Thank you: An Open Letter to Sharon Creech

Dear Ms. Creech,

This is a thank you note mixed with a confession. Read on, and you’ll understand.

First, I have to say that I loved your talk at the New England SCBWI Conference and was thrilled to finally meet you in person.

So thank you for that. But that’s only part of the thank you.  Before I get to the rest, I have to do the confession part.

So…you know that poem you have on your website? The one that explains to teachers why you can’t accept any more invitations for school visits this year?  It starts like this:

My phone is ringing

and the fax is going
and sometimes I am sick

(I hope you are not sick!)
and my car needs fixing

and I have to go
to the grocery store
and do the laundry

and clean up messes
and I am supposed to be
writing a new book
which takes a lot of time
to think about and
to write all those little words…

(The rest of Sharon’s why-I-can’t-visit poem  is here,  for those of you who are not Sharon and don’t know how it goes.)

You might not remember this, but a whole bunch of years ago – maybe nine or ten – you got an email from a teacher begging you to requesting that you consider making an exception to your no-more-school-visits-this-year policy.  It was written as a poem, too, because she thought you might like that, and she figured it was worth a try.  She doesn’t have that exact poem any more, but it went something like this.

We know that you are busy
Answering your phone
And buying food
and doing laundry
and sneezing
(Bless you)
And writing books we adore..
But we love-love-love those books so much
And wondered if you might sneak away
To visit us anyway.
It would just be for a day,
And then you could go back
To your grocery-shopping
Laundry-doing, phone answering, sneezing life
(Bless you)
To write more magical stories
For us all to love.

That teacher figured it was a long shot. (She used to be a reporter and understood all about deadlines.) But your poem inspired her poem, just like that, and before she knew it, she’d gone and hit the send button.

Your schedule was too busy to visit.  (She figured it would be.) But you made time to write back. You told her you loved her poem, that it made you smile.

And that made her whole teacher-day.

That teacher was me.

And that explains why I had to sit down when you tweeted this picture last week, saying you found your book in good company at the bookstore.  There’s your book on the left, and beside it, Grace Lin’s book, and then mine. Roald Dahl and Karen Cushman are there, too, just for good measure.


Thanks for making my day.   Again.

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