As part of my visit to Los Angeles, yesterday I went to my high school Alma Mater, the Webb Schools of California, to talk to the students and to give a reading. Webb, for those of you not aware, is a boarding school in nestled in the foothills of Claremont, California; among my classmates there is Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo.
It was really nice to be back. Unlike a fair number of the Geek Nation, I actually had a positive high school experience, so stepping back onto the campus is always a nice thing to do. Enough time has passed that I no longer feel I should be heading to a class (unless I’m teaching), but it’s still nice to wander about with the memories of being there.
My visit had two parts. For the first part I met with two classes of students for an hour. They were studying the idea of the artist in society, and so we had a good discussion of that particular concept, looking at how (and why, and if) artists provoke, tech and provide a frame for their time. Webb always has had excellent teachers teaching generally smart kids, and both were in evidence with the crowd I was talking to — the kids were sharp and the conversation was as good as some I’ve had with adults.
The second part was me doing a reading and Q&A, which was attended by students, teachers and alumni, including some very good friends of mine from my own class. It was definitely a little weird to be doing my Author Thing at my high school, but it was also very satisfying. I started writing in earnest in high school; I wrote my very first short stories there and was encouraged onto the writing path there. This was the place where I first knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, and to come back being that person — being a writer and author — did feel like coming full circle. I was happy I came.
When I was done at Webb I had the extra fun of hanging out with my very dear friends Natasha Kordus and Rob Lawrence in Claremont. We caught up and I bought Natasha a ukulele and taught her a couple of songs on it. The Ukulele Nation has one more citizen! I feel so proud. But mostly it was just a wonderful time with people I care for, in a place that I was happy to be in again.
In all, an almost perfect day. I’m glad I got to have it.