Both of my stories were written during a period when I was facilitating a creative writing class at Alpine Valley School, the Sudbury school where I’ve been on staff I since November 1998. It was also around this time that I read many, many children’s books to my sister’s children during visits home to see my family.
From 2004 to 2006 I didn’t staff at AVS on a daily basis, but rather as a sub, trustee, and member of various committees, as for various reasons I had to take a full-time job at the University of Colorado. (Since my move to Austin this summer I’ve resumed a similar sort of substitute/consultant staff status.) When I returned to regular staffing at AVS for the 2006-07 school year, it was on a part-time basis, and I sought to supplement my Sudbury hours with freelance writing/editing and work for CASE.
Well, fairly early in that school year, I was talking with a prospective freelancing client whose ad described them as a children’s book publisher. Naturally, I mentioned that I happened to have a couple manuscripts of my own, and to my surprise, this person quickly and eagerly asked if I would submit them to her.
Before I knew it, I had contracts to review and sign, in addition to a substantial amount of work editing her other authors. Much as when I was offered my first teaching job, I thought I was all set, that my freelancing work was on the verge of really taking off. Enhancing this perception was some additional, early success in finding relatively easy and lucrative writing jobs.
I’m not sure at what point things turned with my pseudo-publisher, but at the very latest, it would have been one exciting morning when a package containing copies of Song of Life and When My Dad Was Little arrived at my apartment. Almost instantly the thrill of seeing my words become print was supplanted by a sinking feeling of horror, then outrage, when I saw what this publisher had done. Continue reading