister series and struggling in the lowest reading group at school. But on the nights my father was home, I was snuggling under covers and listening as Mary — the seven-year-old protagonist in The Secret Garden— learned how to put on her own clothes and explore the Moore.

On the Big Moving Day, my brother and I sat side by side in the way-way back of my mom’s Taurus station wagon (i.e., facing backwards) armed with stickers and coloring books for the four-hour drive. My mother said, “Here we go!” in her most-excited voice as she lowered the back door, and then promptly burst into tears. I was confused. I was confused because I had actually believed that she was purely excited about the promise of New Jersey, but she explained to me on the drive that it was also sad because we were moving away from my grandparents and cousins and friends. I realized I really didn’t know what to feel.

We arrived at our new house before the movers did, and it struck me as stretched out and flat. It was a rancher, which meant my room was down the hallway from the kitchen. That was strange, but just fine. What really hit me was the amount of steps it would now take to get to Daniel’s room, or my parents’. In our old hallway, our doors had been right on top of each other. Now a few feet of shiny hard wood separated them all. My old room had a celestial theme: rainbows and clouds on every surface. I loved it. I used to truly believe I got to sail away from my house at night and sleep among the stars. My new room sported dingy gold wall-to-wall carpeting and wallpaper with bars of vomit-colored flowers resembling cartoon jail cells. (The décor would change, soon, I was promised.)

But there was a massive tarp spread over the backyard, hiding the promise of our new kidney-shaped pool. And there were other such wonders — a huge sloping front yard perfect for sledding and waffle ball games, a winding stone staircase on the side of the house, a swing set, and a family of deer poking their noses through the top or our fence.

I didn’t know what to feel.

It was sunny and beautiful for March, so we went to a deli in our new town and ordered sandwiches. Once they were wrapped in wax paper and packed into a bag, Daniel said, “Let’s go home.”

The word crashed around in my brain. I said, “Let’s call it ‘the house’.”

Dad said, “Nope. He’s right. That’s home.”

Even though it seemed full of adventure, I didn’t want that flat house to be my home, because it meant the other one wasn’t my home anymore.

But as we unwrapped our sandwiches and started chewing, the four of us sitting side-by-side on the stoop and looking at our brand-new tarp, it struck me that the four of us were all side-by-side. In a few hours, the movers would come with our furniture; the next day my grandparents would come to help unpack;  in a week we would be in a new school. But for now, it was just the four of us and an empty, flat house. It hit my eight-year-old brain for the first time just how indestructible my little family was. Everything was different, except the four of us.

And I thought about Mary, who had to move to her uncle’s sprawling mansion all by herself, who was the only one to move when everyone else just stayed.

So I started chatting about the book between bites. Before I knew it, my dad was scooping up me, along with whatever proof-of-his-new-residence he could find, and shuffling me to the nearest library. “We need to finish that book,” he said.

And so, at least according to my memory, The Secret Garden (by Frances Hodgson Burnett) and my library card were the first objects we moved into our new house.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful to The Secret Garden for being the first piece of real literature that grabbed my soul, and to my dad for reading it with me during perhaps the most hectic year that the four of us spent together.

Corey Haydu: Why I’m Thankful for Julie Andrews This Thanksgiving

Posted by Corey Haydu On November - 24 - 2010

whangdoodles 397x600 Corey Haydu: Why Im Thankful for Julie Andrews This ThanksgivingTrivia Question: Did you know that Julie Andrews, star of stage and film, is a middle grade author?

Not only that, she’s is a really good writer. I discovered her books when I was nine or ten, and not only was I blown away by the magical worlds she created, I was also thrilled that an accomplished actress could also be an inspiring writer. I was a bit of both, even at that age, and Julie Andrews (known by her pen name as Julie Andrews Edwards) was a living breathing example of the creatively full life I wanted to live.

I could try to choose which is my favorite, but there is no way I could choose between The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and Mandy.

These two books spoke about everything that mattered to me: Mandy was a Secret Garden-type story that spoke to the writerly side of my personality: contemplative, private, living partially in my own secret world. Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles struck a nerve with the other side of who I was (and hopefully still am): imaginative, precocious, optimistic. These books were vibrant and fearless. They had depth of emotion and a nod towards the larger implications of their messages. I wanted to be the characters in these books. I wanted what they had, and when I realized I probably would never have a Whangdoodle or a secret garden full of flowers and a cottage all my own, I decided that instead I wanted what Julie (Andrews) Edwards had. The ability to create those worlds. The freedom to live those impossibilities through creative means.

