As of last count, 189 names have gone into the hat for the ARCs. On Monday I’ll recruit my children to help me with a ceremonial drawing, and I’ll post the results.

That update on the dissertation is going to have to wait until next week, due to circumstances beyond my control. Instead, humor me while I muse for a moment….

Let me start out by saying I very much enjoy being called Queen of the Homeschooling Universe and PBS Guru-in-Training. (To quote P.D. James, “Tricky, that’s what writers are. You have to keep telling them how wonderful they are or they go to pieces.”)

NEVERTHELESS AND HOWEVER…I really do understand the true smallness of my place in the public eye. Nobody is ever going to count themselves lucky because they happened to sit next to me on an airplane.

(Mary, my best friend from college, who drove to a conference with me this year and was greatly entertained that the organizers had given me a reserved parking spot.)

Still. Days like this, it strikes me just how weird it is to be even a mini-teeny-weeny-celebrity. I cruise around the Internet about once every six months, checking on new references to my work. When I first started writing, I did this all the time. Now I only do it about twice a year, because seeing all the nasty things people write about your books is NOT conducive to getting the next manuscript finished.

But I find that my biannual vanity-Google remains necessary, because every time I do it I find someone taking my name in vain…writing out long explanations about how they had conversations or email exchanges with me in which I said things which would (in reality) never pass my lips. (My favorite so far: Apparently I admitted that the Story of the World was full of deliberate historical errors, but that it didn’t matter because it was only written for children, after all.) When I find these, the office staff politely requests that they be removed.

This kind of experience unfortunately ruins the enjoyment of People and Us and Star Weekly forever. I bet none of those celebrities ever said any of the things attributed to them.

On this particular Internet surf, though, I had a different experience. First of all, I regret to say that my books are recommended for the education of white children by the Stormfront White Nationalist Community.

Good heavens. That’s the kind of thing that makes you want to say, “Thanks for your support, but could you write a scathing denunciation of all my works instead?” I’d ask them to take the posts down, but I don’t think I want to have a conversation with those people.

Two hundred references later, I felt slightly better when I found that the antiSemitic U.K. organization called Catholic Voice (please note that Catholic Voice has NOTHING to do with the actual Catholic church) does in fact suggest that all my books be avoided. “We advise home-schoolers to steer well clear of Susan Wise Bauer’s books,” warns the Catholic Voice, sonorously. “Whether or not this good lady is Jewish (as her name certainly suggests), she tends to disregard pivotal Christian teachings and to favour Jewish, masonic, and communist authors.”

Wonder if they’re talking about the Bible.

Anyway, my sincere and heartfelt condolences to those authors who meet with their favor. Speaking from experience: if you could get the Stormfront White Nationalists to cast you out among the dogs, you’d feel a lot better.

Showing 16 comments
  • Faith

    I guess I never wondered about the orgin of your name? When I hear things like that I think “Should I be more attentive to those details?”, then I think… “No.” 🙂 It must be a hoot to see your name out there. We certainly appreciate your work! You’ll always have a reserved spot here in Kansas! 🙂

  • Colleen in NS

    I suspect there are a lot MORE people out there than you know about, who DO appreciate your work and don’t write nasty things about your books. And they (we, I) would be thrilled to sit next to you on an airplane! 🙂 Wow, thanks for continually giving us glimpses into your life and thoughts. OK, I’m trying not to put you on a pedestal since it’s weird to be a semipublic figure, but what can I say – I love reading your blog and today’s was esp. funny.

  • Heather in WI

    “Nobody is ever going to count themselves lucky because they happened to sit next to me on an airplane” … unless they’re a WTM message board junkie! 😉 I still think the funniest way someone referrred to you on the message board was when they said that the perfect woman was “Ma Ingalls, Susan Wise Bauer, and Martha Stewart” rolled into one!

  • Mindy

    Hillarious!! 🙂 Knowing the company I now keep, I may have to give up SOTW. 🙂

  • Shelly

    If it isn’t to late, could you put my name in the drawing. I guess I am a little slow in catching up with my blog reading. I can’t imagine who would not like your books. I have really enjoyed and appreciate your works. Keep writing!

  • Sylvia C.

