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Sunday, May 30, 2010

What, You Don't Call, You Don't Write???

You might have wondered what ever happened to me. (Or maybe you stopped wondering.) I used to be a blogging junky, unable to stop myself, losing hour after hour into the blog-o-sphere. Then this year came and put me through the wringer and I was unable to blog regularly. Maybe you're wondering what's really been going on. Well, have I got a story for you...

Once upon a time, a young woman had a plan. She was going to be a teacher and a children's book writer. The plan was to teach for about three years while compiling ideas of picture books that were not written but ought to be written. For example, this young woman discovered there weren't any books on Ground Hog's Day, a "holiday" definitely touched upon in Kindergarten. Now there are a gabillion books on Ground Hog's Day.

As what often happens in life, three years swiftly became seven. The young woman married and had a baby. And another baby. And foolishly thought, I'll just write when the baby naps. Little did she know she would be tired and she would need a nap when the baby napped. But she did manage to take a writing class, read lots of books on writing, write several picture books, lots of bad poetry, take a two-year course on screen writing, begin a novel, write several drafts, as well as run a household and a thriving tutoring business.

Before she knew it, she had been on a nine year maternity leave.

"Time to go back to teaching!" she thought.

Gladly, she accepted a one-year maternity-leave position thinking it was a perfect way to test the waters and see if she and her family were ready for her to return full-time to work.

She had mainly been a kindergarten teacher before but she had also taught some first grade and one year of third grade so when this new school gave her fourth grade, it wasn't want she hoped for, but she accepted it with an open mind.

Grading 72 essays each week was very different then cutting out shapes for kindergarten. She loved her students and teaching them but all her time went to her teaching; Sadly, there was never any left over time for her family or her writing. She became very sad.

The maternity leave position came to an end. The teacher wanted her job back and there weren't any other positions available, so the still kind-of young woman no longer had a teaching job. She wasn't sad, though. She believed in the Universe and that everything would work out. She believed another job was right around the corner, one that would suit her even better.

Four years later...

...the still, kind-of-young woman had all but given up. She struggled to pay her bills without her teaching position, a recession hit, her taxes went up... (You know the story.) In order to make ends meet, she willingly worked several part-time jobs while her husband worked every other week in NJ and every other week in MA . They were grateful to have jobs in such a scary, lean time but even with all of that, they still couldn't make ends meet. She tried to remind herself that the Universe has a plan and everything will work out but she was losing faith.

Meanwhile, she did all she could to keep her writing dream alive. She began the Hunterdon County Children's Writers and Illustrators Group. She became an active member of NJ's SCBWI. She kept writing and reading and honing her skills, meeting with agents and editors and fellow writers. But all the guilt of pursuing a dream while they struggled to pay the bills added so much guilt and stress, it was hard to feel creative.

One day, she decided to accept the fact that she would never be able to return to teaching and began shredding her teaching papers in her file cabinet. She didn't do this angrily. No. It was more of a surrender, an acceptance of what is is, what will be will be, and a willingness to be open to the possibilities. As she was shredding her last papers--a packet on Blooms Taxonomy--she received an email.

It was from the Charter School she desperately wanted to teach for. They wanted to set up a phone interview! Happy Days!!!! Then they wanted a face-to-face interview! Hallelujah!!! And then...

THEY OFFERED HER A TEACHING POSITION.

But not just ANY positions...

A KINDERGARTEN TEACHING POSITION!!!!!!!

She was on top of the world. Someone was going to save her, believe in her, give her the chance she needed and deserved. She was beyond thrilled.

A happy ending! Yay!

This, of course, is a true story about me but I'd like to fill you in on this other reason for my lack of blogging as well. My first born baby is becoming a Bat Mitzvah in TWO weeks. And boy, am I busy with details and plans!

And... it's that time of year again... The NJ SCBWI Annual June Conference is THIS coming weekend! Yay! I am meeting with agent, Jill Corcoran, who was there last year and seems like a wonderful person/professional to get to know. I cannot wait. I am very, very exciting for all of these new wonders in my life... a new job, a new chapter in my daughter's life, and the June conference.

Thanks for all your patience, for not giving up on me or my blog, and if you are still out there, waiting for me to blog again.

Enjoy the sunny weather!!!

Happy Writing,
Sheri

3 comments:

Sarah Hina said...

O, happy, happy day, Sheri!!!

And the still-young woman lived happily ever after....because she DESERVED to, damn it. :)

It gave me a lift to read this. So, so excited for all your new beginnings!!

Sheri said...

Thank you, Sarah! Oh I've missed you. How are you? How is your debut novel?

Joe Sottile said...

This is the first time that I read your blog. I was interested in your intro and followed along. Wow! I taught 33 years, grades 2, 3, 4, and 6 in reverse order. I loved teaching and poetry. I still miss teaching. I literally dream of finding my class. I do poetry performances in school of my book WAITING TO SEE THE PRINCIPAL AND OTHER POEMS. Keep teaching and writing.

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous