Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Poetry Festival: How to Listen to Poetry

Once again, I have skipped my Saturday post. This time I have a FOR REAL TIMES VALID EXCUSE. I was doing HOMEWORK! I really was. So much homework that I couldn't do my post. I was preparing for my big poetry project presentation on Monday, putting together my illustrated collection of poems about the seasons, which then took like eight hours to actually print and assemble... I won't get into it. But my presentation went really well, yay!

But what else was I doing this past weekend? Surely I couldn't have spent every waking second doing my homework? Well, I binge-watched an entire TV show attended a very prestigious literary event that my college hosts: the Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival. Which has some fancy credential like it's the biggest student-run festival in New York or something, I don't know exactly, but it's a super big deal and famous people in expensive clothes were there and they gave out free cheese, so you know. Pretty cool.
So I decided that was my new experience of the week. Of last week, that is. And since I didn't do a new-experience post on Saturday, I've decided to make up for it today.

Besides free cheese and fancy people, the Poetry Festival consisted of a lot of poetry readings. Famous poets like Ellen Bass, Timothy Donnelly, Aja Monet, and a bunch of others came to read. Additionally, high school and college students got a chance to read their work, and people working with prison writing programs came to read poetry by the prisoners. That added up to a lot of listening to poetry on my part, sitting in the audience. And I realized something: I find it super difficult to just listen to poetry. I can't do it, really. I need to read it, or at the very least read along to someone reading aloud. It's kind of irritating, because it made it more difficult to enjoy the Poetry Festival.
But in the spirit of an event created for poets, I decided, why not write a poem about it? The atmosphere of poetry was pretty inspiring, and while sitting there trying to pay attention to someone's poem, I came up with the idea for this poem:

How to Listen to Poetry (by me)

Get off to a good start.
Follow the lines like a string that you're a bead on.
Think too much about thinking about it,
and you're lost. Again.

Return to the poem.
She's saying something beautiful but you don't know
the context of it.
Why the hell is everyone snapping and saying "mmm"
like she said something so undeniably true they can't stop themselves?
All you heard was an island of letters.
Sink into your chair and look away.

Look around.
In the audience, there are adults wearing suits,
dresses, sweater vests,
and fellow students who are oh-so-poetic.
That one's been hovering around the festival all morning.
That one's got a moleskine notebook.
And they know how to listen to poetry.

At the end of the poem, be determined.
The next one's going to work.
Catch each line like fish from the river.
But then an intense turn of phrase catches you instead,
and you're lost. Again.

Make up stories. That's easiest.
Every time a bubble of words drifts into your ears,
mold it like clay into fiction.
Make dragons out of the mountains the poets
don't think they're giving you.

But you're still not listening to them.

When she says, "this is the last poem
I'm going to read tonight,"
sit up straight.
Close your eyes.
Detach her voice from the room.
Hear the voice you hear
when you read on paper.
Let each image sink into your mind,
like an imprint,
like a reflection in a pond,
for only a moment.

Then let them float away into your subconscious
like smoke.


Hope you liked that! Next Saturday I *really* hope I actually do a post the day of. I have a couple of new experiences already to choose from, so there's a good chance there'll be something.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TCWT Blog Chain: Letters to Ships

Yay, extra post! Not so yay, posting it super late again!

Once again I am participating in the TCWT blog chain and this month's prompt is AMAZING. It's "Write a letter to a fictional couple." Now, I may not talk about this on here a lot, but I... just... get to the point of using a lot of ellipses to indicate suffering from emotions when it comes to ships. "Ships" for those of you who don't know is short for "relationships" but it refers to fictional relationships. And I love fictional relationships.
The prompt has basically been wreaking havoc in my head for the last couple of days, as I tried to pick just one fictional couple to write about. Earlier today I thought I'd decided on writing two letters to two different ships (Andy and April from Parks and Rec, and Eleanor and Park from, uh, Eleanor and Park). Before that, it was between Romione and Percabeth. But then I thought, I'm being selfish. I'm not thinking about what would actually be interesting as a letter. None of those letters would be interesting, they would consist of "YOU GUYS! LOVE! PERFECT! I- DYING! I LOVE YOU ALL!" No. I need to do something different.

So naturally, I'm breaking the rules of the entire thing. It says to write a letter to a couple, but I'm going to write a letter to two characters who aren't actually a couple. And in fact, it's best for everyone that they are not a couple, even if one of them is obsessively in love with the other. That's right. I'm writing a letter to Severus Snape and Lily Evans-Potter.

