Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An Evening with Richard Peck

So, just when I thought my author stalking moments were over for the time being, suddenly Richard Peck shows up at the local library! Having nothing else to do tonight, I found myself (with two kids in tow) heading off for another author adventure.

Richard Peck, most well-known for A Long Way from Chicago (Newbery Honor) and A Year Down Yonder (Newbery Medal) got up to speak, and out came the most profound, memorable and funny one-liners I've ever heard, one right after the other!

And did I come prepared with a notebook? No! Of course not, so I wrote very tiny on the back of the little program so I could share some of these quotes he said that I loved:

"All fiction is family."

"I get older and older, but somehow my readers stay the same age!"

"Only readers become writers."

"You need to read at least 1000 books before you can write one."

"Nothing is real until it is written down."

"Humor is just anger sent to finishing school."

"One question all writers HATE,"
(can you guess it, all together now) " WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS??"

"My readers give me my ideas."

"Writing is a dialogue between writer and reader."

"Readers are looking for themselves in books. The story is always about the reader, never the writer."

"Books unite! Computers divide!"

"The Kindle will dwindle, but books will never crash."

... and that's just a handful. He had lots to say about the sad plight of education these days. He was an English teacher (what else is there he said) and said he learned more from the students than he ever taught them. He is frustrated that in school you have to be "dead to be read" and so that's one reason why he writes for the younger crowd, because he knows they can read whatever they want.

Anyway, it was a wonderful presentation and I enjoyed every minute of it. Afterward, we waited for a long long time for our turn to get our books signed. We brought two from home (the two biggies!) and bought two there, Amanda Miranda and The Ghost Belonged to Me. By that time, I only had one kid still with me. She handled the wait very well, so when it was finally our turn, I decided to have him sign his two famous books to her.

We were told we couldn't do posed pictures, so when I got close, I asked the lady, just to make sure, was it okay to take a picture while he was signing? She said sure, but he heard and said, "Come over here," and motioned for Toto to come around and stand by him, at which point, he posed for the perfect author picture!

So we broke the rules at his insistence! I loved it! Then, I said, "I guess you never read book blogs?" And he said, "Noooooo....." and I said, "Well, I had to ask just in case, because I write one." He said, "Will I be in it?" I said, "Well, I'm going home to write about you right now!" And he said, "And so how will I find you?" at which point gave him my url and he had me write it down. Seriously?

Dear Mr. Peck.... if you do drop by for a visit.... Hi from Suey! And thanks for a wonderful fun evening and for signing our books and posing for a picture and I'll be sure to get right on to reading our new Richard Peck books very soon!

And I imagine you all can guess what Toto will be reading this month for her Newbery assignment!

Finally, I found this fun YouTube of him talking about writing and reading some excerpts, if you're interested:

But wait, his next book, coming out in October, is called Three Quarters Dead and sounds absolutely haunting. Keep your eyes open for this one!


  1. Wonderful post. Love the picture of Peck and Toto. Peck is amazing and I am happy to hear he has a new book coming out soon. Thanks!

  2. How cool is that! I read many of his books when I was younger -- I'll have to go back and read the ones I missed. I'm trying to read all the Newbery winners, so I'll move him up on my list. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. How fantastic is that? I hope he stops by your blog, just to see what it's like. When we met him at The Kings English, he was very polite and took a picture with us too. I loved his fancy handwriting. :)
    Michelle Teacress

  4. That is so wonderful! I love sitting in the presence of an author and just feeling that energy vibrate off them and the inspiration they encourage.

    Im so jealous you got to go. My friend got me a ticket and last minute I got called back from my wait list at cake decorating class which started the same night. Ugh. At least you did a fabulous review of it so I could still enjoy! Thanks!

  5. Oh, crap crap crap. Can I kick myself harder? I didn't know he was going to be at my library! I was even there yesterday. I am feeling SOOOO sad right now. :(

  6. Jan: Cool that he is still writing, huh?

    Karen: I know, I need to get caught up too. Did you know he's written 39 books?

    MT: Yeah, the chance he really stops by is quite small I'm thinking. I loved the fancy handwriting too! Very cool.

    Debbie: I totally didn't even realize we needed tickets. We just showed up, they looked at us weird, but let us in anyway.

    Melissa: And I kept my eye out for you and everything! Crap! :)

  7. Do you know if he'll be speaking somewhere else one day later? He was at The King's English on Monday, which I missed, then at YOUR local library lucky girl, and now where else? I'm crossing my fingers...

  8. What a great experience! I've really got to start going to things like this. So how many authors would you say that you've by now?

  9. He came to one of the writer's conferences I attended at UVU and he was awesome! It was horrible to try to even describe his presentation to Scott. The one quote I'll never forget about writing?

    "Thou shalt not commit the autobiography."

    Loved him!

  10. Wow, that sounds like a great author event! I loved that he had you write down your url! Nice work and cute picture!

  11. What a wonderful time! My kids loved his books when they were younger!

  12. I LOVE the stuff that Richard Peck says!! I debated and debated whether or not to so see him in SLC on Monday but staying home finally won out. I have seen him twice before and must admit that he is one of the most entertaining speakers I'v ever heard!

  13. I can only reiterate what everyone else has said but oh, what an incredible opportunity and an amazing experience for both you and Toto. WOW! and if Mr. Peck reads your post about him, how fortunate you are to be able to thank him and honor him through your blog. So beautiful!



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