Going on a tour is a bit like surviving a war. It’s all about managing energy, pacing, and keeping yourself fresh. Thankfully, I’ve done a lot of tours, writer-in-residences, and writing camps, so I have some well-established and prove strategies. Of course, there are some things you simply just can’t control.
Like technology. And audience! Thursday was my fifth day out of the last six presenting and so far I’ve had no presentation glitches. (Yes, I’ve gotten lost a few times, but that’s to be expected.) Today at my presentation at the Toronto Public Library, I couldn’t get my computer and the projector to talk, mostly because the cord we were using had some damaged pins. I was just about to abandon my Powerpoint altogether, when the pesky pin in question popped into place and—voilà—we had presentation!
This, of course, was also the day that the organizers of the TD Children’s Book Week tour popped down to see me in action. I guess that’s Murphy’s Law. If I hadn’t been able to get the presentation running, I would have resorted to the back-up of just story telling with the kids. This would have worked well enough, but I’m pleased that the organizers got to see an example of what I normally do.
As for the kids, they started off as a quiet bunch. I always find that a little nerve-wracking because it’s hard to get a read on how they are liking my material. But they warmed up eventually, especially during our interactive brainstorming activity to design characters. During this point stories began spilling forth from their pictures. What I mean by that is that they just didn’t have drawings; in many cases, they began making notes or charts to go along with their characters. I found that really exciting!
Questions also began spilling forth. My favourite question from today was, “How did you find the courage to try and get published. My answer: “When you are afraid of not trying more than you are afraid of the possibility of failing.” Here are some of their characters the kids designed: Tomorrow is the last day of the tour. I can hardly believe it’s almost over!