    Thanks for sharing your reflections. I had a visitor the other day who is writing his own historical work and is about to approach publishers. He was talking about a very well known and frequently published historian when he said, “Everything she writes is bad.” Simply amazing. Unfounded generalizations and lazy habits of thought are some of the strongest motivating forces in history, it seems to me. I’m glad to follow your work, and your blog, because it reminds me that there are real people with other motivations as well. Get well soon.

  • PariSarah

    Heh heh heh.

    My family would be totally impressed if I sat next to you on a plane. Dh refers to you (lovingly, I swear) as “that All Wise Bauer Arndt Gingrich Danker lady,” and understands perfectly well when I say, “Well, SWB says . . .”

    Have you seen my favorite people-you’re-glad-hate-you site yet?

  • PariSarah

    (Correction: not that they hate you. They hate C. S. Lewis. But I don’t think Clive would have minded. That’s what I was trying to say.)

  • Susan


    Wow. That’s a new one on me.

    What’s an assobliption, do you suppose?


  • Heather

    I’d love to sit next to you on an airplane. My husband wants to eventually become a college professor and I told him it would be really cool if he taught at William and Mary because a.) my daughter has this love affair thing going on – at 6 – with Williamsburg and b.) I could meet you. Yeah, I’m weird like that lol

  • Barb

    My totally cool venture in life would not have been possible if I had not read The Well-Trained Mind. I think you changed my life’s focus and I’m better for it.

    Harmony Fine Arts would not exist if it weren’t for TWTM.
    Thanks for all your efforts,
    Barb McCoy

  • Carrie (in WA)

    Two things: Are you kidding? I’d love to sit next to you on an airplane. I would want to pick your brain, but would try to give you a few moments peace, imagining that you would probably really like to just have a little rest already. And. . . Does it make you wonder, when noting the things people say about your work, if they’ve read any of it?

    I second Barb, above. I was searching for direction in homeschooling when a friend loaned me TWTM. There was an audible bell when reading–it all seemed to fall into place for me. This was the education I had craved for myself, the one I would strive to provide for my kids. Five years later I have sort of hit my stride (which will fall apart and be reorganized several times over this “school year”) and am more grateful than ever for the effort you and your mom put into that book.

  • Kate

    I think it is pretty cool you have your own Wikipedia page. How many of us can say that? That means you have arrived at an “official definition.” :+) You are officially an “American author.” That places you among some pretty big giants and rightly so. Don’t let the detractors get you down. There are more who love you for YOU than you know.


  • Jessica

    Whenever my classical homeschooling friend and I talk about your books we call you Susie. Well in Susie’s book, it says…or Susie suggested, it’s almost as if you were a homeschool friend we both know that just lives in the next town.

    Believe me, if I ever sat next you on a plane- you’d wish I didn’t know who you are! The amount of questions that I would love to ask about homeschooling and being a pastor’s wife alone would make you wish that you weren’t “almost-famous”. Without yours and your mother’s books, I’d still be lost looking for a method to use to teach my children.

    Have a great week!

  • Kate

    OK, I just realized this–are you saying you are *not* the Queen of the Homeschooling Universe?


  • Nathalie

    In reference to your post about the Stormfront White Nationalists support of your work, I wanted to ask whether or not you wrote about African history. I am Haitian-American (born in America/ parents are from Haiti) and would like to learn about the history of where my family comes from as well as the history of Europeans and Asians and all of the beautiful people below the Equator. I LOVE your books! I love your smooth, informative, brilliant style and would like to read about those accounts through you. I am a mother of two boys who’s father is of Italian decent. I can go anywhere and find materials about their father’s racial origins, but I feel limited in my efforts to educate my sons about the other half of who they are because excellent works on those regions are few and less attainable. I myself, would truly like to read about the story of ALL people from the beginning, because we do ALL make you that amazing story. 🙂 I intended to order your books to learn more whilst keeping a skeptical eye open to see if we really ALL are included. If you haven’t focused on these regions in depth, please consider doing a special edition for those of us who want to learn more AND love your style! Of course, when your very busy life clears up- like when the kids are in their 30’s. I know that this post was written in Sep ’06, but I’m just making my way through this blog to the end and plan to continue following what’s up in your world.

    By the way, It would thrill me if I ever found myself sitting next to you on a plane!!! I WOULD count myself as lucky! Your book “The Well-Trained Mind” is the MOST AMAZING EDUCATION BOOK RESOURCE EVERRRRR!

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