Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hitting It All Around

The last few days have been interesting, frustrating, and awesome all rolled up in a neat package. Well, maybe not so neat, but interesting nonetheless. I found my iPod, offered my kids a reward for whoever could find my phone and wouldn't you know it, Birdie headed straight outside and just found it under the trampoline . . . after three snow storms. Yeah. It still worked, though it took a few days for the moisture built up in the external viewscreen to dissipate. At least I have a phone until I get my new one, which, yes, I WILL be getting sometime soon! It's the Sprint Instinct, which has a lot of similar features to the iPhone, except I can actually afford it.

Yesterday was the presentation at the American Fork Junior High Writing Conference. I had to get up at 5:30 to be there by 8:15 and took the back road through Cedar fort. Everything was fine until I twenty-five minutes into my drive two deer stepped into the road in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and tried to swerve but still ended up hitting the back end of the last one with the passenger corner of my van. It broke my heart to know I'd hit the deer much more than it did to see the slightly buckled hood. The last time I hit I deer I cried when the guy who stopped to help me said "Oh, it's just a baby!" I did not cry over my totaled vehicle. Anyway, I was able to drive on, but my heart was heavy.

I arrived at the conference five minutes late but they were totally understanding when I told them why. I was running on three hours of sleep since inspiration didn't hit me until the night before. I created my first powerpoint presentation and am now a HUGE fan. I taught the kids about where writers find their ideas or How to Become an Idea Factory (Thanks, Kristi, for the phrasing inspiration!). It went awesome. I had twenty to thirty kids raising their hands at a time when I'd ask questions. They got really excited about the topic. About half-way through, after teaching them about the "what if?" game, I gave them a five minute exercise to use the technique to write while I ran to the bathroom. Very important not to pee your pants in front of the kids.

From there we talked about using all of your senses to get inspiration. I played a few music clips for them from different types of music they would't normally listen to. I showed them a few pictures to inspire thought. We talked about smell and how it brings up memories and creates pictures in the mind. What was the most awesome part of the whole thing was seeing it click for them. They got it and it was thrilling knowing I got to be a part of that.

After my friend Haley did her presentation and the kids took a short break, one of the kids approached me and said "can I have your autograph?" You could have knocked me over with a breath. It had never even occured to me that these guys would think of me that way. I wasn't going to say no, so I spent the next thirty minutes signing autographs for kid after kid after kid. It was one of the most humbling and happy moments of my post-writing life. I felt a bit like a pretender since I didn't have any books to sign, but I didn't care, not really. I kept thinking this must be what it feels like to be a real author. One of these days I'll have a book to sign, but in the meantime this will do. I hope they ask me back again or I have the chance to do more things like this. I love teaching teenagers and I think I'm good at it. I have always felt like teaching was one of my purposes in life and it felt great to have an opportunity to teach something I love so passionately.

Anyway, despite the bad start to the morning, it ended up being an amazing experience. I even gave them a handout with quotes from several of my Authors Incognito writing friends about where they get their ideas and the kids (and even some of the adults) seemed really excited by it.

Today I feel blessed. Very, very blessed.

Quote of the Day: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."


Rebecca Talley said...

I'm glad it was so successful, Karen. They're lucky to have had you!! Sounds like you had a blast!

Marsha Ward said...

How wonderful that you had this tremendous experience. Keep it up, Karen!

Haley Hatch Freeman said...

I loved listening to your presentation and hanging out after for a bit. You did awesome! You really got those kids excited about writing, I'm proud of you!
You'll have to check my blog about it and Trisi's comment.

Haley Hatch Freeman said...

Me again- I just clicked on my name in your post to see where you linked it to and it actually went to one of my friend's blog, when she blogged about my book... is that where it was suppose to go or was it suppose to go to
Either way, thanks for adding me to your post =)

Karen Hoover said...

Now, how did I do that??? LOL Sorry, Haley, I fixed it so it works right now.

Thanks Marsha and Rebecca. It really was an amazing experience and I really did have a blast.

Kristi Stevens said...

I'm so happy for you Karen. The presentation sounded great. From the sound of it, you are a born teacher. To get students excited about anything is a challenge, to be able to do that in a an hour or less is a gift.

Can't wait to see you!

Cathy Witbeck said...

What a great experience Karen. Sounds like you really made a difference. I love it when that happens.Good job, woman.

Pink Ink said...

I would have loved to be in your presentation and gotten your autograph. :-) Sounds like a wonderful experience and the kids were lucky to have your inspiration!

Sorry about the deer. Glad you were okay.

Melinda said...

I hit a deer once, except it was the mother and the baby bounded across the road afterward. I felt terrible!

I'm glad that your presentation went so well!!!

You will have books to sign...

Noble M Standing said...

I'm glad your workshop went well. I gave you an award go see. :)

Courtney said...

Karen, I was a student at the presentation, and you did amazing! thank you so much for all your advise! I actually have a blog with a couple chapters from a book I am writing! If you want to you can check it out! It is! Again thank you so much! It was an amazing experience I will NEVER forget!

Courtney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.