SCBWI First Ever, Salem, Oregon Schmooze

friends w starLast week, writers and illustrators for children and teens from Salem, Oregon and the surrounding area met at the Salem Public Library for a first ever “SCBWI Schmooze.”

What, you may ask, is a “schmooze?”

It is a get-together for the purpose of learning, socializing, playing, or any mix of the three.

Oregon C0-Regional Adviser, Judi Gardner, and Oregon Schmooze Organizer, Ellen Bloeman joined us to share what SCBWI is and what both the international organization and state chapter have to offer. (SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and includes writers and illustrators for audiences just months old, all the way through their teens.)

We got a sneak preview of the upcoming Spring Conference, and the Fall retreat. We learned the state organization could help us get speakers to Salem to assist and inspire us in building our careers, instructing on topics anywhere from the writing craft, to making social media part of your professional persona.

Pat Knight agreed to be our point person for orchestrating future events.

For the second half of our time together, we had a prompt party. Everyone brought a writing prompt, some were written prompts and some were in the form of images. We randomly drew the prompts, one at a time, and all of us wrote for 5 minutes on the prompt then shared our results.

It was so fun to listen to the variety of styles and perspectives around the table. I was even able to use a couple of the prompts to develop ideas for scenes in a novel I am in the process of revising!

Pat’s prompt came from her experience as part of the Oregon Writing Project. We were instructed to take the first line of a poem as our starting point and write either prose or a poem in response. Pat supplied us with the first lines from several Jack Prelutsky poems.

With a tip of my hat to Mr. Prelutsky, here is what I wrote:

I wonder why Dad is so thoroughly mad.
I only wanted a drink.
I don’t know why Dad ‘s so thoroughly mad.
I couldn’t reach the sink.
I don’t understand why he huffs and puffs,
And blows steam from his nose.
The sink’s too high, so what choice had I?
I brought in the garden hose.

I enjoyed getting together with my fellow Salem-Keizer-Corvallis children’s writers and look forward to another fun event.