Dear Snape and Lily,

You're welcome, Severus, for giving you an excuse to be in the same room with Lily again to read this. Lily, sorry about this. I just thought this would be a great thing to have on my blog. Thanks for like, giving birth to Harry and all that.

When I read about the relationship between the two of you, back when I was eleven, I was mainly shocked about Snape being a good guy after all. The twist was so impressive to me from a writer's point of view that I didn't care much about the romance aspect of it. (Looking back now, it was obvious, but I was eleven. Also, to be fair, Snape was such a jerk-face that it wasn't hard to believe that he was a pure cold-hearted Death Eater.)

Then, of course, I went through puberty. Snape, you might remember puberty fondly as the period of your life you spent the most time with your crush, Lily. But Lily, you might remember this time as the period in your life when you felt you were losing a good friend, Severus. He had seemed so kind, and yet he was spending all his time with a group of people who wanted to kill all Muggle-borns. Kill the group of people you were part of! And even though Severus seemed to care about you, he didn't stop hanging out with those people, even when you begged him. In fact, he seemed to hate all "Mudbloods" except for you.

"Uh- except for Lily!" you might be saying now, Severus. "That's romantic, isn't it? Even though all Mudbloods are scum, I still find it in my heart to be in love with Lily!" Romantic indeed. I thought so too, when I was thirteen. I thought that love meant being single-mindedly obsessed with someone, doing everything in your power to help them and only them, and only in the way you think you're helping them. It doesn't matter if what they really want is for you to save their son- no, the best thing would be to try and save only them at the expense of the child they love. And if they ever dare to fall in love with someone other than you? Why, blindly and irrationally hate that person, of course. No matter how good a person they are. In fact, hate that person so much that when a child who's unrelated to this whole business physically resembles him, emotionally abuse the crap out of that child. Yes. ROMANCE.

Of course, I was thirteen then. All thirteen-year-olds have some stupid opinions, and that was one of mine- that love is supposed to mean destroying your own life for the sake of helping ONLY the person you're in love with. I actually got over this perspective, however. I realized that love is supposed to have a positive effect on both people involved. That when you love someone and you realize that something you're doing is hurting them, that the beliefs you had about the group they belong to are bigoted and wrong- you change yourself. You look into yourself and have more love for everyone, not just for the girl you're obsessed with. That's kind of the point of love (and if you actually paid attention to Dumbledore during your chats with him later on, you'd know that, because this is what he thought)- to make the world a better place, because of caring about each other, because of seeing other people as fully realized humans.

But you didn't see Lily as a fully realized human. You saw Lily as a perfect angel, a thing to be fascinated with. So of course, you couldn't change yourself. You stayed stubbornly the same. You only ever switched sides because of the infatuation you could not shake yourself from. You will "always" be the same pure-blood supremacist, even when you're technically fighting for the rights of Muggle-borns. Love didn't change you, because you weren't really in love, you were infatuated with the first person to ever show you kindness. I do feel sorry for you because of that, but come on. Take a leaf out of Harry's book- he was abused the first ten years of his life, too, and yet he's still so full of love. (Not to victim blame. But like. You're not a romantic hero, Severus.)

Lily, sorry I've been lecturing Severus this entire time and neglecting you. You're great. You're not a perfect heroine of perfection as Severus thinks, but you're still pretty cool. If there's ever a miracle and they make a Marauders movie, I hope they don't screw up your role.

Snape, since I'm assuming this is being written to the two of you as you are both dead and in the afterlife or whatever, I know that you never change. And that sucks. And also, I hope Neville Longbottom punches you in the ghost-face when he dies. A thirteen-year-old child's biggest fear should NOT be the teacher he has to see almost every day. (Man, why did Dumbledore even hire you? But that's a whole other rant for another day.)

In conclusion: infatuation =/= love.



 [Side note to my mom who is probably trying to figure out how the "I realized" means this is symbolic of my own life: it's not. "I realized" this because I spend too much time analyzing Harry Potter.]

Yeah, so, I hope that wasn't too convoluted. I just have a lot of angry feelings about Severus Snape.

And now, for what I promised myself I would do so that I was able to get through this post: a ceremonial list of my ships.

Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, Sirius and Remus, Fleur and Bill, James and Lily, Molly and Arthur, Percy and Annabeth, Frank and Hazel, Ben and Leslie, Andy and April, Ziri and Liraz, Eleanor and Park, Katniss and Peeta, September and Saturday, Puck and Sabrina, Zuzana and Mik, Tristran and Yvaine, Ned and Chuck, Wes and Rebecca, Bonnie and Asher, and just... so many more.

