Monday, November 19, 2007

NCTE Middle School Mosaic

Thirteen minutes. That's the time Kylene Beers allotted for poetry during the 2.5 hour event at NCTE in NYC this year. Thirteen and a guillotine was to descend at 14. I can't explain how much I obsessed about this time limit. I made power point slides for a read along. I deleted them. I added more. Deleted. I celebrated by not sleeping the night before so that I arrived 1.5 hours early with cotton candy for brains.

I downloaded photoshop brushes. Emailed just the right font to moderator and Goddess of YA literature, Teri Lesesne. Let me just stop for a moment and say, in case you were wondering, that this is THE best read person not only in YA lit, but probably in the galaxy. I lurk on her blog occasionally, but too often and it makes me depressed that I don't read more at traffic lights. I have no idea how she reads as much as she does. Go here to fact check:

Once the mosaic began, I relaxed into listening to Christopher Paul Curtis and Pam Ryan, Jeff Wilhelm and Janet Allen and others. A whole lot of talent was packed into that hotel ballroom, much of it carried into the room in canvas bags on the weary shoulders of teachers. It was a great afternoon and those 2.5 hours flew by. When it came time for my 13 minutes, I jumped up and raced through the whole thing in 10 minutes. Zip zip. And back to enjoying hearing others talk about their passions.

I started on the performance poetry circuit (could this be?) 16 years ago and I know that people assume I am beyond being nervous. But not true. Believe it or not, I get more nervous to deliver a poem for a small audience, say a dinner table of folks, than a ballroom. That I've known forever. But now I know that I can get EXTREMELY twisted over 13 minutes, when an hour is a breeze. Who understands these things?


Anonymous said...

I think we're on the same wavelength when it comes to nerves and preparation and achievement angst.

Anonymous said...

as Einstein said, time is relative . . . it's always longer or shorter than ideal.

michael salinger said...

Einstein also said - a minute with your hand on a stove can seem like an hour - an hour with a pretty girl can seem like a minute - that's relativity.

Anonymous said...

It was a whirlwind but excellent 13 minutes. And thanks for the plug!


Anonymous said...

The audience was exhausted, but your thirteen minutes amidst what are now memories of those 2.5 hours enliven my reflections of what we all shared there! I can't say how energized I felt towards the work we do on the behalf of students in situations often beyond our understanding.