Just reading through the reviews of the books on Amazon, I got to re-live a little of that wonder. Which is what I think I’m always looking for, even now. It may mean different things at different ages — wonder — but there is no age where it doesn’t include a creature called a Whangdoodle that grows a new pair of fabulous and unique slippers on his feet every year.

These are books to return to when that sense of wonder is missing, when the spark is gone.

Or, alternately, watch The Sound of Music. Because, truly, Julie Andrews Edwards is great in any form.

Sona Charaipotra: The Book I’m Most Thankful For

Posted by Sona Charaipotra On November - 24 - 2010

bombaytalkie Sona Charaipotra: The Book I’m Most Thankful ForAs a child, I was a voracious reader. I had this hunger, this desire for something I couldn’t quite place — something I wouldn’t understand till I was much older. And I found solace, comfort, connection in books. But growing up as a little Indian (brown, not red) girl in America, rarely did I see myself in them.

Then, when I was 17, I finally found what I was looking for. It was copywriter Ameena Meer’s first — and only — novel, Bombay Talkie, a swirling headtrip of  a book with dual narrators, a dervish of a read that touched on sexuality, ethnicity, religion, identity, and the concept of home, all with a dash of sex, drugs, Bollywood royalty. I couldn’t relate to it at all. And yet, I could completely relate to it.

Bombay Talkie‘s protagonist is Sabah, an Indian-Muslim born and raised in America, land of the free. Except she hardly feels free, and gets sent packing one summer to India by her well-meaning parents. There, the character sheds much of her naivete about how the world works, and sees that the idyllic vision her parents have of their homeland is of an India long gone. Meanwhile, Sabah’s foil is her Indian-from-India cousin Adam, a Bollywood scion growing up in the shadow of celebrity, trying to carve out his own identity and explore his sexuality. Eventually, the pair’s paths cross in a very tragic, cathartic ending.

Clearly, the premise of the novel was a far cry from my mundane teenage angst in suburban New Jersey. But I recognized moments of truth in this book, in its flavors, in its colors, in the emotions the characters conveyed. I was surprised by how much I got it. And I was surprised by how much it got me.

Eventually, other books with brown folks in them appeared, books that were closer to my everyday existence, books that I felt could offer a valid expression of my experience. But Bombay Talkie would always be the first.

And then there was that moment. The one every writer has at some point. The moment when I realized that I, too, could create my own such representations.

I was a freshman at Rutgers when Bombay Talkie‘s author, Ameena Meer, swung by to do a reading and signing, because, it just so happened, her cousin was a student there. So I stood patiently in line with with my tattered copy, and asked her to sign it for me. She asked me my name. I told her it was Sona, and that I hoped to be a writer one day. And she said, “Don’t worry, you’re golden.” She was playing off my name, which means “gold” in Hindi. And for some reason, at that moment, I knew I would be. As cheesy as it sounds, knowing Ameena could do it  — and get such a brave whirlwind, controversial book about brown people out there at a time when there was nothing of the sort, I knew eventually I’d be able to do it, too.

That is why, out of all the countless, thousands of books I’ve read and loved, Bombay Talkie is the one I’m the most thankful for. So thank you, Ameena, for unwittingly inspiring a naive teenager, a wannabe writer, all those years ago. It’s been more than 15 years, but Bombay Talkie is not forgotten. In fact, I still have my signed copy. I’m saving it for my own little brown girl, who maybe some day will have a library full of books that get her.

Alyson Gerber: The Book I’m Most Thankful For

Posted by Alyson Gerber On November - 23 - 2010

little women Alyson Gerber: The Book I’m Most Thankful ForI was already in first grade by the time my parents figured out I’d memorized every book on my shelf. “I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child,” I said, repeating every word as I flipped the pages on cue, imitating my beautiful blonde mother. At six years old, I was a convincing actress with a mind full of books, but I couldn’t read. Or so said Mrs. Witch, the teacher at my new private school.

That’s when my mom and I started our tradition.

Every night, she snuggled next to me in my four post princess bed, gold bracelets clapping as she ran her hands through my partially grown out bangs, and handed the book over to me. At first we switched off every page, as I struggled to sound out syllables well below grade level. As my confidence and pace developed, we traded off after each chapter. Mom and I read back and forth from 1991 until 1994, spanning the middle grade literary canon: Pippy Longstocking, the Betsey, Tacy and Tib series, SuperFudge, everything Roald Dahl, the Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, half of Anne of Green Gables, because it was too sad, All of a Kind Family, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Then my class took a field trip to Louisa May Alcott’s Concord, Massachusetts home, and I just had to read Little Women.