(You don't have to try and decipher where all those are from. I just needed to let that out.)

OK. And now I must "go to sleep" for the night (meaning "waste time on the Internet for another hour while pretending I'm getting ready for bed"). Thanks for reading.


P.S. Here's the rest of the blog chain participants if you'd like to read them:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eco Poetry About Spring

Hello! Sorry for the late post. (No excuse, just laziness, as usual).
A while back I posted a collection of my eco poetry, poetry I write about nature for my class, shockingly named Eco Poetry. Well, I thought I would update with some of the latest poetry I've been writing because of the change in seasons. It's spring now and my campus is beautiful. Look:

(Not my picture- it's from the college's Facebook. Possibly I'm not allowed to take it? Oh well)

Anyway, as part of my project about the seasons, I've written a lot of poetry about spring, and I thought I would share it with you. I hope you like it!


such-vodka:calm rainy day hereWater Returning

Drink up!
Up into the leaves,
where snap- snap- snap,
you break each molecule in two.
Snap, snap, snap,
I rain
out in the parking lot.
More like fire
in the woods,
on the old dead leaves.
Wake up!
What a thing to hear
when you come out of dormancy,
the pouring of clouds,
trickling down
for you to take.
After the frozen, freezing turmoil,
to see me liquid again-
how do you trust all winter
that I will return?


Simcha raba, simcha raba,
Aviv higiya, Pesach ba.
Let yourself be filled with joy- spring has arrived!
Spring has arrived and we are free.
The seeds have reached aviv-
they are waking up at last. Filling up with starch. It isn’t cold anymore.
The air is like dreams rising up out of your head in the morning
and taking shape.
Like the buds on the trees. The branches are grey,
grey as the sky, and just as full of hope and water.
Out in the woods, I bow my head to the princess of dogwoods.
I see the wild color hidden in the buds of her thin branches-
soon to burst into bloom.
I feel like I could burst into endless flowers
here in my forest. I am a seed of spring, aviv,
under the silverly dripping sky.
Out of the dead brown ground is growing sharp green grass.
The autumn and winter make way
for the parade of perennials. A little ways further into the woods,
as violet as the center of a flame, are violets. Violets!
“Hello again. How was your sleep?” I ask.

thelivingwiccan:pollymay:musical-chan:pilgrimkitty:discovereternity:Forget me notMy favorite thing about Forget-Me-Nots is that they change color depending on the acidity of the soil so you can get pink or purple ones growing right next to the blue ones.Pretty!These are my favourite flowers.Forget-me-nots also change colour after they become pollinated. It’s a sign to the insects to keep moving, and not to waste time there.So a blue forget-me-not, once it’s been pollinated, may change to a pale pink to a white colour; which is another reason for such stark colour variations in small areas.
Spring Said

I am the waking mass
under the shifting earth. I
come up through a thousand trees.
Soft pastel blooms,
wind sends ‘em strewn.
Through bird lungs I croon.
Listen to me,
open your winterclogged head.
I am more
than the gentle touch of morning.
Sun-beat strong,
meet me coming up through soil
like syrup- or a knife.
Can you hear me
twist myself into the wind?
And as a bonus: SPRING KITTY!
tamorapierce:The cats were the first to love cherry blossom season
I hope you enjoyed all these spring poems! I loved writing them. And this coming Monday, I'm going to be presenting them to my class. After a year of research and writing, I'm finally putting everything together by taking my class out into the woods and doing an outdoor poetry reading + mini-lesson about the seasons. It's going to be fun! (But nerve-wracking! But fun nonetheless.)
Tomorrow, I'm going to have a bonus post here on this blog, for the TCWT blog chain, so be sure to check back in for that. I'll update Facebook and Twitter in case you forget. :)
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Photo credits go to Joanna Sadie Lue Bettelheim for the SLC pic, this person on Tumblr for the spring kitty, this person on Tumblr for the rain gif, and as far as I can tell this person on Tumblr for the forget-me-nots. Although you can never really tell with Tumblr.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring and Other Happy Things

