The ginger lilies keep blooming even though it's clearly fall, and it sometimes feels like winter. This was an extraordinary year for vegetables and flowers. Even with the intense heat, all of the gardens grew and produced. I'm waiting for the sweet potato vines to die back. I've seen the potatoes pushing up through the earth. It appears that this will be one of our best crops yet.
While the leaves change color, and the cooler air blows, I've been writing. Two weeks ago while working with students at a school, a gift picture book came my way. By gift, I mean a solid picture book idea with most of the language flowing out in one sitting. That doesn't mean it was ready to submit the very next day, but I have had a lot of fun poking and polishing. Now, it's ready.
I'm always amazed by how these ideas appear. The concept had nothing to do with what the students were writing, nor what they were saying. But I've learned that when an idea comes full blast out of nowhere, pay attention. So, on my lunch break that day, I sat with pencil and paper and wrote as fast as the words came. I showed my agent and she made great comments that have strengthened it.
Sometimes a picture book takes years to come together, so when one comes fast and furious, it definitely is a gift. But that's not the only thing I've been working and reworking. I've been rethinking a piece of nonfiction and pushing forward on the first revision of a middle grade novel.
Shorter days are good for writing and I'm trying to take advantage of the time I have at home. Soon I will be back in schools helping students put their thoughts to paper. In the meantime, I'll try to be like the sweet potatoes and produce some of my best work.