March 7, 2011

Persistence Pays Off -- EXCITING NEWS!

In 2007, I read Lisa Yee's posts about when she was chosen as the Thurber House Children's Writer in Residence.

Living in James Thurber's boyhood home for a month. Quiet time to write. Teaching writing to kids at a summer camp and homeless shelter. This is perfect for me, I thought.

So I applied.

Alan Silberberg won that year. Alan worked on Milo during his residency. And I'm delighted to say that Alan just won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award for that book.

I wouldn't be deterred. When applications came due, I applied again.

Guess who won that year?

Hope Anita Smith.

Perhaps a normal person would give up at this point, but really, no one could accuse me of being normal.

I applied again.

Guess who won. C'mon. Guess.

Keith McGowan.

Okay. Okay. I can take a hint. I decided not to apply anymore. It wasn't fun getting that letter saying I wasn't selected year after year.

But . . .

"Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown." -- Ross Perot

Who am I to argue with Ross Perot?

I applied one last time. In fact, I made a mistake with the deadline, had to make a mad dash to the post office and spend $18.45 to get my application materials there in time. $18.45!

Was it worth it?

Hmm. Can you guess who won the 2011 Children's Writer in Residence at the Thurber House?


I'm delighted to announce that I'm going to Columbus, OH for a month this summer and I'll live here . . .

I'm so excited about this summer adventure. Writing. Exploring Columbus. Working with the kids. Writing. Eating at this restaurant, owned by a guy I went to school with in Philadelphia. Writing. Meeting cool new friends. Checking out the library, zoo, gardens, parks, etc. Um, did I mention WRITING?

THANK YOU Pat Shannon and fellow Thurber House peeps for this amazing opportunity and for the kind words you sent to my editor when making the announcement: "It was Donna's persistence, humor, and positive attitude that made the difference."

Persistence. Hmm.

Next time you feel like giving up . . . remember that you might be on the one yard line.
(At least that what Ross Perot says.)


Mr. Schu said...

Congratulations, Donna!

Wild About Words said...

Thanks, Mr. Schu!

Looking forward to Skyping with your kids on Wednesday!

SilberBook-Blog said...

Such wonderful news, Donna! It is the most amazing experience and so inspiring to be surrounded by Thurber and all of the things that go bump in the night!

Heather Ayris Burnell said...


And thanks for the persistance story. I really needed it!

Dan R. said...

Donna, Thurber would feel honored to know you are this year's winner. In fact, he'd laugh aloud at your humor. We're pround of you.

Dan R.

Danette Haworth said...


It sounds wonderful! What a perfect house for writing a novel.

Have fun!

Audrey said...

I am so happy for you! Thanks for sharing your excellent news.

D.A. Tyo said...

"With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and definite hardening of the paragraphs."
— James Thurber

May you experience neither one while in residence! Congratulations! Whoop! Whoop!

Lisa Yee said...

Oh man, you're gonna have a great time. Congratulations, Donna . . . and watch out for the ghost!!! (He's friendly.)

Linda Marlow said...

Yeah! Pack the purple bags. Congratulations, Donna.

Mary Burkey said...

Congratulations on your well-earned Thurber honor. I'm so glad you'll be visiting my town! You're off to a good start with Dragonfly on your list - one of the world's best vegetarian restaurants. Give me a shout if you'd like company touring the other great restaurants in Columbus!

Anonymous said...

That is exciting news! Will you be posting updates from Ohio? I hope so. As always you are an inspiration and an affirmation that good things come from hard work, talent, and even to people who really deserve it.


#18 Parents said...

Congratulations, Donna! Thank you for sharing such wonderful news! Well deserved!

Robin Mellom said...

I am SO excited for you! HUGE congrats!!!

Sayantani said...

Congratulations Donna! I'm originally from Columbus - still have childhood friends there and know they have an active SCBWI community. Grew up reading Thurber - how wonderful to write in his house!!!

Linda Fausnet said...

Many many Congrats on your hard-earned well deserved success! !

Unknown said...

What wonderful news! Love stories of perseverance to club the boys with.

Wild About Words said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the lovely comments. And yes, Mary, I'd love to dine in Columbus with you. I will definitely be posting during my visit and can't wait to meet the Central OH SCBWI group and many other soon-to-be friends.

Alane Gephart said...

Congrats sister-in-law! You certainly deserve it (and the opportunity to turn out another wonderful book!)