Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Schooly J

I was going to blog about another pair of hideous newspaper shoes (hold tight for that masterpiece), but the picture of the shoes is upstairs and you know what that means.  Instead, I'm here on my blogging chair, ready to tell you about my two recent school visits.  These were not author school visits in the sense that I went as an author and spoke as an author and people applauded and bought my books.  These were school visits for research for the GET WELL SOON sequel, to lend authenticity to a couple of things so that I don't look like a moron.  The first visit was to my Alma mater, Buffalo Grove High School.  I went to check out their photography studio, which I assumed changed since I graduated eighteen years ago.  I was happy to see that they still had a darkroom, although not the darkroom that I used.  Sadly, that was torn down to make more space for other stuff, so there was a newer, fancier darkroom for the students.  It made me feel less nostalgic (not that I am ever nostalgic for my high school days, just that I loved the darkroom and the comforting, um, darkness it provided) with a different darkroom, but glad that kids still had the option of old school picture developing.  It also meant that I could keep some darkroom scenes I have already written in the sequel.  The students I spoke with, AP Photo students (damn, I wish they had that when I was in high school!) were incredibly helpful, showing me the digital equipment they had to work with and explaining how they use both film and digital for different projects.

While at my old high school, I decided to stop by my old English teacher's room to say hello and show her I had made something of myself in the English realm (that sounds like I am some British royalty.  I am not.).  I knew she would still be there because she was only in her early twenties when she taught me.  Plus, I found her name online.  She was super excited to see me, and I met her husband (maybe he works there?) and gave her my books.  I hope she gets in touch with me after she reads them.  I'd feel like Lamey Lamerson if she didn't.

The other school I visited was Fremd High School, the same one where I read the hilarious Krispy Kreme scene from INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER in front of 500 students.  There I met with an English teacher to discuss CATCHER IN THE RYE.  This is a novel that I read in high school immediately after leaving a mental hospital, and I was curious to hear his interpretation of the book as well as how students of today discuss it.  I sat in on an English class and took copious notes.  The teacher was incredibly nice and made me feel at ease with all of my inane questions.  He will for sure get a mention in the acks.

So those were my research visits.  I thought I would have more time to blather on (I have blathered enough!), but Romy is up from her nap an hour early.  Shazam!  I must go!  Back!  Back!   Back to school again....


Brian James said...

Wow...you actually venture into schools for research. That's brave. I'm impressed.

In my first novel, my HS english teacher was the basis for the teacher in the book. I ran into him a few years later and he had read the book. He knew it was it him. He said he was reading it and said to himself, "Wait, I think this is me. Yeah. It is me!"

Julie H said...

Was it a flattering portrayal of him?

I work in a middle school. High schoolers are cake compared to middle schoolers.