Saturday, August 29, 2015

Like Butter Scraped Over Too Much Bread

Oh…wow…it’s been months since my last post! Believe me, I’m still writing…I just haven’t been writing here. The truth is, I’ve spread myself a little thin lately, or as Bilbo Baggins says, “Sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread”—such a foodie, that Hobbit.

So let’s see, besides teaching and marriage…or my marriage to teaching…or my being married to a teacher…or all of the above, and all good…I’ve been building followers and recruiting writers for our school’s Advanced Placement Club blog:

The blog is a support site for our students with college aspirations, a hub of insights linking them to information on AP courses, colleges, careers, admission tests, financial aid, scholarships, etc. Because the site features a new guest blog every week from school staff, students, and alumni, as well as local professionals and community activists…I stay pretty busy recruiting new writers, editing, and publishing, and so on. Occasionally, I’ll contribute.

Apparently, our students aren’t the only ones reading the blog. Toward the end of the school year, I was contacted by Zócalo Public Square—an organization best described as a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism—and asked to contribute an article. I sent the first draft in just before leaving on vacation and followed up with a few edits and small revisions from the hotel room.  Zócalo published the article, “When PeerPressure Is a Good Thing,” on their website in July, and since they are syndicated, our local newspaper picked it up and published it (pretty dang cool!). And just last week, I googled myself (don’t tell me you’ve never done it), and discovered that had picked it up as well (double dang cool!). The editors at Zócalo are awesome, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to write for them again.

And…wait for it, wait for it…I finished the sequel to The Revenge Artist! I’m calling it Evelyn Illustrated. It picks up just weeks after the first book left off. So far, only my editors have read it, and both ladies give it the thumbs up—way up.

I’m not sure when anyone else will get to read it though, since the publishers of book #1 went out of business this past April, and I had hoped they were going to publish book #2. My goal right now is to find a new publisher for The Revenge Artist that will want to invest in the series (I’m pretty sure I have at least one more Evelyn Hernandez story in me). For the moment though, both books are in libro limbo, waiting for the right publisher to take a chance on them. Yes, as the Tom Petty song goes, “the wai…ai…ting is the har…dest part,” but since school is going to keep me way too busy to have any time to obsess over it—it’s all good.

That’s because I firmly believe teaching makes me a better writer, and writing makes me a better teacher. I can’t imagine doing one without the other. Case in point: A couple of days ago, one of my students told me she started reading my book. She was only on chapter two, she said, but it was really good so far. I was curious as to where she got her copy, considering it’s no longer available. It turns out it belongs to a friend of hers who also happens to be a former student of mine who graduated about eight years ago. She told me her name, and it took me a moment, but I clearly remembered her: very tall, always smiling, big dimples. What is she doing now, I asked. She graduated with a degree in English and now she's working on her masters in literature, my student said, and...she’s also a writer.

And that, folks…is exactly the kind of fuel that keeps me going.

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