Tuesday, October 18, 2016

For the Joy of It

I've thoroughly enjoyed watching my kids run their cross country races these past few weeks. As a long-time runner myself, it's great fun to watch my kids--and the dozens of others--run their own pace. My three are competitive and want to win; my oldest son darted to the front of the pack in his race, yet smiled wildly at me when he heard me cheering. "Look at me, Mom!" he seemed to say.

I know he was thrilled and proud to win, but he was also just delighted to run fast.

The boys (each race was gender and grade specific) behind him were also happy to run their hearts out, at whatever speed they chose. The crowd cheered the front runners, sure, but they also clapped and yelled for the boys who chose to trot instead of sprint, who laughed with their buddies instead of trying to beat them.

It's all about the joy of running, and how each defined it, and that was a joy to witness.

Also last week, I finished a wonderful new middle grade novel: The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan. This book is written from multiple perspectives and in verse; each student writes poetry of all sorts to describe and record his or her feelings about the fact that their school will be torn down at the end of the school year. (Read my full review here.) Because I write middle grade, I read a lot of middle grade, yet I resist the temptation to push all of the ones I love on my daughter. But this one was so very special that I asked Lorelei to read it (well, technically, I asked her to read the first five chapters and she could choose to read on or not).

She read the first five chapters, and then kept going. She loved it almost as much as I did! But her reaction was very different than mine. I blogged about the book, tweeted about how much I loved it, posted and reposted my review on social media.

What did Lorelei do?

"Mom, I'm going to write a collection of poetry all about Sunny (our puppy)!"

And she did. Wonderful, clever, sweet little poems that were, to this writer-mom, extraordinary. A dozen of them! She played with many of the types of poems in the book and applied her own wit and intellect and subject matter and sat for a few hours writing them down then reading them out loud to me.

I told her, "These are so great! I wish that Highlights or some magazine was asking for poetry because you could send them in!"

She just smiled and shrugged, went back to her verses. 

What a lesson, and one that was the same but less clear to me than when I watched my son run: Do things because you love that thing, because it's just so very fun to do. I lose myself in the publishing side of writing, becoming consumed by who to query and getting frustrated by rejections. But I'm going to remember her carefree smile and shrug and try just a little to find more delight in creating stories rather than getting them in front of you, dear reader.


  1. Such a wonderful lesson. I love that her reaction was, "I can do that too!'

  2. What a perfect example of why I don't like "read a book, take a quiz, get points, get a reward" system. Your daughter took her experience with a book and made it her own. No quiz/points/reward can do that.

    I do realize that wasn't the point of your blog but that's where is sent my mind.

  3. Your daughter got right to the heart of the matter...do what you love and you will be rewarded. Great post1

  4. What a wonderful post from start to finish. I really enjoyed how you wove all the strands together to make a powerful point about doing what you love for the sake of doing it. Well done!