November 21st, 2006


You Can Go Home Again

Two weeks ago, I went to my old school to address the Middle School News. At Chapin, Middle School is Grades 4-7, and News is something dreamed up by Our Illustrious Founder, Miss Chapin, in something like 1902, designed to accustom the future Committee-Ladies and Wives of Famous Men she was educating to public speaking. When I was at Chapin, every girl in the Middle School had to speak at news at least once a year, for 3 minutes (I think). You could use notes, but you couldn't read out your presentation or memorize it.

I remember being terrified out of my wits.

This memory stood me in good stead when I was preparing to Do News again as an adult (I wrote about it). But it made the first couple of moments of the presentation itself a lot more uncomfortable than they perhaps needed to be, as I was swept back by memory to that heart-thumping, mouth-drying moment of terror. Then I said some stuff (I don't remember what), and it was OK again. And the girls (all 200+ of them) were attentive, and applauded the little things I'd written for them, and asked really interesting questions and gathered around me when they were filing out, and generally made me feel loved and appreciated, which is all a writer really wants out of life. Apart from a bigger advance on their next book, that is.

And Chapin blogged it: