You may recall the post I wrote on the Upper Limit Problem.
Let’s just call it ULP for short.
It’s an insidious thing, this ULP.
You (read ‘I’) can go through life thinking you are so aware and on top of things and in the groove and then whammo! ULP socks you with a rabbit punch to the solar plexus that leaves you winded and reeling and, the worst part of all, not exactly sure what just happened.
Case in point.
On Monday, I spent the day at the library in a nearby town. I was the ‘famous’ author brought in as a special guest in celebration of Children’s Book Week.
It was very exciting. And intense. Whole classes of children would walk over from the school next door to listen to what I had to say about writing and hear the story of Leaf.
Ten classes to be exact. And I had 20 minutes with each class. Twenty minutes!
I told the kids it was like walking in to Callaway Park and looking at all the great rides and knowing you had only half an hour to do everything you wanted to do. I had so much I wanted to share with them and such a short time to do it.
I read Leaf ten times that day.
Well, nine actually, because the class after lunch took longer to get into the library than the others had — I get that; who wants to rush back indoors when it’s a glorious day outside? — and, by the time I finished waxing eloquent on how authors get ideas and opened the book to read the story, there was two minutes left.
You gotta love kids. I apologized all over the place and told them how embarrassed I was and one of the grade two boys piped up with, “I know. I can tell by your face.”
Must have been the egg all over it.
Their teacher graciously took a copy of Leaf with her and took even more time out of her schedule to read it to the class so we could stay on track with our Author Visit Marathon.
So I read Leaf nine times – five times using a felt board and getting the K/Grade 1 kids to help me tell the story and four times with Grade 2-4 kids after a scintillating talk about how authors get ideas.
The librarians were amazing, helping me to prepare for the next batch of students while the current class filed out. That was kind of cool, actually. It was like having a staff or an entourage or something. I liked it! (They even fed me lunch which was super delicious and I mean that in all possible ways — it tasted great and it was also lovely to be so well taken care of.)
Anyway . . . the day went superbly. There was positive feedback filtering back from the school all day that the teachers and the children had loved their 20 minute visits. I was even told that some of them considered it the best author talk they had ever heard.
Major glow happening.
I went home tired and absolutely thrilled.
And woke up the next morning the nastiest, grumpiest witch this side of the moon. I was short and critical with my family and walked around all day with a Pig Pen-like black cloud enveloping me, choking me, getting in my eyes and ears and up my nose.
It was bad.
And I had no idea why.
Until much later in the day, when I was banging around in the kitchen, cooking yet another meal for the ungrateful wretches I lived with (I told you I was foul) when it hit me, like lightning – it was that sudden . . . and that sulphurous.
I had been ULPed.
On the up side, it only took me 11 hours to figure out what was going on. On the down side, I wasted 11 hours in that Black Hole before I figured out what was going on.
I guess all I can do is hope that the next time it happens (because it will happen), I can halve the amount of time I spend in a bloody smear against the woefully low upper limit on my capacity for prolonged joy.
And if I keep halving that time, it will only take me . . . oh . . . five more times(?) to get myself to the point where an ULP incident lasts only a few minutes from smack down to lightbulb to return to joy.