Saturday, January 16, 2010

groundhog day

On Groundhog Day, February 2, a national effort begins annually to have high school students "job-shadow" people in careers students are interested in pursuing.

I heard from a friend yesterday that a high school student wanted to shadow her (she's an author), and watch her "work" for ten hours as part of this project. (I won't identify her unless she pops up in the comments... and then no holds are barred.)

Of course, she was mortified by the prospect.

But I think it's cool. High school kids never think about shadowing novelists. They're more interested in the high-glamor careers: firefighting, medicine, law, realty, hair and nail salons, and boxboys.

Of course, I can understand the reasons why most authors would be a bit reticent at the thought of being WATCHED by a high school kid for ten hours while you "worked:"

1. Authors tend to be introverted, misanthropic, private people. Most authors hate the idea of having their space invaded by strangers looking over their shoulders. That's why I have the no-coming-upstairs-when-I-am-working rule at my house.

2. How exciting could it be, anyway, sitting there for ten hours and just WATCHING an author type at a keyboard (or write on a notepad if they're the retro-scribes who --ugh!-- use pencils and pens)?

Well, let me tell you: I am all about excitement when I work. And there's a lot of interactivity -- audience participation, if you will -- so you can't possibly be bored. Besides, after the tragic accident with the gun, I need some extra sock puppet actors to really do my job properly.

And, although I will admit that I have a high propensity toward introversion, misanthropy, and value my privacy to a ridiculous degree, I can get over all these shortcomings if it means bettering the future of a young person and perpetuating the culture of authordom for succeeding generations.

That's how I roll.

So, National Job Shadow Coalition, I am here to serve.

Just tell the kid my day starts at 3 A.M.

(more on this to come...)