In November, we went to New Zealand, Fiji (for 24 hours) and Kauai. (I've been travelling so much we were able to do airfare with miles!) New Zealand is truly as beautiful as they say. For me, the two most memorable experiences were spending the night on a boat in Milford Sound (and seeing penguins, seals and even a humpback whale), and taking a helicopter to the top of a glacier.
School visits in Virginia
I've been doing a ton of school visits. This school year I will spend about six weeks doing visits talking to thousands of kids. So far, I have been in Washington state, Washington DC, Oregon, Iowa, and Virginia. The new year will bring more Oregon visits, as well as two trips to Texas, and visits to Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri. There's even going to be a tour for my new book, The Girl I Used to Be, in May.
On Friday, I got home from spening two weeks in the Virignia area. I gave versions of the same talk 26 times, plus taught eight writers' workshops. The last time I spoke, I think I actually had a mini panic attack. The mike was heavy and I started worrying that I was repeating myself, then that I would faint, which made me worry even more about fainting, which made me feel fainter....
Near-faint aside, I had an amazing time. I felt like a rock star (which isn't necessarily a good thing). I ate lunch with students at nearly ever school, and one librarian told me that a girl was worried that her lunch wouldn't be "sophisticated enough." Two different times girls broke into tears when they met me, which made me feel honored and also slightly discombobulated. I got asked to sign books, pieces of paper, and phone cases.
I thought of all the years I wrote when only my mom read my books. All the times I worried my career was over. I'm resolved to enjoy this while it lasts.