Tag Archives: schooling

A thoughtful gift

I haven’t posted any pictures yet, but I just had to share this one with you.

I bumped into Mrs Creative Writing while, once again, propping up the wall outside the classroom. She wanted to thank me for giving up some of my valuable time to help inspire her budding writers. She then presented me with a ‘Thank You’ card, and two new journals. It would appear that they had really taken notice of the kind I like, the ones with the coiled spine so I can keep a pen handy, turn the pages back on themselves and tear out unwanted pages easily. I must have also mentioned that I like dividers because they also made sure it had those too!

The card was written by one of the students and has been signed by the whole class, with little personal comments from some of them – I don’t really think I am awesome but maybe to a 9 year old I am! When I commented last week on some of the parents cursing me about stopping at the dollar store, I had no idea that would really happen, but it did! Apparently some of the students have already started journals to record and draw story ideas, I genuinely didn’t think I could have that much impact. I sense I will feel a warm glow when I use those journals, knowing the sentiments behind the gifts.

It has come as part of a good week in my little world of self publishing. I’m over half way through reading the copy edited version and I have two cover designs to work with. Honestly, I sat down with my husband to look at the designs for the first time and we both spontaneously gasped when they popped up on the screen. To see the title… the back cover information… and my name – well my pretend name – I have to say it’s a pretty amazing feeling, and it’s not even finished yet. I must remember to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. I still have a lot of work to do…

A thoughtful gift

A thoughtful gift

Famous for 40 minutes!!

All right, so it was just a class of 9 year olds but still. A girl has to start somewhere, and no, I’m not branching out into writing children’s books – well not yet anyway. There I was, minding my own business outside my younger son’s classroom, waiting for the teachers to open the door, when a voice from the office behind me asked both my boys what their favorite book was. They stumbled over answering this question because they read a wide range of books, but if you asked them who is their favorite author, they would probably say the wonderful Julia Donaldson. If I’m honest, even I get excited when I see her latest offering in the bookstore. Anyway, I helped them out by prompting them to tell the mystery woman which book we are currently reading at bedtime. A chorus of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone rang out (HP is another simply marvellous series of children’s books that every grown up should read). A discussion followed, which led me to the conclusion that the mystery woman was maybe a Creative Writing or English teacher.

The doors to Junior Kindergarten finally opened and my 5 year old disappeared without so much as a goodbye (what it’s like to feel loved!), while my 7 year old continued to talk authors with Mrs. Creative Writing, who told him about her book-hungry grade 3 class who would give anything to meet an author. I don’t know why I said it but it was out of my mouth before I could stop it; I jokingly mentioned that I’m an author (well almost), though my genre would be a little inappropriate for discussing with 9 year olds. Undeterred, Mrs. Creative Writing jumped on this straight away and before I knew it I was thumbing through my diary to fix a date that coincided with her class.

Skip forward a week and there I am being shown to a large black comfy chair at the front of the classroom, 18 curious pairs of eyes watching my every move. As Mrs. Creative Writing introduced me, the students sat patiently with their pens hovering over open notebooks waiting in anticipation of something, anything they could write down. As predicted by their teacher, they were blown away by the fact I have written a real book, that will hopefully one day fill the ‘Hot & New’ section of the shelves – my hope obviously, not theirs!

So, my first ‘official’ interview! For the most part they asked relevant and appropriate questions, wanting to know things like ‘how do I choose names for my characters?’; ‘how long did it take me write my first book?’; ‘who inspires me?’; ‘how many chapters are in the book?’. I showed them notebooks that were falling apart and drawings my elder son has produced to accompany his own book idea. I tried to give them insight into how I arrange my own thoughts and ideas. They were interested, easily engaged, genuinely impressed, and fun. However, I fear their parents will have been quietly cursing me on the way home from school after being asked to make a detour via the dollar store to purchase a cheap journal. I’m trying not to think about what they might think when they find out what exactly it is I write!

Eats, shoots and leaves!!

Apparently I absolutely need to read this. I have no recollection of being taught grammar and punctuation at school, it is quite possible I was off that week having my leg set in a cast (first attempt at ice skating, only ever been once since and clung to the side the entire time, never again!). All right I know that they will have taught this for more than just a week, and it should have been reinforced throughout my schooling, but I clearly did not retain this information.

My husband is very OCD about this sort of stuff. Honestly, if you’d seen him reading my book the amount of huffing and puffing, eye rolling and sighing was just not true. Since then, bless him, he’s made several desperate and frustrating attempts to teach me the rules. Unfortunately part of my brain my has been pickled by gin, red wine and very expensive prescription drugs! Now what’s left of it is desperately trying to retain 41 years of other useless information.

So, we cut a deal. He would help me publish if I agreed to allow Lynne Truss to teach me what I should have learnt over 30 years ago. And, now that I’ve signed the contract I guess I have to keep my side of deal, especially as it happens to have now made it to the top of my ‘to read’ pile so I now have no excuse not to. However, between you and me, I was hoping to get away with it because now I now have a proper laptop and isn’t that what all those green wavy lines are for?