When I was a teen and read books, I knew that there was, somewhere in the world, a place where the authors lived and wrote and were real human beings.
But they all lived Somewhere Else.
I remember sending Chuck Yeager a letter to his publisher so they could forward it on to Somewhere Else (my first fan letter). Him sending back a black and white photo with my name spelled wrong with no letter answering my questions about his book came back to me from Somewhere Else several months later – only reinforcing that Somewhere Else was really far away since it took so long to get to me.
The odds of meeting authors or corresponding with them in any kind of manner faster than the Pony Express seemed like the most impossible thing from my perspective.
Enter the Interwebz.
Twitter and Facebook have been wonderful opportunities for readers to interact with authors. It doesn’t matter how far away Someplace Else is now, it seems to always be a little bit closer knowing that we have a place where we can chat.
But now I have played with Skype and have been able to really bring authors into my classroom to talk to my students in real time with video and everything, to have David MacInnis Gill call on my students, to have Sarah Darer Littman have two classes of students giggle about her love of “I’m Sexy (And I Know It),” to have Gae Polisner read to my seniors from one of her unpublished books…all from the comfort of their own Someplace Elses.
What a brilliant bit of magic these Interwebz possess.
A bazillion thank yous to David, Sarah, and Gae for making all of this possible.
My Skype visits were to celebrate World Read Aloud Day. We know that WRAD is actually tomorrow. So if you were worried you missed it, just know that we were just too excited about participating that we had to do it a day early. So go read to your babies, your students, your friends, your loved ones tomorrow. Listen to someone else read to you. But don’t just do it tomorrow – repeat and celebrate words and stories and poetry and information over and over and over again with your favorite people.