I got the dreaded call from my 2nd grader's teacher the other day, "Would you come in and tell the kids what it's like to be a real author?" I immediately recalled the movie CITYSLICKERS, where Billy Crystal went into his kid's class for career day.
The dad who talked before him was a firefighter, and he told stories of saving people from burning infernos. Then it was Billy Crystal's turn. He got up to explain what a radio ad executive does selling airtime. It was hilarious, at the time, but now it was my turn to go to the career day, and I hated the thought I was going to wind up sounding like Mr. Crystal. Every dad wants his kids to be proud of him.
So I thought...
Who likes to hear stories of how authors write books? Kids want to hear stories, not the process it took to write the story. And, to add insult to injury, the teacher asked me to spend the most time talking about the editorial process. (I guess they got their short stories back the other day with a few more red marks than most anticipated.) So now, not only am I NOT saving people from fiery furnaces, now I have to talk about the most boring part of writing, the edit!
UGGHH I hate editing.
In fact, back in college Jamie did some editing for an English paper I was writing. The afternoon she finished her initial review, we went to lunch and she started the conversation by saying, "Well, it was interesting!"
When an editor says, "Well, it was interesting," you're in for a long haul of work.
In any event, I went to the classroom, talked about writing, left a few books if they were interested in picking them up later, and left feeling pretty good about the meeting. They were all very respectful, and they all had vivid imaginations that would make for GREAT acquisitions in a publishing world. (Kids just think up some of the coolest stories.)
Well, it was a few days after career day, I got a call from a mom. "My son Elliot is reading Love This! and he LOVES IT!"
"Really?" I asked.
"Yea, he's on page 154 and can't get enough of it."
"WOW!! that's awesome"
And I couldn't help but wonder if he was "getting" the message, or if he was just trying to impress my 2nd grade daughter who happens to be in the same class? But the more I probed the mom for what he was understanding, she continued to tell me, he's getting it.
What a joy!
Sometimes I sit at the computer and wonder if anyone will ever read what I write, and here; God sent a 2nd grader to show me that the words in print are going to set the stage for many generations to come.
I needed that encouragement today! It was great.
So, last night Elliot was over at the house and I thought I'd take his picture, and share his story with the world. LOVE THIS! read by a second grader. HA!!!! That's awesome! And who knows...maybe the world can be a little better place as we learn to love those who are the hardest to love!