Ticondergoa #2 pencils. Check.
Highlighters. Check. Pocket folders. Check.
Protractor, compass. Check. Three-ring binder,
loose-leaf paper, marble notebook, erasers, small pencil sharpener with
compartment to catch shavings. Check and double-check.
Yep, I took Adam back-to-school
shopping the other day. What a wonderful time. For me the New Year is
just beginning. Forget all the hype on January first—that’s just the
middle of the year. September is when all the important stuff starts.
And not just for students. Writers also experience a burst of autumnal
energy as the new writing year begins. Agents who have been hoarding
their gold all summer become heat-seeking missiles as editors fresh
from vacations hunker down to read manuscripts and face pub boards.
Fall conferences are planned and conferees are pulling out their
sweatshirts and polishing their manuscripts. Brilliant ideas burst from
every pore the second the kiddoes walk out the door for the bus or the
walk to school. It doesn’t matter that it could still be 90 degrees
outside, it’s September: the most wonderful time of the year.
I don’t know about you, but when
I went shopping with Adam the other day I couldn’t resist purchasing a
couple of things for myself—fresh notebooks, pencils to sharpen to a
fine point, and of course I had to buy a six-pack of yellow legal pads.
It was like Christmas at the store: Moms and dads with lists, children
scurrying about begging for locker mirrors and the most expensive
assortment of Sharpies available. I smiled when I overheard one student
say to her mother, “Oh, no, Mom, that won’t work. I need lots of space
to write. I love to write.” Then there were the kids—okay, boys
mostly—who couldn’t have cared less if their new pocket folders had a
puppy or nothing on the outside. “Yeah, yeah, it’s a folder, Mom. I
don’t care.” This year puppies and purple unicorns are as big as ever,
but I saw more kids going for bold geometric designs on their notebooks
and folders. I still want to know why Post-It notes are so expensive.
Sheesh. And you have to purchase the name brand—the cheaper ones simply
do not stick. So frustrating.
And with every new year comes
resolutions. I know, I know most people wait until January first to do
that. Not me, and I suspect not most writers. September makes me want
to clean off my desk, go to Ikea and buy do-dads to help me get
organized—not that it will stay that way—but, hey, I try. The new
school year makes me want to outline my new novel and spread it out on
the floor or hang it on a clothesline, to make notes in a brand-new
Moleskine, to write beautifully with a fresh excitement, and to gather
all the receipts I’ve tossed haphazardly into drawers and baskets and
boxes and organize them so that my accountant will applaud and maybe
even shed a tear. I want back-to-school jeans and fresh Chucks—maybe
yellow this year. I love that ACFW is in September—no better way to
kick off a new writing season.
of my favorite traditions of the new school year is the Blessing of the
Backpacks. Every year, the church up the street gathers the
neighborhood children on the lawn of the church where they and their
backpacks are prayed for and blessed.
the kiddoes are sent out to
study, do-well, pay attention, and avoid trouble. It’s a delightful
time, complete with doughnuts, canolies, and coffee. Maybe if someone
had blessed my backpack when I was in third grade, I wouldn’t have used
it to knock Michael Denoia down after he pulled my hair. But, then
again, I hated having my hair pulled because I wouldn’t fork over my
So I have an idea. Why not have
a Blessing of the Computers day for authors? On September 7 I suggest
we all take a minute to pray for all the authors, editors, agents, and
publishers, and also for all the computers that will be used to write
our stories, schedule our meetings, and hold our notes and dreams. How
about it? September 7. Let’s feel the energy that day. Post it on FB,
Twitter, your blog. And, hey, remember to get enough sleep. Eat your
veggies. Don’t bully. Keep your shoelaces tied, and you can’t say you
can’t play. We’re all in this together. Let’s make this a great year
for Christian fiction.
Prayers of Agnes
Sparrow has been selected as one of the top five Christian
Inspirational titles of 2009 by Library Journal.