This year I was invited to come to my kids’ primary school on World Book Day and do a little talk about writing and how I get my ideas. My thoughts, in order, were:
- Great! I get to talk about writing!
- Ah. It’s World Book Day. I need to dress up.
Not that I have a problem with dressing up as such, but the big question is who to be? And of course there are logistical problems such as not wanting to walk round the neighbourhood or drive about dressed as something odd. I was tutoring today (at a different school) as well, and yes, they were also dressing up, so I needed something comfortable.
Having made notes for my talk, I realised that I’d talked about Roald Dahl quite a lot – how you need to catch ideas in the same way as the BFG catches dreams, and about how being a chocolate tester as a boy *might* have led to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I loved that book as a kid, and I reckoned the children would know it (book or film). Could I be a character?
Meet Violet Beauregarde! The photo below doesn’t really do the nose justice – it was way bluer in real life! Plus blue/purple tights, nails, skirt, top and earrings. I think I might steer clear of blue tomorrow…
The talk was great fun. First the children came in, dressed up – I hadn’t realised I was getting almost all the juniors! And I was introduced as a very special person, which doesn’t happen every day of the week 😉
I was sitting to the side, so I kept my ‘gum box’ in view and pretended to be chewing. When I was introduced I pretended to put my gum in the box, and told them I’d just started the blueberry pie part of the meal – I’d had the tomato soup and the roast beef – but I was going to save it now until after I’d spoken to them. Their faces were a picture!
Lots of hands went up to tell me who I was and which book I was from. I talked a bit, told them how I’d got the ideas for a couple of the stories I’d written, and read them a funny flash story about the Tooth Fairy – and YES, they laughed! Two rounds of applause later, I left a very happy blue-nosed woman (I did remember to remove it before I left). Tutoring was just as enjoyable – World Book Day is probably one of the few days in the year when you can take it as a compliment if kids stare at you and start giggling!
Would I do it again? Definitely. I wouldn’t want to do it every day, but after two months of drafting a new book in most of my spare moments, it was great to have a bit of daft fun!