And this fits in with my musings on Shannon Hale’s post about school visits.
(By the way I feel bashful publicly replying to asks that praise me… as if it’s saying WHY YES, CORRECT, EXCELLENT OBSERVATION OF ME! … but if you are one of the LOVELY PEOPLE who have sent one I do get them! Thank you!)
And thank you, lovely lovely anon. I’m so glad you had fun when I came, and so glad you remember me. You’re extremely nice to say so. Basically you are amazing and should feel amazing about yourself!
For school visits usually contain three kinds of kids in one class:
a) kids who are like, well, I don’t read much, but hey, I’m missing class. Don’t want them to be bored! (GOOFY STORIES TIME.)
b) kids who have a mild interest. Want to make them have more interest!
c) kids who read a lot, or write, and who often really want to ask questions. Want to let them know it is AWESOME to ask questions.
Really, want to encourage everyone to ask questions, because then I’ll be telling them stuff they actually have an interest in knowing. Or at least, they can pretend interest while plotting for more sweets, and enough people will be asking questions so those people who really want to ask questions won’t feel self-conscious.
(PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN ME IN BOOKSTORES: But this is an outrage. Where are our sweets?
SARAH: I, you know, we all came to the bookshop for a literary discourse, I wanted us all to keep our dignity…
PSMIB: What dignity? You pretended to be buried alive behind a bookcase! You did a little dance about Libba Bray’s books! You balanced a book on your head! You gave out fake spoilers about everybody else’s books. You rolled all around on the floor in a dress! You tried to kill Margi Stohl! YOU STRIPPED!
… everything I just said except one thing was true, but WHICH ONE?…
SARAH: … That’s a very fair point. Do you guys want sweets? I can bring sweets.)
Anyway, that’s my genius school visits plan. I have one move! Goofy stories and throwing sweets. I once beaned a girl in the face with a tube of Smarties. (Smarties are not the answer.)
And often it turns out super well, and people keep asking lots of questions long after the sweets run out. Some questions are from those who clearly have my number: ‘Sarah! Have you ever been ARRESTED?’
And of course, sometimes you still get the fisheye of boredom. When I was starting out, just like with everything else, I had nooo idea of what I was doing. I can’t run scripted, because I want it to be all spontaneous and fun, and anyway if I forgot one sentence I’d just end up going… ‘Stop looking at me! I didn’t forget! YOU forgot.’
Sometimes you still get the fisheye of boredom. Sometimes worse. Once I had a banana thrown at my head. (Et tu, Banana?)
But I try, and I like doing them, and messages like this, letting me know I got it right once or twice, Make It All Worthwhile.
And that’s how I school visit.