Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My 15 Minutes of Fame

by Sariah S. Wilson

If Andy Warhol was right and we each get 15 minutes of fame, I'm afraid I had mine this week at my son's school.

My 8-year-old's teacher asked me if I would mind coming in and talking to the class about writing. They're currently studying fiction and non-fiction writing and she thought it would be fun to have a "real" author come and speak.

I had to bring the baby in with me (as she is vehemently opposed to anyone other than Mommy taking care of her) and my son enjoyed getting to hold her and showing her off to his class.

So I talked to them about writing. I asked how many of them had ever thought of being writers. Without exception, every single hand shot into the air.

I taught them about conflict and how to play the what if game. I talked about how writing was hard and the industry was hard, but that if they kept trying, they would reach their goal. Anything worth having was worth working hard for.

We talked about the covers and about titles and about research.

I told them why I had become a writer in the first place (although trying to explain the promptings of the Spirit to a secular group is a little hard to pull off).

They had so many questions (and of course these savvy kids wanted to know about advances and just how much I was paid for each book) and wanted to tell me about their own books and what they were working on. One girl even came up to show me her latest story. I tried to encourage them in all their endeavors and to keep writing every day.

This wasn't a situation where I'd had much time to prepare. Plus I'd never done a school presentaton before. I think next time I might contact a YA or children's author to get some ideas on what to talk about.

The kids did ask me to read a passage from my book. So I picked some of a fight scene from my first book, and when I stopped there was a groan of disappointment and they asked me to keep going. I did, but it got bogged down by story details that they couldn't understand (and they kept adorably mispronouncing the words Zarahemla and Lamanite). I finally had to trail off when I saw that I was losing their attention, which taught me that next time I should have a passage highlighted and ready to go that would be easy to keep track of and would exclude story-related narrative so that it could be a stand alone scene.

But I tried to wrap up my remarks after we'd all been chatting for 45 minutes. I had my son pass out bookmarks and pens (I thought the kids would love getting some goodies - they did!). While he was doing so, one of the boys came up to me with a piece of paper and asked if he could have my authograph. Too cute. So with a smile I signed his paper for him. Then one of the girls who overheard this asked if I would sign her bookmark. Several others thought this to be a good idea and the word spread throughout the entire class. The kids who had sat down jumped back up for the chance to get their bookmark signed.

It was like something off of a red carpet walk - I had this crowd of people all thrusting their bookmarks and pens at me, asking me to sign them. It was so much fun, and I enjoyed every second of it as I realized that this was probably the only time in my life such a thing would happen. I got to pretend to be famous. Hurray for the obligatory "15 minutes!"

And sure enough, a minute later the teacher instructed her students to line up single file so that I could sign each and every bookmark. So I transitioned from fame-induced frenzy to giddy booksigning to make sure that all those kids would have a story to tell their parents that night, and that they would hopefully have a fun memory of the time an author came to their class.

Although, admittedly it is sort of depressing that my 15 minutes are up. But they were great while they lasted!

Have you ever had an experience that made you feel a little bit famous?


At 1/27/2008 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww children are so cute! Sorry, I've never had a "famous" experience.

At 1/29/2008 2:35 PM, Blogger Worldbuilder Robin said...

I did get a standing ovation at my Eagle Scout Court of Honor. That was a humbling and yet thrilling experience!


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