And I don’t write.

All I want to do is fart around in my pyjamas till it’s time to go to the meeting.

The last couple of days have been busy!

They were two days of presentations at a lovely school with 900 kids! So far I’ve presented to about six hundred of them!

On Thursday I’ll be presenting to the last third.

It is SO nice when a school properly prepares for my visit!

You’d be surprised at how rarely that happens.

I often go into a school cold, where the kids and the teachers and the librarian even, doesn’t know a thing about me!

It boggles my mind!

They’re spending hundreds of dollars–I don’t come cheap! But they’re not doing any preparation!

But this school…wow!

The drama teacher went ahead and dramatized some of my books to the students! She got the kids to act out scenes of Silly Chicken and Big Red Lollipop.

She even got the kids to write a collective letter to Rubina, from Sana, saying sorry I ate your lollipop, “I’m little. I just grabbed it!”

It was SO funny!

If I was more adept with my cellphone camera and posting pics, I would have taken a pic of it and posted it right here.

And then the art teacher, what she got them to do! Scenes from The Roses in My Carpets all hung up on those portable divider type walls,  and kites from King for a Day and lollipops! Loads and loads of lollipops!

Basically for the last while they’ve been focused on my work!

And the teachers were so warm and receptive! And almost as excited as the kids!

I think the highlight though has been hearing the kids walk past me whispering to each other, “Is that Rukhsana Khan?” and then while I was sitting on a comfy sofa in the corridor, I heard again one little girl say to another, “Is that Rukhsana Khan? I LIKE Rukhsana Khan!”

Gave me such a warm tingly feeling!

Today I’m home for a couple of hours till I have an orientation meeting with the folks at the Toronto Public Libraries for the Artist in Library residency.

Have to leave by noon, and I got up by nine, so that’s like three hours in which I could do a good deal of writing???

And what am I doing?

I emptied the dishwasher, I sat in the living room, on the sofa, in the sunshine and felt the warmth of golden rays on my back and felt happy.

Even as I thought to myself, “I should go up and take a stab at those projects I’m working on!”

But I didn’t.

Instead I came down and decided to blog about my creative lethargy.

And yet…something tells me go with it.

Take a break.

I’ve been working hard.

And art really only thrives when the soul is rested.

My soul is not rested.

I actually had an epiphany of sorts the other night.

I’m not sure why I wind myself up so tight when I have early morning presentations.

I actually considered changing the parameters of when I get booked so I don’t start before 10:00 am.

I am SO not a morning person!

But I’ve resisted doing that because I don’t want to put any restrictions on schools regarding when they want to book me, and many schools are, by nature, ‘morning’ entities.

So what has inevitably happened in the past is that I cannot sleep the night before because I’m so worried that I won’t get enough sleep!

I know, I know, the irony!

I go to bed at a reasonable time, by 11 pm, and set the alarm for 7 am, and then toss and turn till about 4 am, and then drag myself out of bed, bleary eyed, right when the alarm goes off.

I was virtually petrified that I would be late! Even though this school is only twenty minutes away!

Then Monday night, when I faced another night of restless anxiety, I asked myself, “What the heck am I thinking?”

Why am I freaking out so much?

And I realized it goes back to when I was struggling.

I think I had attached so much importance to being on time, because I assumed that people would grumble about the worth of my presentations, if I wasn’t on time.

And yet, the few times I have been late in the fifteen years of my presentation experience, all I did was call ahead and let them know that there were circumstances beyond my control, and I was on my way, to expect me in ten, or fifteen, or whatever it was, minutes.

I think I’ve been late five times, where it was my fault. A matter of miscommunication where I thought I was starting at such and such a time, and it was really a different time altogether. That’s five times in fifteen years!

And there were four times I was late where it was a traffic situation. Once I was in an accident where a TDSB van backed into me in a Tim Horton’s parking lot. One time there was a shooting on the 401 and the express lanes were closed so I got to the school an hour late (we ended up combining the two sessions into one!) and another where the traffic was unusually bad, for no reason and I was about ten minutes late, and one where I got lost, that was in Sudbury where they didn’t have proper street signs and my GPS decided to conk out on me!

In all those situations the schools were completely understanding!

So there was no reason for me to freak out.

So why was I?

Worse came to worse, I’d just pull over, en route, and call and let them know I was running late. No big deal.

And then I realized that maybe a part of me felt a bit of a fraud and felt like maybe my fees were exorbitant and I didn’t ‘deserve’ them.

And then I laughed.

Hey, if the teachers didn’t think my visit would be of benefit, they certainly wouldn’t invite me!

Some authors just get up and start talking blah, blah, blah about themselves.

Not me.

What I’ve always done is try to anticipate the needs of the educators. I take time to impart skills so that the kids can be better communicators themselves. That librarian in Singapore said I was a natural teacher, that I gave them the ‘romance’ with the stories and how funny they were, and then I gave them the ‘rigour’ after I’d won the kids over. The ‘rigour’ being the learning process!

Yeah, that about sums it up.

The presentations aren’t so much about me, as they are about story!

And the fact that I continue to prosper with the presentations when other authors are struggling to get gigs, speaks volumes!

And finally I realized that I was looking at these presentations all wrong!

They were an honour!

I was being honoured!

My work was being recognized by these schools and these students, and that’s how I had to perceive this!

No need to freak out!

Just humbly accept the honour and do my best to impart as much as I can to the kids who are so eager to learn!

As a result of this epiphany, I slept just fine on Monday night, and Tuesday was great!

I am so looking forward to Thursday’s presentations!!!