Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Talking Dreaming Anastasia

Reading from Dreaming Anastasia to NEHS group
Either I'm surprised, or I'm answering a question

Clearly I need to talk with my hands

Did a little book talk with the National English Honor Society at my school Tuesday. Went pretty well. I'd anticpated that some would have read, some wouldn't. Some would have liked. Some wouldn't. As I've said in this blog before, that's the great thing about teaching high school. You simply can't take yourself too seriously. The kid who loved you yesterday will be pissed at you today if only because she broke up with her boyfriend or got yelled at by her mom or her dad's out of work and life at home sucks and now there you are asking her to do an essay and it's just too much and because she feels safe with you she's going to lash out because she can. That's the way it works in the classroom. And we the adults have to remember that we're the adults. And keep everyone as safe and warm and cozy as we can while we impart knowledge or facilitate the finding thereof.

So here's the thing I didn't realize about having a book published. That it would remind me to be as kind as I can most days. That I am lucky to have people being so supportive. That even those who aren't, or have told me that Dreaming Anastasia just isn't their cup of tea, serve to remind me how fragile we all are some days. That I'm charged with an awesome responsibility in the classroom when I work with students. I need to remember to critique them with love and thoughfulness. Tell them what doesn't work and praise them for what does. Say it gently but push them to strive for the stars. Make them part of the great literary conversation. Respect what they can do and help them with what comes a little harder for them.

I'm learning a lot of lessons this fall. The next one will be how to balance travel and teaching. But again - seriously - how freakin' amazing is that? I get to travel to talk about my book? Publicist Paul is stirring the pot of the Great Chicago Tour, plans to be announced. But I know for sure that on 11/14, 2PM, I'll be at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park, along with other authors including Esther Hershenhorn. I am thrilled.

Okay - I'm nervous and a little neurotic about the whole thing. But still thrilled.

And in other book news: Three new ones on my to read shelf: Libba Bray's Going Bovine; Susan Fine's Initiation; and Danielle Joseph's Shrinking Violet. Very excited!

Til next time...

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