I don't have a new experience this week. So I suppose I broke my resolution. I was hoping that every week I would do something interesting and new, but I haven't. Some weeks you just want to lie in your bed and rewatch Parks and Rec. Some weeks you don't want to do that, but you do it anyway, because you suck.
So I've been trying to come up with something to write about for this post. I tried to go out last-minute and find something to do on campus. The play I wanted to go to sold out, the Activities Council forgot about the weekly movie AGAIN, I was too late for the a capella group, etc. So now I'm sitting on a bench on the North (or South? I can't keep track) Lawn, underneath a blooming magnolia tree underneath the clear night sky. I didn't know that this tree was a magnolia tree until all the snow melted and it became spring. Trees are like that: all year you forget who they are, and then you pay attention to them when they're in bloom. For a while now I've thought I wanted to be buried under a magnolia tree. After a while, there would be no one left to visit my grave, but in the springtime, children would play under the petals of the tree. (That is, if their parents let them play in graveyards. Which they would be silly not to. Graveyards aren't dangerous.)
Sitting under the tree makes me think about spring. Which is certainly not a new experience. I'm thinking about whatever season it is most of the time. I've been writing poems about spring, for my conference project. It isn't anything new. Flowers have started coming up in the woods. They aren't new either. They're perennials, they come every year. But it makes me happy to see them. It's not that winter is bad and spring is good or anything like that. But I love spring anyway. You wouldn't think that spring is my favorite season, if you don't really know me, which to me it seems nobody really does, since everyone relies on cliches and caricatures when they talk about me. Ariel the Antisocial Introvert Who Only Likes School and Never Wants to Date a Boy Because Angry Feminism Grrr. Why would I like spring, the season of feminine flowers, instead of angsty winter or creepy autumn? Besides the fact that I don't hate femininity for the last freaking time, I don't just like spring because it's pretty. I like it because to me it is the season of hope. A tree in winter goes through so much suffering, or whatever the plant equivalent of suffering is. If the snowfall does not come early enough, and the ground freezes, the tree might die. There is a certain point where a tree goes into this phase that I forgot the scientific name for so I just call it "hardcore mode" which basically means it freezes itself to survive. Animals suffer, too. They must trust that no one has stolen the hoards they made, if they're hoarding animals like squirrels, and they must venture out of their shivering, huddling nests to find food. Insects freeze and die. Birds go through the difficult journey of migration. Were I a tree, or a squirrel, or a bird, and I had the capacity for hope, I would not have any hope that winter would end. And I think that for all of us humans there comes a point in the winter where we don't believe that the winter will end, either.
But it does end. And then there are daffodils and violets in the woods, and the grass is green, and the trees are blooming and you remember that there is such a thing as magnolias. All the wonderful things in the world become evident again. How could you have forgotten them? How could you have lost hope?
That's why I love spring- because I have lost hope for more things in my life than the end of winter, but hope, ignoring my despair, never failed me. Like in the words of my favorite poem: And sweetest in the gale is heard/ And sore must be the storm/ That could abash the little bird/ That kept so many warm. The little bird, reminder of the spring, can sing in the winter too.
It feels sometimes, when I do nothing, when I procrastinate, when I get stuck in depression, like I'm never going to stop. Like I'm never going to get out. Like the entire world is made out of my sadness and nothing beautiful exists. I don't know what I'm supposed to do when I feel that kind of despair. I try to remind myself that I've felt this way before and I was wrong, but it's not very helpful. I have to do something to remind myself. I have to create a little spring. I don't know what creating a little spring would entail, but it would probably include writing, reading, going outside, seeing the flowers, talking to friends. Remembering that the bare-branched tree of the world is actually a magnolia tree after all.
Probably should have done what I meant to do at the beginning of this post and put a "sappy post ahead" warning, but that would be lame, I guess. It's much darker out now and I keep seeing people pass by to go to the Sleaze Ball, which starts in an hour. I'm not entirely sure what the Sleaze Ball is but you know, maybe I don't want to know. This campus is always weird but sometimes it's like weird-squared.
Anyway, thanks for putting up with my thoughts. Not sure what I'll put on the new experience list. I guess I'll put "saw a magnolia tree on my campus." Sure. That counts.
See you Wednesday,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ch1Con Blog Tour: Interviews With the Team!

Hello everyone! Today I am writing an extra-exciting blog post (yes, even more exciting than '10 foods I want to eat now') because I am participating in a blog tour! Exclamation points!

