Meeting a Writing Inspiration Face to Face

I love to write. As a little kid, I kept a very simple journal. I remember reading through a post when I was little and writing about Princess Diana’s wedding. I was very journalistic and kept to the facts, not a lot of emotion or opinion. But as the years went on, I learned to add more description and feeling. I never found a writing style I wanted to replicate. I did my own thing in my own way.

Fast forward to raising my two kids and it’s fascinating to watch their education bloom in different ways. Both of my children (almost 7 years old and 10.5 years old) are natural consumers and users of technology. My daughter (the almost seven year old) is an early writer and loves using the app, Photogram, to collect photos and send short notes via email. She writes phonetically and I declare it super cute. I can’t wait to watch her grow as a writer.

Her brother, Cameron, the ten and a half-year-old, is a rock star writer (when he wants to write). Years ago, he discovered the Wimpy Kid book series. The books tell the tale of a self-centered boy named Greg Heffley written in Greg’s perspective along with some very fun drawings. The illustrator and author, Jeff Kinney, became Cameron’s writing muse. When writing in first-person, Cam would take the Greg Heffley tone and turn it into this own confident style. It’s been incredible to watch a book series become such an inspiration. For a while, Cameron even learned how to draw the characters and eventually figured out how to use the technique to create family and friends in the same style. He was SO into the Wimpy Kid experience.

Fast forward to last night and my son had a chance of a lifetime: A small private event where he had a chance to meet Jeff Kinney. We couldn’t stay at the event for very long, but Cameron soaked it all in. He got a favorite t-shirt signed along with some books. In Cam’s book one, Kinney drew an iconic Greg Heffley inside the front cover. We had a chance to watch Kinney at work. Today, Kinney’s seventh Wimpy Kid book, The Third Wheel, comes out and I plan to head over to the bookstore to purchase a special copy that has Kinney’s signature written out to Cameron… The boy who was inspired to write thanks to Kinney’s fun book series.

My children are incredible tech-minded kids… So it’s really cool when the simplicity of a book remains something that evokes excitement. I want to send a huge thank you to Jeff Kinney for being a really nice person. I also want to thank the publisher, Abrams Books, for giving us the chance to meet Kinney. Cameron is still floating on air from the experience and is pretty sure most of the kids at school won’t believe this really happened.

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By the way, if you live in Columbia, MO, the University Bookstore is selling signed copies of The Third Wheel today, November 13th!

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