This has been quite a week. Saturday I heard Jason Reynolds speak, and last night I had the pleasure of hearing, for the second time, Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson is so earnest and open in the way she talks to (feels more like with) an audience. She gestures openly and loosely with her hands and arms, she laughs, and easily wanders in and out of topics. In her talk last night she shared powerful insights about writing and about the power of story. She shared pieces of her own story, and read a few chapters from her books Harbor Me and Brown Girl Dreaming. She talked about the world. About life. She ended the evening answering questions. (Someone asked her how she would define love, and she thoughtfully gave a response.). And finally, she patiently signed books for hundreds of fans.
Here are some of my notes from the evening:
Reading = Hope x Change
Writing comes from seeking to understand.
We are losing so much when we don’t listen to each other and get to know other people with stories that are different from our own.
We need opportunities to talk to people who are not like us.
I read slowly as a child. Teachers tried to push me to read faster. They tried to make me reading harder books. I didn’t realize it then, but now I understand that I was reading like a writer.
Great teachers see their kids.
Books can be both mirrors and windows.
Writers are intentional.
I feel loved when I feel seen.
Do what brings you joy!