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Erin Cleary

  • Erin Cleary

Enlightening and Frightening: How Google Taught Me about Who I Am and Who I Am Not

Have you ever done a Google search of your own name? It can be enlightening and a little bit frightening.

When I planned to create a website as a first step in advancing my professional children’s book writing career, I began with a Google search of my own name. This step lead to some interesting discoveries about others who share my name, as well as some surprising facts about myself.

First off, seeing my name listed over and over with titles and occupations that were not mine caused a few jolts. Each time, I had to stop and tell myself that it wasn’t a link to me. I am not a doctor, or a librarian, or a high school soccer player. But I am a writer, I was a teacher, I do Pinterest searches, and I love books. There are others with my name who share these characteristics.

I also discovered that I am a credited published writer! In my days working in educational publishing, I wrote too many teacher guides and student workbooks to count. However, these assignments were usually credited to the publishing development house where I worked. My work was, after all, the possession of the company. But then there were the few occasions when I was given the writer credit. I must have forgotten these times because I certainly had seen multiple editorial passes of the credits page. Even so, I was shocked to see my name listed. Writer: Erin Cleary. I remember that project, but if I hadn’t seen that link, I may never have thought of it again in my life.

Then there are the various music credits from my singing endeavors, things I didn’t know the Internet had access to. One, a few seconds of a performance I did on the back end of a bout with ulcerative laryngitis that had me terrified about every note and breath. It doesn’t sound too bad…but there are others I am more proud of.

One wonderful thing about being a Cleary and a writer is the fact that any search for Cleary will bring up Beverly Cleary. It is always comforting to see her name on the same page with mine. Her books define the literary memory of my childhood. The characters were my friends, and in the case of Ramona, more familiar even than that. I felt like I was her. I think some memories I have from my childhood were actually things I read about her that have seeped into the memory bank of my own experiences. She was that relatable. But perhaps my love of Beverly Cleary books will be a topic of another post.

But for now, here is my first blog post. Allow me to introduce myself. I am a mother, a singer, a sewer, a canner when the fruit is ripe, and I am a writer of children’s books.

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