Signing and Signing Off

On my fourth and last day in Cagayan de Oro, adrenaline shot through the roof. It had  been soaring since day one.

Our initial stop was Little Me Academy, where grade school kids sat on the floor and listened to the story of "Dump Truck in My Heart" with so much zeal I thought the storytelling would never end.
It’s during book signing, after the storytelling, that I get to personally interact with my young readers. They ask questions, give off-the-cuff remarks, and won’t let you go.

But we had to leave Little Me Academy for lunch at a boodle-fight place. The questions continued over crabs and shrimps, "Any tips for aspiring writers?" 

With barely enough time to digest the sea treasures, we rushed to the final event, Meet and Greet, organized by the Private School and School Administrators of the Philippines (PRISSAAP).

The crowd of about 200 was just too eclectic for comfort—parents, yayas, grade school kids, high school students, teachers, and school owners.   

My face blanched. Advertising taught me to focus on a monadic target audience. How was I to connect with an amalgam of ages before me?  "Dump Truck in My Heart" is for ages 8-12. It is not linear and has several flashbacks.

I decided to simply narrate it in chronology, adding elements here and there to make the plot clearer and the theme, lighter.

So what happened?

After the story, the kids of varying ages threw at me spontaneous comments:

“My lola is also in heaven!”

“A dump truck is too heavy. I don’t want it in my heart.”

“I cried in the beginning, but the ending is happy.” 

“I will put balloons in my heart, not dump truck.”

“My lola will never leave me even if she dies. She will stay in my heart.”

Despite my misgivings, they got the message: “For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.” Isaiah 57:2

The book signing could go on for hours, but the airport was one hour away (barring traffic) and I had a plane to catch.

Signing is hard to ignore and signing off is even harder to do. But grace breezed me through both; I got to the airport in good time. 


Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

What a vibrant demographic. Your schedule is full and joy-full, Ms. Chong. Great work worthy of a grand vacation.

Grace D. Chong said...

One grand vacation coming up! Seriously, enjoying our Northern Cal weather (a bit chilly for Las Pineros) and of course, the grandson.