I very much enjoy visiting schools and other venues.
When I visit a school, I spend the entire day at the school. What I have found works well is a combination of assemblies and classroom visits. Schools usually arrange a luncheon and a booksigning. I like to be kept busy. I am there to spend time with the students.
When I speak at a school assembly my presentation focuses on tales of my own youth as a vehicle for discussing what writing means to me (and can mean to students), for highlighting important aspects of the writing process, and for generally exhorting students to do what they love and to do it to the best of their abilities. The photograph of me in the sixth grade with cat-eye glasses usually draws some good laughs, especially from the teachers! The story of the civil war “diary” I wrote in eighth grade and sprinkled with water to look like tears resonates with the girls. The boy are more interested in my Drew Brees and the Saints comments! I especially enjoy the question and answer sessions at the end of the assembly. In the individual classroom I like to answer questions or to hold a more casual discussion of the writing process. Having been a teacher myself, I am very comfortable in the classroom setting and find that students often have insightful questions that open interesting areas of discussion. In a writing class, I do not judge any student’s writing or comment on it. Students are not really prepared to hear “professional” advice, so it is usually better to stick to generalities.
I charge an honorarium of $750 plus all associated travel expenses. I am happy to visit up to three schools in an area on three consecutive days so that the schools can share travel expenses. I wll discuss slightly adjusting the honorarium for schools or venues that do not require overnight travel from New Orleans.
I count myself lucky that I have been able to able to meet an astonishing array of talented teachers and interested students in my travels. If you are interested in a visit, please email me directly here (or, if you have trouble with emailing directly, use the websites contact form here)..