You never know what will happen when you spend a rainy Saturday cleaning the garage. One truckload to the dump, 2 car loads to St. Vinny’s and we could actually see the walls! Of course, we couldn’t part with Quinn’s Rainbow Brite toy stove or Tyler’s umpteen boxes of Legos and baseball cards (feel free to come get them, however, kids!), but what we did pitch left room for some of our stuff! Though I don’t think we’d qualify for one of Barbara O’Connor’s “Tidy Town” awards, I feel pretty darn good.
And sentimental. Neil forced me to go through boxes of my old writing stuff — did I really need copies of the manuscripts I ghost wrote for The Sweet Valley Twins? (the answer was no). But I did stumble upon something I had nearly forgotten about. In 1985, I took a Writer’s Digest Short Story correspondence course and by sheer coincidence was assigned an instructor who practically lived in my neighborhood. It was the course itself I’d forgotten; I could never forget that instructor– the incomparable Peg Kehret (shown here with Lucy):
The writing gods were surely smiling on me in setting up that happy circumstance. And, as I read over Peg’s kind and encouraging comments, I was touched by the confidence she had in me. Without that, I don’t know if I ever would’ve had the courage to begin attending writing conferences, to say out loud that I was a writer. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Peg, you already know that she is a big-hearted, thoughtful and caring person — with a twinkling eye and ready laugh.
Trust me: I’ll be sending her a note, to tell her what those early words of support meant and how I treasure them all the more now, twenty-five years later.
You ghost-wrote Sweet Valley Twins AND got your daughter a Rainbow Brite stove? Wow, you are this child-of-the-80s’ hero:)
Darn it! Now you’ve made me cry.
Ah…doesn’t it feel so great to purge! But what a sweet find (another reason to clear the unnecesarry stuff out; it hides all the great stuff).
Aw, shucks, I’ll give you a Tidy Town Award just for being you
Oh, Kirby! Thank you for your fond memories, for your friendship over the years, and for giving me the chance to brag that you were once my writing student. I wept with joy when you won the Newbery Honor, and you’ve brought tears to my eyes again.
Like you, I don’t recall the content of that long-ago writing course, but I do remember the excitement I felt when I read your assignments. It is gratifying to think that I played a small part in encouraging you. Keep shining!
P.S. Old writers never quit editing; the dog in my photo is Lucy. Winston is invited to come for a play date any time.
Winston is so mortified that his mom got your dog’s name wrong, Peg, that he has disowned me completely. Thankfully, you are more forgiving. . .and thankfully his memory is awfully short!
It was a pleasure revisiting old times.
Emilie, I am a child of the 50s, 60s and 70s, as well as the 80s, thank you very much! I even remember Fizzies.