Okay, calling it a “tour” might be a bit of an exaggeration, but my recent week spent at two schools and a college back East were truly gratifying for me and the feedback from both students and faculty was very positive.
My tour started on a beautiful October Monday with a full day at Kiski School (9-12, boys) in Saltsburg Pennsylvania. Kiski had chosen The Straw That Broke for its 2014 all-school book. First, I addressed the entire student body, focusing on the dire situation on the Colorado River. The students had excellent questions and observations during the Q&A. I announced that Sterling Myers was the winner of the Kiski Challenge (see earlier post) and presented Sterling with his reward. I ended my presentation by thanking them all for participating, reminding them that there are no writers without readers and encouraging the boys with the charge, READ ON!
After the assembly, I was a guest at lunch at the head prefect’s table. And after lunch, head librarian Leslie Poston escorted me to the student center where I signed many of the boys’ books. That evolved into an impromptu creative writing class as several students lingered and posed questions about the writing process. That evening, school head Chris Brueningsen hosted a coffee for faculty in my honor and I was, indeed—honored that is—by the whole day.
Washington and Jefferson College
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of being the guest lecturer in two classes at W&J. The first was a writing class, the second an environmental science class. The students were attentive and tuned in. It was great to be back in front of inquisitive young adults.
That evening I offered a presentation again focussing on the Colorado River. Questions were great—book sales were brisk. Special thanks to professors Scott Frank and Robert East for making my visit a pleasure and a success. After the evening presentation, on my drive back along torn-up I-70 to my friends house where I was staying near Saltsburg, it poured buckets. But I survived to blog about it.
Wakefield Country Day School
On Wednesday, I drove across Pennsylvania and northwestern Virginia—the hills were aflame. It was an absolutely stunning trip through the Appalachian Mountains. On Thursday I was the guest of school head Jessica Lindstrom at Wakefield Country Day (pre-k-12) in Flint Hill, Virginia.
I addressed all the students in grades 10-12 on the subject of Travels With Max and my journey around America retracing Steinbeck’s route. Again, the students questions were insightful. Later I taught two upper level writing classes and that evening offered a public program at the local county library.
Friday I chose another scenic fall route across the Virginias back to Pennsylvania.
I didn’t print a t-shirt (probably should have as Chris Breuningsen suggested) but my “2014 Tour” was a great experience for me at three excellent schools in gorgeous areas of the East. I trust it was a great experience for all.
Program note: Tomorrow I am scheduled to be interviewed by Jill Reynolds for KRFC in Fort Collins, Colorado. Since the show is mostly about animals, the focus will be Charley and Max. Jill’s show will air on Thursday, October 23rd at 6:30 pm on KRFC. It can be streamed at www.krfcfm.org.