ME? THE THIRTEENTH DUKE OF WYBOURNE?

For no reason I can adequately explain, people trusted me with their children this past month.
Twice.
First, I made my annual pilgrimage to my old alma mater at Curtin University, where I gave my annual lecture on web publishing to my annual audience of bemused second and third year students. It’s always an absolute joy to head back to the old lady– some of my happiest years were spent at that University, and wandering along the paths past familiar landmarks, ambling down familiar hallways, and joking and laughing with future-bright students just gives my spirit a steroid pump. One day, I want to tutor there properly. I want to fuck up a whole new generation just like me 🙂
Then, for the first time ever, I was invited to speak as part of the Children’s Book Council Book Week. Thanks to the most excellent Anthony Panegyres, I trundled along to this building:
A large building full of Catholic school girls. Waiting to listen to the author of ‘The Corpse-Rat King’. Because the Joker was babysitting their sisters…

Santa Maria Catholic College: a magnificent edifice in Attadale, looking out over the Swan River, where some of the nicest teachers I’ve ever met herded more than a hundred girls in to listen to me bang on about my writing habits, how I get my ideas, why collecting photos is a writer’s dream hobby, and how nothing they learn from algebra teachers will ever help them. I read from two of my stories, forced the girls to complete writing exercises, and generally had the time of my life performing like a monkey in front of three groups of the friendliest, most respectful and downright invested kids I’ve ever worked with.

Frankly, I could do that sort of thing for a living if they’d let me.

There are rewards to being an author that I never expected when I first started out. I’ve flown internationally and to four other states of Australia; taught at Clarion South; mentored on behalf of the Australian Horror Writers Association; attended conventions; made friends; read to students in the library of my old High School; and participated in arts projects well beyond the realm of pure ‘writing’. It’s days like the ones above where I feel connected to a much larger artistic community than just the small circle of writers who make up the Western Australian SF community, and passing that connection on to a circle of new faces is a delight every single time. Some days the bear gets you, but some days the bear is called Pooh and you get to lie in a meadow eating honey sandwiches.

Oh, and, you know: catholic school girls. Gives me an excuse to embed this. Have a laugh on me:

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