What is this blog tour? It's part of the conference I might have mentioned a few times on this blog: Chapter One Young Writers Conference, or Ch1Con for short. Ch1Con is an amazing thing. It started in 2012. Well, the whole thing started, I guess, in 2007 or so, really. I met a group of fellow young writers on an Internet forum called Write It. Over the course of years and years, we shared our writing, learned about editing and publishing, fangirled over books and authors and movies, created jokes, cheered each other on, and generally became very close friends. And in 2012, we decided to meet each other in person. One of us, Julia Byers, decided that this was a great opportunity to create something that she had never seen before: a unique conference by young writers and for young writers. Together, we worked throughout a year to create informative sessions and fun activities teaching each other about writing, editing, publishing, and the unique struggles of being a young writer. That first Ch1Con is one of the best memories of my life, and it solidified in all our minds that we had to make this a serious thing, available to all young writers.

A writing community is SO vital to young writers. Having a passion for something creative can make it seem like the world is against you. Plus, creative writing and publishing isn't something that usual groups of friends or classes in school will teach you about. Taking the journey to becoming a better writer can be very lonely as a kid or teenager. All of us at Ch1Con knew that, hence why we loved Write It. But a lot of young writers didn't have a community like that. That's why we created Ch1Con. It has an online presence, providing resources, informative chats, and extra fun stuff on Twitter, Tumblr, and Google Plus throughout the year (check the bottom of this post for all the links). And every year- this year being on August 8, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, at the Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights/South Hotel- we host an awesome conference that provides both a sense of community and incredible resources for young writers. You can register here. Early bird registration (until June 1st) is $39.99.

And in case seeing our lovely faces isn't enough motivation, we have an absurdly cool lineup of speakers- the successful writer Kat Zhang (of the Hybrid Chronicles), the about-to-be-published writer Ava Jae (BEYOND THE RED, coming out spring 2016), and the freelance editor Taryn Albright (aka the Girl with the Green Pen). PLUS as a special bonus, Louise Fury of the Bent Agency will open up to queries only from the conference attendees up to thirty days after the event. !!!

So in conclusion to my little essay here: REGISTER FOR CH1CON. If you are a young writer, you will totally love it.

Now as for what this post is actually about: Ch1Con has an amazing team of people who help to plan the conference, run online events, and maintain our online accounts. Three of our team members- Julia Byers, founder; Kira Budge, associate online administrator; and Emma Ryan, Tumblr expert- are going to be featured on this post today, answering interview questions. So without me going on any longer- here they are:


Julia Byers, Founder of Ch1Con

You're the founder of Ch1Con. What inspired you to create this conference by young writers, for young writers?

Ch1Con came about mainly as a result of two things: (1) I'd gone to a couple writer's conferences in high school and, as awesome as the people at them were, there were so few other teenagers in attendance that they were a little intimidating. On top of that, they were ridiculously expensive and, due to the all-adult speakers, some of the advice shared in sessions wasn't quite relevant to me yet. (I didn't need to know how to juggle work and kids with a writing career! I needed to know how to juggle homework and theatre rehearsals.) And (2) some of my closest friends were other kid writers I knew solely from the internet (hi, Ariel!). After years of trading advice and stories, we were desperate to meet, so what better way to get our parents to take a leap of faith and let us than by running our own (affordable and fun) writer's conference that featured speakers who not only were successful in the publishing industry, but also our own age?
One struggle for many young writers is balancing schoolwork and writing. How do you deal with this problem?

DON'T SLEEP. (Kidding. Mostly.) It really is all about balance. I've learned over the years how to do the least work necessary for class and, in turn, how to write quicker and more efficiently when I'm not in it. I try not to write during class itself (because focusing during lecture means I'm less likely to need to do the longer and more boring reading out of the text book later), but I'll sometimes pull out a notebook and jot down lines or ideas if my mind is really whirring. I pretty much always have my laptop and a notebook on me, so even if I only have ten minutes between classes, that's viable work time. If the sun is up, I'm working on something, whether it be homework or a novel (or something else, like Ch1Con stuff).

