Friday, October 14, 2011

Take a big deep breath...

I'm nearly there. The final event of eight days of events is tomorrow. I'm tucked up in a hotel in Leeds, about to go to bed, fighting off what promises to be the mother and father of all throat lurgys (lurgaes?) brought about by being up close and personal with over a thousand small children in the past week.

Small children, as if you need reminded, who hack and cough like elderly bronchitics, sneeze wetly into one's face and generally share the bliss of being in possession of more germs than the probably now redundant research facility at Porton Down. Aaaaaaakerchoooo.

Bless 'em, each and every one. I've had such a good time. I don't think I've EVER enjoyed touring with a picture book as much as I have done with this one. It works. It reads out loud like a wee dream. We all RAAAaaaaar together like we've been rehearsing for weeks. Damn, but when it's good, it's really good. We've had technology meltdowns when the promised Powerpoint facilities have failed, or been bleached out by sunshine pouring in the classroom windows ( we can't see), or failed to materialize or crashed, or interrupted themselves with vast dialogue boxes appearing unbidden onscreen in the middle of the story to remind the user to update their antivirus software ( not now for heaven's sakes, can't you see we're telling a story?) or there's been a missing VGA cable that has entailed a 90m.p.h dash to the nearest Comet only for the missing cable to miraculously appear at the same time as the newly purchased VGA cable is speeded into the library at risk to life and limb...

Regrets? We've had a few. And lunches wolfed with indecent haste? Our digestions may never be the same. And trains caught with the barest whisker of time to spare? Oy, oy, oy VEH.

But I saw children kissing their copies of The Scariest Thing of All yesterday. And my son's girlfriend texted me late last night to tell me that her little boy is going as Pip at Hallowe'en, and a little girl in a signing queue today said she had every single one of my picture books and really loved them all, and one of the booksellers I met this week said I was 'masterly' and there have been conversations with people during this week that will stay with me for a long time, real conversations about big important stuff and many confidences shared and so much laughter that my sides ache even now in the quiet of my hotel bedroom....all in all so many people have been so enormously kind to me all week long that I feel as if I am floating on air, buoyed up by a huge amount of general goodwill. So this is for everyone who took part in making this week such a happy seven days ; for launching The Scariest Thing of All out into the world - THANKYOU. I hope you have had as much fun as I have. It's been one of the best weeks ever. xxxxx

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