I made a new friend on Monday night. Her name is Jan and poetry is currently helping her through her mid-life crisis. As both readers of my blog are aware, I don’t consider myself a poet. But perhaps when I’m 93 I’ll start a new career as a poet just like Jan.
Through a series of broken legs and critique groups, I (along with a handful of other writers) was invited to tea with Jan Slepian, author of dozens of books in a career spanning over half a century. She’s written everything from picture books to young adult novels and recently self-published a few titles before her recent turn to poetry. The Alfred Summer (1980) was nominated for the National Book Award and was noted as one of the 100 books that shaped the 20th century by the School Library Journal (although my many many many kids are more into The Hungry Thing series at the moment).
I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up to tea. I know I didn’t expect to feel as energized and invigorated as I did when I left. Jan told us a few stories about her life as an author and a person, then listened excitedly to us tell her about our recent experiences writing for children. Jan’s sugary smile filled the room as her cookies filled my belly with sugar. It’s hard not to like someone who appreciates my sarcastic sassiness (she referred to it as ‘wit’). I look forward to more tea (and cookies) and swapping wit with Jan soon.
In the words of Jan Slepian, poet: “Don’t join the crowd who wonders where the time went … toss the unanswerables … and lighten my load.” * Now I’m gonna go try to live every day as if I’m 93.
* copyright Jan Slepian 2013