I know that I wasn’t home last Saturday. I usually get to stay home on weekends. But, this last weekend I was asked to speak at Editor’s Day for SCBWI (The Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators – whew!). Almost even cooler, I got to hang out at the zoo! They asked me to talk about my experiences getting signed to Henry Holt for Haunted Histories, and give some thoughts on what I believed were some of the most important things about getting a book to publishing.
Do you know what I talked about? I bet you can guess, because we talk about it all the time. I talked about the importance of community. I felt it was really important to let other people, who were writing kid’s books, know just how important it is to understand that you are part of a team of people who are all trying to put out the most successful books that they can.
I also talked about how important communities are for creative people, that art and writing are a reflection of the communities that they live in everyday. Also, that the artists and writers who come out of those communities need each other.
I really believe that as soon as you are brave enough to believe in yourself, and that what you are doing is important and good for the world, other new communities appear to help support what you are doing – even if you are creating things that challenge people to see things in new ways.
It is my deepest hope that someday you find your community, or as my friend Marilyn always says, “your tribe.” I wish I could point out the way for you. But, I really don’t have that power. You will have to discover your tribe for yourself as you journey through life.
I can at least tell you that if you listen to your heart, you will know your tribe when it feels just right. The people there always make you feel welcome, even if you have to deal with difficult problems that day. You will feel like you can say the craziest things, and even if they don’t understand you – they will try. They will also try to help you become better at what you are doing.
I have found my community in people who create books for children. I can’t wait to see what you discover in your life, for yourself… I hope that it makes you as happy as I am.
I love you my wonderful son (and your little brother!). You make everyday so much brighter.