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ALL ABOUT BARBARA AND HER WRITING

About Me

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About Me
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Welcome.  Here you'll get the 'About Me' scoop.

I'm older than I look, but I'm not telling. What I will say is that I come from the era of Elvis and the Beatles. My childhood consisted of hanging out on cement sidewalks and summers in the Catskills of New York State. As a girl my favorite thing to do was reading, and I devoured books. My favorite books were the entire Nancy Drew series, fairy tales, My Friend Flicka and all the books in the series, and Alice in Wonderland.


When I became a teenager American Bandstand was just starting on TV and all of us girls who lived in Brooklyn had the dream of dancing on TV. I did get to do that on The Alan Fried Show one afternoon. My parents owned a sewing supply store called a material store, Dimm's, in Brooklyn, and my fondest memories as a child are of playing in the backroom of that place with boxes of multicolored buttons in various shapes and sizes. I and my friends spent many afternoons devising elaborate scenarios for those buttons. Even now, I still have some of that amazing collection passed onto me by my mother. My own children used to delight in playing with them when they were little.


When I was in third grade my first poem was published in the school district's newsletter. It was called Spring. My mother cut it out and still had it in her wallet when she died. But you have to skip all the way to my twenties when I had my second poem published in another school district's newsletter. However, this was in a different city, Buffalo, and I was working for a school there when it was published. The poem was a thank you to a teacher who had given us a new idea for teaching spelling. All through my twenties I wrote very personal poems and didn't share them except with friends and close family. However, after I realized that people liked what I wrote, I took a few poetry workshops and started to write more seriously. Unfortunately, I abandoned writing and focused on raising my family. But in 1997 I decided to go back to school for my Masters degree in Reading and Writing and began to write more than poetry.


At the Writers' Week in Manhattanville College, my memoir was selected by the members of my writing group as our selection to be read to the entire group. As I looked around at all of the published writers I swallowed the butterflies in my stomache and read my piece. The reaction to the memoir was overwhelming for me. Published authors came up to me to tell me how my memoir brought them back to their own childhood. It was there at Writers' Week under the summer foliage of Manhattanville College that I became a serious writer. I realized I had a bond with these writers. In 2002 I tuned up that memoir, renamed it "Summer Stories" and it was published in the muse apprentice guild. My very first publication was better than I ever dreamed.


IN 2001 I tried to get an MG fantasy that I had written, published, but I still had a lot to learn about children's writing and writing in general. After it was rejected a couple of times I started revising it, but I never sent it out again.


A couple of online poetry workshops introduced me to several people with whom I have been corresponding for years. Then in 2001 I joined my first critique group, in which I am still a member, YA-authors. When we all got together we were a small, but very prolific group of writers who wanted to get serious help for our work. None of us had published any children's writing. In 2006, we have two writers whose books have been selected for the 100 Best Books for the New York Public Library for 2006, another writer whose book is going to be published next spring, and another writer who is also going to be published soon. We are all members of SCBWI - Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Why are we so successful?


When we first began we sent our work in separate emails and no one has any secrets from anyone else. All of our emails go to everyone in the group. When anyone goes to a conference we share our notes and update everyone at once. Lately, we have started posting our finished books on the Files section, and members get back to each other with comments. Although I belong to several groups and forums for writers, YA-authors will always have a special place in my heart. All the writers in this group critiqued the first version of my YA novel. More about the novel later. I respect and trust the comments each of the writers in the group gives for a written piece. For my first revision I took all their comments and tried to revise that way. I still didn't know enough about writing.


This year I became involved with a group called RealWriting Teachers where we discussed the many ways to teach writing to children. Robert Redmond, brought together writing teachers, librarians, and authors for this lively group that takes writing for children to another dimension. Another great group which I joined is the museitupclub on yahoogroups. Meeting Lea Schizas was another fantastic experience for me. Through Lea I learned to experiment with more genres and wound up becoming a reviewer for Muse Book Reviews. So far I have had two reviews published. Another genre I tried due to Lea's influence is flash. Recently I had a drabble, a 100 word story, published in The Fiction Flyer.


This brings me to a discussion of what I might be trying to do now. I hope to send my YA novel to at least one or two publishers by November. Also, I am working on a children's story that I will try to get published too. In November I am going to take part in the National Novel Writing Month. I have no idea what I will write, but all I need is a first sentence. It's exciting to start a new piece of writing. Who knows what I might write next! For a list of my writing click on the navigation bar. I also have links to my friend's writing and websites.

Writers who have influenced me:



Paula Danziger.



I met Paula when she was my workshop leader at Writers' Week at Manhattanville. I walked into the room and she was at the head of a very long rectangular table where about thirty people sat listening to her. Of course, I was late, but she welcomed me so warmly. The next week was chock full of writing ideas and times to try them in our own writing. We had to write the first three chapters of a book for Paula. When she got to critiquing mine she put lines through so many sentences I wondered if I would have any words left. Paula proceeded to add her own comments and one of the words she used was Cut, Cut, Cut. Her scissors approach to my work gave me a spare first chapter and decent proceeding chapters. During the week Paula repeated these words to me until they sunk in. During class periods she would remind me. "Barbara, time to cut."



My last meeting with Paula came at an SCBWI conference where she took fifteen minutes to read some revisions of one scene which had been giving me a lot of trouble. Paula Danziger with her shock of red hair and addiction to purple anything, changed my entire way of writing.

Favorites

Here's a list of some of my favorite movies:


Breakfast at Tiffany's - my all time favorite movie. I must have seen this at least fifty or more times. Also include all Audrey Hepburn movies.


Rebecca - all the scenes are great, but the best ones are with Joan Crawford and Lawrence Olivier at the resort where they get married.


Sleepless in Seattle - I never have enough tissues for this one.


All Woody Allen movies.


All Paul Newman movies.


All George Clooney movies.


All Jack Nicholas movies.

Favorite Music


"Moon River" my all time favorite song.

Anything by the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, John

Mayer, Paul Simon, Christine Lavin, the Kennedys, the

Nields, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, and last, but not least,
 
Bruce Springsteen.

Write to me if you have any comments. Either leave them in the guestbook or email me directly: lionmother@aol.com