Thursday, November 16, 2006

My writing enviroment

I usually write and do my work on my laptop computer sitting on a comfortable, short black leather chair pushed against the wall. It isn't really a chair--it is actually a footrest that belonged to a matching chair but it is quite nice to sit on. There is a folded up blue rug casually thrown by this chair, while a dusty black CD holder is pushed against the bookshelf on my right. This bookshelf is whitewashed and holds everything from a bright red "China Brief Postal Codes" book to a videocamera to envelopes to books and miscellaneous objects. There is a chair not too far from the CD holder which is probably a few inches away from the bookshelf, and this wooden chair holds a few copies of my book Flying Fingers. A few lined yellow pages are scattered about on the floor, as well as a letter from a friend and some markers. There are four computers in this room if you count my laptop; three of them are desktops, mine is the only laptop here unless my sister Adrianna drags her laptop in. My mother's computer is old, bulky, and slow. It usually has up to fifty-six programs running; she fires off emails at the same time as IMing important people, talking on the phone, and talking to us. She is a multitasker. Her desk is a cluttered mess of notepads, notebooks, business cards, boxes, books, papers, letters, envelopes, tape, sticky pads. Next to my mother's computer, separated by a grayish-blackish-blue metal file cabinet is my desktop computer, also old, slow, and bulky. I do not use it much now that I have my laptop and it is usually turned off. My sister sometimes uses it if she needs to print something out, as it is connected to the second printer in this room, but it is still not used very much. Then comes the door to my mom's office (I work in my mom's office), which is usually closed as my mother needs to block out the sound of my sister's piano, violin, and guitar practicing when she's talking on the phone. (My sister's practice is usually really loud and sometimes blocks my mom's voice on the phone.)
After my mom's door comes my dad's desktop computer, which is located in a small, closet-like area of the room with its own individual light but no door. There is a broken copy machine and a few other weird things located perilously near the office chair, which has wheels and can go spinning horribly out of control. None of these high-tech items has broken yet but I expect they will soon.
My mom's bathroom is located right next to the black leather chair on which I work and is quite a nice bathroom. It also serves as temporary storage for paperclips, spare keys, unwanted items, sticky pads, etc. I will not get into further detail about this bathroom...perhaps another blog!

The Phantom of the Opera

I have already written about some details of my New York trip but here is something I forgot, unfortunately, to write about:
  1. The Phantom of the Opera musical
  • The Phantom of the Opera musical tickets cost $234.00 even after an enormous discount; the theater, however, was quite crowded, with people in bulky raincoats flooding in from all directions.
  • The Phantom of the Opera was supposed to be scary but I thought it was more exciting than scary and more comical (in some parts at least) than exciting. Some of the parts I liked best included the fact that they actually threw fire on the stage, the elaborate costumes, and the fancy stage props.

2. The United Nations building

  • The UN building was quite an interesting building but we had a not-so interesting tour. We paid a great deal of money for a cheesy, uninteresting tour; our tour guide would say very quietly what room we were in and a few small details before moving on. We listened jealously to the other group as their tour guide described in detail the origins of a statue, nuclear weapons, etc.
  • One of the meetings we listened to was quite boring. Apparently the UN people seated listening to the speaker thought so too; some were picking their nose, others were chattering among themselves, and I thought I saw somebody pull a cell phone out of their pocket.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Seeds of Learning School

Seeds of Learning School is a fun and educational class in Redmond for children seven years of age and older. Seeds of Learning features challenging classes with fun activites and helps students with creative writing, structuring essays, and helps develop other useful writing skills; mental math is one of the most exciting activities of the day, with plenty of prizes and praise for all participants. There are history projects like learning about the founding fathers, the history of Russia, royalty throughout the ages, the history of Halloween, etc. The school is located in a friendly, warm home enviroment, but there's also lots of space to stretch out, play, and learn! The internationally recognized and published nine-year-old author Adora Svitak currently attends classes in this school; Adora Svitak wrote the book Flying Fingers at the age of seven and says she will "continue to enjoy the highly educational and fun experiences I had and contine to have at this school". This innovative school also offers private tutoring. See for details.

Speech in NY

I have just returned from New York with my ears hurting, runny nose, and two enormous cardboard posters with my smiling face printed brightly to the side of "Adora Svitak--A Child Prodigy Speaks". They were nice posters but they gave us some trouble at the airport; brobdingnagian cardboard posters in gigantic Kinkos bags aren't exactly the regular carry-on luggage. It was stored in the coat closet on the plane during the flight.

The flight itself was not the worst I have experienced. I was not forced to make use of the small, strangely clean white "Motion Sickness" bag conveniently tucked into every seat pocket--there were times, however, when I felt slightly queasy. We had bought a very interesting and educational card game about headlines from the New York Post about memorable events over the century; we spent some time playing this while eating cake and drinking ginger ale.

I made a speech at the Longwood School, a wonderful, innovative school with classes divided not by walls but by bookshelves or lockers. This idea might sound ridiculous but really I thought it was quite a good idea; walls sometimes restrict movement, while there is less waste of material and space with this idea. The students were highly intelligent; I talked with some of them after my presentation to get feedback on my presentation, how I might improve it, etc., and they also asked me questions. I was also questioned by reporters from MiddleScoop, the school newspaper; a great deal of the questions were better than the ones adult reporters ask me, and I enjoyed the experience immensely.

I was also in Long Island to give a speech at Stony Brook University's renowned Charles B. Wang Center; I sold out the emergency copies of Flying Fingers and began autographing things like my poetry and story writing booklet, tickets, even scraps of paper when people were desperate. There was a reception with delicious Chinese food and chocolate milk that I drank thirstily as I answered questions from all sides; sometimes people would be asking me whether I could take a picture with them and snapping about one hundred pictures; other times they asked where I got my inspiration from, when I began writing, etc.

It was quite a nice event on the whole; the Wang Center was a beautiful place, dedicated to sharing different cultures with the rest of the world--this was even reflected in the wonderful resturaunt, Jasmine, which had all kinds of different foods. My favorite was probably the samosas I got almost daily. There were serene, relaxing gardens with small ponds and bridges; there was an impressive display of a model of a Chinese chariot, and the Wang Center had many fountains that calmed you a great deal.

I had about three to four microphones clipped onto me when I was making my speech; it was amazing they did not fall off or at least get tangled together. I was quite relieved to take them off, however, and prance off to explore the rest of the Wang Center.