I’m a big believer in that cliché (rule) that every day you should do something that scares you. Every time I step in front of a podium, or look into a TV camera, or go to a doctor’s office, or try to parallel park in New York, I think to myself, “Susan, you are a better person for having done this.” However, sometimes you have to do things just because they are fun. Which is why I went to a school a few weeks ago to meet up with some second graders.
The Fiction Class is not really appropriate for second graders and I knew I was not going to be selling many (any) books, but the teacher had said that the students had never met an author and the school happened to be in the part of Queens near where I grew up and I figured what the heck. There’s no pressure here; the only reason to do it is because it’s fun. And I do love kids.
The moment I walked into the school, my ego felt nourished. There was a security guard and she checked my ID and beamed at me and said “You’re the author?” And I said, “I am!” Then two little sprites ran across the lobby and scooped me up and led me up a steep flight of steps, but I didn’t collapse, and then into a class room. The great thing about kids is that when you ask a question, everyone raises his or her hand. There is so much enthusiasm. I met with three separate second grade classes and we did all sorts of naming exercises: What’s a good name for a bully? For a ballerina? For a police officer? They were fascinated by the process of writing, and intrigued by the fact that I had managed to fill 300 pages. Best of all were the thank you notes I received a few days later, just filled with love and gratitude and interesting questions: Don’t your hands get tired? Reading through those letters, I felt as much pleasure as I’ve felt about anything lately (except for seeing my beautiful daughter get ready for the prom and my son win a major award at his middle school, etc.)
This Saturday (June 14) I will be doing something a little more nerve-wracking, which is that I will be reading at the KGB Bar on 85 E. 4th Street in Manhattan at 7:00. (I’m giving all these details because it is my great hope that many friendly people will show up.) I should be fairly easy to spot. I will be the short woman having an anxiety attack in front of the microphone. Be sure to say hello!
How about you? Have you done anything lately to make yourself happy?