St. Scho Westgrove English Month Culminating Activity

I just got home from the Saint Scholastica's College Westgrove's English Month Culminating Activity (say that ten times fast) where I gave a talk on writing a novel in 30 days.

Fresh out of college, St. Scho was the first school that hired me. I taught junior and senior English there for one and a half years. It was my very first job, and I'd have to say that it was the best environment for a fresh grad to be in.

Six years later, they have invited me to be a part of their English Month Culminating Activity. It was an honor to be there, not only to talk a little bit about my books, but to help inspire young minds to pursue what they love, be it be writing or whatever it is that makes them happy.

Since I just finished putting a workshop for writing a novel in 30 days, I thought I would incorporate the techniques I discussed in the MUSE workshop in my talk. To my surprise, a majority of the girls attending the talk are actually budding writers themselves.

I love being able to mold young minds. I may not stand in front of a class anymore on a daily basis, but I still take the opportunity to be a part of speaking engagements. It's so much better now because the pressure is off. I don't have any lessons to plan and papers to grade. I get the best part of the process where I stand and  teach the students.

Once I finished the talk, I was asked to read a potion of Taste. I decided on a part of chapter one because their school is the inspiration for that section of the novel. The ringing of the bell that Phoenix wakes up to is actually something that is done in St. Scho every afternoon to signal to the students that they can't roam around campus anymore.

After reading the excerpt came the Q&A. It was such a pleasure answering the students' questions. I actually didn't expect that there would be that many who would stand up, go up to the mic, and actually ask me questions. It took courage to stand up in front of their classmates and ask a question. So I applaud the ladies that did. Sir Gene, the friend and colleague who invited me to speak, actually had to cut the Q&A short because they still had other events after mine.

Then, for the very first time in my life, I was given a framed certificate of appreciation. I damn near cried. For so many years I sat in the audience watching speakers being given that same certificate--in different incarnations, of course--and now I'm one of those people. It's like being awarded an Oscar after watching it for so many years from home. Well, maybe not exactly, but you get the gist.

At the end of the activity came my very favorite part: signing books for the kids. Since a lot of them weren't prepared to buy a copy of Taste, they have requested that I return tomorrow and continue the signing. So, I will be back, copies of Taste in tow, for the students who want to grab a copy.

Of course, an event wouldn't be complete without having my Momager there. Here's how she keeps me grounded. I'm the speaker of the event, and yet I am the one who drivers her there and holds the umbrella over her head to keep her out of the sun when we walked to the gym. This is what she said, "You can become J.K Rowling and still you will have to drive me around, carry my things, and hold an umbrella over my head." And who am I to object. "I didn't scream in pain for sixteen hours to bring you into this world not to have you be at my beck and call," she adds. That's my Momager for you. *laughs*

And before I left campus, we ran into one of my old students who is now a Kindergarten teacher at St. Scho. All she did was smile at me and I suddenly got wrangled into being the Story Teller for tomorrow's simultaneous reading for the Kindergartners to Sixth Grade. *le sigh* Such is my life.

So, not only do I have a book signing tomorrow, I have a reading too. I have to say that I'm so very excited.

The best part would have to be when we ran into a group of Sixth Graders. One of them was holding a well-loved copy of my book. Apparently she was the daughter of Sir Gene, who purchased a copy for himself but was subsequently taken hostage by his daughter. When he told the group that I was the author, they simultaneously squealed in delight. I'd never been screamed at with adoration before and was promptly told that they were all Team Demitri. *laughs*

It warms the heart to be among those who have read and have appreciated the reading of something you wrote.

Surreal is the best word for it.    

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome! Sounds like you had a great time. :D Good luck at the signing and story time tomorrow. :D


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