The Nichols School 2007-08 Author Visit
What had I been anticipating?
A warrior princess?
I peered at the short, average-looking woman as she read a passage from one of her books to a classroom full of 7th graders. Her thick tree-branch walking cane was about the only resemblance to a fantasy goddess I could identify. She wore a pastel linen coat and some cotton pants and a shirt I’m sure, but they blended into blandness compared to her fuzzy, stripped socks poking out from her Tevas. My wandering attention came back to the reading when a coughing fit caused her to gulp down some water. Ms. Pierce was nothing at all what I had been expecting- in fact, she flat-out sucked!
I gave Heidi, my friend as well as one of the school’s librarians, a worried/sympathetic sideways glance. Had they really forked out all that cash for this monotoned, uncharismatic author visit???
At that same moment the guest speaker put down the book, mid-sentence and stared blankly at the group. I thought for a horrible second that she was having some kind of Alzheimer episode where she had forgotten where she was and what she was supposed to be doing.
And then she began to speak, “I’ve been doing this shtick for about 8 or 9 years. After I’ve been droning on and on for awhile, I like to stare out at all the frozen faces who are all thinking the same thought- this is the author from hell!” It’s in this moment, as I’m shaking my head agreeing when I realize we’ve all been had!
The woman transformed right in front of us. Her dull, glazed-over eyes took on life and vigor as she watched us all gaping in shock and confusion. The questions came tumbling out as intriguing tales of steel winged beasts, plot twists, and spouse creatures spewed forth from her lively mouth.
She unearthed the truth behind her characters. At first she modeled them after friends, when she ran out of friends she used famous people- Sipowicz from NYPD Blues, Alice Cooper and even Ozzy Osborne (“not the soft, fluffy guy from today but Ozzy from the 70s!”)
Getting caught up in the conversation, she casually pushed her coat sleeves up and at the same time uncovered a black spiral on her forearm. A hand shot up and an adventurous tween asked, “What’s up with the tattoo?”We were informed that it’s rooted in numerous cultures throughout time. The spiral symbolizes the beginning of a journey to its end or from darkness to light. Whatever the meaning- it was cool and definitely upped her warrior goddess status. The hour passed at the speed of light। Way too fast and totally brilliant.
Check out her website