December 12, 2013:

The fall flew by and here it is winter already, the snow so far in Western Mass has been a joke, but there are promises in the air.

Lots happened this fall, nothing earthshaking, though. Family is well. I weathered several small (and in the long run insignificant) medical things that beset women of a certain age, and weathered a number of not-earth-shattering dates. I gave speeechs that seemed well-received, wrote poems my 350+ subscribers seemed to like, wrote books under contract that my editors liked, and some not under contract that (so far) nobody wants. And sold one children’s poetry collection with J.Patrick Lewis to Charlesbridge.

In other words, the same-old same old.

My beautiful new book of adult poetry arrived, (the design is beautiful, and in the end I like the majority of the poems!) Sister Fox’s Field Guide to Writing. The latest dinosaur book came and is getting a lot of good reviews: How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? Also arrived Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters which is a lot of fun. And others thing which make me smile.

Travel–much too much of it per usual: Brooklyn Book Festival, Boston Book Festival, Rochester Book Festival, bookstore signings, etc.

Friends staying over. (Waves at Charlotte, Steve, Karl, Alan and Rob–I’m sure I’m forgetting some folks.)

Movies liked and disliked. Books read, and only a few worthy of a re-read.

There is sure to be more in my future.

I watched a small section of a short documentary about an illustrator friend and realized that if someone had followed me around all fall with a movie camera, it would NOT make an interesting film for anyone to view except me. And I HATE HATE HATE how I look on the screen.

Will try to be a More Faithful Companion. But no promises.

Here, to placate you, though, are three fairly new poems (all this fall) about the writing process:


One Damn Knot After Another


One damn knot after another

makes a story,

the knit and purl of it.

Why did I not learn such craft

at my mother’s knee?

All I felt was her inattention,

missing the metaphor that would

knit up my life, while she,

like a slipped stitch,

unraveled far too young,

leaving me to learn the lessons

on my own, one damned knot

at a time.


Lucky for me, the needle still holds

the lesson of the stitch.


©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved



Dipping A Toe


“All of writing is a huge lake.”–Jean Rhys


This morning I dipped my toe in the lake,

watching the ripples spread.

Some days I wade, hesitant,

a priestess unsure of her prayers.

On the days I plunge in,

the shock of the cold

wakes in me a longing for heat,

passion, fire until the water itself

teaches me that it is better

to swim than to burn.

Once in a while I get from one bank

to the other, and touching land

remember that I am only in the water

because the lake suffers me to be there.

I give it my obeisance and swim back

grateful in the end to get

to my proper side, a poem in my head,

and–if I am lucky, a story as well.


©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved



My Catechism


To proclaim the gospel of the tale.

To profess my faith in the telling.

To love the inane and profound

Words,  phrases, paragraphs,

the repeats and the hesitations.

To love even the  punctuation

that lets us know how to tell.


We are born into the congregation of story.

Our inheritance is the kingdom of invention.

To be human is to know the beginning,

that sly start of the tale;

to pass through the middle,

the twisting colonic of space and time,

to get to the end that is no end,

for to know and love story,

is the Ouroboros, the snake eating its tail,

for to tell the story is to pass the story on.



©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved


Selah–go in peace. The mea culpa is ended.



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