How I Became the Most Famous Woman Alive (in my head) (for one week)

Last week I did a fiction residency at Epiphany Catholic School in Coon Rapids, MN.

(Here’s me holding a whiteboard marker that I was about to start waving around as either a lightsaber or a magic wand. One or the other.)

On my very first day, after talking to a group of fourth graders about stories, and cheering them on as they wrote stories of their own, a little girl gave me a big hug, and said this: “You are as pretty as Sarah Palin.” She smiled. “Almost,” she added – yanno. To keep it real.

And while – most people who read this blog probably guessed this – I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the ex-governor, nor would I expect that she and I would agree on a single thing if we were ever in the same room – it was certainly evident that as far as this little girl was concerned, she was giving me the highest of compliments. And I appreciated it.

(though really…..the “almost” does sting. I could out-cute Sarah Palin with one arm tied behind my back and hopping on one foot.)

But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that for one week – perhaps the only week of my life – I was a total rock star. There were posters of my serious-looking mug all over the school (like, about twenty of them), and the kids throughout the school knew that I’d be paying all of them a visit sometime during the week.

Whenever I walked by, children pointed. They gasped. They whispered in one another’s ear. They asked for my autograph (I didn’t have the heart to tell them that once I wrote on the paper, the autograph was worth less than the original paper it was written on. Who puts value on a scribbled piece of paper?). Kids ran up to me from halfway down the hall and gave me a hug. They squealed when they realized that my nonfiction books were in the library (“The library!!” they gasped.)

They listened to me read.

Okay, fine, they weren’t really listening at that point, because they were working so hard on the stories they wanted to share with me. And share they did. I have around seventy hand-written pages in my bag of student stories – lovingly written, then shoved into my hands. They giggled and blushed. They needed me to read them. Look how hard they worked! 

I’ve written here before how I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, cool. Still, for that week, those kids declared me cool. And I’ll hang onto it.

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5 thoughts on “How I Became the Most Famous Woman Alive (in my head) (for one week)

  1. A friend was just telling me on our walk today about how a poet came to her school 30+ years ago and how, even though my friend didn’t grow up to be a poet or a writer of any sort, she still remembers it so vividly, the way it felt to work with a real writer, and to have a writer read her poem. That’s you! I’m glad you had a good week! Love that the library is still a sacred place!

    • Oh, Madelyn, that is so cool! I’m going to share that with my teaching artist colleagues. Our time with the kids is exhausting and exhilarating and brief, and I sometimes worry that our experience with them has a one-sided benefit – the beneficiary in this scenario being *me*. I get a ridiculous amount of creative energy from these visits. It’s nice to know that they carry something forward with them as well.

  2. Cool beans! I know my kids LOVE to go to author signings when the author actually READS to them. It’s one of those amazing moments they don’t forget.

    And completely NOT on topic – but those boots rock, girl. I’ve got to find me some!

  3. Thrift stores are the WAY to shop! I don’t have tons of money, so I love the challenge and blessing of finding something I didn’t expect to find for WAY less than I could have found it anywhere else.

    It’s fun! I’ve turned my girlies into thrift store shoppers, too. They get WAY more clothes when we shop there.

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