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Guest Post: Birthing a Book by Beth Schulman


Birthing a Book Image

Writing and publishing my memoir was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It was heart-wrenching, messy and full of stress. It was also cathartic and rewarding beyond measure. Life-changing.  A lot like becoming a mother. In fact the experience was so similar to getting pregnant and giving birth, I could create a Venn Diagram to illustrate my point (this will only make sense to fellow elementary school teachers). Instead, I’ve crafted a list.

  1. IT’S NOT AS EASY AS IT APPEARS:You spend a decade of your life trying desperately not to get pregnant. When you’re finally ready to become a mother, you think it’ll be a piece of cake. Just stop taking birth control and poof, you’ll become pregnant. Well, anyone who’s struggled with fertility issues knows this isn’t true. I kept a private journal for over 10 years, recording the scenes from my childhood.  When I finally felt ready to weave those scenes into a book, I assumed it wouldn’t take that long. It took three years of committed writing time to produce something of substance.
  2. FALSE LABOR:You go to the doctor when you’re 8 1/2  months pregnant, feeling sure the baby will be delivered within the hour.  After being examined you learn you are only one centimeter dilated and the doctor sends you home.  You feel depressed and defeated. When I submitted my manuscript to my editor for the first time, I felt like I’d nailed it. I anxiously awaited his response. When he came back to me, the news wasn’t good.  I had to do a complete rewrite. 
  3. REGRET: After being told the baby isn’t ready, you go home and cry. Your feet are swollen and your belly resembles a rock hard, oversized watermelon. You are tired and cranky. You begin to question your decision to become a mother. You suddenly feel completely ill-equipped for the job. But it’s too late. When I reread my memoir and started to make the many changes my editor suggested, I felt overwhelmed. The more I looked at the words on the page, the more I questioned why I’d taken this on. Who was I to think I could pull this off? I wasn’t a writer.  I was a kindergarten teacher. But I was too far in to back out.
  4. RELIEF: Your water breaks and now you’re sure this is really going to happen. You drive to the hospital feeling both elated and terrified.  When my editor reread my revised manuscript, he sent me a text saying I’d done the hard work and it was time to send it off to the proofreader. It wouldn’t be long now. My book would indeed be “delivered.” 
  5. LABOR AND DELIVERY: You experience pain at a level you never knew existed. Then you get the epidural and it’s not so bad. The next step was sending it off to the layout and design team. I agonized over letting it go, worried about whether it was “ready” for publication, but with the release, came great relief. 
  6. PURE JOY: You hold that tiny miracle in your arms and you are overcome with joy. You feel a sense of pride and accomplishment you’ve never felt before.  You want everyone to meet your beautiful baby!  This is exactly how I’ll felt when I held my book, The Gold Mailbox, in my hands for the first time. I couldn’t wait for readers to meet “my baby!”

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Beth Schulman author photoMs. Beth Schulman is a mother, teacher and avid reader and writer.  She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Individual and Family Studies and from Cabrini College with a Master of Education Degree, with a focus on Early Childhood Education. She has been teaching elementary school students for over 20 years.  Beth has devoted her life’s work to creating supportive, creative and literacy rich learning environments for young children. She has also worked with professional teachers at The University of Pennsylvania through The Penn Literacy Network (PLN) as an instructor and literacy coach since 1997.  Beth lives in the Philadelphia area with her two teenage sons, James and Ian. The Gold Mailbox is her first book.

 

The Gold Mailbox cover2

“This dazzling and moving memoir is a roller coaster of loss and transition, held together by the reminder that love and family run deeper than we ever imagine. Written in gorgeous prose, this ultimately uplifting tale will have you savoring every page.”

Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance

 

Visit Beth’s website: http://bethschulman.com

Facebook: Beth Schulman Author

Twitter: @bschulmanauthor and @authorbethschul.

