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Kickstarter

On Kickstarts and Finish Lines:  What a Difference a Year Makes!

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On Kickstarts and Finish Lines: What a Difference a Year Makes!

Exactly a year ago, you held the fate of a dream in your hands. We were asking for $40,000 to fund our moonshot. And in Kickstarter, if you don't reach your campaign goal, you get nothing. Now, remarkably, we are feeling the gravitational pull of the App and Google Play Stores.

Without you, we'd have never gotten our time-traveling machine off the ground!

No one's taking anything for granted, but a year on from our Kickstarter launch in May 2015, hosted by Julie Gribble and KidLit TV, we wanted to pause for a moment, take stock and recognize all of you who shared the vision strongly enough to reach out and help us cross that first finish line… before we cross the next one — toward which we inch closer every day...

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On History, Creativity, Serendipity, and Gelato

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On History, Creativity, Serendipity, and Gelato

Once upon a time, my memories of Florence fell to hunting for treasures in and around the top 10 tourist attractions with a four-year-old. And, of course, gelato. My favorite flavors were the citrus sorbets, like lemon, lime, and blood orange.

Then, exactly two years ago in April 2014, both my gelato preferences and my association with Florence changed. Radically. That's when Mary Hoffman and I, as co-faculty of Julie Hedlund’s Writer’s Renaissance, first brainstormed, over una coppetta di gelato tre gusti – this time cioccolato, pistachio, and nocciola, how we might bring my time traveler tour concept to life in Florence...

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How the Creative Process Got Me Cooking in Sicily

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How the Creative Process Got Me Cooking in Sicily

The lifecycle of creative activity. We've all lived it:

It starts with an idea that leads to a process that becomes a book or a play or a faster computer; a film or the latest trend in teen fashion; a painting or an innovative new way to teach.

Its development spawns many unexpected experiences along the way to realization, and brings with it sufficient highs as well as innumerable lows – doubt, rejection, failed attempts, multiple revisions – before the day it finally falls into the hands of others. Then, it begins to take on a life of its own.

Much to my surprise, this has also been the path of fulfilling our Kickstarter promises, which, now in the rewards creation phase, continues to kick my butt with its downs, elevate me with its multiple ups, and excite and surprise me with its numerous twists and turns.

Today, I want to share one of these experiences with you...

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Confessions of a Crowdsourcing Critic

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Confessions of a Crowdsourcing Critic

I was with an author friend the other day. As we chatted, the topic of my recent Kickstarter campaign came up. She rolled her eyes, puffed air through her lips – very French – and said,

Kickstarter is full of artists and authors hoping to by-pass the gatekeepers and self-produce at the expense of quality. Why should I pay someone to self-publish a book that an agent or editor doesn’t find it worthy enough to get behind? That’s why we have gate-keepers!

This was what we teachers call “a teachable moment.” I seized it...

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How Can I Best Serve You?

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How Can I Best Serve You?

As I sit here at my desk overlooking Arundel Square (aka Gryffindog’s Park), groups of children, looking ready for anything in their perfectly pressed uniforms, head back to school after the summer holidays. Still unburdened by the weight of heavy backpacks, there’s an obvious lightness to their step, a visible sense of excitement.

Though I have no wardrobe upgrade as of yet, nor even a fresh hairdo, I fully share their enthusiasm. For me, September is the real New Year. A legacy of a lifetime in academia, as a student, career educator, and parent? Perhaps. But I'm not alone.

For many of us, September isn't just about getting back to school, work, life. It's more than that: September is the time, after a long, restful break, to get back to the business of serving others.

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