Skip to main content

NY17SCBWI: Healing Hearts

Dear Alison,

The paradigm shift that began the beginning of November and culminated January 20th knocked our country on our ass. We leaned on each other to stand up and prepare for battle. Over the weeks that followed, we wrote letters. We sent tweets. We made phone calls. We marched. We fought for our friends, our families, our children. We fought for our land, our arts, our very souls. 

We will continue to fight every injustice, every threat to the rights of both present and future generations. We will do this. We are compelled to do this, but it is not without cost.

We pretend our skin is thick. For many of us, especially those in the Arts—it is a fiction, a layer of ink and paint to protect our hearts from bleeding out onto the floor. As Tahereh Mafi said during her Saturday afternoon keynote at the New York SCBWI conference, “My thin skin helps me to be emotional.”

SCBWI gave us a gift this past weekend, a gift of spirit, of hope, of possibility, a gift of healing. Saturday morning, Bryan Collier embraced us with a warm, gentle hug. He cradled us while he murmured his keynote: “Let’s Just Feel.”

As SCBWI gave us the gifts of Bryan Collier, Tahereh Mafi, Tomie dePaola, and Sara Pennypacker, I wanted to give their keynotes as quotes that can be printed and posted on the wall, cut and pasted on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, anywhere and everywhere words of hope and inspiration and collective good are needed. The list is my gift to you as SCBWI and Bryan, Tahereh, Tomie, and Sara gifted us.  


His grandmother’s handmade quilts were silent gifts, seeds that were planted and took root in his art.—Bryan Collier

“Everything you’re awkward about is what makes you so special. Those are your gifts.”—Bryan Collier

“All the awkward stuff—get it out. We want you to make us feel something.”—Bryan Collier

“Your mind and spirit must be open to the fact you might need more time. Be open.” –Bryan Collier

“No matter how much you wipe it off—you’re still an artist. It is who you are.”—Bryan Collier

“That one word changes everything. Those kids—they’re waiting for you. That’s what’s at stake.” –Bryan Collier

“Your dream should be so big it should scare you.”—Bryan Collier

Talking about Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty Illustrated by Bryan Collier but applies to life:

“The invisible hole in boy’s soul that nobody sees—loss.”  --Bryan Collier

“To an eight year old, gone is gone.”—Bryan Collier

“It doesn’t matter if it’s death, divorce, incarceration, military commitments. It’s all just GONE.”—Bryan Collier

“Knock down the doors to your dreams.”—Bryan Collier

After Bryan’s keynote, two breakout sessions, and lunch, we returned to the ballroom—our hearts lighter, fuller, but still in need of healing. Tahereh Mafi addressed the moments between the dreaming: the heartache, the rejection, the battle.





“Lean into your rejections.” –Tahereh Mafi

“100s of rejections, 5 manuscripts until one took.” –Tahereh Mafi

“You battle only 2 opponents. 1st yourself, 2nd is time.” –Tahereh Mafi

“Be gentle to yourself.” –Tahereh Mafi

“If you are here, you are brave.” –Tahereh Mafi

Her gentle, soft words nurtured our souls. By Saturday evening, amongst cupcakes, laughter and conversation with kindred spirits our hearts mended.

But SCBWI wasn’t finished with us. They wanted to give us more. Sunday morning, Tomie dePaola presented the Tomie dePaola Illustrator award for the last time, but he wanted to impart a heart of emotion to us as well.

He reminded us that we are not alone in our daily struggles.

In regards to art and writing:
“When you decide it’s your path, be brave and stick to it.” –Tomie dePaola

“Read, read, read.”—Tomie dePaola

“Don’t be afraid to be a spiritual mindful person.” –Tomie dePaola

“Ask yourself honestly why do you want to write for young children.” –Tomie dePaola

“I wish you the courage to do it in the first place, and the courage to do it again and again and again.” –Tomie dePaola

He made us laugh too… “Publishers, why the hell haven’t you given Lisa Cinelli a book?” –Tomie dePaola

By Sara Pennypacker’s closing keynote we were ready to slip back into our fictional thick skins and prepare for the outside world. She was the only speaker who directly addressed the current political state of affairs, but we were ready for it.

Image result for sara  pennypackers

“If we write books for children, we need to know the state of our children’s world.”—Sara Pennypacker

“Do not allow anyone to block the river of your creativity.”—Sara Pennypacker

“Anyone who is passionate about what they do is compelled to do it.”—Sara Pennypacker

“Good stories are about things that matter.”—Sara Pennypacker

“Information, friendship, community, inspiration, and contacts—that’s what SCBWI does for us.” –Sara Pennypacker

“Sharpen your pens and brushes and go subtract a measurable drop of evil from the world.”—Sara Pennypacker

So my friends, it is time to say Goodbye. My pencil is sharpened and poised to subtract a measurable drop of evil from the world.

Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,

Kim

Popular posts from this blog

School Visit Recap: Assemblies to Workshops, and the CONVERSATIONS in between

Dear Kim (and friends),

This morning I put away my rainbow superhero mask, gold top hat, and banana-on-a-stick. Few things are sadder than closing your banana-on-a-stick into a dark closet. But, I guess it will rise again next month for my next school visit.

Oh, you thought my collection was somehow Halloween related? No, no. Just part of the workshop portion of my school visits. For the past two weeks I had the privilege of speaking to, and then with, students from one of our nearby districts.



Dwight Smith, the founder of My Special Word, joined me for the assembly portion of the event. We were able to share with the children Dwight's vision for the program, as well as my process for writing the books for him.

There was music. Lots of it.
Some singing. (Would you expect any less?)
And shouting! (Mostly the kids, but I got a few words in too.)



We met with over 800 kids during the assemblies and got a sense for how the school district planned to use My Special Word. I'll say,
w…

YA Scavenger Hunt: Kim Briggs hosting May Freighter

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team!But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I'm on the PINK TEAM--but there is also a red team, an orange team, a gold team, a green team, a teal team, a blue team, and a purple team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the auth…

INTERVIEW with Juliana Spink Mills, Author of The Blade Hunt Chronicles

Dear Alison and friends,
Today, I am excited. I mean REALLY excited, because well, I got to hangout with my writer buddy Juliana Spink Mills via the modern way: email/twitter/IG/FB. Juliana and I met at the NYSCBWI conference a few years back and have been friends every since. Juliana has been a much better friend to me than I've been to her this past year, but my resolution for 2018 is to rid myself of some of the extra responsibilities (stay tuned for details) and focus on what's really important supporting my community and that includes my writing community and the most important components of my writing community other than my readers are my writer friends.


So Juliana, when did you start writing?
Although I’ve always liked messing around with words, I didn’t start writing ‘for real’ until I turned 40 and told myself to stop procrastinating.
Sounds like 40 was the kick in the ass you needed. I just gave myself a strict deadline to finish my current WIP by January 1st. Deadline…