Back From Hackmatack

May 9, 2017

Here I am on a Tuesday morning sitting in my office which is exactly where I want to be. Back from my Hackmatack tour I am ready to process that experience and my writing as this writing season winds down and comes to an end. Last year on this very day I sent the work of the last few months to my publisher. I was still revising and believing in the value of Maple Sugar Pie, hoping to see it take shape and to hold it in my hands. Reading those musings fills me with gratitude and the confidence that if I do the work, and believe in the work it takes shape in its proper time.Last week I was given the privilege of presenting in four schools as part of the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award 2017 .I traveled to the beautiful towns of Mahone Bay and Lunenberg. Chris Pottie was a wonderful host as she met me at Bayview Community School where her husband is principal. The kids were great! Chris then drove me to Bluenose Academy where presented to two groups. My favorite question there was ‘What do you think makes a good book?’ There I bought a book from the young author Breton Hayden. Her and her dad have written a delightful book titled Coffee Talk:Project Special Day. I look forward to giving that book to my son in law for Father’s Day. Chris and I had a lovely lunch in Lunenberg and then stopped in to Lexicon Books. There I bought ‘The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis’. I drove to Halifax in the fog, happy to arrive at the Lord Nelson Hotel and park, not having to drive again until I was on my way home. Tuesday night I had supper with my cousin Jan. Wednesday morning a cab took me to Aldernay Gate where I met Ashlee and she drove me to Upper Musquodoboit. I walked into the school of my dreams. Small student population, bright welcoming building, staff beaming with pride and the realization of the treasure these walls hold. The kids were absolutely delightful. The first group were P,1,2,3. I quickly learned their names and the time flew by. My favorite question in this group was ‘Is your husband really scary?’ There’s a story behind that question. Scary in the nicest possible way is all I’ll say. The next classroom held Libbie, Maggie, Chloe,Grace,Aubrey, Serena,Lily,Cameron,Tia,Colton and Keaton. If an author wants to feels appreciated go visit this class. They were thrilled to have an author come to visit. My favorite question here was’ Can you read more?’ Ashlee and I had a quick lunch and then made our way to Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre. The grade sixes from Upper Musquodoboit were visiting there for orientation and I met them first.
Gavin, Connor,Jesse,Alex,Emma ,Mitchell,Carmen,Piper, Bria,Brianna, Ethan and their teacher Mrs. Barrett had read The Memory Chair and they were bursting with praise and questions. More kids filed in ,the group too large to learn all their names but Danaan and CJ introduced themselves. Danaan quickly showed herself to be the resident expert on The Memory Chair showing as much enthusiasm for the book as any author could hope for. Then the little kids came. I worried that I would not have enough energy for them as they didn’t appear weary at all even though the school day was winding down. The 50 kids shared their energy with me and I gave it my all. They were bursting with questions. I would like to share all twenty of their great questions. They ranged from personal ones like “Do you have a dog or cat? and what are their names? to “Who is your publisher? , Do you write every day? What book are you writing next?’ They showed genuine interest in the entire process making me believe reading, writing and books are in no danger of disappearing. So I have just hit the high points of my school visits and haven’t even talked about the actual Hackmatack Awards Gala. I will save that for my next entry.I want to write today!


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