So Slug's first week in this world as a published book character has come and gone! And what a week it was. It started at my old college and ended at my old high school, with a visit to my old elementary school in-between! Visiting each school really made me realize how far I've come. And I've always been adamant to never forget where I came from, which should be true for everyone, no matter what their trade. I wrote earlier on the first few days of Slug, but since then.... I had a great time at the Boston Globe Book Festival reading on the Target stage. I got to see my good friend Peter Brown and see him read his book. If you ever get a chance to see him read - don't pass it up! I really came to a deeper appreciation for his books. Backstage I had the chance to meet Todd Parr and Rhea Pearlman. Meeting Todd was cool, because when Slug was a class project back at RISD, my teacher from that particular class was Megan Tingley, an editor at Little Brown, who at the time was publishing a brand new book by a first time author/illustrator - Todd Parr. It's crazy how Slug really has become about full circles.
Speaking of full circles, I was inducted into my old high school's hall of fame. I was introduced by my old art teacher at Holy Name, Mr. Shilale. He nixed the formal introduction to tell two stories. The first was about my application to RISD. When you apply to RISD, you need to draw three pencil drawings for your application. Well, Mr. Shilale thought he had sprayed the drawings with fixative, which seals the drawings and prevents smudging. 15 minutes later the drawings were still damp. And sticky. He had sprayed the drawings with spray adhesive!!! He feared he had forever ruined my career. The second story involved a mural that I painted in the high school. I painted our mascot (The Napoleon - I know weird mascot) on the wall across from what was then the room where the newspaper group met. Well, I had failed to take into account where the light switch would be. I'll give you one guess as to where it was... Let's just say that the mural is still up now and the students still get a kick out of flipping the lights off an on. Anyhow, I did get to give a little speech and I thanked Mr. Shilale for being a great educator. On a daily basis, I still use many of the basic elements that I learned in his classroom.
I also got to thank Mrs. Robin Casey. She wasn't a teacher of mine, but did serve as a moderator for both the newspaper and the class officers, for which I was a member of both. She's the one who let me paint that mural in the first place and also the one who offered me the job as the cartoonist for the school newspaper. My role as school cartoonist had a profound affect on my life. Not only did I get a charge out of sharing my stories and cartoons with my peers by having them published, but the job kept me from transferring out of the high school. And even bigger - the high school eventually sent me to Camp Sunshine, which would later bring me to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Robin also helped me through some pretty traumatic times in my teenage years. It's a rare opportunity to get to publicly thank people who had a big impact on your life and I was grateful for it.
And now I am home painting. It's the calm before the storm - for both my book tour and my impending book deadline!