I had a fun time at Mendive Middle School in Sparks, Nevada. Sparks is the sister city of Reno and they are practically indistinguishable cities. Anyway, I went to my cousin Bradley Miller's school and spoke to his 8th grade class, along with his whole team, which was around 180 kids, I think.
Anyway, the kids were made to sit on a hard floor first thing in the morning and I had to win them over. 8th graders are a tough crowd, but after a while, they warmed up and it was great. My cousin, Diana, Bradley's mom, was there helping me cart my stuff around and she whispered: read the book. So, I did, and read page one of The Golden Cord. Once I did the reading it was great and they were into it. I really wanted to see Bradley and he's a really cool guy. His mom, Diane, is my favorite cousin and I just love her. She was so nice to me while I was in town and I really want to visit her and her family again.
After the assembly, I spoke to some kids in the class of Mrs. Thomas. She's an excellent teacher and a wonderful person. Her first class was amazing. They were the higher reader kids and we had wonderful time as I taught them how to write a killer story. That was so much fun and we had a great time telling the story of Logan, a kid in the class, who had really horrible things happen to him--in our story . . .
They were a great bunch.
The next class was excellent in it's own way. I hate giving the same exact talk twice in a row, so I took a different approach and we talked about what they liked to read and why it is so important to read what you like, whether it is BMX magazines, Rollingstone, Guitar World, or whatever you like. The point is to read the things you love and don't let anyone tell you that you have to read certain books.
They were a lot of fun and we created a story about one of the kids, Gabino, who was the shortest, but toughest soccer gangster in the whole school. His soccer gang was the best until a rival got all of Gabino's posse kicked out of school leaving him alone. Then, when Gabino was cornered by a big guy about to get beat up, Gabino used a soccer ball and kicked the ball into the big guy's nuts!! Go Gabiino! That was the happy ending. The tragic ending was much more grim and Gabino was killed in a drive by.
The school visit was fun and my cousin Diane was wonderful. Then we visited my aunt Toni's house and spoke with Tom, her husband, and aunt Toni. I relived old memories and saw the house that I spent so much time in when I was growing up. It was great.
The visit was then over and I made the trip from Reno/Sparks to the Bay Area. It took five hours and went really well. Crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains is fun.
I went to visit my buddy Glenn Lee's place of business and met him there. He and his family own Pet Club, www.petclubstores.com. They built the business from nothing and now they have nine stores in Northern California. They are an amazing family. I got to meet Glenn's family: Jackie, Tam, Ryan, Calvin, and of course Cary, who I went on some trips with. I also got to meet Mr. Lee, Glenn's dad. He's an inspiration, as he'd had a stroke, but he keeps on moving no matter what. I love old guys who won't give up and keep fighting. He's also very open minded and I think that is great.
We went out to dinner that night at Skates on the Bay, watched the sunet on the water and had a wonderful meal, courtesy of Mr. Lee. I got to know Jackie--Glenn's sister, and got to reconnect with Lily, Cary's girlfriend. It was a wonderful day, filled with friends and great experiences.
The best thing about this book tour is getting to see my old friends and family and make new friends. As I told Mr. Lee and his family at dinner, I believe that when we meet people, a golden cord forms between us, connecting us for the rest of time, in this life and the next.
Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord