Wednesday, August 12, 2009

10 Most Memorable School Visit Moments: #8

Every school I've had the privilege of speaking at has given me a great experience. Some have given me a great story, too.

“Eleven in Two Days”

years: 2008, 2009
state: Connecticut

No, not eleven schools—but eleven presentations.

After a January 2008 school visit that a newspaper covered, I got a call from a librarian who asked if I could do a cartooning workshop at her public library. (I spend most of my work hours writing, but I do also continue to draw single panel cartoons for magazines, something I was devoting much more time to in the early 2000s.)

Though I wish money and distance were never factors, the reality was that this library was too far to drive for a single appearance. However, I did ask her for a preferred date and said I’d come if I could book a school or two around it.

I ended up booking four.

Now this is rare, at least in my experience. It’s rare because it’s tough to do. Between testing, vacations, field trips, other assemblies, and so on, a school typically has a limited number of possible dates for an author presentation. So it's a long shot when an author contacts a school and says “I will be in town only on May 7. Are you interested and available?”

I scheduled two schools for a Wednesday and the other two schools plus the library for the next day. The night between, I'd stay at an old bed and breakfast.

First school was a 9 a.m. start—and was nearly two hours away. I like to arrive at least 20 minutes in advance to allow time to both set up and fix any possible problems. So this meant leaving by 6:30 a.m. That’s early for the average writer, normal for people with salaried jobs—or small children. Luckily, I have one of the two.

Day 1, school 1: presentations at 9, 9:45, and 11 a.m.
Day 1, school 2: 12:45, 1:20, and 2:10 p.m.
Day 1, after school: matinee of Iron Man

I was the only guest at the bed and breakfast, it was not haunted, and I was in bed by 9 p.m.

Day 2, choice of shampoos: kiwi, green apple, or carrot root
Day 2, school 1: 9, 9:50, 10:25 a.m.
Day 2, school 2: 12:45 p.m.
Day 2, library 1: 4 p.m.
Day 2, after library: interviewed by newspaper

Each school was gracious for their flexibility in working out this schedule. And, as always, I didn’t feel tired while presenting—but on the ride home, I do often pull into a rest stop or parking lot for a 20-minute nap.

Eleven months later to the very day, elsewhere in Connecticut, I had another five-in-forty-eight-hours. This time, all five were schools and I presented only a single time at each. It was as fun as the previous two-day stamina-tester, yet slightly less exhausting…and mercifully, the schedule was arranged entirely by someone else (an arts center).

Read #7.

Read the whole countdown.


Jody Feldman said...

I have 32 in 9 days this October. Thankfully a weekend break. So the one question I have, how do you keep your voice.

The more important question, kiwi, green apple or carrot root?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

I usually go through at least two bottles of water an hour.

As for your most important question, isn't it obvious? The most manly of the three.

Jody Feldman said...

Oh, so kiwi.