Author Visits 101

Sometimes interesting things happen at schools. And I want to start sharing them. Take yesterday . . .

Yesterday, at a rough junior high in Newark, NJ I signed about 100 books for students (donated by My Very Own Library). One girl (frizzy braids, soiled jeans, messed up teeth like mine) took her copy and looked at it and then looked at me and said: “Ain’t you gonna ask for MY autograph, mister?”

Her girls laughed and laughed and said: “Now why he gonna want your autograph, dum-dum? You ain’t famous!”

Normally I would have laughed it off, too, but I saw her face.

Instead I handed this girl my Sharpie and held out the inside of my forearm and told her: “Hell yeah I want your autograph, sister. I don’t have a piece of paper so just write it here, on my skin.”

‘Cause maybe that’s what it takes to be someone when you come from nothing.