Yesterday would have been Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday. Hope you caught the elaborate Google Doodle in his honor. So this is a particularly auspicious week to launch our new group blog, “Writers’ Rumpus,” whose name honors the famous line in Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are: “Let the wild rumpus start!”* I’d like to pretend that we planned it this way, but it was mere serendipity.
Why start another blog about writing and illustrating for children? We’re all members of a Massachusetts-based SCBWI critique group. Andover’s Memorial Hall Library is kind enough to host our monthly meetings, asking only that we remain open to new members. Some new members arrive knowing quite a bit about children’s writing, illustrating, and publishing while others arrive knowing only that their creative fire has been lit and they can’t stop writing or drawing. So one goal of our blog is to share information to help newcomers navigate this new-to-them world—whether the newcomers attend our meetings or read our blog from afar.
One result of being perpetually open is that, by critique group standards, we are HUGE! We are a humongous rumpus of a critique group, averaging between 15 and 20 members at any given time. With this many people, we don’t have enough time during meetings to share news about conferences, contests, rejections, requests for full manuscript, and yes, contracts and book launches, before we have to start critiquing. Our between-meeting group email trails were getting out of hand and we thought, “there has to be a better way!” And there is. So another goal of our blog is to have a place to share news of note, both among our members and with the wider community of everyone who’s interested in children’s publishing.
Welcome to our Writers’ Rumpus! Hope you stick around.
* By the way, it turns out there is a bit of disagreement about whether, in Sendak’s book, King Max commands the wild rumpus to start or begin. One possible explanation for the confusion is that the rumpus starts in early editions of the book. But books published starting in the late 1980s have the rumpus begin. When did the rumpus start to begin instead of start? Or stopped starting and began beginning?
Do you have a copy of Where the Wild Things Are? What year was it printed, and which does it say: “let the wild rumpus start!” or “let the wild rumpus begin!”?