It was a momentous day in my career as a writer, as that is what I call what I do, as opposed to being just a blogger. Bloggers are writers! We are writers who blog our writings. Anyway, back to my momentous day…. I was asked to come speak to The Baby’s second grade class about creative writing and about writing my blog! I was so excited. I knew that The Baby’s teacher read my blog, because she had emailed me about how much she liked it and related to it with two teenagers of her own. There is just one thing, though….I write how I talk….which is quite, um….sailor-esque. I kind of equated my invitation to speak to the class to Heidi Fleiss being asked to speak about running her own business. Well, maybe not that bad! hehehe 😉 I did know that there probably were some parents (some maybe blog readers 😉 some maybe not!) who, if they knew that this momentous event was going to occur, would probably have tried to put a stop to it. This, in and of itself, made me even more excited. (I am sure that those parents would just have been worried I might let the name of my blog slip and then their kids would sneak online and read the profanity! I did not tell them the name of my blog!) I will say; however, The Baby knows the name of it! Kids these days just know how to access anything on the computer! I decided to take some early examples of my writing. Mothah had put my very first “book”, The Adventures of Lady Clinton in my senior scrapbook, along with a copy of a poem I wrote for the Valentine’s edition of the Hughes News in 7th grade. I grabbed those and a copy of Hobba Hobba Jobba , my collection of short stories I had bound for a creative writing class at the University of Georgia. I also picked up two photo books I had made for my family, because I had also added narratives to the pictures, and those are great examples of creative writing–made easy. The Baby and I set out for his school. He asked to see some of my stuff along the way. I could tell he was looking at the poem because he gasped and said, “MOM! look at this date!” Of course I could not look, as I was driving on 85 S. “It says February 14, 1984! MOM! You were 14 years old!” He said it as if it were 200 years ago. I gripped the steering wheel a little harder than I already was in morning rush hour traffic. “Yep. I was the same age as your sister is right now, ” I said, and I tried to muster a smile. It was very difficult. It seemed like yesterday. Okay. Maybe day before yesterday, but still–not 31 years ago. He babbled a little and I got lost in thought in my head about days of yore at Hughes Middle School in Greenville, SC…. We got to his school and I told him I loved him and I would be back at 9:00am sharp, then I headed straight to Starbucks to get my head on straight.
The teacher was telling the class about me when I got to the classroom door. The students were all seated on the rug–waiting for me. The Baby was sitting in a chair in front of the rest of the class, next to the chair where I would sit. I came in and took my coat off and sat down. Immediately, 9 or 10 hands shot into the air. The teacher told them to put their hands down, as there would be a time for questions when I was finished talking to them. I told the kids that I had known from a very early age that I wanted to write, and I showed them The Adventures of Lady Clinton. The table of contents page is actually typed from my old electric typewriter, so we talked about that, and about correct tape, and how there was no “spell-check” in the olden days…. I told them I could not pass The Adventures of Lady Clinton around because it was an ancient artifact, and it might fall apart. I was being serious about not passing it around because I did not want it to get torn up, but they believed me about the ancient artifact without question. That was somewhat disturbing to me. We moved on to the poem. I showed them the date. They did not gasp in horror, so that was somewhat redeeming. When we got to the collection of short stories, we talked about book binding and how typewriters changed over time. I then opened one of my photo books, and I happened to open it to a page that had a picture of Jack with his 7 inch Mohawk. This is not important right this minute. Remember it for later. I told the class that I had always wanted to write a book, but I had never taken the time. 5 months ago, I decided that I should start a blog, because if I could not even start and maintain a blog, then I would probably never write an actual book. The teacher then helped with a question session. It was quite entertaining. I did get mostly amazing questions. Do you write on your blog every day? No. If I wrote on my blog every day, people would get tired of reading it. If I did not write often enough, people would get tired of waiting for me to write. I try to write on it at least once a week, maybe twice. Where did you get your inspiration from to be a writer? From my Aunt Amy. She is also a writer. She was my English teacher in high school, and taught me how to write. Where did Aunt Amy get her inspiration to write? From famous writers, I think. Then we started to go downhill a little….Where did the famous writers get their inspiration to write? I don’t know. What came first? The chicken or the egg? Then we got to the real doozy: What was my favorite blog post I have ever written? I had to say that my favorite blog post is one I wrote about taking Mini Me (though in class, I used his real name, as that is how the class knows him) to the grocery store and he said a bad word. Of course I should have lied. Because that, my friends, that, opened up a can of worms that I should have expected! But, flaky, artist, airhead that I am……I never saw it coming. Hands shot up into the air right and left like I was playing whack-a-mole on steroids. WHAT WAS THE WORD HE SAID? was what every kid wanted to know, of course! Holy shit. How stupid was I? The teacher tried valiantly to put this fire out. One kid mouthed to me across the room, “DID IT START WITH THE LETTER F?” Oh. MY. GOD. I was laughing. I mouthed back to him, “NO!” “JUST GIVE US THE LETTER IT STARTED WITH!” “NO!” “PLEASE!” “NO!” “WE ARE LITTLE KIDS! WE PROBABLY WON’T GUESS IT ANYWAY!”, one even said. My head was kind of spinning at this point. I looked straight ahead and watched this one little girl, in her sort of metallic longish jacket, sitting in her chair with it leaning back on it’s back legs. She had her legs spread apart and her ankles hooked around the front legs of the chair. Her wildish hair had some colorful streaks in it and she had on a little make up. She stared at me and got her lip gloss out of her pocket and put it on while she watched me. I smiled at her and she smiled back. She reminded me a lot of The Middle Child at that age. Everyone was coming back under control and I made a mental note to try not to make a stupid mistake like that again. These were 7 and 8 year olds, for the love of God. Of course they want to know what bad word Mini Me said! Finally, we moved on. The teacher asked me how important I thought it was to proof read and how important drafts are. I told the class that even after I have proofread a blog post 3 or 4 times, I might publish it and still find something I have to correct, and I correct it. Proofreading and drafts are extremely important! They all groaned. They apparently hate proofreading and drafts. This was not at all surprising. In second grade, it takes some of them forever to write a sentence! Next question: Why did you let Mini Me (but by his real name) get a Mohawk? The teacher put a stop to this one. She said, “We are asking questions about writing, and that is not about writing. I should have known that one was coming too. How many books have I written? None. Unless you mean the paper ones like The Adventures of Lady Clinton. Then probably hundreds! My mother would probably tell you I killed an entire forest, using paper. No, I did not tell them that. I’m telling you that. What was the hardest part about writing your blog? Writing my blog is not hard. It was the technical part! I was determined to buy my own domain and set it up all by myself, with zero help from my computer guru husband or my children, who know far more than I! It was not terribly hard, but I had to learn new stuff. I managed to do it, and I consider it a huge accomplishment! What do you write about? Hmmm…. 😉 That one I had to think about before I spoke…I write about my family and everyday life. Sometimes I write stories from when I was growing up. Have you ever written a story about your entire family? I think so. I think maybe the one about The Santa Photo has all of us in it-I would have to go back and read it again. Then, I think maybe my favorite question….When you write, do you sit down and think about what you are going to write or does it come to you like AHA! THAT’S WHAT I’M GOING TO WRITE ABOUT! My answer was BOTH! I had to say that if it comes to me like AHA!, if I am driving, I have to hope I remember it later! If it is something really, really good that I am super excited about, I might pull over and write the topic down in the notes section on my phone. I explained that I don’t really have a set time to write every day. I may not finish something in one swoop. I have to stop to do laundry or drive carpool or cook dinner. I urged them all to make the time for their passions like writing when they get a little older. I have to say that I was quite impressed by my captive, yet very engaged audience. One kid even asked the teacher if they could go write after I left. The teacher and I both told the kids that there are places where kids can blog for free, but we both told the kids that they should never do anything like that without their parent’s permission. They all thanked me for coming and I thanked them for having me. I hugged The Baby goodbye and told him I loved him. As I was leaving, I felt a tug on my sleeve. I turned around and that same kid from earlier was standing there. He whispered, “Come on, just tell me what that word started with! That word Mini Me said in the grocery store– I won’t tell anybody–I promise!” Don’t worry. I did not tell him.