On Writing: A Cover and a Celebration

I sometimes fool myself into thinking that I haven’t been writing very long. Then I find poems tucked away in a high school journal. Or tell a story about a winning speech I gave. Or come across an exceptional college paper with a thesis I barely recognize as having originated in my own brain. Or recall a blog post written long before I bought this domain on a platform that no longer exists. These moments make me realize I’ve been writing for most of my life. I just didn’t take myself seriously. This behavior might have continued if not for my friendship with my co-author, Monica Edinger.

Yesterday Betsy Bird of School Library Journal revealed the cover of Nearer My Freedom. Thank you, Betsy! I’ll definitely post the cover here soon, but for now you can see it on her blog, A Fuse Eight Production. My humble opinion is that this cover is very cool. Even more special is that 8th graders in Minnesota voted on it. It’s teen approved! While you are there please read the conversation Betsy and I had about the book and the challenges Monica and I faced trying to make this idea a reality. Those challenges are an integral part of how this book came to be and have made the process bittersweet at times. Nevertheless, the end of this story, like Olaudah Equiano’s, is victorious.

October 1 is Monica’s 70th birthday, a milestone under ordinary circumstances. The gratitude I feel that we get to celebrate our book cover and her “platinum jubilee” birthday in the same week is enormous. It was not guaranteed, yet, gloriously, here we are. In 2017 I wrote this about our friendship:

I recently came across this blogpost from my good friend and long time mentor, Monica Edinger. We began working together over a decade ago at The Dalton School. To this day she remains a steadfast champion and a critical source of advice and ideas. I deeply admire the way she has never become complacent with her practice. She stays true to her core principles, but tries something fresh and new and innovative every year. To have someone like that believe in you when you are just starting out gives you the confidence to press forward, to take risks, and to trust that the journey to becoming a master educator could be the funnest and most rewarding ride yet.

Monica is integral to the story of how I became a teacher and how I built a resilient practice. Since then she has helped me launch another career: published author. Monica convinced me to start blogging in the first place, and when she wanted to write her second book, she asked if we could do it together. I could not have done this without her, AND I am so glad I get to do it with her. We have been inspiring each other for over 15 years and hopefully, there is more ahead.

Happy Birthday, Monica. We did it. You are one of the best people I ever met, and I am so glad you are here.

Nashville POCC Conference 2018
Washington D.C. ALA Conference 2019
New York City Brunch 2022

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