Sunday, December 15, 2013

Put a Bird, er Collage, On It

When I made this collage this morning, I couldn't help but think of the Put a Bird on It episode from Portlandia. I will try not to make a collage out of everything. Promise.

So here's the story. As I was cleaning my office, studio, piano room, junk catch-all place in my house, yesterday I decided the Rolodex had to go. As I was going through it though, I realized that all of those cards were a little bit of my history. I don't think I've even looked at it - and certainly haven't added a new card - for several years, but there were a few gems in there. (And clearly an attestation to my pack rat nature.) Much of what I found were old logos and cards from publishers and publishing contacts. The cards are a bit of a time capsule of my writing history. In fact, I still had the card from Mary Macchiusi at Pembroke Publishers, who published my first book, The Green Classoom, 23 years ago (is that really possible?). I think it was the original card she gave me 25+ years ago. I give Mary much of the credit for launching me as a writer back in the late 1980s. Honestly, I didn't know too much about the industry then. In fact, after The Green Classroom was published, in my enthusiasm I sent her a second manuscript for a book that was entirely unsuited for Pembroke Publishers (first rule of trying to get published - target your publisher wisely and don't waste peoples' time; okay, that was two rules). But Mary kindly passed the manuscript on to Kids Can Press and the rest, well, is pretty much history as Kids Can has published most of my books since. I had a few cards from Kids Can in the stack and you can see how the logo has changed. Also in the stack is a card from my beloved editor at Kids Can, and wonderful writer in her own right, Valerie Wyatt. (Her's is the Two Can Communications card, a company she started with her husband.) There's also a card from Linda Weigl at Weigl Educational Publishers where I did some of my first educational writing. Interestingly, there were no cards from McGraw-Hill Ryerson, whose educational division I wrote for for years. But perhaps it's not too surprising as our interactions were largely over the Internet. Other publishers are represented too. Some I've written for (Greystone, Orca and OwlKids*) and some I just had conversations with (Rocky Mountain Books and Tradewind). To round it off, a few cards from friends and colleagues I've worked with over the years.

Clearly I didn't give a lot of thought to composition of this collage, but the exercise did take me on a journey through my 25 years of writing history (I still can't quite get my head around that!).

*I've been meaning to write about a great four-book series (Sizing Up Winter, Sorting Through Spring, etc.) on math in nature that OwlKids released over the past two years. They're written by Lizann Flatt and are a fabulous resource for elementary-aged children. I helped out in a small way by writing the teacher's guides that went with the books. They're free and available by pdf. Here's one.)

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