Today, my Indie Reader Book review was posted. (Indie Reader is the hub of the Independent Publishers – a huge segment of publishing today.) The site gave me 5 stars, which is as high a rating as they give. Looking at the other titles being reviewed, it appears that getting 5 stars is a rare and note-worthy accomplishment. I’m truly honored each and every time someone reacts positively to the book, so I was thrilled. Actually, today turned out a very positive day in regards to writing, because I also received a lovely note from the head of a book club who loved my book and is assigning My Million Dollar Donkey as the club’s January title. They’ve scheduled me to visit the Jan. meeting where I can address the readers and get real-life feedback. It is one thing to hear commentary from friends or students predisposed to like your work, another thing altogether to talk with people you’ve never met about their reading experience. Can’t wait.
Tomorrow, I begin teaching my writing classes at the Adult Community Enrichment center at Suncoast Technical College. I have only 5 students in my journaling class so far, but 14 are registered for my creative writing class. I spent the day working on my syllabus, creating handouts and carefully considering how I want the session to unfold. I take my role as teacher quite seriously, because I believe there is power in writing for self-knowing and creative expression. I want to do justice to the subject so others discover the magic I so deeply value. If there is one thing I believe about teaching, it’s that a mentor has a responsibility to introduce their subject in a way that will inspire, nurture and fuel a student’s interest. People are unlikely to develop talent unless they are willing to commit to the work involved, and loving the art and believing in personal potential is the first step to motivating students to make the sacrifices necessary to evolve. I am well aware that it is my job to make a student love the process, respect the art form, and willingly embrace the work required to progress.
I deeply appreciate the good teachers I’ve had over the years, and always felt so deeply disappointed by those who maybe knew a subject well, but just had no gift for getting the knowledge out of their head and into mine. Long ago I made a pact with myself that if I was ever to teach, I’d do whatever I could to assure a positive learning experience for others.
Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll open new doors for students and make them excited about writing. To teach is to learn, and I know that the more I put into the process of sharing what I know with others, the more I myself will learn and grow – as a writer and as a person. At least, that is the goal.
For those who don’t want to chase it down online – My Indie Reader Review!
***** My Million Dollar Donkey
Ginny East has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she trades a million-dollar business for a simpler and sustainable life style.
While family vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, Ginny East recognizes that she and her husband are not truly on vacation since they’ve brought along their work. Ginny has a strange encounter with a donkey—of all things. The seemingly prophetic event only confirms that she and Mark have no idea how to relax and enjoy a simpler life. Selling their well-established Florida dance studio for a million dollars, Ginny and her family venture a dream life on fifty acres of Georgian land. Ginny delves into the world of organic gardening and husbandry while Mark determines to build the all-time perfect cabin. Neither are equipped with proper skills nor primed for the flurry of mishaps that unfold. A dream deferred, Ginny’s simpler lifestyle turns complex especially when her husband’s expenses goes awry.
East tells it as it is in her unique memoir. Focusing on a small but very significant aspect of her life, East’s portrayal of her shift from a city slicker to not quite a country bumpkin is nothing less than fascinating. East’s daring attempts to blend in with her bucolic surroundings is a fitting mix of hilarity and poignancy peppered with plenty of consternation. Certainly there is more behind the drastic move into the unknown, but to divulge plot details will produce spoilers. Needless to say, East’s narrative in many respects is a coming-of-age story. A constant flow of humbling situations, East’s experiences test her strengths and weaknesses to the max. One great example of this—indeed an outstanding and life-altering moment—is when East tutors reading to Kathy, a forty-year-old woman. Pertinent to East’s journey are the sagacious messages of Henry Thoreau. East introduces chapters with apt quotes that segue nicely with her chronicled plot, capturing “the lessons gained” that eventually fuel her happiness today.
An atypical yet inspiring story of new beginnings, MY MILLION-DOLLAR DONKEY will keep readers amused till the very end.
~Anita Lock for IndieReader