After Adelaide

8th April

After the Adelaide trip, I had a million small jobs to do. One job was signing copies, packing them up and sending them to Adelaide schools and other schools on the way. Several dozen copies in many packages … I’ve realised that it works out kind of expensive with postage and GST. Since I get school cheques for after-the-event sales, I can’t not declare sales on tax! The really big packages are better because postage works out at less than $1 a copy–but even then, I’m not quite breaking even. Still, it’s very satisfying to have stirred up so much interest, and that’s what it’s all about.

I took on another job I’ve since regretted – acting as one of the judges for the NSW Writers Fellowship. The number of applications this year is far larger than last time I did it, and the amount of paperwork seems to have increased too. I believe in volunteering and helping out with good causes, but I’ll have to start cutting back.

I visited two schools yesterday and the day before. The day before was John Therry Catholic High, near Campbelltown, where our organisation (Aileen’s and mine and the schools) had got completely muddled. I thought I was doing two periods, but it turned out to be one long double period. With 180 Year 10s, a day or so off the end of term – not good! And yet the students were good – really attentive and interested for over an hour. But no talk should last for 2 x 50 minutes – I know I couldn’t keep listening to someone for that length of time. (Actually, I’m the worst in the world: even the best of speakers couldn’t hold my attention for an hour – probably not even half an hour.)

I wish I had a photo to put up, but of course it had to happen eventually – I forgot to ask someone to take photos. So instead I’ll have to put up a photo from yesterday’s school.

Ulladulla High School

Here’s Ulladulla High School – and yay! I’ve just discovered how to put a caption underneath a photo. Like, fill in the box on the upload page that says “Caption”. Took me a while to work that one out, but it finally sank in!

Ulladulla is a beautiful town on the South Coast, about 150 km south of Wollongong. After all the recent rain, the car trip down was a symphony of green – green fields, green hills, picture-perfect.

The school was great, two talks to about 50-60 students each time – selected students from Year 9 and Year 10. Someone said afterwards, ‘That was the best period ever’, so I reckon they liked it. And v well organised – especially considering that the school had exams on at the same time.

An unusual number of students had brought money for a copy of Worldshaker on the day, so that was an unexpected bonus. Luckily I’d brought a boxful in the car.

Memo to self: I must think in advance about messages to write when I sign personal copies. When I’m signing one book after another, I recycle about 6 different messages – with small variations – that I’ve used before. It’s so hard thinking up something totally new in the moment!


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