So my sabbatical from work has ended, in reality it ended a while ago, but it was only recently that I returned to school visits. My first one was at 4 day event in the West Bloomington area of Michigan, where I am honored to say I was the official "Pine Tree" author. The Pine Tree program is a district-wide reading program, where students are challenged to read a specially selected book titles. Lucky for me, Year of the Dog was one of the titles which is how I wound up in West Bloomington.
But since it was a district wide program, that meant there were a lot of students. Let me repeat that, there were a lot of students. Really. The photo below only shows half the room, my camera did not have a wide enough lens to capture more than that. As I watched the students come into my presentation room, all I could think of was a quote from Homer Price (when the doughnut machine malfunctions): "they just kept right on a comin', an a comin', an a comin', an a comin', an a comin'."
And it's about at this point I realize that West Bloomington is kind of an intimidating place to make my inaugural return visit.
Nonetheless, I entered the gauntlet. And it wasn't too bad. Performing a school visit is like riding a bicycle-- but if you haven't ridden in a while the bicycle chain might be a bit rusty. For example, I presented a slide show to the fifth graders with this image:
Ah, I can still hear the tittering. The last time I presented that lecture it was to adults...and I forgot the middle school mentality when reviewing ahead of time. Oops. Needless to say, that slide was deleted before the next group.
Which went smoother; and by the second day I felt back in the swing of things. Confidence in full gear, I now only felt bad that I did such a mediocre job for the first group.
But the best thing about the visits really were the kids. Creating books alone as well as reading and experiencing discouraging industry news by myself makes me forget that my books are actually read. And that is a nice feeling.And truly makes it worth it to go back to work.