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This weekend I signed with literary agent Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency. How rad is that? And this is one of her agenting pictures- yes, that’s her, knuckles and all. She reps some pretty awesome YA books by Courtney Summers, Amy Reed, and Kirstin Cronn-Mills. I’ll be posting reviews of  those books periodically throughout the year. I’m re-working a bit of my first book before we go on submission to publishers, and then I hope to revise my second novel shortly thereafter. Hopefully, I’ll be coming to a book store near you! Whoo-hoo!

Yesterday, at twilight, I spent time with twenty high school students in a creative writing club. We gathered in a small classroom, desk to desk in a circle, and wrote about Thanksgiving, families, spices, and herbs.

These were students of all different backgrounds: class, race, gender, age. In a perfect world they all get along. Now, since I don’t teach there, I don’t know what their interactions are like on a typical day. However, in the twilight hour, I witnessed a perfect world.

All twenty students read their work with pride. All twenty students offered affirming feedback to what they heard. They wrote. They read. They listened with open hearts. While this may all sound cheesy- it was incredibly warming.

Some lines that stayed with me from their writing:

“Oregano is my mom.”

“I am hungry for what can not be cut up and put on a plate.”

“I am smooth as a moon’s crescent.”

“The virus- is humanity.”

“You bring out the black in me…. The I-have-no-choice-but-to-go-through-puberty-in-me.”

“A bittersweet smell, the memory of… the uncle who pinched my cheeks, while the other uncles abused my face.”

In the spring, 916 Ink will be working with these youth to hone their craft and revise a piece of their writing for publication. I can’t wait to buy their book and hear them read at a huge gala in June 2012.

I was very proud of these young adults yesterday. They truly embodied the quote: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”  ~William Wordsworth

The following poem came out of a writing workshop I lead on Monday night. I was drawn to a salt and pepper shaker of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. I was also inspired by Wallace Stevens’ poem: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (albeit my poem is way shorter).

Let’s not even talk about noses and lies.

Some days all I want is to be a real boy, too.

Crickets annoy me.

Let’s admit it, everyone has the propensity to be a jackass.

The old man made me from wood.

Of course, being a girl comes with strings attached.

I think I’d quite like hiding in the belly of a whale for a little while.

Where is my shimmering star fairy?

God, who doesn’t want to run away and be in a traveling circus?

The wolf tricked me.

I only let him tie my up so that I wouldn’t become kindling.

I was on my way to school one day when….

No, I’m not a liar.