Monday, January 16, 2012

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Today's post isn't about children's books, per se.

But it is about young people and it is about books.

Close enough.

The other day I was fooling around on the internet and came across some information about a soon-to-be released book called DIVATIEL: REFLECTIONS OF A BIRD'S COMPANION. Described as "the true tale of a diva cockatiel and her loving owner," I immediately ordered a copy.

Why did I order this book?

I don't usually read self-published books.

And while I like birds, I'm not a huge bird lover.

The main reason I ordered the book is because of the author, Cindi R. Maciolek.

You're probably saying, "Who is she? Is she famous?"

Not to you, perhaps. But she is to me.

Many, many years ago, Cindi and I attended the same high school in Detroit. I remember her from journalism class, held in Room C309, the "Cody Star" office. We both wrote for the school paper. Cindi was known for making all her own clothes, wearing a necklace with a "Ms." charm (hey, it was the seventies), and for being a real go-getter. She was the kind of person who was going to do Big Things with her could tell it even back then. From what I've read about her on the internet, she really has lived an impressive life -- hosting a cable news show, working in fashion design, and writing for various publications.

And now this book!

The day after I ordered DIVATIEL, I got an e-mail from Cindi:

Hi Peter!

Thanks for purchasing Divatiel. Printed copies should be here by the end of the month, so I’ll get one in the mail as soon as they arrive.

Thanks again!


Sounds like a form letter, doesn't it?

She doesn't remember me, does she?

But I remember her. She sat at a table a couple rows back, just over my right shoulder. I remember most everyone from Room C309 -- probably because journalism was my favorite class. I thought that a lot of us would end up as famous writers. So it makes me feel good that someone from that class has now published a book.

Incidentally, Cindi R. Maciolek (and, yes, she included the middle initial in her name back then. So did I. It's a writer thing.) is not the only young person I knew who went on to write a book. When I was in college, I took a couple creative writing courses with a guy named David Sosnowski. He was the star of the class and it was never a question of IF he'd publish a book...but WHEN. I was so certain of his eventual success that I always made sure to check the "S" section at the bookstore, and when I later had access to the OCLC database at work, I'd frequently check his name to see if he had a forthcoming book listed. And one day he did! It was called RAPTURE, and turned out to be quite an amazing novel.

I am excited about what happened to my old classmates -- even if they don't remember me. Thinking back on my school years, I didn't like every class I took and I didn't like every teacher, but one thing I always loved is that school was the place where so many dreams were born and fostered. Not just the hopes and dreams of aspiring authors in journalism and writing classes, but dreams of aspiring athletes in the gym, dreams of aspiring scientists in the lab, on and on. And dreams are never stronger or bigger than when you are young. Some dreams die, but sometimes they do come to fruition...even if it takes ten...twenty...or thirtyplus years.

I'm assuming that most readers of this blog have met or even become friends with an author or two as adults...but how many of you knew young people who eventually grew up to write books?

I'd love to hear about them! Please share your stories!


Sean said...

My 7th grade English teacher had a sign over her classroom door that read, "Through this door pass the future Hemingways, Dickinsons, Bront√ęs, and Picassos." As a lover of words AND pictures, I remember loving the fact that she included an artist.

CLM said...

My best friend from elementary school is now a renowned migraine expert and has written a book called The Migraine Brain. I have lost touch with her but as I now suffer from migraines, I am tempted to go consult her. I even recently came across a book of hers that I borrowed in 3rd grade and did not return.

Two young men in my college dorm have also distinguished themselves by publishing several books, among other things: Bill McKibben and Mehmet Oz. Another college classmate (who may not recall that I introduced him to his wife Freshman Week) has written a book called the Inheritance: Nick Kristof is another classmate. Wow, I am suddenly feeling inadequate!

Ali B said...

I don't have any friends (that I know of) that have books to their credit. A couple with fairly colorful rap sheets, but no books. Hey, I just realized that I'm suppose to be the "friend" with the published book. Hooray! I guess I'd better get busy.

Anonymous said...

An old orchestra pal, Nancy Shaw, used to share her comic strips with the wind section during the rests. Now she's acclaimed picture book author of Sheep in a Jeep and other sheepish tomes!

Anonymous said...

Gary graduated from high school with me. (We even went on a couple dates.)

Janet S.
Mansfield, OH