Episode #202: Portia Clare

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Portia Y. Clare has been privileged to serve in developing the minds and character of children for over thirty years.  A graduate of Duke University and Regent University, she maintains her love of learning and earnestly desires to empower the children who have been entrusted to her care.  Simply put, Portia teaches because she values children.  Her love of children and family compel her to write stories that will help them to recognize their importance, appreciate their value, and navigate through difficult life experiences.  Creative writing has always brought her joy and writing children’s books has been her passion since childhood. Her most recent publication is Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale.

Portia is the only child of the late Randolph George Clare, Jr. and Jane Easterling Clare.  She was born in Bennettsville, South Carolina, and raised in Nassau, Bahamas.  Her family relocated to Bennettsville, South Carolina in 2015, where she and her mother currently reside.

For more information about her books, school visits, presentations, and activities, please visit Portia’s website at www. portiayclare.com. 

Trench story: probably when she was in the CR- moving to a different county, teaching kids who came from a diff. background from which she was accustomed.Moved from urban to rural setting.  Challenged w/ finding a way to reach them. Was committed to helping them. It matters how we talk to ppl. Listened & understood what was important to them. Trenches got easier to get out of. Believed it was successful. Worked with colleagues, moved kids fwd. Every 7 yr. old is the same.

What inspired you to begin writing children’s books and how long had you been teaching before you began writing books? Dad had been talking to her about writing for a long time but hadn’t put anything down on paper. He said “do it now”. The conversation came to her mind to begin. Also, children inspired her. Recognized her quality. Challenging life experiences for kids. Loss of a pet. Best friends forever- a puppy’s tale. Autobiographical. Was a present to her on her 4th birthday. Dog was like a sister she never got. Her dad was transferred to the Bahamas and Sandy had become ill during flight, developed epilepsy. Different kind of relationship developed. 1 summer at her grandma’s, the dog had constant seizures. Sandy passed the next day. Grief was difficult. She needed to have convo with Sandy-dog years later. She got a boy puppy & different breed. Many students have gone through a process of grief with Covid. Book launched Dec. 8. 2021. She had been writing her entire life. Had been teaching for 30 yrs when the book was getting published. Her dad told her matter-of-fact “you’ve been talking about writing, have you done it yet?” It inspired her to write. He passed in June 2020.

Why is it important for you to share your message now? It’s primarily because she wants children to know who they are. They have challenging life experiences. Help with the subject of grief. Everyone experiences it. Kids don’t know how to process it when they feel a certain way. Recognize it’s ok to have those feelings. Kids need to have support of sorts. Tool/resource of care.

What are some ways to bring joy back into our lives after losing a family pet? things- 1) give kids an opportunity to have a conversation. Have convos with the child’s teacher about the loss of

a pet. Make yourself open when you’re ready to talk about it with an adult. Perhaps more relaxing for t to hear about it, as a teacher is a bit more removed from the situation. 2) memory/treasure box. Get a plastic shoebox at Walmart. Decorate it with glitter. She has one for pet Sandy. We can go inside the treasure box & reflect on the memories w/ pet. F. ex.pictures, fragrances. go thru it with a kid. Think about good times they had with the pet. 3) Visit an animal shelter, move to the point we’re ready to have another pet. Can help to care for another pet. It exposes them to pets again. Community we build around them will help.

What is your message of encouragement and support for families that have lost a beloved family pet? It’s ok for grief to take as long as you need it to take. Grief is different for every person. It lasts as long as you need it to. Sometimes people aren’t ready to have the convo. No right or wrong way. Memories you have you’ll share forever. You can introduce new friends to pets who have passed through sharing memories. Don’t force it. Trust it will happen when it’s supposed to. Community of people surrounding you. Sometimes acting out, anger will come first.In time, it will get better. Family will begin to smile again w/ memories.They need an opportunity to remember, share memories.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? editing. She wanted to share so much. Initially she began to write her memories. Wanted to form a dialogue. Editor helped her say what she needed to say without using so many words. Realized there’s a balance between words & illustrations. She used an illustrator Ms. Lisa Alderson who did a phenomenal job of sharing the character’s emotions. Each edit became better.

Do you do virtual readings for schools? Has been solicited. Children were engaged, excited. Has read in person @ her school. Enjoys the ?’s/convo’s kids had. They became immersed.

Out of everything…every person is valuable. We need to help children recognize their value. Everyone responds to love. Use your gifts, talents to serve. Be mindful of how you speak to children. Click To Tweet Give good to them, through your talent.

Find Portia online:   http://www.portiayclare.com   This link to her website allows the audience to learn more about Portia through interviews and a photo gallery, read my blogs that have been written to support and inspire children and families, and order autographed copies of Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale. They can order from website

FB author pg @portiayclare

IG: @portiay.clare

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/_tf-HbKFDkI


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