WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION
JACKIE LEIGH DAVIS
I’m so excited to welcome one of my local SCBWI buddies. She’s such a special lady…and I was thrilled when she agreed to stop by to chat with us.
Jackie Davis began her career as a professional mime at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center. In 1995, she began developing a circus arts curriculum at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton where she created the first Hilltop Circus in 1996. This led to her founding Silver Lining Circus Camp and the Flying Gravity Circus youth troupe.
Her husband, Rick Davis, who was a teacher at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, became the resident director at youth circus arts education for Circus Smirkus in Vermont.
Together they became founding members of the American Youth Circus Organization, which hosts biennial national festivals in the U.S.
WOW…so now you know that Jackie knows what she is talking about when she writes a book about circus for kids!
Welcome, Jackie…it’s wonderful to have you here. I know you have a lot to share with all of us!
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
JACKIE: I was a huge Dr. Seuss fan as a child (The Sleep Book!! Sneetches!) I loved his wacky worlds and creatures, and I was inspired to draw my own for hours and hours on my mom’s scrap paper. Later, I read The Phantom Tollbooth at the perfect age when I totally understood all of Norton Juster’s plays on words (he really woke up the fun of writing in me), and I loved Jules Feiffer’s dynamic, scribbly illustrations. Louise Fitzugh had a similar scribbly style in her drawings, though I didn’t realize until much later that she had illustrated as well as written Harriet the Spy. I emulated Harriet and did some spying in my neighborhood!
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
JACKIE: Well, I’m coming late to the party – I’m really just starting my writing career in earnest, even though I’ve been writing all my life. Ask me this question in a couple years.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
JACKIE: I’ve read that you should be able to write anywhere so that you train yourself to be able to write, well, anywhere. That’s hard for me – I get attached to place. I have a lovely little cabin in my back yard that I love to write in, but it’s not insulated so I can only do that on temperate days. I do like to write on my laptop. However, I also keep a journal (an actual book made of paper), and I write longhand in there. Gotta have a fast, smooth pen. Pentel Energel!
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
JACKIE: I am still sorting this out! Lots of folks get up early and write in the morning. I am a terrible morning person, the brain takes a while to get revved up. By then, the phone is ringing and people are emailing, and I get pulled into the mundanities of the day. So – I THINK I am a night writer. Left to my own devices, I write at night – sometime after dinner and before my brain gets too tired. I keep experimenting. Ask me this one again in a couple years, too!
ME: Why do you write for children?
JACKIE: I remember being 10 or 11 years old, looking out my bedroom window in the direction of the next town, and suddenly I realized I could “travel” to the next town, and the next… that the whole world was open and my whole life was ahead of me. That was the first moment where I caught a glimmer of self-determination, where I “got” that I was the captain of my ship, and this was my life. I’ve been a teacher for much of my adult life, and I love opening the door to kids’ realization that they are the captains of their ships. I never get tired of that. As a teacher I could do that one-on-one, but as an author I hope to show many, many more kids a magical door to their self-determination.
ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear.
JACKIE: This first book of mine, DIY Circus Lab for Kids, is a non-fiction, how-to book based on my decades of teaching circus. But I was working on a middle grade novel before DIY came along, and now that it’s published (yay!!) I am going back to the novel. I am so eager to get it written, yet there are so many demands on my time I worry about getting it done. But NO! 2018 is the year! I look forward to being a guest of yours again, Vivian, sometime in 2019!
That sounds like a plan, Jackie! Thank you so much for all of your insights and for sharing your journey with us.
And now, dear friends, we are not done yet. Jackie has a book event today at our favorite local indie bookstore: Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, NH from 2-4pm. I’ll be there and I’m going to buy a copy of DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS…I’ll have Jackie sign it and I’ll be giving it away to someone who leaves a comment on today’s post or the book birthday post from last Tuesday.
If you’d like to learn more about Jackie, her circus programs, and her book:
And of course, we have to have a sweet ending to our post.
One of the circus tricks is juggling balls…how about making some GLUTEN FREE nut butter balls to eat!
Photo courtesy: https://www.furtherfood.com
There are only THREE ingredients in this yummy recipe. Any nut butter. Coconut flour. Maple syrup. It is easy peasy to make with the kiddos…and provides a healthy punch of protein and other nutrients. For detailed instructions: https://www.furtherfood.com/recipe/3-ingredient-peanut-butter-balls-with-coconut-flour-vegan-gluten-free-easy-ms-diet-recipe/
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend and I thank you so much for spending some of your precious time with me.