They watched. They listened. And they made it their own.

97 hatchlings.

2016 Purple Team

Run. Lift. Flap. Glide

Oceans. Fields. Swamplands. Rivers. Forests.

Predators and Weather.

Be off.

Go forth.

God speed.

Carry a piece of me with you for as long as it lasts.

You will be with me forever.

I watched someone smell a book yesterday, an old one.

And I thought

Yes. She is carrying the best part of me with her.

The ancient part.

Breathe it in.

And then tell someone else about it.

Show them.

Hold it up.

Let them try.



I really enjoyed answering these questions. But when I talk about books I tend to gush. As I read the interview, this became very apparent.  http://kaistrand.blogspot.com/2015/02/three-times-charm-with-alyson-larrabee.html


Why I Love My Day Job

My Fifth Period Class

My Fifth Period Class

larissa d

June 13, 2014 – 9:09 PM (10 hours ago)

to me

Mrs. Larrabee, I would like to inform you that my friend and I are so inspired by your work Enter If You Dare that we decided: why don’t we write a story ourselves? So we’re getting to work! It’s going to be a bit like the format of Nothing But the Truth by Avi, (which our class is reading now) because we are going to change the P.O.V. (Point of View) between the two main characters who are a girl named Ariel and a boy named Edward. Here is basically a summary of our story (We haven’t come up with a title yet.):

“Ariel is one out of three children and having divorced parents isn’t the easiest, especially when you’re the youngest and still living with your parents; or shall I say parent? Ariel moves across the country from a small town in Massachusetts to California with her Dad while her mom and siblings stay in Massachusetts. Ariel meets a boy named Edward who doesn’t have it so easy either. He lives with an alcoholic mother and his father left him when he was just a baby. Edward is considered the “Emo” of the school because he feels hurt by the words of many of the students. Ariel and Edward’s friendship grows closer, as do their feelings for one another, but they make a promise. As much as they love each other they can’t show it because they don’t want their friendship to end. But Ariel smokes and ends up dying and Edward is in great grief and so are Ariel’s parents and siblings. When Ariel was alive he showed his love for her and it grew stronger everyday as she grew weaker 😦 but he couldn’t do anything to tell her but hoped one day they would be together. But now that she’s gone he has no chance, and still loves Ariel and only her. So Edward comes up with an idea to write her letters and read to her at her grave site and he always brings her some sort of gift and tells her he misses her and that he loves her. While Edward knows Ariel’s physical appearance is gone her spiritual one still lingers in the lives of her loved ones. Ariel tries to communicate with Edward but always fails. Ariel also regrets not telling him she loved him while she was still living……” that’s the idea of our book so far. I was wondering if you could give us some tips and stuff because our moms think that we could actually publish this (but with our parents) and people could read it. I came to you because I love your work, Mrs. Larrabee, and I honestly can’t wait to read it in August while I’m in Brazil. But if you could give us some tips about our book that would be great!


Larissa D and Her Friend Sarah

Alyson Larrabee

8:16 AM (0 minutes ago)

to larissa

Dear Larissa and Sarah,

Number One: The fact that you’re writing to me on a Friday night in June (when many students are not thinking about their English teachers or writing) inspires me beyond anything most people can imagine. Your idea for a story is original and interesting. It has both physical action and an emotional and spiritual message. Mark Twain said that every good book should have action, adventure, romance and a lesson about life. (I’m paraphrasing.) Lesley Fiedler was an American literary critic and we had to read his book Love and Death in the American Novel when I was in college. He basically said, in his book, that all great literature is about Love or Death or both. You two girls seem to understand this, even though you’re not in college, yet.

Number Two: Here are a few words of advice.

Begin your story with an action scene that no one can turn away from. The reader will only want to turn the page to find out what will happen next. Make the stakes high for a character who’s important. Make the readers care about your character immediately by having her/him do something everyone can relate to right away. Something that makes her human (awkward, bumbling, idiotic). You have a great premise (basic inspirational idea) and it’s filled with opportunities for high stakes action. You have an alcoholic on-board, a rocky marriage. People can scream things and throw things. Go for it.

Change the way Ariel dies. I think it usually takes a lot of years for someone to die as a result of smoking cigarettes. You want her to die young, right? Not when she’s fifty or sixty? Also, cancer has been done big and recently, by John Greene in The Fault in Our Stars. Brainstorm some good death ideas: accidents, illnesses, murder Then choose one. I think that you want her to linger? Is that right? Not a sudden death? And that’s cool because then the two main characters can have some emotional scenes together and you can wring some tears out of the readers. People enjoy crying, especially teenage girls, hence the success of The Fault in Our Stars.

