Friday, December 16, 2011

Giving Back, The Holiday Spirit, and Taking Time Off To Fill The Well

Sometimes the best presents are the ones you give.

Recently here in Los Angeles, the Kid Lit Drink Night Holiday Party was a big success. (Check out the great post about it - and photos from the evening - at my friend and fellow Kid Lit Drink Night organizer Rita Crayon Huang's blog.)

Over 120 revelers gathered to drink and network and eat cookies - there were agents, and writers, and illustrators, and librarians, and so many friends - ones we knew and ones we were just meeting!  And everyone who came brought some books to donate to needy kids.  Some people brought two books.  Some brought BAGS of books.  And ultimately we had a lot of wonderful books to donate!

Look at all the books donated!

The empty bookshelf at the LAUSD continuation high school main office, which is about to be filled with the three overflowing bags of YA titles we donated!  The teachers in 29 classrooms all over Los Angeles will get to choose books from the ones donated for their own classroom shelf of books.

Ms. Ward, the Principal of Knox Elementary School, was so grateful for the donation of FIVE full boxes of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade titles!  They have a library but no librarian, and now they have lots of new books for their students!

It really felt great making this happen, and my thanks to my fellow Kid Lit Drink Night organizers Rita Crayon Huang, Sara Wilson Etienne, Greg Pincus, Jill Corcoran and Jennifer Bosworth for making it such a success.

Also, Thank You to everyone who attended and brought books to donate - you also brought your holiday spirit, and it was wonderful to behold.

And in that Holiday Spirit, I'm going to be taking my annual two week break from blogging.  I'll be back fresh and renewed on Monday January 2nd, 2012.

If you're not sure what you're going to do for two whole weeks of no new blog posts here, I thought I'd take the liberty of sharing some great posts from 2011 that deserve another look.  Here they are, for your reprised enjoyment.

1.  LEARN SOMETHING NEW ABOUT YOURSELF AND OTHERS:  Check out the entire Gender 101 video series - there are 18 videos so far, and to watch them in order, you can find them listed on the right hand side of this blog.  And once you've watched them, consider how you feel about these parents raising their child without letting others know their child's gender.

2. OPEN YOUR HEART:  Watch this amazing video about Gay Marriage, and an actual gay wedding that happened on TV! And check out the true story of how a teenage skinhead and the homeless gay teen he beat nearly to death met decades later... and became friends who travel together to speak out about ending homophobia and anti-gay violence, about forgiveness, and hope.

3.  THINK:  Consider what our culture tells us about "Headless Fatties."  The humiliation of men wearing pink.  And what bathroom signs reveal about how our culture views gender. And see blatant homophobia for what it is, on TV shows like American Idol, and in the choices parents make about their children's Halloween costumes.

4. REALIZE THERE IS STILL MUCH WORK TO DO: From Transgender people being sterilized to how opponents of gay equality lie, and lie some more.

5. BE INSPIRED, AND REDEDICATE YOURSELF TO DOING THAT WORK:  See what a 14 year old is doing to get queer books into school all across the country, and eventually, internationally.  See the impact of a single teacher to change her students' views about prejudice forever.  Check out the stand a school picture photographer made, refusing to make bullies pretty on the outside, since they're not on the insideRead the blog of three queer teen athletes who are out to change the perception of gays in sports. Find out how to start a Gay-Straight Alliance in YOUR school.

6.  LAUGH:  Fighting prejudice with comedy is an art.  Check out what St. Peter says to an anti-gay marriage activist at the gates of Heaven. And George Takei's hysterical (and generous) response to Tennessee's proposed "Don't Say Gay" law.

7.  GET YOUR PRIDE ON:  With T-shirts, and a Katy Perry "Firework" video that makes me so happy.  And did you know that the more gay friendly a community is, the better it is for straight teens too? And watch some of my favorite "It Gets Better" Videos:  Kevin, a gay teen in Montana. Zach, a gay teen in Iowa, and if it's not too forward of me to suggest it, I'd be delighted if you'd take a look at my It Gets Better video, too.

8.  READ:  There are so many wonderful books posted and reviewed here!  The entire left hand column of this blog... So browse, and choose, and dive into some wonderful lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, questioning, queer and gender-non-conforming fiction and nonfiction!  I am beyond blown away by these books existing in our world of today, and think of how much it would have meant to me to find just one of them when I was a teen.  So read them.  You never know where a book might take you...

And if you don't want to miss great posts like these as we move forward into 2012, please consider signing up for my newsletter - it's one email every two weeks, with one line summaries and fast links to the latest posts, info on my school visits, and some inspiration that's currently resonating for me.

The inspiration resonating for me right now is from "The Artists Way," by Julia Cameron. 

"As artists, we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them... I call this process filling the well."

I think those are wise words.  And after 50 weeks of daily posts Monday through Friday, I realize that I need these two weeks to fill my well.  And then I'll be back in the new year, artistic reservoirs full!

Until then, allow me to wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season.



Unknown said...

I love your blog. It's doing important work. I just published my debut novel, Random, on Kindle. It was inspired by the real life death of my best friend who was gay.

Keep up your crusade and help more kids read.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking for reviews on the gay teen books something like summer, cranberry hush, outtakes of a walking mistake, don't let me go, and the evolution of ethan poe. :)

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Thanks "Eating With Hudson" and "Anonymous Dec 25, 2011 1:03pm" - sounds like some great books to cover here in 2012!

Kelly Robinson said...

I'm new-ish to your blog, so thanks for the links to the "good stuff" so I can get caught up!