In a couple of days, I will be visiting some students at New Heights Charter School in Los Angeles. Though most of my appearances have been at book fairs, libraries, and book stores, I never pass up the opportunity to sit down with students in a classroom environment.
School visits are a different kind of appearance. When I go to visit a school, getting people to buy my book becomes a secondary concern. I am more interested in sharing my love of writing with the students that I meet. I want them to understand the creative joy and satisfaction that comes from writing, rather than viewing it as a chore. I want them to understand the process that makes for good writing, and that being a strong writer will be an asset wherever life takes them.
When I do these kinds of visits, I like to talk about my journey as a writer. I talk about the importance of writing, which I think is sometimes lost. It’s a weird paradox, but I sometimes think that as much as people write and as many venues as there are for that writing to be seen and read, our collective appreciation for and valuing of writing is fading away.
Of course, writing and reading are so intertwined. It is because I love to read that I want to write. Because I love to read, I write well. So part of this whole writing endeavor for me is create books that nurture a love of reading. I believe, naively perhaps, that if children can only learn to love reading that they will understand and appreciate the art of writing all the more.
So, I like to stress these things to a school audience. Get ’em while they’re young. That’s my motto.
See you Friday New Heights!