Friday, February 3, 2012

First School Visit Rocked!!

Last night I had my first school event. It was a Writing Celebration at Ford Middle School in Tacoma. I have never seen a school so devoted to writing in my life. It was amazing. The entire cafeteria was full of written work from the students and across the different academic fields. The red and blue boxes you see to the right are writings based on the amendments. They chose an amendment and wrote why it's important, then embellished the boxes with artwork.

The picture below is a display of Mathlentines. The kids used mathmatically terms to write a love poem. It was so cool. They wrote things like, "we're like parallel lines, always side by side." Really cute idea.

The picture to the right is a writing quilt. Another awesome idea. After getting to look around a bit. I headed to the library (with my friend Angela, who totally rocks. She went with me to collect money for book sales).

At first there was no one there and I was a little worried, but after an announcement was made in the cafeteria, people started to filter in and soon enough the room was pretty full. Eighth grade Humanities teacher Beneva Johnson had invited me. She told the audience about my book, then introduced me.

When planning, I went back and forth about what to talk about. I decided that the parents and kids might be interested in the publishing process, so I talked about the basic elements of a story. Then talked about the editing process. I talked about using the internet to find an agent, as well as subsequent rejection. Then on to getting a publisher, line edits, copy edits, first pass pages, arcs, and finally a book. Talked about how the job doesn't end there. You still need to get people to read it.

The crowd was genuinely interested.

They had some pre made up questions from one of the English classes. Stuff about writing and reading, then there were a couple different question, what is a typical day like, and what kind of student were you. um...

Then we had Q&A. The parents and kids asked tons of questions. One kid even asked what year I was born, to which her mother gasped. lol. I shot silicone bracelets out to the audience when they asked a question as incentive, and handed out other swag. They really seemed to like it.

They raffled off three books. The winners are in the picture to the right. They seemed very excited. Apparently I'm shorter than most middle school kids and their parents. I sold a couple books, and signed a few and then called it a night.

I'm going back in a couple weeks to talk to a small group of future writers. I'm really looking forward to it.

I thank Beneva Johnson and Ford Middle School for the opportunity. I'm not only looking forward to going back there, but also to the other schools on my calendar!
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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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