Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Favorite Audience – 6 year-olds by Ariella Papa

This cycle we are talking about authors in public forums. I happen to have a lot of experience with this.
Almost three years ago I cofounded a reading series called Authors Unbound. It’s the only reading series dedicated to independent authors and providing events for them to share their work. I’m happy that AU exists in the world and if you are an indie author or you are looking for a fun night of lit, drinks and cookies please check out Authorsunbound.org.
However my favorite public forum was something unexpected. Last year my son’s first grade teacher asked me to come in and speak to a group of thirty young writers who were doing a fiction unit. I was probably more nervous about this then any other reading or author talk.
I started with a question that I was sure they would know the answer to: “How many of you want to be writers when you grow up?” About a quarter of the hands shot up. I nodded. Of course they were certain.  I believe it’s something you know right away. I loved seeing that confidence. It doesn’t exist always in adults. Sometimes you ask someone who has published several books if they’re a writer and they hesitate.
The teacher took out one of my earlier books. Several of the kids actually “oohed”. I may have blushed. It was amazing.
I spoke for a bit about the life of a writer trying not to edit yourself and making time to write. I said things that I would say to anyone who wanted to be an author but I really appreciated that these kids weren’t jaded at all. It reminded me about all my dreams when I was that age. I had no idea about all the hardships. I just wanted to be a writer and believed that anything was possible.
But by far the best part of the talk was that I had one person I really wanted to impress and he was beaming.


Ariella Papa’s most recent book is A Semester Abroad. The next Authors Unbound event is April 22 at Entwine NYC at 7pm.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks, Sheila. It was a lovely feeling.

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  2. Ah, it's days like this I miss NYC. Your AU group sounds like a blast. Loved the idea of speaking to kids. I'd have loved to meet an author when we had that unit thirty years ago. Maybe it would have taken less time for me to commit to this. You probably changed a person's life right at that moment.

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  3. Oh, thank you so much. I hope so. I loved that clear focus.
    Please let me know if you are ever in NYC. We have monthly events in spring and fall.

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  4. Ah, how I wish someone could move New Orleans closer to NYC, and then I could attend Authors Unbound. As a former teacher (11th graders), I'm so glad and impressed by your venturing into the land of six-year olds! Lucky them and you!

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    1. Thanks, Christa. I often wish I could move NYC closer to NOLA too. I hope to get back there someday.

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  5. I love talking with elementary schoolers, too, Ariella! The school talks I have done have been so much fun.

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    1. Thanks, Sara. I know. It really is inspiring.

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