I have been nobbled.
My daughter’s teacher has asked me to come in for Book Week and read Dragon’s Dinner to Reception and year 1. And then entertain them for half an hour. - Great, looking forward to it.
And then I could stay on and entertain the elder kids, perhaps a rhyming workshop? - Okey dokey
Oh yes, and then for the oldest children, creative writing with a quick look at how to get published – Err… Right.
I have come over all nervous at the prospect. Partly because it will be my first author visit, partly because while chatting to the teacher I was in her domain, sitting on a tiny chair, wearing my knees as earrings. There is something about teachers. In the way that there is something about policemen – they make you guilty – not of anything in particular, it’s just general guilt. Teachers are full of ‘must try harder’, ‘see me later’ and, of course, ... expectation.
I am under a burden of expectation. The daughter, not known for being backwards in coming forwards, has 'bigged' me up all over the playground. She is five. If I don’t come through, I know she will be as refreshingly honest as a bucket of ice…
The illustrator of Dragon’s Dinner, Lynne Chapman, is an old hand at such events. She is booked so regularly I’m amazed she has time to put her smock on. She has also withstood my interrogations as to her technique with patience and kindness. Though sadly I’m not quite up to creating fantastical characters on a flip chart, more’s the pity, for it has to be more dynamic than seeing me at work. Type - screen - tea - type - window - type - kill fly - stare - type - cold tea - stretch - type - shout “I’ll be there in a minute, I just want to get this down” - type…
In preparation for the big day I went to see how the big guns do it. Lauren Child was giving a talk at a local Book Fair. If you went too and noticed someone with a faint air of panic, feverishly scribbling notes, it was me.
Even Lauren had to start somewhere, but at the moment I’m just looking forward to an event where I do not share DNA with the audience.