Joan Kaywell and her students: the morning after

Friday, July 8, 2011

I spent more than two hours yesterday afternoon/evening in the virtual company of Joan Kaywell and her University of South Florida students. We talked (by way of Elluminate) of many things—of the role of color in my stories, of whether or not I write to specific audiences, of the role that research plays, of the dominant influence of topography and nature in my work, of whether or not I ever look back and wish I'd written differently, of the three words I might choose to describe myself, of whether or not I'm still writing five metaphors a day, of whether I believe that books can save lives, of the family sacrifices I've been willing to make for this writing career (answer: almost none), and of the ways in which books get introduced into classrooms, for Joan's graduate students are primarily teachers, an essential, direct line to students' hearts.

It was a remarkable conversation.  The questions were researched and intelligent, the students' insights were generous, and the group moderator was more dear than dear with an opening Power Point presentation on my life and work (how odd it was, but also so touching, to see my own words quoted back at me).  Joan Kaywell, I have learned, is a remarkable teacher and young adult advocate.  Thank you, Joan and your students, for the privilege.

And as for those metaphors:  I give myself the daily tease, now, of pairing a photograph to a story or blog column.  There's always grand purpose behind my choices.  Can you guess the meaning here?

Can you guess where it is? (hint: think royally wed)


jagilgan said...

I guess Westminster Abbey.

I'm still trying to figure out the metaphor on this one.

Thank you very much for spending the time with our class! What a great conversation. I'm looking forward to reading more of your books, and especially the one about William.


Beth Kephart said...

Jenn, thank you. I loved joining your class——threatening storms and all.

And you are right: It's Westminister Abbey!

jagilgan said...


I lived in London for 3 years. Miss it. Always loved meandering through the crooks and crannies of Westminster Abbey, as well as other places.

Sorry for the late's been an intense week. Today's our last Authors class :-( It's been a fun semester!

Hope you enjoy Dr. K's gift! :-)


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