a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Saturday, November 9, 2013

in which I CELEBRATE finding joy

Last school year, when Ruth visited my classroom, she graciously led a workshop for our staff, during which she nudged us to find joy.  Each Saturday, she leads a celebration about just that idea: finding joy in the every day. Click the link below to join her! 
one. There is joy in seeing a movie in the theater (for the first time in years), and getting so lost in the story that I was sorry to see it end.  About Time is one of those stories to which I want to return again and again.  It is a heartprint kind of story.  Its message is very relevant to these Saturday posts. 

two.  I find joy in the reminder lesson I got from parent/teacher conferences this week: parents and politicians/administrators don’t want the same things.  I can be me and please parents.  I can be me and reach students.  What sweet relief to hold onto these truths.

three.  Joy and bookstores are synonymous.  Especially when a visit to a bookstore means a book signing with none other than Kate DiCamillo!  Better yet, I was able to nudge a friend to join me last minute, turning it into an author visit/shopping/lunch event. 

me with Kate DiCamillo
Here are the highlights from her talk:

·      What she had to say about writers’ block: When I am stuck, I am really acting out of fear or I am being lazy.
·      She told us she worked at Disney World and had the job of telling people, “Watch your step.”  She said it made her believe there had to be something more, something bigger to do.  {I think the storyland quality of Disney World somehow planted itself in her heart, or perhaps that is what drew her to work there in the first place.}
·      Reason she gave for writing so many animal characters:  As humans we are more likely to open our hearts to animals than we are to other humans. 
·      She said reading kept her alive as a child.
·      She said that her books are not finished until readers pick them up and read them.  She said she wouldn’t elaborate on endings of books because, “Whatever is true for you is the truth of the book.”

four.  Joy lives in the whirling, twirling dance of leaves escaping my lawn mower and rake this morning during the fall cleaning of the yard, which I had been dreading…until I got up and out and was greeted by a beautiful fall day. 


  1. You met Kate DiCamillo - pushing aside my first reaction of jealousy, I am happy for you and celebrating with you! About Time is on my list to see, just haven't found the time yet. Now I am thinking I should make the time to see it.
    I hope that next week you can fully be you and enjoy it.

  2. Finding joy in seeing Kate DiCamillo is the obvious; yet you also found joy in falling leaves and parent teacher conferences! KUDOS to you and a reminder to us all that we can find joy is all we do - if we look.

  3. Like Anita and Terje, meeting Kate Dicamillo, and with your friend sounds like a joyful time, Christy, & I'm happy you saw that conferences were about you and the student, and that's what parents want to see, and celebrate along with you! Happy Sunday with those leaves!

  4. A beautiful fall day! We're deep in the gray of gloomy, fall days. However, when my daughter went to college, she commented that she missed "her gray blanket". It's a great way to view our fall, but I still celebrate every moment when the sun peeks out. Joy and bookstores are synonymous! Your post is nudging me to go to that event at University Bookstores, even thought there's a mountain of papers to graded on the dining room table.

  5. Like those above me, meeting Kate DiCamillo would be beyond joy. I found it interesting what she said about humans finding it easier to open our hearts to animals instead of others. Reminds me of young children and their "relationships" with their stuffed animals. Very interesting.. Wonderful celebrations!

  6. I love what you wrote about parent-teacher conferences. So thankful to know this holds true for you.
    Thank you for sharing some words and thoughts from Kate DiCamillo. What an inspiration she is as a writer!

  7. Wow, what a wonderful list of joyful things you found in your week, Christy! I've been thinking about seeing About Time because I loved Notting Hill, so I'm so glad to hear that you loved it!

  8. Love it that parents and students celebrated you as a teacher and the positive influence in their lives. I'm thankful for your words as they encourage me each time. Meeting Kate - your celebration will be relived every time you read her books. My favorite line: " Joy and bookstores are synonymous." :)

  9. How exciting for you to meet Kate DiCamillo. When I saw your picture I realized that I never knew what she looked like before. I always love being able to put a face to authors.

  10. Wow! The highlights from your talk are so interesting!