It’s always a special treat when I get to introduce someone for the Tuesday 12 x 12 series whom I’ve met in person. I had the extreme good fortune of meeting Bridget Magee last May at the Highlights Foundation Poetry for All workshop. I’ll tell you something. I was terrified to attend that workshop. I do not consider myself a poet by any definition, but as a picture book writer (and even a rhymer), I set the goal of learning more about how to use the principles of poetry in what is obviously a spare form of writing.
I was lucky enough to sit at Bridget’s table the first evening at dinner, when I arrived wide-eyed and with heart beating like a jackrabbit. Since she joined 12 x 12, I assume she’s forgiven me for steering the conversation into what is more comfortable ground for me – picture books. But I’ll tell you another thing. After hearing and reading her work over the course of four days, I can tell you her poems are astounding. So I’m honored to host her today. Please welcome Bridget! P.S. Personally, I think Smidgey needs his own story! 🙂
I am thankful for 12×12. The feeling of community, the generosity of spirit, and the opportunities to share successes and struggles have been invaluable. But I am most thankful for 12×12 because it has reconnected me with old friends. These old friends spoke to me in the middle of the night. They came into being as I showered. I brought them into being, but over time I stopped playing with them. These old friends are the characters in my 20+ picture book drafts that wait on my computer, and on paper in my desk.
I met most of these friends during my MFA program. Each one has a special place in my heart, and with the help of 12×12 they will get the attention and nurturing they deserve. Some may stay at home, living on my computer indefinitely. Some will flourish and grow to the point that they will go out into the world and live in the hearts of young readers. But all will get the love they deserve.
Because of 12×12, I started 2013 by visiting Spike. I hadn’t seen that brute of a dog in years, but I loved him and I wanted to see if I could clean him up and make him presentable. Spike was all growls and grit until a new gerbil, Squeakers, moved in. Poor Spike had lain nervously in my desk drawer waiting for me to visit him and give his story a fresh perspective. He was waiting for me to make his conflict – large dog vs. innocuous gerbil – more dramatic, with fewer words. Through the First 250 Words section on the Membership Forum, both Spike and I receive valuable feedback and encouragement to overcome our fears and revise. Both of us are stronger for it.
In February, I checked on little Miss Mimi, the toddler who demanded a pet. She hadn’t changed a bit since languishing on my hard drive for the last few years. She was still loud, still demanding, and she still couldn’t make up her mind. But I made her mind up for her, when I reexamined her story with a fresh perspective. Clearer words, tighter story, and stronger verbs have given Mimi the kind of voice she needs to get published.
March will reintroduce me to in another old friend. Will it be Stuart, the clumsy boy who only wants to create? Or Moe who never did listen to his mother? I’m not sure, but I do know that each month for the rest of the year (and beyond) I will be spending time with old friends, thanks to 12×12.
Bridget Magee has plenty of old friends, but does not consider herself old. She is a former Elementary Teacher and School Librarian. She has her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University where she focused on picture books and poetry. Since 1/1/2011, she has maintained a Poem-A-Day blog at www.weewordsforweeones.blogspot.com. Bridget has won various awards for her poetry through the Arizona State Poetry Society and has a Poem of the Month feature in the East Tucson Macaroni Kid E-Newsletter Publication. She also writes articles for adults about family life and adoption. And she is learning to be a public speaker with the hopes of being a professional speaker about children’s literature, adoption, and family. A self described picture book junky, Bridget, when not writing, can be found reading. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband, Joe, daughters, Colleen and Maureen, and crazy dog, Smidgey.
Writer. Poet. Speaker. Mom.Categories: 12 x 12, Authors, Creativity, Friendship, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Poetry, Rhyming, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12, Author, Bridget Magee, Creativity, Friendship, Goals, Guest Blogging, Highlights Foundation, Julie Hedlund, Picture Books, Poetry, Rhyming, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writing