What I learned on my summer vacation, part III

A final thought before I start a new thread – or is that rant?  😉

More practical than inspiring, but no less valuable were the opportunities to hear editors and agents speak at Chautauqua.  Julie Ham, Julie Agnone, Carolyn Yoder, Andy Gutelle, and Christine French Cully – among others – all had very practical and useful advice about the children’s writing market, proposals, research, and writing for magazines.  (Plus more, but I’m still digesting my notes.  Experiencing Chautauqua was rather like a corn snake eating a very large rat.  The meal is going to go down, and it’s vitally needed, but it’s going to take a loooong time to digest properly.)

One issue I’ve commented on previously is whether or not material posted on one’s blog is considered published.  Mary Kole, of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, has answered yes – that material for submission posted on one’s website would likely be considered published, and therefore ineligible for submission to most agents and editors.

However, when I posed that question to Chris Cully, Editor -in-Chief of Highlights, she had the opposite reaction.  She firmly stated that such work would not be considered published – unless one’s website had a significant audience and one that mirrored the publisher’s audience.  In other words, if your blog or website is not aimed at your audience (in this case, children) nor is it widely read, then go for it.  Post your work.  Just keep in mind, that once it’s out there in Webville, it’s out there for good.

So, with Ms. Cully on my side, I may well post some work again.  In that spirit, here’s a draft verse story that appeared to me out of the blue one long night when I couldn’t sleep.  I’d been working on a prose story on the same topic, but it just wasn’t hitting the right note.   Amazing what too much caffeine and not enough sleep can do for one’s imagination!


Chicken Fingers en Francais 



I walked a long way

Touring Paris today.

Now hungry, I spy

A bistro nearby.


“Bon jour, mademoiselle!”

The waiter I tell

Bring me without delay,

Chicken fingers –

S’il vous plait!


“Alas, ma petite –

No fingers, just feet!

Perhaps you would like

Some other treat?”


Oh, no! My mistake.

But I do not want cake

How do I say

I would like some poulet?


My guidebook in hand

I politely demand

“Je voudrais les filets

De poulet, s’il vous plait!”


“Ah! Now I see-

We make precisely

This dish you would like,

Though not quite alike

The chicken of Etats-Unis!”


That’s okay! I won’t fuss.

The chicken I trust,

Will taste just as good

In this neighborhood.


Les filets de poulet,

Arrived all sauteed

Not fried golden, you see.

Still, they tasted yummy!


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