On November 15, I attended a book signing for author Alan Gratz at Avid.
This meeting was the first time I had ever really met an author. There was not much personal interaction with Gratz himself. He was signing books for much of the time I was there. I did get to explore his books and check out which one looked most interesting. As I have read several Holocaust books recently, I found that I was leaning away from his books that focused on that event, like Prisoner B-3087. The book that I did pick up and get signed, Projekt 1065, is about a young man who joined the Hitler Youth as a spy. I am super into the World War II period of history, but I have not read much literature from the time period that was not based in or on the Holocaust. So I was pumped to not only get the chance to read the book, but also to get it signed.
As I said, there was not a lot of opportunity for personal interaction.
What time we did have was mostly confined to explaining who we were, what we were there for, asking to get books signed, and then asking for and taking a picture. There was a line forming behind us so we couldn't ask Gratz to stay and talk for very long. However, I did love something he said to a young girl who was just ahead of us in line. The girl was barely 14, if that, and she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. The girl and her mother asked if, as an author, Alan Gratz had any advice for her.
"Just keep writing."
He went on to explain how writing can get really hard and that the key to writing is to not give up. This sounds overly simplistic in a way. However, that is exactly what we as teachers try to get across to our students when they say that they hate writing. We don't tell them to just do something else instead. We ask them to keep going, to keep trying. Even when it isn't coming out the way you want it to. Even when you think that the assignment is stupid. You'll get there, but you have to keep writing.