“What’s the best thing about being a writer?” the grade 6 presenter-of-the-class-questions asked.
I can’t remember how I answered, but what I should have said is, simply, “You are.”
By which I mean – the most fun and rewarding perk of writing for young people has got to be invitations to spend time in their company.
That’s what had me making the short commute across town a few days ago to visit a grade 6 class at St. George Elementary School, in New Brunswick, Canada, where I principal-ed for a few years, to talk about writing, its joys and sorrows, frustrations and rewards, and some of the travels it’s brought me, and to share some kind gifts of traditional clothing I brought home from Ethiopia.
The students were armed with a set of questions (What’s the best thing about being a writer? What’s the worst thing about being a writer? How long does it take to write a book? Where do ideas for stories come from? When did you start writing?) which were put to me by the presenter-of-the-class-questions mentioned above. The students, like all the young people I meet in school visits, were kind enough to listen carefully and patiently to my sometimes incoherent answers, and followed up with more questions, all the time with an air of mannerly attention that would put plenty of adult institutions – think political institutions – to shame.
Thank you, grade six. I hope we meet again.
And keep on reading!