Authors. ARCS. Building Worlds. None of these truly came to light or really hit home in importance to me in college. The biggest breakthrough was when I had taken a World Literature course – Dr. DiMarco, Slippery Rock University, and it opened up volumes of worlds I never knew existed with books and authors from other countries, those I had never had the chance to explore. It was revolutionary!
Fast forward and thanks to the experiences afforded me at The American School Foundation, and the dreams and visions of a creative and very talented Repentino. staff, we began delving into bringing authors to campus to enlighten us on the authoring world, and it opened up the art of the story, both fiction and nonfiction to a wider audience.
Fast forward once again to Saturday, Classic Upward Bound, and thanks to a colleague of mine from those Slippery Rock University, and awesome author herself, Dr. Kimberly Miller, and information from Ms Mary McCoy, a workshop offering based on her past and upcoming books was offered. Something about it seemed to be powerful, and I just wasn’t sure, what it was, but based on the great experiences with past authors, this seemed to be a no brainer to reach out and try.
The most unique aspect of Ms McCoy’s workshop January 9th was the focus on each of us, the individual, the student, the person. Questions, topics, ideas that pointed back to us and who were were as individuals. This was unique, while an author, so far, little had focused on the author yet, and somehow, we were all engaged, Learning to discover and emphasize what our communication styles, but also verbalizing those styles among each of us as a group – I realized confidence seemed to be rebuilt in myself, and wondered if that was happening in others, as we talked about characteristics we were sure we knew about ourselves, the discussion and explaining of ourselves, verbally, with so much relying on so much visual with Zoom assignments, this made a difference. It was even better with having such an inviting, personable, and questioning author as we were finding in Ms. Mary McCoy!
By the end of this workshop, it had seemed as if we were not even in a zoom as known and expected based on the experiences we have been happening the last 11 months, it was exhilarating, motivating, and relieving to tie someone being an author, to our own lives, without having to get 100% at first into that author’s books! The ability to reach out and involve the average individual, and to do so with means in addition to their book, that is an art and an ability that many miss if they do not feel a connection with a book at all. Especially in this age of technology taking front stage.
During the course of this workshop that came across as realizing how personal our communication styles are and connecting these facts to the literary world, some amazing similarities and coincidences appeared to me on a personal level. I hope the same is true of other attendees of this workshop.
Ms. McCoy, was from the Butler, PA! YEAH! Not many people are familiar with the Grove City, Butler area, unless you originated there. Beginning are important.
If you are familiar with the book, The Library Book, by Susan Orlean, We were informed Ms. McCoy is referred to in a scene IN THAT BOOK! NO WAY! If you read the book, you’d understand, that was awesome!
Ms McCoy has indeed presented alongside Mr. Scott Westerfeld- and that is pretty notable to me, as Mr. Westerfeld was one of the first individuals to change the concept of bringing authors to a forum we created called Authors Among Us – great writers and minds hang together! Seeing Mr. Westefeld in 2019, years after our experiences in Mexico City, seemed like seeing a friend again after I had moved back to The United States. Authors that are able to capture your imagination, never fade from your mind through the years. Mr. Westerfeld is definitely in that league as well as Ms. Mary McCoy.
Mary McCoy, Tabitha Lord, Dr. Kimberly Miller, Scott Westerfeld, David Lida, Violeta Orozco, Neal Shusterman, Adi Alsaid, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Luis Cotto-Vasallo, Jack Little, Dr. Robert Snyder, Zoraida Cordova, Osseily Hanna, Eric Smith, Justine Larbalestier, all are authors I have had the privilege of welcoming as guests that have changed many young readers and dreamers.
Moreso, the age of the pandemic, an age where technology invites those to be personal and yet isolated at the same time, reaching authors in unique ways now, leave a lasting impression. Even more, by learning to motivate ourselves to be proactive, authors that are able to reach out and reach is personally through their experiences, their writing, their lives, changes how drab and mundane life can be without someone, or experiences that can change that for us.
Ms. Mary Mccoy and her personal approach, as well as the great questions and observations the Classic Upward Bound students made during this workshop, emphasized this fact even more.