This entry disappeared off my website. I’m not sure how, but it did. And since I didn’t pre-write it elsewhere, I’m glad I can redo my blogging easier than some other areas of life.
I’ve been digging for gold this year. Not on the beach or in the water, but in a class of young teenagers, ages twelve through fourteen. I’ve met with them on an almost weekly basis since January as they reviewed my book, helping me eliminate any confusion, punch up the action, etc. I aim to tune to their middle-grade frequencies like my husband’s metal detector tunes in to the gold left on our beaches by vacationers. But I’m finding more gold.
I don’t have to dig as much as I have to aim for the sky and shoot the best words I can. If I hit the right target, the interest zone of these students’ hearts and minds, they smile big enough for me to see their gold fillings—and braces. Okay, so I don’t check my adorable (don’t tell the boys I said that) gift horses’ mouths for gold. Their opinions are the gold I seek.
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give something in return. I know life isn’t supposed to be fair, but I try to live by the golden rule. I didn’t walk into the class before Christmas vacation for the first time without an idea of giving them at least as much, preferably more than they gave me.
I wanted to instill in them the same love of reading I found at age nine when I discovered the Lord of the Rings. When the ring wraiths rode by, I hid under my bed while the hobbits hid under a ditch bank. Then at school I discovered I Robot. Tolkien and Asimov started me on a journey I’ve never regretted, except when I didn’t have time to read.
About five years ago, I made another golden discovery—I can read and walk at the same time! Better than walking and chewing gum any day. About the same time, I realized I wanted to write for young teenagers. Since then, I’ve read more middle-grade fiction than anything else.
For my golden boys and girls, I want to do more than help them love reading. I want them to learn to love writing. So we’ve discussed how to get and develop story ideas. I put in a request to Emerald Coast Writers for a student writing contest, and they agreed. Now I hope to turn this coast from emerald to gold. If a love of reading isn’t enough to enrich these young teenagers’ lives, there’s no limit to the treasure they can add with a love of writing.