Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Virginia Butler is another person who keeps crossing my path. We met nine years ago at the Louisiana SCBWI conference. She invited me to visit her school in Leesville for a week of writing workshops. I told Virginia that I learned more from her that week than what I offered her students. That first workshop day, I told her students that I wanted them to write their first draft by hand. Groans scattered through the classroom.

Later when Virginia and I were alone she graciously mentioned, "These young people are as comfortable with a keyboard as you and I are with pen and paper."

It was an important lesson. And every workshop I give, I remember her comment.

Virginia lives and writes in Hattiesburg now with her husband, Al, who happens to make the best carrot cake in the world. I learned that in Leesville, too. Last night Virginia hosted a dinner, following the Honors Forum at the University of Southern Mississippi. And I celebrated the evening with a slice of Al's secret recipe.

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