Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sylvia McNicoll Public School

The other day there was a message on my answering machine. "This is Jane Doe from Halton District School Board..." (Jane Doe is being used to protect the identity of the real caller)

My first thought: Ah, Hunter, what have you done wrong. Gee I hope you're okay.

"Your name came up..."

Second thought (the authors reading this will appreciate this line of thinking): Yay, they're hiring me to talk at a professional development day. Mortgage payment, score.

"...because there's a school opening in the fall ...
third thought(still thinking like an author here): Oh a school visit, okay half a mortgage payment. Still it's nice to be asked.

"...and we want to name it after you."

What? No really. The message said to call back immediately. How long had I been gone for?
Of course when I returned the urgent call, Jane Doe was gone so I had to wait, gobsmacked, tidying 'cause you shouldn't have a messy kitchen if someone's going to name a school after you.

Crazy thoughts come into your head. You feel like you should write your memoirs and/or die fairly soon. You feel like you should be a better person. That afternoon I returned my grocery cart from the other end of the strip mall where I had originally parked to go to the bank.
Immature thoughts too: wow, think of all the cool personalized stuff that will be available.
Sylvia McNicoll mugs, Sylvia McNicoll hoodies, Sylvia McNicoll pens--I'll try to buy some of those if they come available.

Jane Doe finally called back and it seems there are three other names in the running, can't remember any others but Dundas Heights.

No I don't think I'm famous enough or all that worthy but, yes, I feel honoured. I drove by and took a photo of the potential Sylvia McNicoll Public School. No matter what it's called, in my heart it will always be mine.

You're Welcome Bruce T Lindley Grade 4

Favourite kids' quote of the thank you card:
"Lots of people may think you're not a professional author, but I think you rock."

And just how many ways are there to spell author wrong!
I love kids' thank you notes. All the authors I know must get them. And each must be told that her/his book is the best. Ah the enthusiasm! Just keep reading kids.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Visiting Bruce T Lindley School

"Are you used to being up at this hour?" the teacher asks me. It may be because I've agreed to her offer of a coffee, explaining that I haven't had my required third of the morning yet. Up until this point, I thought I had been competently connecting my Macbook to the LED projector.
My mixmaster hair is styled messy deliberately. Costs a lot of royalties to keep it this way.
My face is fully made up, teeth brushed etc. It's 9 a.m. and by now I've looked at a couple articles for the magazine I work for, copy edited a chapter of a basketball novel my Norwegian publisher wants to look at (hey I'm losing a whole writing morning to this class), fed my grandson Hunter breakfast and made his lunch, double checked to make sure his homework went into his backpack, walked the dog and packed up all my author visit gear. I know people in 9 to 5 jobs do a lot of stuff in the morning but still I can't help wondering about the public perception of the writer's life from her question. Or her perception of me.
"Oh yes," I answer. "I am an early riser." The first image of my Powerpoint presentation rises up on the screen with no difficulty at all. Ha! I think. When we first approached the idea of me visiting the teacher cautioned me that she knew nothing about technology and that I might be "on my own" getting the projector and computer to communicate.
I should add, we first approached the idea three days prior when Hunter told me I was expected.
The 21 students were a captive audience. Yes, I took the entire first period English as they may have hoped since their book review presentations were due that morning. We all had fun.
The teacher gave me a lovely plant which I will post a photo of a little later when I try my new camera on it.
That afternoon I continued editing articles for Today's Parent Toronto and matching up my basketball novel in text form to the book it was published as. While I walked the dog in between, made supper, went to aqua fit etc, I only put the laptop down at 10:30 p.m.
And here it is 6:30 a.m next day and I'm up and at it again. "Are you rich?" one of the grade fours asked me.
"Not in the way you think I am," I answered.