Saturday, August 4, 2012

Karen Cushman: Courting Surprise

Lin Oliver does not throw the world glorious around when she introduces just anyone, and this morning she is certainly not introducing just anyone. The SCBWI crowd will be starting off on the perfect note, better than any of the best cups of coffee could ever deliver, with the spectacular Karen Cushman.

Karen is the award-winning author of many books for kids, books that will stand the test of time. THE MIDWIFE'S APPRENTICE received the the Newbery Medal, and CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY  a Newbery Honor.

"A beautiful writer, a beautiful person, who lives on a beautiful island, is here to speak to us on this beautiful morning," Lin says, welcoming Karen to the stage.

When Karen writes she feels she offers her heart to her readers, and as she stands and speaks to us, she also offers us her heart.

Wow! Karen has just offered to be available to each and every person in the room, to help them attain their heart's desire.

Karen shares the many contradictory rules of writing. "Rules, rules, rules," she says. "Make your own rules. Or better yet, have no rules."

Karen believes we often give ourselves unconscious gifts when we write. A surprise.  "Read and reread your drafts, looking for the surprise."

"I learn a lot from reading other people's books."

"I suggest you read 100 books like the one you want to write. Or a thousand."

Now Karen admits she does have rules. Two of them.
1.Tell the truth.
2.Write with passion.

On a personal note, I feel as if Karen Cushman is sitting next me, holding my hand and giving it a pat, as she mentors me with great sincerity.

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