Hey, I'm one post shy of 500 posts! That's quite a landmark. I'll have to think of something awesome to blog about for my next post, but what? (The pressure!) Maybe this: I am expecting the Lips Touch ARC in the mail in the next day or so -- can't WAIT!! Imagine me skulking by the front door, on the lookout for delivery trucks! Ha ha. Actually, I haven't been home to skulk because the past two days I've been doing school visits with absolutely delightful kids. It was great to get a dose of kids as I'm not around them very much. I love the way the kindergartners ask the most literal questions, like, "How do you make the covers of your book hard like that?" and how they wave their hands around frantically to tell me the most serious things: "There really are devils, you know."
Urk? Not going to explore that statement in depth!
Got to be careful with that literal-mindedness too; they entirely believed that my brother looks like this:
I could see they were quite concerned for him, tee hee hee. The older kids, to whom my presentation is geared (3rd-5th grades) are more savvy, and call out, "Photoshop!!" Can't dupe them!
Oh, when the principal was introducing me to one group of 3rd - 5th graders, she asked them if anyone could tell her what an author was. The boy she called on answered something like this: "Someone who writes books and sends them to an editor, and if the editor doesn't like it, he throws it away." ha HA! Turns out his father is a writer! There was a girl in the same group whose mom has written 42 Harlequin romances. I told her her mom is a much faster writer than me!
In an older version of my presentation I used "elephant poo paper" (not toilet paper for elephants, but paper made from elephant poo) as a prop, and the last image in my slide show was of an elephant, um, pooping. So I learned that all questions thereafter would be about elephant poop! Well, I've since run out of that marvelous resource, so now the last picture in my slide show is of Boba Fett holding my book.
So you know what the questions were about? In one session anyway: all about Star Wars! "Did you meet Luke Skywalker too? How about Darth Vader? Han Solo?" (Answers: no; yes; no; stormtroopers and Princess Leia: yes; yes. Not the real ones, mind you. Comicon versions.)
Anyway, it was MUCH FUN. You know how I was recently talking about storytelling, and about wanting to work on that? Well, after doing my presentation a few times and getting into the groove, I began to feel more ease with the storytelling aspect of it, especially the part where I'm telling what my book is about. I mean, it lends itself well: it's a tale of the Devil Wars, narrowly won thousands of years ago by the faeries, and what the faeries did with the devils they captured, and how now a new creature (humans) is unwittingly releasing those ancient foes from their prisons. Eek! I got so I was having So Much Fun telling that story and seeing the totally attentive eyes shining back at me, wide with the suspense of it all. It's addictive, and really deepens my resolve to work on storytelling as an art form.
Besides the fun of being with the kids, there were two days in a row of getting up early and making myself presentable, then driving to "work" with the other folks -- it was a change to my stay-at-home routine. It makes me appreciate my stay-at-homeness, but it also makes me think that being a teacher would be a much more pleasant reason to drive to work in the morning than many alternatives. The teachers and principal were also extremely nice, and I met a librarian who was visiting from the school district office as part of an ongoing effort to bring all the school libraries up to a standard.
I learned that many of the Portland public schools do not have librarians, which made me greatly appreciate the school just over the border in Washington where my friend Jone has been the librarian for many years. There is, let me tell you, a great difference between the libraries in the two schools, as you can well imagine. The visiting librarian said that she thinks Washington has done a better a job of keeping librarians in schools than Oregon has.
I have said this before: some kids grow up with a great fondness for libraries, but despite my book-love, libraries were never a big part of my life. Living overseas much of my youth, we didn't have access to public libraries in English, and our school libraries were indifferent at best. But even at the not-great Department of Defense elementary school I attended in Gaeta, Italy, we had a full-time librarian. What is a library without a librarian? A haphazard collection? At the school I was at yesterday, brave parent volunteers have made the place a workable space, and it's a nice library -- I can't speak to the collection, because I am not a librarian, but can you imagine the work? That's no job for a volunteer.
Sigh. It's a sad state of affairs when librarians are considered a luxury.
Speaking of sad states of affairs, we are awaiting the arrival of a plumber. Nice way to spend a Saturday morning! But we've gone eight years in this house without having to call one, and that's something. Hopefully this won't prove a case similar to how we went eight (or ten) years with scarcely ever having to spend money on veterinary care and have been making up for it in spades in our dogs' old age!