Before taking requests from the audience, I closed Friday night’s Barnes & Noble reading with this paragraph:
A rush of words poured out of my heart and filled my head, and I knew I might never feel the same inspiration again in my entire life, but as a writer, I would always remember my first time, the first time the words flowed effortlessly onto a page, and how those words consumed me and time held no importance. I was in a world without minutes, and when the porch light went on, I brought my legs up to my chest and rested my journal on a knee. I couldn’t keep up with the words in my head, and the feeling inside my heart was invigorating. It was like a runner’s high, and I had reached the covetous plateau where my pen scrawled effortlessly across the blank lines of the page. And when I emptied the last words from my head, I heaved a sigh of satisfaction and closed the journal. (Nothing but Trouble after Midnight, 197)
It was a perfect ending, and I placed my book on the table, feeling like I had given closure to the evening. But that night–along with so many other aspects of my Tallahassee trip–was more about beginnings than endings.
Previously, I had taken a hiatus from book promotion as well as writing. Life–and not “words”–had consumed me, and months went by without visiting my “world without minutes.” This morning, I found my way there again, and without thinking, the words appeared magically on the page, filling huge gaps in the pivotal Chapter6.
My inspiration has–and always will be–the students, and I know that now more than ever before. Without students and their words of praise and encouragement, I would have no desire to write. Every time I step into a classroom, I am reminded of why I became a writer and why I will continue to write. My thanks to the students at Leon High for inspiring me once again…