Friday, October 16, 2020

Surprise, surprise!

I’ve spent a lifetime creatively visualizing Desired Outcomes.

I’d read early on that doing so not only aided a Positive Mental 


It led to Success.

Even Oprah highly recommended the practice.


Just imagine…,” I’d tell my former fifth-grade teacher self, closing my 


authoring children’s books someday,

…receiving starred reviews,

…winning awards,

…and finally, finally, teaching Young Writers as a school’s 



I’m happy to report: after years on task, learning my craft whilst 

reading-writing-and-connecting, after keepin’ keepin’ on DESPITE the 

non-stop challenges, the above Desired Outcomes came to be.

I became a TeachingAuthor.


But…surprise, surprise!

Just like the Heroes and Heroines of the books that fed me, I, too, 

returned home with something even better than what I’d first sought.

I now teach and coach once-young writers how to write for children!

And, oh, how I love doing so.

Alas, and of course, many of my challenges refused to disappear.

Indeed, one in particular grew monster-like before my very eyes: 


Yes, I’d learned to co-exist with first the Word Processor, next my 

desk-top computer, 

then finally my laptop.

And to everyone’s amazement, I joined this blog and have posted 

non-stop since the Fall of 2009.

Still, technological advances continued to dog me.

Me, learning disabled. (I’m a multi-sensory learner.)

Me, a true Luddite.

Me, downright fearful of all I didn’t but needed to know in order 

to join the Virtual World, especially and most recently when COVID-19 

reared its virulent spikes.

But, surprise, surprise!

Creative visualization once again proved worthy. 

Just RE-imagine…” I told my TeachingAuthor self, closing my eyes,

mastering ZOOM,

…learning new Best Teaching practices,

…refiguring and reshaping my presentations,

…and finally, finally, teaching students in Cyberspace.


I’m happy to report: I am not only teaching remotely; I am LOVING it!

(YAY! Who knew?)

Meet my first online students (minus one) from my Summer Newberry 

Library Advanced Picture Book Workshop.  I dubbed them My 

Newberry Squares. The Thanku I wrote in 2013 still applies.

                              My delicious class -    

                              a bounty of new berries, 

                              each ripe with story.

This Fall I meet weekly on Wednesday evenings with My 

Newberry Squares II, teaching them the Picture Book’s magic.

Last week I introduced the Children’s Book World to 15 eager 

writers during my University of Chicago Graham School Writer’s 

Studio offering.

I’ve used my spiffy-new OBS software to create live faculty 

introductions and course descriptions.

And for the first time ever, I recorded and filmed an 

orientation session for my SCBWI Illinois Chapter’s November 13-15 

interactive 3-day conference Full Zoom Ahead.

It’s a Brave New World, alright.

But with the help of friends, family, colleagues, fellow bloggers, 

supportive teaching communities, ZOOM workshops and both a 

VERY patient blog administrator whose initials are C.M. and a gifted 

technology tutor, Logan Kulinski - extraordinarily sensitive to the fears 

of a once-young writer, like my Heroine William Steig’s Irene I’m 

becoming more brave.

Happy Braving! The surprises are worth it!

Esther Hershenhorn


Thanks to Janice Scully for her first-time hosting of Poetry Friday today 

at Salt City Verse.


  1. Hooray for you, Esther! You're actually learning things I know nothing about, like OBS software. You inspire me!

  2. O, Esther! I love the exhuberance & determination this post shares so lovingly.
    Yay! for it all, especially for newbie p.b. pals in little gift blocks.

    I've added your writer alphabet book to my list - it's new to me. Brava!
    I am adding "Take a class online from Esther" to my ToDoSoon list.
    Happy Poetry Friday, Happy Weekend.

  3. Thanks for your Support ALWAYS, Carmela!
    And, I love your naming those ZOOM squares "gift blocks," Jan.
    That's just what they are!

  4. Esther ~ your energy always bounces out of our blog filling us with hope. I've loved watching you brave the way: 11 years of wading through technological jungles. And like Jan, I would LOVE to be in one of your squares some day!!!!


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