I just got back from a guest stint at Rutgers University’s Creative Writing: MIddle Grade & YA Fiction workshop. Don’t believe me? Here—I have photographic evidence:
So this marks the second time I’ve braved cracking open the book in front of a live audience and reading from it. I was petrified. I thought these guys were going to eat me alive, given the fact that, you know, they’re going to school to write these kinds of books. Writing workshop students can smell your fear. They eat the weaker writers. I was done for.
But guess what? They dug it. I got up in front of the class and hooted and hollered through a few chapters. During the reading, one student and I got into a crazy call-and-response together. I love stuff like that. The discussion afterwards was so overwhelmingly positive, I felt a certain weight lift off the shoulders (“You like me! You really, really like me!”). If the rest of my readings are as much of a blast as this one was, this book tour is gonna rock.
After class was done, a few students stayed after to chat. One student told me that he’d had the exact same fantasy of running rampant through his school when nobody was around, which made me realize that I wasn’t the only kid who dreamed of wreaking havoc in the hallways. It’s a relief to hear that I’m not alone. Now… it’s time to find more likeminded readers out there.
To Alex Dawson — thank you for letting me wreck your class this morning. To the students — thank you for your kind words, your enthusiasm, and your willingness to share. You guys were some of the first to hear this book out loud, so thanks for being the best guinea pigs around. Consider yourself all honorary members of the Tribe… To the law of claw and fang!
April 9, 2013Related: The Tribe: Homeroom Headhunters
“Clay McLeod Chapman’s wonderful “Half and Half,” about a happy hermaphrodite, is worthy of composers Kander and Ebb.”
— Portland Tribune