Warning: Copious Fangirling Over Candace Fleming Ahead

Hey all!

Today was a lot better than yesterday - I was kind of anxious and jumpy for most of the day, but hey, it sure beats being sad 24/7, so I'll take what I can get! Also, I have another meeting with my counsellor tomorrow, so that's definitely a good thing, A lot to report, as you guys know!

Actually, a big part of the reason why today was so much better is because I got the incredible opportunity to co-teach a fifth grade class with Candace Fleming (you know, award-winning author, amazing teacher, all-around kickass person who just happens to be visiting my school at the moment? That Candace Fleming? Please join me in the internal screaming).

I met her six years ago when I was in the third grade - she visited my school and I went to one of her presentations. I must admit that I've long forgotten what it was on, but I do know I thoroughly enjoyed it, because my dad, being my dad, basically dragged me up to talk to her afterwards.

Picture this: small girl with big dreams and even bigger hair is too shy to actually say a word, so her dad does all the talking and totally wins over Mrs. Fleming, because said dad could charm the hairnet off a cafeteria lady. Meanwhile, his daughter spends most of the time hiding behind his legs and occasionally poking her head around to survey the enemy territory.

Finally, though, Mrs. Fleming cracked my shell and convinced me to send her some of my writing (which, can I just say: I have no idea how she managed to do that. I was a secretive thing back then... apparently Dad is not the only charmer here).

Long story short: she said a variety of laudatory things about the pieces I had sent, leading me to believe that either a) she was lying, b) she was insane, or c) she was actually telling the truth and maybe I should keep going with this writing thing.

(As you might be able to tell, I chose the third option.)

Fast forward a couple of years and hey, turns out Mrs. Fleming's in town again, along with her husband, Eric Rohmann, and a variety of other amazing authors + artists! I sent her a rather fangirlish email before she came and we arranged to meet up at the elementary school library, since she was going to be working with students and teaching classes in the ES.

She's been here for the past two weeks, but unfortunately I didn't get the chance to meet her - we just never really crossed paths until yesterday. She was doing a talk for the parents in the library, so I helped set up the chairs and food and things (four words: SO. MANY. MINI. SANDWICHES) and then decided to stick around, because why not, right?

We ended up connecting afterwards, at which time she invited me to help her work with some of the fifth graders during my free period today rather than working at the library like I usually do. Because I am a freaking amazing actress when I want to be, I smiled and nodded while internally flailing and keyboard-smashing, because small children + writing are basically my two favourite things in the universe, and - have I mentioned this before? I really don't think so - Candace Fleming is the coolest author ever.

I knew a lot of the kids from the library, and oh my goodness, you guys, I was blown away by the quality of their writing. Seriously, it was asdfghjkl; amazing - way better than anything I could have written at that age. They were funny and creative and there were some great metaphors in there... which put me over the moon, since we all know I am the reigning queen of metaphors. ;)

SO THAT WAS PRETTY AWESOME.

I don't think I'm going to get another chance to see Mrs. Fleming, since I don't have free period again this week and that's pretty much the only time I can go to the library, but we do have each other's email addresses. She helped me out so much as a shy and uncertain 9-year old - it was wonderful to be able to see her again, and especially to teach with her! I'm definitely hoping we're able to keep in touch, and perhaps meet again if she ever comes to Singapore. :D

And of course, I can't sign off without saying: please do check out one of her books, if you get the chance! She writes for pretty much all ages up to YA (her latest, The Family Romanov, is getting allllll the starred reviews) - and, if I may reiterate yet again, she is an incredible author. I promise you won't be disappointed. :)

love, Topaz