When I was 15, they brought a Real Live Author into my school – a castle in Wales (it’s called Bodelwyddan Castle and hasn’t been a school for a while now.)
The library where she talked to us was a glorious old dark-wood-panelled room, great arched multi-paned windows with slightly imperfect glass looking out over the gravel path and the great trees outside. She stood in front of us and told it like it is — the waiting, the frustration, the blood and sweat and tears …
…and through it all the light of angels was in her face, and it was obvious how much she loved it all anyway.
That was one of the seminal moments of my life and I thought, “Yes. That. I want THAT.” And then, almost as an afterthought, “Perhaps some day I can make someone ELSE feel this way.”
Fast forward almost thirty years. The library is very different – a bank of computers on one side, its furnishings modern and economical, its windows looking out on a concrete courtyard. There are kids in the library, on rows of chairs, spilling onto the floor when the chairs ran out, sitting bright-eyed and alert, an author speaking about writing sitting in front of them.
Except this time… the author is me.
I spoke to some 90 6th graders and then after that another 45 or so 7th graders about writing in general and my own books. Afterward I received a latter from the librarian who had arranged the event which included a page of 6th-grader testimonials with it.
One of them thought my accent was “awesome”, bless her cotton socks.
But there were three that took me back to that fifteen-year-old girl in the gathering twilight listening to her life unfolding before her with a whisper of promise and pain:
**”When she talked about the writing process it really helped me.”
**”I am not a fantasy type person until [she] came to EMS and told me all the details that make a story marvelous.”
**”She really inspired me to start writing my own action/adventure books.”
One day, once upon a time, I dreamed that one day I would live the life of words, and that I might pass on the love of it to others.
And now I have.