 

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If I Ever Decide to Run for President…


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Anthony Delanois

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Anthony Delanois

They (and no, I don’t have any idea who “they” are) say that if you think you can do a job better, apply for it… so maybe someday I’ll have enough chutzpah to run for president. And if, by some miracle I won – because, let’s face it, it would take the biggest miracle God ever pulled off – here are some of my policies (see, I’m warning you now so you can give me some feedback).

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Congress would get a 35 percent pay cut. And just like in college, there would be an attendance policy. Miss too many sessions and votes, you’re off the island. Plenty of other people want their turn to get paid to sleep during long meetings and craft 100-page-long bills that no one takes the time to read all the way through anyway.

If we suffered a repeat of the Twin Towers, there would be no dickering around, trying to figure out whose jurisdiction it is or which federal branch will be in charge. The military would take over and we would strike hard and fast. Hash out jurisdiction when the crisis is over and the dust clears.

Prostitution would be legalized. Prostitutes would be licensed (so maybe we could call them Licensed Companions) and required to have yearly exams and health certificates. Let’s face it, if prostitution wasn’t illegal, nobody would really care if the Secret Service solicited on their days off work. Why do we care anyway? It really is a victimless “crime.” I get that some women (and men; let’s not be sexist) might have issues with their spouses paying someone else for sex, but that’s not society’s problem. It’s a domestic (as in, between spouses) issue.

Military, teachers and civil service personnel would receive 15 percent pay increase across the board. The funds would come out of the federal government’s coffers. Remember, Congress just took a 35 percent pay cut. We can afford the raises.

We’d offer Mid-East oil barons $35 a barrel for oil. Take it or leave it. We have oil in the U.S. Massive amounts. We’ll drill and refine our own – safely so as to not kill or injure fish, fowl, man or beast. Cheaper gas for all and more jobs for the unemployed skilled laborers. The caribou and other animals in the Alaskan wilderness can warm themselves and make their homes near the oil pipes.

No socialized healthcare. Receiving the same compensation from insurance/federal government no matter how good or bad your services, takes away the motivation for health providers to “one-up” their competitors. The stigma surrounding Mental Health would be brought front and center. Mental Health education and support would be paramount. I know a lot of great people who live with and work to eradicate Mental Health stigma. I would ask for their assistance.

I’m not a fan of same sex relationships, but it’s not illegal, I’m not the morality police, and the USA isn’t governed by religious rulers (and that’s probably a good thing – look at the Islamic nations, for instance). I don’t think it should even BE a government issue. Why does the government get to dictate who can marry and who can’t, as long as both parties are consenting adults?

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Glen Noble

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Glen Noble

We’d have twice yearly, week-long writing retreats and various seminars at The White House! And author events in the library!

There would be a complete overhaul of the Department of Education. It would get a lot more funding. And every public school gets new, state-of-the-art computers and as many ESE specialists as are needed for students (and staff) who live with Mental Health issues.

Apartments in The White House would be auctioned off for mini-vacations to raise money for various charities and non-profits.

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Even though I think these are some great policies, I don’t think my chances of getting elected are very high. I’d likely be tarred and feathered for some of these almost as soon as I announced I was running. And then there’s my finances. I’m probably one of the brokest (if that’s not a word, it is now) lower middle-class single mothers in America, and I’m not enough of a “wheeler dealer” to be able to negotiate that kind of support. I’d need a wily financial guru. I have an uncle who’s pretty good at that. And maybe I could start a “Wendy for US President” gofundme.com account. With a 10-year project goal attached.

So what do you think? Should I go for it, or just scribble that line off my bucket list?

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Published!


I’m now a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! Happy dance! My debut novel, SERPENT ON A CROSS, a medieval fantasy, has been epublished by Northampton House Press under the pseudonym Darya Asch, and is available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. This is my shameless self-promotion, and plea for you all to go buy the ebook (it’s $3.99), read it, love it and review it – even if you don’t love it. My new author website is here.

I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo, working to complete the first draft of the sequel. Wish me luck!

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