Tuesday, September 1, 2009

MORE New Year at the Pier

Find out about our Teaching Authors Book GiveAway Contest running all this week! Click here for details.

Happy New Year! This week we’re celebrating the new school year and our very own April Halprin Wayland’s book, New Year at the Pier--A Rosh Hashanah Story, which is about another kind of new year--the Jewish New Year.

April, how did being a Teaching Author influence/impact/inform your book?

More than in any other of my books, I teach in this story—about forgiveness, about how to apologize, about friendship, about community.

All of my books have been fiction. My first book was about a child who turns into a rabbit. My second was a flying horse. My third was about a made-up Southern family and their wild grandma. My fourth was a fictionalized novel of my teen years. My fifth (published by a teensy weensy press in Canada) was about a fictional child moving to a new house.

In each of these, I had the freedom to invent anything I wanted in order to serve the story.

But New Year at the Pier is based on an actual event that I wanted to explain.

I sent drafts to religious Jews, I read them to synagogue classes (a Jewish librarian and Hebrew school teacher both suggested that I add someone apologizing to my main character, so we could learn not only how to apologize, but how it feels to receive an apology), and every New Year I watched myself and others celebrate on the pier as if I were a journalist, taking notes and taking photos—all to make sure I was telling the truth of this celebration.

So, I teach in this book more than in any of my others. I tried not to hit people over the head with the lessons!

The other way teaching influenced my writing in this book was this: I wanted to show that in real life, not everything is neatly resolved, tied up in a neat package. I fought to keep this element in the story and am so glad I did.

Now that I’m doing performances, presentations and workshops based on this book, I am talking about forgiveness and apologizing, and I offer tips on these topics on my website.

It’s been a fascinating journey for me to examine my own life and how I have or have not forgiven and how I do or don’t apologize…and how to turn all that humanness into poetry.

What a gift—to teach and to learn, both!

image credits:
tashlich on the pier:
April Halprin Wayland personal photos
sorry cat


JS Huntlands said...
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Liliana Lucki said...

Very good story.

Nice blog.

Nice ,art book.

From Argentina Liliana