I was in fourth grade, too old to share story time with my mother, but consistent practice and dedication had paid off, and for the first time I was reading above grade level. It took so long to read out loud and with the movie, starring Winona Ryder, set to hit theaters just in time for our Jewish Christmas of movies and Chinese, I suggested we finish the book separately. It was the last story we read together. And that, perhaps, made it the most special one.

So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my mother, and for the Little Women, whose story made me feel big.

Amy Ewing: To MFA Or Not to MFA, That Is the Question

Posted by Amy Ewing On November - 22 - 2010

To MFA or not to MFA?

Honestly, I might not be the best person to answer that question. I arrived at this program through a sequence of events that developed so precariously, could have splintered into so many different paths, that it feels more like fate.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Am I accruing a ridiculous amount of debt? Yes. And did I ever plan on going to grad school, not just for writing but for anything? No. In fact, I never even intended to be a writer. Writing was a private form of expression for me. But when life offers unexpected opportunities, I’ve learned it’s best to take them.

Part of me was looking for structure when I applied to grad school — I’d written a book and had no idea what to do with it, no idea how to make it better. Part of me was looking for acceptance, to see if anyone out there who didn’t know me that could read a sample of my work and say, “Yes. We want you.” But mostly, I had no idea what I was getting into.

So, what have I gotten into? Classes that I look forward to every week. Teachers who challenge me and help shape who I am as a writer and as a reader. And, best of all, a group of emerging writers who have surprised me with their support and wisdom. I really thought there would be a serious amount of snobbery, this being a writing program and all, but there isn’t a single shred of posturing in my class.

You can’t write inside a vacuum, and you can’t do it all alone without going crazy. To have other writers willing to help outside as well as during class is essential — especially ones willing to listen as you detail the plot of a trilogy for over the course of an hour.

I can’t say unequivocally that an MFA is the way to go; so much is dependent on so many factors.  But so far, it’s working for me.

Riddhi Parekh: To MFA Or Not To MFA, That Is the Question

Posted by Riddhi Parekh On November - 19 - 2010

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat Riddhi Parekh: To MFA Or Not To MFA, That Is the QuestionWhy MFA? Because I can.

My friends would laugh and joke,  “Riddhi’s room is like a play pen,” picking up books like Robert Sabuda’s pop-up Alice In Wonderland, or Chris Riddell’s Ottoline and The Yellow Cat. They’d mindlessly untangle my wooden puzzles, smirk as they’d point at the giant flower hanging down the post of the bed, snicker at my Captain Underpants Collection, and take the piss at SpongeBob, all the while unable to get their hands off my bookshelf, distractedly delving into it.

Sure, at one time I gave them credit for thinking I was a loonie. I mean, which 26-year-old’s room is filled with stuff that belongs in children’s libraries or a play area?

Obviously, someone who works with a children’s magazine and seriously enjoys the freebies. Before I came to the New School, I worked for four years with a newspaper called DNA (that stands for Daily News & Analysis) in Bombay, where I was Head of Content on a children’s magazine called Young Adults. We had a great little team and I felt proud to be busting my balls to bring out one of the best children’s magazines around. I loved every second of it: opening letters from the readers, planning the weekly issue page by page, choosing short stories and excerpts, interviewing interesting people like my favourite author, Paro Anand, getting invited to screenings to review films like Shrek, Up! and  Alice In Wonderland. We also had a team of school children working with us as junior journalists. They came in for meetings and we gave them a real newsroom experience, where they planned stories and issues that they wanted to work on.

On the side, three days a week, I also helped out at Anahita Dastoor’s drama class for children. Class involved working with junior, middle grade and high school students from various schools, training them for Trinity College London exams in speech and drama, as well as engaging them in all kinds of drama activities that we as teachers were free to devise. I had access to a wonderful library set up by the teacher, which included classics like Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Shakespeare, Neil Simon, Shel Silverstein and all the Harry Potters and Goosebumps you could want. While helping children choose books to borrow and helping them read, I was having a jolly good time going back to my favourites.

Life was really great. But I wanted more.

I knew there had to be more.

And I was right.

I began to look for ways to go back to school. I had always wanted to study literature. I never had the chance to do that, having graduated with a media degree in advertising and an MA in English through correspondence. I had also begun writing stories of my own by now, but didn’t feel they were ready for publication.

So I spent a year looking for a program that I really, really wanted to do. It was either a program that involved writing, or, believe it or not, music – ethnomusicology. But that will have to wait for now.

That’s because I think I hit gold with the MFA in Creative Writing program at New School, where I’m specializing in writing for children and young adults. I was surprised to find about seven such programs spread out over the US and UK. I applied to five schools, unsure if my writing sample would make the cut. But the New School was number one on my list. I was seriously shocked when I got into all the schools I applied to. The one that took the longest to reply was the New School.

