14 January 2011 § 2 Comments
Today I spoke to four classes of 7th graders during their annual Career Day. This was the first time I’ve ever had enough of a career to consider volunteering, so I’m still buzzing–12 hours after the fact. I also didn’t sleep well last night because my brain was trying to figure out what to say, so I’m not super coherent at this point. I can, however, share a bullet-list of notables:
- number of teachers who heard my presentation = 6
- number who asked me for leads on open markets = 4
- number of 7th graders who heard my presentation = 160
- number who said they are interested in writing as a career = 14
- most surprising comment = “I love how the whole Paper House cover is black and white except for the Red Riding Hood. It really draws my eye in.”
- coolest comment = “I love the feel of this Snowing Fireflies book. And I can’t stop looking at it. Did you paint this?”
- most common question = “If I write a book, can I send it to you to publish?”
- most uncomfortable question = “How much can I earn if I do what you do?”
- question that caused the most tap-dancing = “What’s the deal with those movies made from books that don’t follow the books?”
- fun poetry related question = “Why do some poetry books have teeny-tiny print with lots of space around the edges? Why don’t they just make the font bigger and have less space?”
- fun fiction related question = “Do you publish stories on the Kindle? I have one and it would be cool to read your stuff on it.”
- best question overall = “Are there poems and stories that just aren’t good enough to ever be published?”
This last question will no doubt become its own blog post soon. For now, I can tell you that I got high praise from the English Department for my answer. In the mean time, how would you have answered some of these student questions?
13 January 2011 § Leave a comment
12 January 2011 § Leave a comment
I was looking for photos in my stash that might be used to build the Freight Collective webpage. For as many times as we’ve moved and driven cross country, I was sure I had some photos of vans filled with boxes or convoys of 18 wheelers. Instead, I ran across this. It is a scan of a slide my grandpa took in the 1970’s when he and my grandma toured (West) Germany and Austria. At first I thought, “This dear man has been pedaling uphill for 35 years and he’s not even breaking a sweat.” But then I looked closer and saw what appears to be an exhaust pipe. Could this be a moped? Or a bicycle converted into a motorcycle? My grandpa was always one for a good invention. This image, preserved from a stack of crumbling slides, allowed me to share an experience with him. Asynchronously, but still. I can hear him tell me a story through this image. And that’s a pretty neat trick considering he’s been gone for 15 years.
photo © 1974 A.C. White, taken in Lauterbrunnen
11 January 2011 § Leave a comment
I almost didn’t post today. As an act of resignation. Giving up on the post-a-day challenge without even lasting the month. But then my son asked me to help him with a heraldry assignment for Social Studies. I ended up digging through my old England shots again and found a few that I need to revisit, including the one above. Now I’m glad I took the time because the original never did justice to the moment. A moment of transition. My daughter’s transition to a new time zone in a new country. My transition from planning to executing the dream vacation. The day’s transition to night. Rain to fog. Still air to driving wind.
We’d stood on both shores of the Atlantic that year—both shores nearly deserted, though the crowds were 500 feet away. We grabbed our moments of solitude when we found them and tucked them in our pockets, taking them out later on overcrowded trains and long queues. Remembered waves can drown out many an annoying sight or sound.
But how about you? If you have a favorite transition ritual or link to a poem/story about transition, please share:-)
10 January 2011 § Leave a comment
Winter has come at last. Real winter. With ice. Not sure our goldfish, sleeping below his crystal ceiling, welcomes the cold like we do.