Reading myself hoarse

Almost at the end of my Melbourne stint, and I’ve lost count of the number of school groups I’ve met.
I’ve been reading a bit, talking about pirates a lot. We’re all pirate mad at present. In every school there seem to be several pirate experts who can hotly debate the exact shape of a scimitar or the symbols on Blackbeard’s flag. We are past the age of the dinosaur experts who scoff if you don’t know your diplosaurus from your T Rex.
I have even met the great-great-great-many-greats-nephew of Calico Jack Rackham.
I usually say “people tell me that girls couldn’t be pirates” and then go on to explain that there were really women pirates. I love it when a whole class roars back: “Girls can so!”
I love looking up and seeing fifty spellbound faces, wide eyes, and intense concentration. I love the gruesome questions about various pirate methods of destruction (I’m not sure if the teachers like that so much). I love it when the kids laugh at my jokes. I love it when they make me laugh.
Tomorrow morning I’m going to read at my old school. The biggest thing I remember happening when I was there was the moon landing. The whole school sat out on the cold lino in the corridor, staring at one old black-and-white telly. There were regular bushfires. And snakes lurking beyond the oval. We didn’t even have a library then – we had a cupboard off the hallway. I wonder if it’s changed?
I never knew it would all be this much fun. First, I just get to write stuff. Then, somebody actually publishes it. And then I get to read and talk to kids about stuff they find fascinating.
How cool is that?

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