Institute for Childrens'(?) Writers



The phone rang with an impatient shrill.



“Hello, this is Judith Brundledge, Director of Admissions at the Institute for Childrens’ Writers.  Can I speak with Ms. Smith, please?”

“This is she.”

“Ms. Smith, did you receive our invitation to complete our Aptitude Test for becoming a childrens’ author?”

Invitation?  I scanned my memory banks and decided that must have been the sheet of amber-colored card stock that was sacrificed so that Barbie and Ken could have a camping tent.

“…you can still complete your Aptitude Test and submit it right on our website at no cost or obligation to you.”

I sighed. The main “aptitude” being mastered in my house these days, involved my pre-schooler learning how to turn his own t-shirts inside out.

“If you qualify and choose to apply, you will complete a character study…“

Character study?  How about one of the 8-year old who breaks raw spaghetti noodles in half every morning, in anticipation of the day’s art projects?

“…and an entertaining narrative on life called a “descriptive sketch.”

Descriptive sketch;  now that could be fun!  My mind immediately raced to the time when my four year old was tasked with watering the patio plants and chose to water his legs instead.

“Do you think writing for children is still your dream, Ms. Smith?”  Ms. Brundledge asked me.

“Writing for children?” I blurted out.  “I don’t want to write for children; I want to write about children, as in write about them and not tell them, that I’m writing about them.  I want to write about all the things they do that make me laugh, as well as make me cringe.  I want to write about my appreciation for the richness of life they bring, including their dilemmas, ironies, joys, and rewards.  That’s what I want to write about.”

“I want to chronicle the messy lessons learned in pouring your own ketchup for the first time, and the jubilation felt when a green, 4th place ribbon comes home from the swim meet (‘Look Mom; I got a ribbon this year!’)  From the sidewalk power struggles with toddlers (‘No dear; we are going on a walk; – not a ‘carry me…’) to the perfect spelling tests brought home in second grade.  That’s what I want to write about.”

There was a long pause on the other end of the receiver.  “I see.” Ms. Brundledge said, stiffly.  “Well, if you decide and change your mind, your final chance expires next Friday.”

“Thanks, Ms. Brundledge,” I replied.  “But I can’t help but think that my chance has just begun.”


More About Marlene Smith

Currently writing in the parenting/children, food, and business niches.  Previous works include guest blog posts, magazine articles, and B2B copy experience.  Feel free to visit me at