Here is one more independent author to round out what has been for me a truly celebratory week here on the blog. So much is going on in the e-volution of publishing, that it’s hard to keep up. Whether you want to go west, young writer, and pioneer entirely new territory, or rely on the spirit of independence captured in one of the most established presses in the country, there is something worth exploring in the independent realm for many emerging writers.
Another holiday that celebrates independence is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Whether the bookstore is a tiny mom and pop or one of a massive chain, bookstores represent independence to me. Every time we walk into a bricks and mortar stores, vote with our dollars, and walk around on our own legs–darn it–we are declaring something.
A belief in Main Street. A desire to connect physically in this virtual world, even if it’s “just” a smile traded with a clerk. The understanding that dollars spent in the community nourish that community in a way online shopping never will.
So it’s fitting to make today’s guest a children’s author who will be bringing Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day to her part of the country this December 1st. Please celebrate Dicy’s Made It Moment–and all our independence today, tomorrow, and every day.
Thank you for being a part.
Six years ago I began writing poetry as a way of dealing with grief when my dad passed away. Retiring from teaching that same year, writing soon filled extra time. Attending workshops with talented writers and authors, I learned new tools for writing, and discovered I especially enjoyed writing human interest stories. That enjoyment developed into a weekly column for a North Carolina newspaper, The Salisbury Post.
As an elementary school teacher for thirty years, I saw life through the eyes of my students. Hearing their complaints about being tired of school, riding the school bus or homework, I thought that theme would make a wonderful children’s book series someday, not realizing I would be the author. From that idea came Tired of My Bath, Tired of School and Tired of Being Different. The fourth book, Tired of Being a Bully, now in the editing process, will deal with the issue of bullies in a non-threatening way through the eyes of two dogs, Rocky and Lucky.
Several experiences in my life could be classified as ‘made it’ moments, such as receiving the first copy of each of my books, being voted Teacher of the Year, and being inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Alumni at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC. While these are proud achievements, my ‘made it moment’ happened this spring.
In April, I was invited to speak to fourth grade students at an elementary school forty miles from my home. While signing in at the office, the secretary told the teacher who invited me I had arrived. Before long, several students came to help carry books and materials.
Opening the door to the classroom, I immediately heard whispers of, “There she is, there she is.” That phrase was like music to my ears and in an instant, I felt a connection.
The forty-five minute presentation was held in the library so other fourth grade classes could participate. Sharing information about my books and journey as a writer, I allotted time at the end for questions. Some seemed really excited about the process of writing, raising their hands to ask more about publishing and marketing a book. At the conclusion, the same students helped me move materials and books back to the classroom, where the teacher gave me index cards, which I autographed and included a personal message for each student.
Most of the children in this community could not afford to buy a book, however, the love I felt was worth more than any books I might have sold. The children appreciated me for being there for them, as I appreciated them for being there for me. I will never forget the feeling I had from the time I entered the room until the very last autograph was signed. That was truly my Made It Moment.
Dicy McCullough , author of three children’s picture books, writes a human interest column for her local newspaper, The Salisbury Post. She is a published poet and a contributing author for the book, This One’s for the Birds! A retired teacher, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, N.C., and a Master of Education Degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Charlotte, NC. In 2011 she was inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Alumni at Gardner-Webb University.