Guess what, y'all? After ONE WEEK on the shelves, Scent of Shadows made #82 on the USA Today Bestseller List. Wow! Congrats, Vicki!
Back to your regularly scheduled blog:
On Tuesday, I participated in the regional Science Fair for 5th-8th graders, as a judge for 7th/8th grade behavioral science. (No laughing, please--I was a psych major, if briefly.) I also had to choose the winner of my department's award for best board presentation overall.
I'd never judged, or even participated in, a Science Fair before, so this hormone-soaked competitive atmosphere was a bit new to me. Kids lounged under tables, listening to ipods or reading thick fantasy books, until I walked by with my clipboard...and then they leaped to their feet, smiling anxiously, mentally preparing their speeches. I kept telling them not to worry, at which point most of them would mumble "okay" and drop instantly to their lounging positions again. Very Strange.
I listened politely to all 12 groups of kids in my section explain their experiments. Some were quite impressive and well thought out--and some raced rodents through tubes for no apparent reason. But I'd finished my group and the other judges weren't done, so I took the opportunity to wander the whole hall to decide on the overall prize.
I was feeling pretty cocky and grown-up, walking through aisle after aisle. Look at me, I'm a JUDGE, I thought. I'm a professional, working woman. Some of you might even look up to me.
And then I got a tap on my shoulder.
I turned to find a 7th grade boy, in white shirt and dress pants, about 2 inches from my face. He was surrounded a few paces back by a circle of similar boys. They all snickered simultaneously, and I suddenly wondered if this was that dream, where I forgot to put any pants on.
"I like your badge," he said, and they all laughed again. I blinked. I looked down at the "JUDGE" badge pinned on my chest, a simple tag with a little icon of a judge in one of those plastic covers. It was exactly the same as all the other adults were wearing. How on earth do I react to this? What is the appropriate cool grown-up response?
"It's hot, isn't it?" I said, with a knowing smile.
His turn to blink. Then, emboldened by his friends watching, he continued. "It's shiiiiiny," he said, and they all turned, like a school of fish, and walked away.
I have no idea what this little episode means...or whether it was particularly good judgement to say "It's hot" to a 7th-grader. But I must remember this when I'm writing about 14-year-olds.