Friday, September 14, 2007

Lift Off 2

The Newcastle launch was held at Macleans Books in Hamilton. It was fun, it was full and the weather was nice. I did manage to bring a pen this time but it was a stupid big fat blue biro. For some reason the petite, sophisticated black pen I had carefully packed into my handbag failed to materialize at the crucial time.

It was an odd feeling standing on my little stool (no pulpit) and reading to the crowd. There were family members there, friends new and old and nodding acquaintances. It was one of those strange situations where you assume you must know everyone present and if someone appears unfamiliar then it’s because you are suffering temporary insanity. Thus I spent a goodly amount of time nodding and smiling at one woman and racking my brain to recall who she was before finally realizing that in fact it was fine not to remember her name because we had never actually met.

Some of these people I had not seen in over twenty years.
One was a girl from my art class. Our entire friendship had been based on our shared love of a) Princess Diana (we saw her when she visited the RAAF base and spent many a conversation worrying over how thin she looked and what a ghastly shade of pink she was wearing) and b) guinea pigs. Now here she was, holding my book, laughing at my shocked expression when she walked through the door.
Two of my high school teachers were also present.

I am a big big fan of teachers, two of my favourite blogs belong to high school teachers Dramalish and Spanglish. Being an airforce brat, I managed to sample a number of schools during my years of education. It makes me shudder to think about the directions my life could have taken me if I had finished my education at Students-Must-Be-Pigeonholed-And-Quickly High School or St Destroy-All-Self-Expression Catholic Ladies College.

Instead I ended up a semi rural public school half an hour’s drive from Newcastle. Truthfully there were some unattractive features of this school but I was lucky enough to have some great teachers. My English teacher, for instance, who taught me for four years. She encouraged me, she inspired me and where necessary she slapped me over the head with the Stop Being A Lazy Cow And Hand In Your Work Now stick.
It’s because of her (and the feisty director of the University of Newcastle revues, and the artistic director of the first professional theatre company I ever worked for) that I started writing and then kept going. These people were all at the book launch (the artistic director, now the executive director of the Hunter Writers Centre, was the MC) and it was a very satisfying moment to be able to thank them publicly.

It all seems a long way away when I watch my baby totter along the sand (we're still at the Beach Shack) but I wonder what school education will be like for him, and whether he will be lucky enough to find teachers and mentors along his journey who were as good as mine.

During the signing bit of the launch one of my ex-teachers passed me a book. I picked it up and paused.

Unlike my English teacher, the last time I saw Mrs Modern History was probably on the last day of my exams. ‘I um...I can't write "Mrs Modern History' I said.

She laughed and told me her first name and so, with a flourish of my big fat blue biro, I signed her book.

It wasn’t the sophisticated petite black pen I had envisaged, but the words, I realised, were still the same.

6 comments:

Dramalish said...

Awwwwwwwww!

OG, you are one of my all-time favorite bloggers, for SURE.

I'm horrid about commenting anymore, but rest assured, I read every word.

Congratulations on your book, my dear. I'm so freakin' proud. Can I buy it on Amazon yet???
-D.

Spanglish said...

Thank you so much for the compliment and shout-out. I wish I could be on your end of the world clutching my own copy for you to sign.

My face hurts from smiling so much for you.

Lut C. said...

A book signing sounds so thrilling! And in front of all those people you know too!

Malibugirl66 said...

Dear Ova Girl,

Your son is just TOO CUTE!

My mum died too young too. And like you, I going thru the round of infertility treatment, only in the States.

I have just adored your blog - read most of it before it was a book, though I would buy the book if it were available in the US.

I am responding mainly to the pics (yes I DID love your writing, but let's be honest - he is the cutest thing that has come along in a long while!).

Mal

T said...

Congratulations on your book launch (2)!! This made me quite teary (isn't too much of a feat these days - no fault yours) - so sweet, so sweet!

Marijke said...

Please please PLEASE tell me you are having a launch in Canberra!?!?! Gabby and I would love to have you sign our book. Love M