The Story Behind The Stories

Yesterday I talked to 75 first graders about writing and where stories come from. I read them a couple of books — not just mine but others’ as well — and told them the stories behind the stories. I explained how writers don’t just make things up, but are inspired by real-life events. Then I asked them when they write a story, what they’ll write about. 75 hands shot up.

74 first graders will write about an animal (their dog, hamster, lizard). One girl said she’ll write about her little brother.

The teacher asked if they had any questions for me. 75 hands shot up. They wanted to know how books are made, who draws the pictures, who chooses the paper, if I have a job.

My favorite question: Do you want to be more famous than Dr. Seuss?

I laughed and said I didn’t think anyone could be more famous than Dr. Seuss.

After the Q&A, I stayed for reading time, and the kids took turns reading their favorite books to me. Two hours later I returned home exhausted. Happy.


I couldn’t wait to get back to work. To my WIP (a YA novel). To my NaPiBoWriWee stories (I’m a day behind). To Liminal. To my short stories. To my art and design work and the many ways I try to connect with the world.

I’ve been mostly on track since my last confession/status update. I’ve entered some contests, submitted to journals, started a literary journal, did some artwork, etc. But yesterday’s inspiration gave me an extra jolt of energy to push me through my current projects.

Do I want to be more famous than Dr. Seuss? No. I don’t care about fame.

Do I want to inspire kids to write and explore and connect with the world? I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

How ironic, to give a talk about the inspiration behind stories and find the inspiration for my stories in the 75 precious faces before me.

Time to get back to work.