It was a sad but inevitable task. I ripped the covers off a hundred or so books, the cardboard went in one recycling bin, the paper pages went in another. Destroying books??? What???? Fahrenheit 451 reprised? No, not at all, it just had to be done. So what’s the story? What’s the tragic tale?
To start at the beginning, when i was teaching in my last literally last place of work, my students were young people in their last year of education who for various reasons couldn’t or wouldn’t themselves be accommodated in school. We were the last chance saloon for them and we had a year to turn them around so when they left statutory education they had some qualifications, academic and other, to take them into further ed, training or work. They were described as the most difficult students in the county, and they really were – for the first term until they realised and understood what we were trying to do to help and support them. I taught English and history, subjects they saw little use for, but they needed qualifications to move on and we had to enable them to get what they needed.
Trying to get them to read anything was a nightmare, but reading was part of the course. I ended up writing three short novels for them, and fortunately year after year, these novellas got them through their exams. When I finally escaped teaching (freeeeeeee at last!) a friend mentioned that she’d had something she’d written published by a friend of hers, and I suddenly thought I could get my little novels published too. I imagined that I would go into schools and sell them to English and support departments – I’d trialled them for several years with the most critical of audiences. The books were published, slim paperbacks, and I was very pleased with them, except… except suddenly I realised I couldn’t. I couldn’t go back into school, back into classrooms, suddenly I was school phobic.
It was ridiculous, it was foolish, in a way it was rather sad that something I’d done for so many years in really difficult classrooms, I could no longer face doing. I moved on, continued writing, finishing the novels I’d started over the years, wrote new novels, and then discovered the wonderful world of self-publishing on Amazon, and all was well! Meanwhile, my kids’ stories, sat on my shelves and in their piles and in their boxes. Recently my writing chums and I have gone to literary festivals and sold our books, I did sell a few of my children’s’ books, but hardly any.
Like many if not most people, from time to time we become shocked, horrified by the amount of stuff we have somehow acquired, and have a massive purge, chucking out, donating to charity shops, giving to friends, clearing the decks. Over the last few years for obvious reasons life has become cluttered, but I feel inspired to do something about it and I’m purging clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff, and books. I am going to sell what I can, donate what I can’t, and my piles and boxes of kids books? Sadly they are being stripped of their covers, which as I mentioned will go in the cardboard recycling, and the pages in the paper.
Strangely, I felt no sadness or sorrow as I ripped them apart, only a kind of gladness as I looked at the empty floor space, and the empty shelves.
You can find them on Amazon still, ‘The Story of Rufus Redmayne’, ‘Screaming King Harry’, and ‘Run Blue, Run!’
It’s a shame to recycle all those, but I totally get where you’re coming from. I cannot abide going into schools either x
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I might redo them in a single book, on Amazon – as I was doing it I decided that i really liked my cover images (apart from the fonts) and i did feel quite pleased with myself for having written them and that the kids had enjoyed them!
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