I also work a lot on weekends and over school breaks, and I take advantage of the excuses events like NaNoWriMo give me to forgo things like going out on weekends or, like, working out. HOWEVER, I also do generally reserve a couple nights a week for hanging out with friends or reading a book or watching a movie. Letting myself take breaks is key to avoiding burnout. (And burnout is a real and scary thing. Avoid it at all costs.)
There are a lot of exciting events happening at this year's Ch1Con, but if you had to pick one, what would you say you are most excited for? 
Ugh, don't do this to me! I'm so excited about all the speakers we're bringing to this year's conference. They're all seriously amazing individuals. But if I really have to pick, I guess the event I'm most excited for is Taryn Albright's writing workshop. As a freelance editor, she's helped whip countless novels into shape, over fifty of which have gone on to garner their authors literary agents and dozens of which have found homes with major publishing houses. The fact that she'll be working with our attendees this year is just the coolest thing ever. I can't wait for her to be able to add some Ch1Con attendees to her list of successes.  
It's a well-known fact that the Ch1Con team ships itself with Panera Bread. If you could ship any Panera Bread food item with any YA book, what would it be?
This is the best and most difficult question anyone has ever asked me. Ummm, I'm going to say Panera baguette with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins. (Because even Parisians must appreciate how delicious Panera baguette is.)
Kira Budge, Associate Online Administrator
You've written 18 books already, so you're obviously a very prolific writer. What are some tips you would give young writers on how to write as often and as well as you do?
First of all, write what you love. If you love it, if it speaks to you, you're much more likely to have a good output. Be excited about what you're doing! Second of all, have OCD. ;) Seriously, though, my mental illness does contribute to my prolific writing endeavors because I hate having things left unfinished! Weird how mental illness has little advantages like that, huh?

Last year, you attended Ch1Con. What was your favorite part of the event?

More than anything, I loved getting to spend time with other people having the same interests and living in a similar time in their lives as me. I felt like I really belonged, I got to talk about my favorite things (like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games), and it was just so fun!

As Ch1Con's associate online administrator, you know a lot about the Internet writing community. What are some ways that Ch1Con has contributed to this community?

Our biweekly Twitter chats and monthly YouTube chats are the most notable way! We have so much fun discussing the lives of young writers and how the craft speaks to us in those talks. You pick up all kinds of gems being in the chats. Our general social media presence, signal boosting cool posts and info, is also big.

If your twelve-year-old self had attended Ch1Con, what kind of session would you have wanted to see?

Probably something focused solely on how incredibly awesome young writers are. I was very determined to show the whole entire world that young writers rocked it.

Emma Ryan, Tumblr Runner
You run the official Ch1Con Tumblr blog. How do you choose all the cool stuff that you post and reblog on there?

I did my best to follow as many cool book blogs as possible when I started the Tumblr, and I basically steal content from them. That's the nature of Tumblr, I guess, but I definitely owe a lot of what the blog is to the wider booklr community who create really cool/funny/beautiful posts for me to reblog!

Many young writers belong to fandoms for books and TV shows as well as writing. How do you think that this passion for other people's art intersects with our love for making our own art?

I think being a passionate fan of something can give a writer a better understanding of what their work can do. When we care deeply about a fictional world or person, we realize "Hey, I have the power to make people feel this way, but about MY work!" 

 That said, it also gives writers a better understanding of the tremendous power and responsibility the writer has to an audience (when you're published anyway :) ). Every author will take away a different lesson from observing fandoms, but I feel my personal take-away has made me a more reader-conscious, empathetic writer.

For example, now that I've become involved in the fan communities of tumblr/twitter/the wider Internet, I am FAR less likely to queer-bait, white wash or otherwise manipulate my readership for a punchline or a cliffhanger. I now know the kind of confusion and hurt feelings those narrative choices can cause. I'm far more careful about the promises or hints I make in my writing, and I'm more likely to leave things ambiguous because I trust my readership to speculate or draw their own conclusions. 

Besides the obvious (clothes, toiletries, etc) what would you recommend someone pack to attend Ch1Con?

Panera...also, notebooks.

If you could pick any fictional character to attend Ch1Con, who would it be, and why?

I feel like Cath from Fangirl (by Rainbow Rowell) is right in our target audience. Plus, I want to be buddies with basically ALL of RR's characters!


So there you have it! From the Ch1Con team themselves, all the questions you obviously had about writing and Panera Bread answered. :) But seriously, Ch1Con is going to be awesome this year, and if you are a writer from middle school through undergraduate, you should definitely check it out. (And REGISTER.)

Also, if you aren't a young writer, but you do love classics and going to London for the summer, another program you can check out for this summer is the Benedictus Summer School Foundations of European Culture program. My friend is planning to go, and they need some more applicants to fill up the program. It sounds like it's going to be really cool, so check it out.

And here are some links to all our Ch1Con websites:

Twitter: @Ch1Con

Chapter One Young Writers Conference. Every story needs a beginning. This is ours.

Thanks so much for reading this, and see you on Saturday!