January 15, 2007

Eggers in Chicago

I trained into the city yesterday to check out the Valentino Deng and Dave Eggers book signing / reading yesterday. There were at least 250 people crammed into this small room - it was so packed in fact that to get from the front, book-signing part to the back, reading area, Deng and Eggers had to go out the front door and come back into the store via the back, emergency-exit-alley-way. I was fortunate enough to get there early to get my book signed before the show and still have a seat, albeit on top of a bookcase. Dave and I chatted for a couple of minutes about the need to infuse modern fiction in the classroom and how reading books like the Scarlet Letter; however good, ultimately turns kids off to reading and writing. Eggers has always been a big supporter of education (starts tutoring centers / writes about educators) and had these parting words: Keep at it. Do not tire.

When I was in college I sent my uncle a postcard of IU, he sent one back of UC with these words in closing: Do it right. I still think he influenced my philosophy of life more than any text I'd read at the time.

Do it right. Keep at it. Do not tire.

Anyway, the reading was at the inauspicious 826Chi tutoring center which can be seen to the right. The front of the store is a secret agent supply store known as "The Boring Store" because if you are a secret agent you can't be seen going into a spy store. The hope is that each tutoring center can be run self-sufficiently from the profits of the store. This summer I would like to volunteer there if they need help. I think I could help the 6-18 year olds learn more about creative writing and I would learn some new, great activities that I could take back to the classroom next year. But, that's the long view. We'll see how everything shakes out.