Superhero for a day
Last week was Literacy Week at Haywood Christian Academy. Principal Kelli Herbert knew I was an author because my son goes there so I was asked to come down and give a talk about writing books, the publishing process, and why it’s important to read if you want to become an author someday.
At least, that was her plan. I’ll admit I was a bit uncomfortable at first because even though I am a Christian myself not many folks can see how one can be a person of faith and still write the kind of things I do. Nonetheless, my son was very excited about the chance of me dropping in and talking to his school so my fate was sealed. Normally when I speak somewhere it’s about how to survive the zombie apocalypse or about things like whether or not Bigfoot is real. That simply wouldn’t work here.
When the morning of the talk arrived however, I knew exactly what I would talk about. I donned a Flash logo shirt, grabbed some comics, and decided to be Wally West for the day. If you don’t know Wally West, he’s the third incarnation of the Flash.
All of the children at the school had been given the homework of coming up with questions for me. I got asked questions like “Who is your favorite monster," “How are comic books made,” “How do you come up with your ideas,” and a lot of the things one would expect.
But amid the questions like that, there were also some completely awesome questions that made me chuckle such as “Whatever happened to Superman?” Being a Flash guy, and many of the children recognized the Flash symbol on my shirt at once, that question made me smile... a lot.
Pretty soon, we were all talking about things like the origin of Phantomhawk (That’s one of the characters I write for Unstoppable Comics) and I was fielding questions like “How did Robin ever get to be Robin and fight crime with Batman?” and other assorted cool and fun comic book stuff.
I had just as much fun as the children did especially when I found myself explaining the concept of an “anti-hero” to kindergartners. Thankfully, the bulk of the youngsters had seen "Star Wars" so I pulled out Han Solo and his roguish, selfish persona bringing the concept to an appropriate level for them and ending my explanation with the story of how Han returns to the battle of Yavin to save Luke from Vader as the young jedi in training’s X-wing is barreling down the Deathstar trench.
Did the children learn anything? Well, they now know that there are four Flashes and Barry Allen is not the only Flash. They learned that when you really get to it, Batman isnot a nice person. And hopefully, above all, they learned to never give up on their dreams. Everyone has a writer trapped inside them. It’s all about taking the time and investing in the work to hone your craft if you want to be one someday.