Serious, by Robert L. Crowe, 2011

A winner of the Library of Congress Award for Children’s Literature gives his views on reading and education.


8 - 10 minutes

Product Id: #407

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An excerpt …

(from the middle of the speech)

One of the most difficult processes to handle is that of rejections. I won’t dwell on the topic because I don't think grown men should cry in public. I had always heard that once you had a book published, you had an 'in" with the publisher. I had heard that. My publisher had not heard that. So I developed a psychological crutch and I stole the name from an Emily Dickinson poem called “Hope is a Thing with Feathers.”  I call mine, "Hope is in the mail." I submit 4 or 5 manuscripts at the same time and when I get one back rejected, I send it off again before I receive the other rejections. It’s a great system if you can avoid a disastrous Friday when they all show up rejected on the same day.

What then is the secret to publishing? If it isn't inherited and it isn't magic, then it must be luck. Well …I believe in luck. Luck is certainly a factor … but it is always against those who rely upon it solely for success. The old adage is true … the harder you work, the luckier you get.

I'm often asked what authors influenced me as a writer. The answer is swift and definite: Ernest Hemingway and William Shakespeare. When I was a junior in high school, I had to give a book report. I waited until the day before the book report was due and I blitzed the library in search to scrawniest book I could find, checked it out, took it home and read it. It was Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea." The other author was Shakespeare. A teacher in high school gave me “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” and I read it ... and I read it over and over. If you were to study my writings ... which wouldn't take very long, you probably wouldn't recognize Hemingway and Shakespeare. But of course I'm talking about the exposure to great literature and its effect upon young people.

There is no doubt that the greatest influences in my life were teachers. There were many caring teachers but it was in junior high that I realize that someone else cared about me and what happened to me. I found that I started to work to please my teacher as well. This teacher was able to help me find an area of success. The great teachers always seem to find time to do that.


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