Rarely do I read a book more than once. This book is the exception. I read it once, loved it, put it down, misplaced it, found it, and then read it again. It’s not your typical coming-of-age novel, but then again it is. Nick reluctantly follows Jaycee on a journey, fights some demons (internal), and comes out stronger in the end. I loved the characters immediately. Nick is funny and insecure, and Jaycee is quirky and adorable. Polisner gets into the head of a 15-year-old boy, conveying convincing inner dialogue, and adeptly relaying his fear of uncharted territory: first love, the potential for a first kiss, staying in a hotel with a girl, and wandering around an unfamiliar city. Nick feels most comfortable when faced with Jaycee’s fever because he’s been through it himself. He is the Fever King! However, he still feels a bit of anxiety over whether he’s doing the right thing. Polisner does not portray him as an over-confident, unbelievable teen. Just when he’s starting to feel comfortable with the idea of being away from home with a girl, he makes a discovery that turns his world upside down. He’s angry and depressed and resentful. Just like a typical 15-year-old would react in this situation. Get this book. Read it. And maybe read it again. And then you might want to go out and get Of Mice and Men and read that again.
I lay here with you and look at the grey light. It’s almost dawn, and I want it to stay this way forever. You, my little boy, are asleep and so quiet. I find myself trying to hold my breath as I watch yours go in and out, your small chest rise up and down. Your face is so peaceful, belying your daytime demeanor. How did you get like this, so grown already? I have to wake you soon, but my soul takes a picture of this moment so that it becomes part of my eternal memory. I turn away from the approaching daylight and look at you once more. I’m certain your spirit glances at me briefly before returning to its earthly home. “Thank you,” it says with a smile. “I love you,” I whisper in reply. Then, dawn breaks.
Sometimes on the south shore of Lake Ontario, the fish wash up and stink up the whole place with their fishy smell. Their mooneyes stare up into the sky and cloud over. Their once-shiny bodies become dull, but the seagulls find them delectable, their cries calling their friends to the feast. It’s hard to find a place to enter the water, with limp bodies strewn about. Still, the sand is cool and soft beneath my feet as I walk along the beach. If I dare to venture closer to the water, careful to avoid the dead fish, the hard, wet sand feels reassuring on my soles. It’s firmer and cooler that the dry stuff. Bits of shells and water-worn glass poke out from the sand. These I pick up. And the piece of driftwood that catches my eye. I place these items in my pocket, running my thumb over each surface, committing their feel to memory; memory of a childhood that drew to a close ages ago. There is no breeze this morning. The water is calm, with only the slightest kiss against the shore. I turn and walk away, the sounds of summer and youth fading behind me.
In August 2010 I started my freelance writing business by filing my DBA, purchasing a laptop and office supplies and enrolling in a business startup seminar at my local Small Business Development Center. With the help of my business advisor, I spent months writing my business plan. I researched my market, identified my local and national competition, cited experts who had written articles on the “how tos” of starting a freelance writing career, and detailed my business goals. My focus was threefold: copywriting for businesses to make the bulk of my income, freelance writing for magazines and newspapers to make some additional money and because I love to write articles, and creative writing because it is my passion.
During my startup “honeymoon phase,” I created a website and Facebook page for my business, started this blog, joined Twitter (@wscalfaro) (and Tumblr for more creative pursuits), and bought a few books on how to be successful at freelance writing and copywriting. (Yes, I’ve even read most of these books). I’ve written a few press releases for friends’ businesses, did some ghostwriting, and I regularly write book reviews for School Library Journal and my blog.
Despite all these “baby steps,” I’m ashamed to say I’ve fallen short of where I wanted to be at this point. Thanks to my business plan, I had focus, but somehow I lost it. Lately I’ve been really good at starting things, but lack the…something…to continue. Fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear of the unknown?
I’m hoping that if I win this contest to receive a one year’s membership in The Writers’ Den that Carol, Linda and the Community will help me re-focus my efforts to be the successful writer I know I have the talent to be. I believe being a part of a supportive group is essential to meeting my goals. I thank Carol and Linda for the opportunity to apply for this award.
A few days ago I came across a tweet, announcing an online summer writing workshop. What caught my attention about the post was that the workshop is specifically for teachers and librarians. Well, I happen to fall into that category, so of course I had to join. The other attractive thing about this workshop is that it’s organized by author Kate Messner. So, a (free) writers’ workshop, offered online by a well-known author.
I hope to finish a short story that I started over a year ago, and perhaps start some others. However, lately I’ve been thinking about writing a Young Adult novel. I know, crazy isn’t it?! But I’m a high school librarian and I love to read YA fiction,I love to write, so why not write YA fiction? So maybe I’ll find some inspiration this summer.
Watch here for updates.
Now that I’ve had the experience of using Dropbox, I have a new tool that I am promoting to my students. This is an amazing tool that has forever transformed the way I think about my tasks. I created folders for work, home, my creative writing endeavors, and my small business. I’ve stored my monthly report in Dropbox so I always have access to it. Today I taught a lesson and mentioned Dropbox as a way for students to collaborate on their project. My assistant principal was observing my teaching during the lesson, and afterward he asked me about Dropbox. I love learning new things and sharing them. I especially enjoy when people get as excited about learning something new as I do. I intend to follow upnwith him to see if he’s tried it. I also plan to offer my Lunch Bytes sessions next year to give teachers a chance to try it.
After looking at the capabilities of Google+ Hangouts, my first impression is that it would be a great tool for collaborating with my librarian colleagues, even if we can’t leave our buildings. Meetings could be carried out more efficiently and more frequently in a hangout. I would also encourage my students to set up a hangout any time they need to work on group projects. I would love to meet up with some writers in a hangout as well.
Google+ Hangouts might also be a way for me to convene my Teen Writers’s Workshop, but I think Edmodo would be a better option for this purpose. I plan to set up a page and have it serve as a “virtual workshop” where we can discuss ideas, and post writing-related links and writing prompts.