So yesterday, when I got to go back for my first author visit was a fantastically special day, which started the moment I walked up the front steps, with this:
How special is that? I teared up right then and there, but I had to suck it up, because my schedule for the day was to speak to six class periods, just like it was when I was a teacher. Only this time, there were 4-5 classes packed into the "Little Theatre," which is exactly what it sounds like. I have pictures I took from the stage, and would love to show you the crowd, but there are tricky rules about that, so you just get me and a lot of backs of heads. All told, 600 kids sat down to listen! (Or at least pretend to.)
I didn't really plan, didn't outline, which is rare for me, and as soon as the first bell rang I got nervous enough to regret it. But once all the kids filed in, it came pretty easy. I talked about how as a kid I dreamed of being a writer, how as a twenty-something I was busy raising a family and teaching, and then how when I was about to turn 30 I decided to give writing a serious shot. I told them how if you really want something, you have to put yourself out there, go after it with everything you've got. Yep. I decided to try and inspire. Who knows if it worked...
At one point I said something about the main character's dad moving her to a "new beach," but judging by the laughs from the back of the room, I don't think that's what they heard. Say it out loud and picture me saying it to a hundred 8th graders. Bet you'll laugh too.
At break, there was a cake, and my colleagues, hugs all around, and even sand, sea glass, and a mermaid. (El Rancho has its very own Martha Stewart, who arranges things like this.)
All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better first school visit. El Rancho holds a special place in my heart and I can't say thank you enough to them for their support and enthusiasm. Go Coyotes!!!