Back to school.

Posted by Nette on Jun 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s time, I thought this morning when I woke up, to say thank-you to the schools who have made me feel so special. I have had a fantastic year – as I have every year – going into schools to run workshops and have talks and share books and any number of other things…. my goodness, this year I met Lucia The Lionheart! Wow – she impressed us all so much I think she needs a book of her own – she wrote a book for me and she’s promised to finish it – didn’t you Lucia? I’m waiting for it to land in my letter box – and I mean the one out the front waiting for the postie.

And, just to take a sideways detour, isn’t that something that I think we could revive. I love getting realio-trulio letters in the letter box. I love envelopes that someone has decorated or stuck little stickers on with their addresses on the back. I love opening them up and finding someone’s writing….their actual writing… with little hearts for dots on top of the ‘i’ and swirlies on the tails of the ‘y’. It says a lot about the person who’s writing, don’t you reckon. One of the things that I often am asked in schools is ‘when did you start writing?’ Hard question to answer – I know that it means ‘when did you start actually writing books’ but the other one is better. I think my writing and story telling grew out of the letters I used to share with my grandmother, Rene. We never called her Nan or Gran – she was Rene and she had, without a doubt, the best letters in the world. She’d actually make me laugh out loud – mad things like the one with Mum’s pumpkin vine story I’ll never forget. Even more special… and I know some people haven’t even had this happen yet – was when she’d put a photo in with her letter, or a knitted scarf – they were always a bit wonky but great colours (she used to unpick old jumpers and knit them into other things – made the wool all wobbly as well). So, if you’re bored and sitting and wondering how to make the world a happier place write somebody an actual letter. Go and decorate a bit of paper, make a card, make some origami folds and write, write, write a letter. Who can you send it to….ME!!!! Or a friend (they’ll get a surprise) or another author or your gran or Nan or Pop or Dad or Mum or teacher …. or the Prime Minister – trust me, they all love to feel wanted and cared about and that’s what letters do!

So, back to schools and libraries… this year I’ve been to Tweed Heads where we made like Bilbies. In fact, if you go onto Tweed Heads Library facebook site (www.rtrl.nsw.gov.au), and search my name you’ll find me – I think I might have been doing a dead wombat when the photo was taken. St Andrews West Morton was next – its an old favourite because I have been there every year and had some great, great times with the students. Now, I meet students who are tall and elegant and handsome and taller than me who were working with me in Year 3 – how brilliant that they were waiting to say hello when I arrived. Pretty good, Westmac (www.wmac.com.au) – and how about the wonderful books you’ve made and all those fantastic posters in your library. Next Tamworth – and I heard all about boot-scooting and how wearing a hat makes you a great dancer…I’m gonna try it! Our choir teacher says it helps to hit the high notes  if you put your finger on top of your head – bit like hats on heads when you’re trying to make your feet go sideways I guess.

And now to Orange – Kincross Wolaroi (www.kws.nsw.edu.au). I had never been to Orange and flying there in a little plane with actual propellers – I kept my eye on them to make sure they kept turning – was sooo exciting. All foggy in the valleys and sun trying to melt it… yum. And then autumn leaves. Red and redder and brownish-crimsons and, again, the good old sun peeking through grey clouds  just long enough to remind me how beautiful our dear old planet is. Lots of rain then – and thunder and lovely, luscious cold. Boy, when you live in a place where there are only two seasons – hot and wet – you really like a bit of cold breeze to stir you up. MMmmmmm. Not only but also – I got to work with the wonderful artist Gaye Chapman who does the yummiest illustrations – and I can’t find her website for you…Gaye? I put in ‘Little Blue’s’ website – and the incredible West Tigers Fan Oliver Phommavanh who just happens to be a pretty incredible writer as well… Wow!!! Talk about name dropping!

Next I’m warming up for McKay – and that’ll be something different again. I have never been there and I love trying to imagine what it will be like. I know I could google it… but hey, won’t that take away the surprise I get when I’m flying along gazing down and I see…what? What is going to make McKay outstanding…I can’t wait.

A little bit on the end – I have only managed to include this year’s schools – every year I’m lucky enough to head out into the most incredible schools and have fun. It’s great and I apologize for taking so long to say thank-you to you all. Oh, and in case you think I’ve forgotten I will list some of the things that I’ve met in your playgrounds – a huge, long enormous red scarf (The Long Red Scarf), and lovely blue river that beckoned me to it with little bare feet until I was reminded that actual crocodiles lived there, a fairy land of lights in the middle of the desert, and a lake where a mine used to be and it also had little crocodiles – the fresh water kind. What else, a brown snake slithering along in front of a teacher’s broom who was hurrying it back into the bush (I didn’t walk on that side of the school AT ALL), a school when I was late – the only time – and when I arrived the whole assembly cheered. I blushed. Little children being kangaroos and big kids being cool… and always, in every place, smiles! Aaaah, the best memory of all!

PS An update….I am now going to be an illustrator! True! I’m going to work for an entire week on my new book – Fox and Hen – a love story – at Pinerolo (www.pinerolo.com.au) with Margaret Hamilton. I can’t believe it – just wait until I’m there and I’ll tell you all about it… every bit – even me in being nervous about how on earth am I going to do this…more soon.

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