I LOVE the Point of View idea. You’re really challenging yourselves with that one, but it’s a great idea. And you can do it. I have confidence in you.

Also, change the guy’s name. The romantic interest in the Twilight series is Edward. Your ideas are unique and exciting, so let’s take out anything derivative (copying other famous, popular books).

I would like to publish your email to me and my response to you in my writer’s blog. Do I have your permission? Let’s get this thing going and keep it going. I’m PUMPED!

Mrs. Larrabee

PS. There are a lot of good blogs, written by writers that might help you. I’ve read some blog articles on co-writing books and I think you’ll find them both helpful and inspirational. I’ll give you some blog web addresses in school next week.

Blog Post #1

I feel inspired, finally, to begin the first of a series of weekly blogs about writing. Yes, I’m writing about writing. And, I enjoy reading about writing, so hopefully, this will all work out.
My first topic: a highly descriptive list of my favorite writing related things. Warning: this list will have no resemblance to Maria’s list of favorite things in the Sound of Music song. I have never liked that song. My apologies to my friend, Amy Huffenus (a.k.a. “Miss H.”), who loves all things von Trapp. Plus, why is the “von” not capitalized, but the “Trapp” is? Inconsistency. Another annoying thing about that film. Although, I did find the movie useful during my youth. When I was about thirteen, I used to stand on a kitchen chair and imitate Mother Superior singing Climb Every Mountain with a majorly exaggerated vibrato. My act was always a big hit at sleepover parties. I no longer perform this song for anyone, not even thirteen year old girls. (I’m not currently more mature than I was when I was thirteen, just more cynical and less of an attention whore.)
So, here is my list of favorite writing things, edited down because it’s long and quite possibly boring. I’ll stick with the three most interesting items on the list (interesting for writers, anyway).
Writers, English teachers and their ilk often have not only favorite parts of speech, but also favorite punctuation marks and favorite writing utensils. My favorite part of speech is, of course, the action verb. (No brainer.) Every twenty- first century writer needs to love action verbs. Adjectives are boringly mid-Victorian. Adverbs have never been in. You’re supposed to murder them all, according to Stephen King, who is a highly reliable authority on both writing and murder. Nouns are merely a necessary evil. If you’re writing a book, you need to name things. (But I’m saving the of naming things for another blog. And I intend to use the action verbs’ present participles Titling and Naming as my title.)
My second favorite item in this list is (parentheses). That’s not an aside, it’s me revealing my favorite punctuation mark. As you can observe in the paragraph above, parentheses allow the writer to digress often and obnoxiously but nonetheless punctuate these digressions correctly. (Insert blissful sigh.) I also love the way the plural form of the word parenthesis changes the second to last letter from “i” to “e” before you can add the “s”. Which brings me to one of my favorite words: idiosyncrasy and its many derivatives, idiosyncratic, idiocyncraticness and of course, my favoritest of them all, the action verb form: idiosyncrasize (which, of course, is totally made up, as is idiocyncraticness, but aren’t they wonderful?)
The last item on my favorites list is twofold (three if you count typing on a computer). Best writing utensils. I once had a writing teacher who encouraged her students to write by hand sometimes, to see what they could come up with, because writing by hand gives you a majorly different product. Why? Because you have to slow down and form the letters. When I write by hand, my mind tends to rush ahead and I can’t get my thoughts down fast enough and I lose some of them. Perhaps, however, I’ve simply lost the same “little darlings” whom I would have been compelled to murder if I had actually written them down. This whole paragraph so far should be encased in parentheses most likely. So, let me finally get to the point. For pencils, I like super sharp black, triangular Dixon Ticonderogas with black erasers. And they can’t be whittled down too short. For pens: mid-priced (never the cheap ones because they don’t glide) blue gel pens. With these blue gel pens, I prefer to write cursive capital “L”s. It’s the glidingest letter in the whole alphabet.
So, there you have it. Parentheses, action verbs, black, triangular Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, super sharp with black erasers and blue gel pens. If you ever bring up this topic in a social situation, you’ll know you’re in a majorly nerdful group of like-minded writers, English teachers and their ilk, if people start interrupting each other all over the place to shout out things like, “I prefer the yellows, but you’re right on one point; they have to be Dixon Ticonderoga.” Another yells out “Semi-colons!” And yet another “Hyphens!”
(The End)
P.S. Stupid puns, like the point I made about my favorite pencil (twice), are another obnoxious English teacher-type thing.