Friday, May 4, 2018

A Celebratory Nonaversary THANKU!

My fellow TeachingAuthors and I are celebrating our Nonaversary!
We’re looking back at our nine years of posting, sharing what we loved about being a part of this original group blog.

I confess:
while the descriptive noun in apposition TeachingAuthor combined the two professions I’d dreamed of since I was six-years old,
and I LOVED the idea of a group blog composed of six children’s book writers who also teach writing,
when Carmela Martino invited me to join such a blog in the summer of 2008, I chewed my lower lip and furrowed my brow.

Me? I thought.
The Slowest Writer East of the Mississippi?!
I was a studied writer if ever there was one.  Weren’t blog posts supposed to be light and breezy?
Me? I thought.
A true Luddite, a digital immigrant with enough techno-fears to accommodate bevies of post-Baby Boomers? Wouldn’t software be involved?
And what about those MFA’s in Writing for Children my fellow bloggers held – and I didn’t? Did Carmela forget I’m The Susan Lucci of Children’s Books?!

Fortunately, Carmela’s “You can do it!” trust in me won out.  I mustered my courage and am I ever glad!
This group blog gifted me with the perfect opportunity to pay Kindness forward, to think about our Readers – and what they needed/wished for/wanted to tell their good stories well, then share all I learned, thoughtfully and honestly, from my journey, my mentors, my students, my writers, my writing kin and my Children’s Book World,
But even better?  My fellow TeachingAuthors, nine in all, in nine years of posting not only taught me volumes about teaching, writing and living the writer’s life, making me a better teacher and author.
My fellow TA’s taught me how to be braver.

Sure. My pre-Monday-posting Sundays were often fraught with angst, plus 911 calls to our Administrator-dash-Tech Guru Carmela.
I’d spend weeks brainstorming a topic, researching avenues, tickling an idea, then tinkering with words to ensure a cogent and interesting telling. Inserting and verifying links, however, sizing and positioning photos, remembering to save text? All these tasks drove me bonkers. Many Monday mornings I’d be up early, checking my post, then correcting my mistakes.
Finding relevant free clip art became a full-time job. I still have nightmares in which I’m imprisoned for copyright infringement.
And I will never forget the spirit-crushing week I spent (a) registering for SoundCloud, (b) then using it to record my chosen poem for National Poetry Month in celebration of our fifth Blogiversary and (c) uploading it to blogger, or not.
Last summer, when the blogger software refused to recognize my new laptop, I was ready to call it quits, no matter my posts’ value or how I’d come to love writing them.
As always, Carmela talked me down and found a way using a new font and Notepad that is so convoluted it’s too long to share.

But thanks to Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford, JoAnn Early Mackin, Carmela Martino, Mary Ann Rodman and April Halprin Wayland - our first 5 TA's, Jill EsbaumLaura Purdie Salas, Carla McKillough Clafferty and Bobbi Miller, and despite the obstacles, like my all-time Heroine Brave Irene I continue to move forward on my TeachingAuthors plotline.
Irene’s AHA’s! once again proved true: our burdens are often our tickets out; in time a foe can become a friend.

My fellow TA’s – as well as our enthusiastic and dedicated readers – continue to hold the bar high as I do my best to do everything a successful children’s book does: i.e. inform, amuse, encourage, inspire and always, always offer Hope.
I delight in all I’ve gladly put forth - a new book on craft, a writing student’s Success Story, a debut author’s Wednesday Writing Workout, a relevant celebration.  I’ve especially enjoyed taking readers with me on my out-and-abouts season after season.

I especially delight, however, in my October 12, 2011 post that birthed the Thanku – a Thank You note expressed in haiku.  In eight years’ time I’ve used this poetic format to thank my writers, my students, my mentors, my colleagues, my grandson, my Children’s Book World and even my Cubbies.

My Thanku today honors and thanks my TA kin – all nine of them!

                       Nine TeachingAuthors,
                       beacons each, heart-builders all,
                       en-courage-ing me.

And no surprise.  To celebrate our Nonaversary, I’m passing along a copy of William Steig’s BRAVE IRENE to one lucky writer.

Thanks, too, and of course, to our Readers – and – to Brenda Davis Harsham at Friendly Fairy Tales for hosting today’s Poetry Friday.

Hooray and Hurrah to the Ninth power!

Esther Hershenhorn
Don’t forget to celebrate Children’s Book Week – April 30 through May 6!
It's 9:23 a.m. Friday morning and I've already corrected two mistakes!


Jarm Del Boccio said...

Wow! Nine years. Congrats! I’ve so enjoyed your posts. Thanks for your time and expertise in creating them. They are inspiring!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks, Jarm, for your Thanks. We are BOTH grateful for TeachingAuthors! :)
Thanks, too, to all those readers who wrote me privately to offer THEIR Thanks and Good Wishes for our blog.

Bobbi Miller said...

What a lovely tribute, Esther! And I love your ThankU Haiku! I am so honored to be a part of this group. THANK YOU!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Spot-on and heartfelt as usual, Esther. ThankU for your bright spirit over the years 🍒

Carmela Martino said...

Hi Esther,
I so love that counted--I didn't know we're have TEN TAs in all, counting you! And I can't imagine this site without your marvelous contributions. I'm so glad you were brave and said YES!

Jill said...

Love the ThankU, Esther! Can't believe Teaching Authors is NINE. Where does the time go?


jan godown annino said...

Teaching Authors ThankU

Online literature love
Authors create friends

- JanGodownAnnino

Esther Hershenhorn said...

I once again borrow the words of Walter Annenberg when folks asked him how he was: "Grateful and hopeful," he'd respond.
Thanks to all who posted.
Your Thanku, Jan, honors the love and friendship this blog creates.