Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sanpete County

A few months ago somebody wrote a comment asking if I wanted to come to Sanpete county and speak to a few elementary schools. I haven't done school visits in a while, and they are always so fun. so I said yes. I'm glad I did.

I love small towns. I grew up in one, and currently live in a big city. It was refreshing to drive until all you can see is lots and lots of earth. No buildings, no cement, no asphalt; just earth.

Actually, I saw more snow than earth, but I used my imagination.

Anyway, the school visits went great. Nobody booed, and I didn't get rocks thrown at me like last time, so I'm counting it a success. I met many people who had read my books, and many more who seemed genuinely excited about discovering them for the first time.

Best of all I got to meet Kate Palmer, and found out that she is a fellow writer. We listen to the same podcasts, know the same people, and it was fun to talk with her as we drove from school to school.

I was filmed for the local television channel, so if one of your hobbies is seeing a grown man stare awkwardly at the camera, boy have I made your wildest dreams come true. Luckily you have to live in Sanpete County to see me, so most of you (thankfully) are out of luck.

Best of all was I premiered my new book trailer--the one for Almost Super--and the kids seemed to like it. I'm hoping to have it posted here by the end of the weekend, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Great Video

I had to post about this video. If you haven't seen it yet, you're in for a treat. It's a public service announcement like none you've ever seen. Check it out.

I can't help but analyze what makes this video so effective. It starts out with a father driving an imaginary car. A wife and child sit nearby on the couch, and it's clear that everybody is having a grand time. They are safe at home; all is right with the world.

Then something breaks up this peaceful scene. The father is still driving but it's clear that something is not right. I love the look on the father's face. It isn't one of exaggerated horror. He simply casts his eyes down. Despair. Resignation. It's as if he is saying, "all is lost".

Then we switch to the mother and child on the couch. There is no discussion. There is no moment to pause and reflect, not even so much as a glance between the two. Father is in danger, and so they leap. Their response is complete and resolute.

It is not an accident that the child wears wings. She is both her father's Little Angel, and now his guardian angel.

The girl reaches around and hugs her father's waist. Every day when I return home from work, my six-year-old, who can't reach any higher, hugs me in exactly the same way.

The wife's hugs is more tender, almost intimate. And it comes just in time.

The director could have filmed the next part in a number of ways, but the method he chooses is powerful. The entire scene has been shot in slow motion, but the impact of this imaginary car occurs with shocking rapidity.

Something on the table gives us the impression of broken glass, and the man is almost folded in half from the violent impact. Anybody who has been in a wreck knows this is exactly how it happens. The power at which you are hit is beyond description.

And then it is over. Mother and child still hug the father. He in turn touches both of them as if to convince himself that they are still there; that he is still there.

The ad finishes with a simple message. No stats. No further convincing. Just a message.

Embrace Life.