But it was totally worth the wait. I didn’t know it back then, but leaving Pandora’s box to come and live in New York in a house that literally was an empty box and working full time on my writing has been worth it every step of the way. I love being immersed in this world of books and words and sentences.

After coming to this program, I am reassured that I am not a loon. That there are others like me. My wonderful classmates, I am sure their rooms are filled with books and things as interesting as my room back in Bombay. Just ask Dhonielle about her wish dolls.

The best part about this program is that you’re doing it with 12 other people who go through this microcosm of a universe with you, reading the same books that you are reading and reading your writing as you read theirs and being brutally honest and giving you feedback on how to make it better. I feel totally sane when I see them. They know how interesting and challenging this program is. Even if your roomie thinks it’s a piece of cake, just because she is studying Urban Policy Management at Milano The New School for Urban Policy and reads books like Policy Paradox, City Politics and Hot, Flat And Crowded. Seriously, she says things like, “I wish I could spend all day reading books like Catcher in The Rye.” Well, I only say, she should. Nobody is stopping her.

So, why MFA? Because I can. Because it makes sense for me to do this, at this time in my life.

An Ode to The Longstockings: The Origins of Teen Writers Bloc

Posted by Dhonielle Clayton On November - 17 - 2010

tinyfeet reasonably small An Ode to The Longstockings: The Origins of Teen Writers BlocI have had a secret online obsession for the past five years. And I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve been a bit of a stalker. Every time I powered up my computer, I read one blog faithfully: The Longstockings. No matter how much I had to get done or how many papers I had to grade, I took time out to read their blog. While swamped in English teacher-land, their blog gave me hope that someday I could pursue my dream of writing for children and teens.

This group of talented writers started a blog when they were attending The New School’s MFA in Writing for Children. They love all things Pippi Longstocking and blogged about topics related to the children’s and teen book market as well as the craft of writing. Jenny Han, Lisa Graff, Kathryne Alfred, Daphne Grab, Coe Booth, Siobhan Vivian, and Caroline Hickey were my one-stop shop to all things children’s books. Through their posts I was able to get to know them and their personalities and see the value in a community of writers.

Their blog inspired me to apply to The New School. They were all so talented, quirky and different from one another that I was eager to be part of a group like that. One day, back in 2008, I wrote to The Longstockings about what they treasured about the New School program. I didn’t expect them to write back.

But one did. One Longstocking, Caroline Hickey, told me it was one of the best experiences of her life and well worth the risk.

So I sent in an application. I waited with bated breath, checked the mailbox every day, combed through online MFA blogs about notification deadlines, and sweated bullets while anticipating my fate. Still, no big package had arrived with The New School logo on it. March came to a close. Then April began, and I started to worry. I called the Writing Program Admissions. I played phone tag with a woman for two days and then she called me with the good news. I’d been accepted. All I could think of was that I was going to be a future Longstocking.

 An Ode to The Longstockings: The Origins of Teen Writers BlocAs soon as the first workshop began, I started plotting the launch of a blog that tied all of my classmates together. I yearned for the camaraderie that The Longstockings had achieved years before. I had never been a successful blogger, having started personal blogs and abandoning them after three or four posts. But I figured if there were many of us, we could all pitch in and the load of the blog wouldn’t be cumbersome. After getting to know my fabulous classmates, I pitched the idea for it. I revealed my secret obsession and shared The Longstockings’ blog with the class.

Lucky for me they all liked the idea and thought the platform would be a great opportunity for individual success as well as a collective success. I would’ve never had the idea or the gumption to start a blog if it hadn’t been for The Longstockings. They led me to The New School program and I am happy follow in their grand footsteps. They don’t blog as frequently as they used to in the past, but I still check the website often. I had to cleanse myself of my stage-five-clinger-ways and accept the fact that The Longstockings’ careers had taken off and they couldn’t blog every day anymore and cater to my obsessive habit of checking their new posts. I had to say goodbye to my daily routine. Sigh!

Thank you Longstockings for inspiring me to conquer my fear of getting an MFA in something as specific as children’s books and for bringing to light the joys of writing for young people.

In the wonderful words of your revered Pippi Longstocking, “Grown-ups never have any fun. All they have is a lot of dull work and stupid clothes and corns and nincum tax.”

I don’t ever have to write about grown-ups at Teen Writers Bloc. I don’t have dull work anymore. I might still wear stupid clothes, but I have no corns or income tax (I’m a full-time student). So, long live Pippi! And long live the Longstockings!

pixel An Ode to The Longstockings: The Origins of Teen Writers Bloc

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