Friday, April 20, 2018

Our 9th Blogiversary: Spring Cleaning and New Beginnings

Believe it or not, this Sunday, April 22, we will celebrate our
Ninth Blogiversary!

After reflecting on this milestone, I'll share a lovely spring poem from former TeachingAuthor JoAnn Early Macken.

In some ways, it feels like it was only last week that Esther Hershenhorn and I met to brainstorm ideas for a group blog. But, strangely enough, it also feels like we've been blogging here forever, especially when I think about how the children's publishing industry has changed in the last nine years.

For those of you who are relatively new to our blog, I'm pleased to report that four of the current six TeachingAuthors have been here since we founded this site back in 2009: April Halprin Wayland, Esther Hershenhorn, Mary Ann Rodman, and me (Carmela Martino). You can see the four of us, plus former TeachingAuthor JoAnn Early Macken, in the photo below, taken when we presented together at a conference some years ago.

From left to right: Mary Ann Rodman, Esther Hershenhorn, JoAnn Early Macken, Carmela Martino, and April Halprin Wayland.
While I miss JoAnn and the other TeachingAuthors who have left the team, I'm thrilled to have Bobbi Miller and Carla Killough McClafferty with us now to add their unique perspectives to our topics. If you'd like to read more about our current and past TeachingAuthors, check out the About Us page.  Also, I encourage those of you who teach or have aspiring young writers at home to visit our recently updated Young Writers page, which includes links to tips specifically for young writers and sites where they can get their work published. If you have any sites we should add to the list, please let us know in the comments.

Just as our TeachingAuthors team has changed over the years, so has our posting schedule. We originally blogged three days a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A few years ago, we cut back to Mondays and Fridays only, with an occasional Wednesday Writing Workout. As we begin our tenth year, we've decided to drop our Monday posts. Beginning today, we'll blog regularly on Fridays only, with occasional Wednesday Writing Workouts and other special posts.

We have two main reasons for the change: 1) We fear that with the rise of social media, our readers are having trouble keeping up with all the information being shared online. [I know I am!] And 2) We'd like to have more time for our own writing and teaching. We hope you, our readers, won't be too disappointed by this change in our schedule. We'd love to have your feedback on it in the comments.

In honor of our Blogiversary, I've been doing some virtual spring cleaning here on our site, removing obsolete links, updating information, etc. I've also been spring cleaning my home office. One of the things I discovered was that I have a second, never-used copy of Connie Epstein's classic book The Art of Writing for Children. This is one of my all-time favorite books on the craft of writing for children and teens--I still quote from it in some of my classes. While the info in the section on "Finding and Working with a Publisher" may have changed greatly over the years, the basic instruction on the craft of writing, which composes the majority of the book, still applies. So, rather than put the book in the paper recycling, I plan to bring it to the next writers' meeting I attend and offer it to anyone there who may be interested. Seems appropriate, since our Blogiversary happens to fall on Earth Day!

When I told my fellow TeachingAuthors about the book, Esther suggested that I invite you, our readers, to join in our combined Blogiversary/Earth Day celebration by passing along a book that helped you grow in your craft, or that was a favorite read aloud, or that you'd simply like to share with someone else.

Despite all this spring cleaning, it hasn't felt much like spring around here--lots of cold, gray days and even some snow in the Chicago area. And it's been even worse in other parts of the country. I hope that by sharing the following poem written by JoAnn Early Macken, I'll be able to coax some spring construction around here. Thank you, JoAnn!

     Construction Crew
     by JoAnn Early Macken

     Daffodils bulldoze last year’s leaves.
     Chickadees haul twigs and straw.
     Woodpeckers hammer on trembling trees,
     and crows call out, “Saw! Saw!”
     Their annual project’s a glorious thing—
     they’re building a brand-new spring!

copyright JoAnn Early Macken, who holds all rights

Don't forget to check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at The Opposite of Indifference. Before you go, though, do share in the comments if you have a book you're planning to pass along in honor of our Blogiversary/Earth Day celebration!

And remember to always Write with Joy!


Tabatha said...

JoAnn's poem made me give a happy sigh. Nice pick, Carmela!
Giving away a book that helped you grow is a terrific idea. I've given copies of Bird by Bird and Wired for Story to budding writers I know.

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

JoAnn's poem gave me a giggle. Such an impressive accomplishment for all of you, congrats!

jama said...

Happy Blogiversary to all of you!! Thanks for all the information, insights, and inspiration over the years. :)

Bobbi Miller said...

Happy 9 to the AMAZING TAs!!

Linda B said...

Happy Blogiversary to all of you. I've been following you a long time and always enjoy what you share and now a book title! I've shared Poem Crazy a lot of times through the years, with students especially. Thanks for being a go-to group when I want to read all about writing!

Linda B said...

Forgot to say how much I like JoAnn's poem, those wonderful crows, & "building a brand-new spring!" of course!

Carmela Martino said...

Tabatha, those are both great titles to share!
Thanks to you Tabatha, Brenda, Jama, and Linda for following and supporting our blog for so long.
And yes, I love the idea of building a brand new spring, too. We finally had some springlike weather here today!

Shirin said...

Thank you and Happy Anniversary! I appreciate everything on this blog. It also happened to be my birthday, and I collected 100 books to send to an orphanage in Morocco as they were creating a library there. I would love anything that will help me grow as a writer :)

Kimberly Hutmacher said...

Your poem is lovely, and I'm happy to say that in central Illinois, it finally feels like spring! :)

Kay said...

Congratulations on your Blogiversary! I do hope the critters in JoAnn's poem get busy around here. Their construction project seems to be behind schedule!

Ruth said...

Happy Blogiversary! Mine's coming up next week, too!

jan godown annino said...

Hello Carmela!

Blog anni appreciations for all the nourishment poured upon your readers (that would be me, too) who dip & duck, in & out, always sharing this site with affection.
You Teaching Authors are aces.
I am so much thanking you for the many years.

Carmela Martino said...

Thank you to The Namesake, Kimberly, Kay, Ruth, and Jan. We definitely appreciate all our lovely readers, too!