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Susan L. Read

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Susan L. Read


New Zealand

Susan was born and raised in New Zealand, where she lived until she was 43.  During that time she was an Elementary School teacher and Principal, a writer, and an avid reader of any books she could get her hands on.  She had close personal relationships with three dogs (Sheba, Sheena, and Gemma), a bird (J.T.), eleven goats (Picard, Spock, Katie, Buttons, Betty, Starlight, Penelope, Lily, Peter, Fudge, and Chocolate), two goldfish (John and Glen), and twenty three mice (who all had names but there were too many to remember).


Massachusetts

Susan moved to Massachusetts six days after 9/11.  She left New Zealand on the first flight after airspace reopened.  Since then she has been a wife, an educator, a dog rescuer, a reader, and a writer.  She lives in Wrentham, MA, where she has a close personal relationship with two chihuahuas (Princess Cynthia Louise and Princess Poppy Anne) and a chihuahua beagle mix (Princess Jessie Priscilla).  




Writing Projects

Susan has been writing poetry and short stories since she was a little girl. 

Several of her poems have been published in anthologies in New Zealand. 

Should students be able to read Graphic Novels at school?

Read Susan's thoughts on this topic, from her article published in the 50th Anniversary edition of the Massachusetts Reading Association Primer, April 2019

Susan's first novel 

Coming in Spring 2021


Mermaid Tears, to be published in 2021, is the first in a series of stories about the students of Michaels Middle School.

There's no such thing as normal.


Sarah has always been a hard-working student, even if she has felt that her grades don’t reflect her efforts. She is a good friend, a kind daughter, and she loves being creative. But lately she is struggling with school and friendships, and nothing brings her much joy. Her family doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening, and neither does Sarah. Everyone keeps telling her to do better, and Sarah is trying her hardest, but when her first year of middle school begins, what was supposed to be a fresh start turns into a disaster that quickly spirals out of control. Sarah, who can’t understand why she is feeling this way, begins to seriously wonder if the world would be better off if she was no longer alive. Sarah has always felt a connection with mermaids—and she now wishes she was a mermaid herself, so she could just slip under the ocean and swim away, disappearing from everyone’s lives forever.

 

Finally, Sarah reaches her breaking point, and in desperation, seeks help from a trusted teacher. Everyone in Sarah’s life reaches in to pull her from her own drowning emotions, and with the help of her family, friends, teachers, and mental health professionals, Sarah learns there is a name for what she is feeling. She develops tools, not only for coping, but for thriving. In learning about her condition and gaining the support she needs for managing it, she begins the long journey back to her life.



Mermaid Tears

A Michaels Middle School Story

Prologue


Metamorphosis

of a Mermaid Tear

 

Ejected from the Earth.

Weathered

by wind, rain, time.

Dormant for millennia.

The crashing of the ocean waves

my only companion.

Soothed

by the rhythmic pulse,

the ambient sounds

of my never resting friend.

Witness to

the beginnings of life.

 

Evolution

and natural selection

creating my new playmates.

 

Then the machines came,

shattering my peace,

and my world.

Bulldozers loaded

billions and billions of us.

Trucks took us away.

Forged in fire.

Three thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

Poured into a mold.

Shaped.

Solid.

Transparent.

 

Now I can hold things.

Blackberry jelly

gives me a new purpose.

Proud to protect this treasure.

Crop after crop.

Year after year.

A favorite of this family.

Passed down,

mother to daughter.

 

But I am not immortal.

A cracked jar cannot be sterilized.

A new purpose.

Carrying candy

in the picnic basket.

Today’s excursion

takes me back

to an old location.

A fun beach day.

Watching the children.

 

Then they dropped me.

Shattering me to pieces.

Abandoned now.

Useless.

 

Dormant for years.

The crashing of the ocean waves

my only companion.

Content.

Soothed by the rhythmic pulse,

the ambient sounds

of my never resting friend.

 

Witness to

the extreme power of a hurricane.

Swept out to sea.

Worn by waves.

Recycled by the sea.

 

Ejected from the ocean.

Abandoned.

Useless.

Dormant.

 

Then the family came.

Adults under their sun umbrella.

Calling to the children.

“Sarah, Adam, Daniel,

It’s time for lunch.”

 

Surprised, later that day,

to be plucked from the shore.

“You are beautiful!”

She cried.

“I am going to put you in my bottle

of mermaid tears. 

I am going to keep you

forever!”


________________________________________________________


Why is it so hard

to be like other people?

Why is it so hard

to be normal?

Perhaps it would be better

if I wasn't even here.



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