Children’s writer Jennifer Judd talks career with creative writing classes

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Children’s writer Jennifer Judd talks career with creative writing classes

By Erica Rohde

Staff Writer

Editor of children books, Jennifer Judd visits teacher Matt Bowden's creative writing classes and shares with the students tips on writing and also discusses what she has learned in her career with the students. Photo by Rowan Khazendar.

“I want the kids to know that writing is a challenge, but if you have a passion for it, you can find your place in the market,” children’s writer and anthologist Jennifer Judd said.

Judd had a blossoming dream of her own in her youth. Her talents and goals of writing beginning in her childhood brought her to Coppell High School to share with English teacher Matthew Bowden’s creative writing classes on Wednesday.

Judd introduced how she came about writing as well as the creation of poetry, her favorite writing type.

“The book I brought to show the classes is Eyeball in My Garden,” Judd said. “For this book I am also a children’s anthologist. When you get a bunch of poets together, which in this case including me, it is called an anthology. The ones who collect them are referred to anthologists.”

At age 5 or 6, Judd began to practice her writing by writing little rhymes on scraps of paper.

“My mother saved one scrap of crooked paper that has a poem about Christmas that I written on it,” Judd said. “I do not know why, but it is something that has always been there inside of me.”

As she grew older, she did not let go of her passion. Judd received her degree in English and began in 2005 with writing children’s books, and many of her publications have been in various children’s magazines.

“This book was the first book that I have had published as an anthology,” Judd said. “I do have a picture book contract that is pending as well.”

When Bowden heard that of an opportunity for students to learn about the writing market, he knew he had to invite Judd down to his classes.

“[Special Education teacher] Barbara Corry stopped me in the hall one day and she just asked me about how much poetry we do in creative writing and she said she knows someone in the writing field,” Bowden said. “I said it was something that I definitely want to look into doing.”

With Judd’s experiences, Bowden wanted his students to learn what he himself cannot teach.

“I just wanted the kids hear from a writer that makes her living doing this who has the experience and the success so they can hear that rather than just doing the exercises,” Bowden said.

Judd lives in Coppell, and her daughter goes to Wilson Elementary with Corry’s daughter. Judd had spoken to Corry about her writing, and Corry thought it would be a good idea to invite Judd to the high school. Judd, who is very fond of CHS , hopes to make a difference in the students’ lives.

“I love to see young writers,” Judd said. “I think this is a great school. I love CHS, and the kids were awesome. I hope I did not bore them too much, but they were good they had a lot of questions and I could see a lot of them really interested in writing. I hope that it is worthwhile for them and that they will dig deep for that.”

Judd wants students to know that writing is a lot of work, but it is worthwhile. Her main point was to be sure to polish the craft and write as much as possible, research the market and be willing to revise.

Junior Takevia Bolton remembered a certain advice from Judd.

“She gave us insight about how hard it was to get your poems published,” Bolton said. “I learned that rejection means you’re the real deal and that it is not the end of the world. It will probably take a while for you to get noticed.”

Bowden recognizes Judd’s writings connect to the sort of “creepy” that Bowden loves in his classes. His love for horror is shared throughout his classes so Judd’s writing had a familiar feel.

“I am a big fan of any sort of escapist fiction,” Bowden said. “Horror is the ultimate it is so opposite of our lives. Zombies don’t go around and eat people. As I have gotten older I have realized that books like Frankenstein represents so much in us, being the outsider being the outcast being the rejected. When I found out the book was about Halloween stuff it was a big bonus.”

Judd has always loved creepy concepts as well.

“When something is kind of creepy it’s almost like fear that you can control,” Judd said. “I have always kind of loved that world that is no quite the real world, or not quite normal. You can enjoy the thrill without the terror.”

Judd realized as she talked to Bowden that writing is mainly for yourself at a young age, and as you progress and want to pursue a career in writing, you begin to write more for the readers.

“You think, who is going to be reading it,” Judd said. “So the trick with writing is keeping yourself in your writing but also writing for an audience too.”

Judd believes that part of writing is to connect us with ourselves, but that it also connects us with each other.

“C.S Lewis said we read to know were not alone, I think we write for the same reason,” Judd said.

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