Members of the South Woodford Young Writers Club were enthralled by author Andrew Michaelides, who visited their group recently. Teacher Shameem Aziz was equally inspired.
At the South Woodford Young Writers Club recently we had the pleasure of hosting Andrew Michaelides, a self-published children’s author. Andrew (known as Mr Michic) has published a series of three books based on the adventures of Tramp, a talking dog.
Of course, we were delighted to have him, and his visit was informative in so many ways. The children had pre-prepared questions they wanted to ask him. What inspired him? Why did he become a writer? What were his stories based on? What advice would he give someone who wants to write? All answered with patience and understanding.
It is probably true to say of children’s authors that they have certain characteristics in common. They manage to retain a sense of the wonder of life and of adventure that can so easily be eroded as one grows up. This was certainly clear to see from meeting Andrew.
The visit also debunked the belief that success as an author must be immediate. Andrew wrote his first book over 30 years ago. Having got on with the business of life, work and family, he went back to it, and after a few changes and selection of an illustrator, proceeded to publication. Interestingly, Andrew’s job in ‘real life’ had nothing to do with writing – he became an accountant.
The children were rapt throughout – we could hardly believe how much time had passed! Andrew took them on the story of his life and managed to achieve in person what a good book should do – the children were lost in their imagination and fascinated by his story.
There were bigger life lessons that I am sure they took away from their meeting – whether they decide to become authors or not – most important of which was this: whatever your goal or dream, don’t give up. You, or circumstance, may delay it, you may take detours, you may refine and revise the plan, you will meet doubters along the way, you may have a dip in confidence and self- belief, but always keep the dream alive – whatever that dream is – until your will, circumstance and time come together in perfect symmetry to make it real. Andrew was a manifestation of this philosophy, sitting in front of the young writers.
As someone who loves writing but has spent most of her working life in schools, there were many salutary lessons in the visit for me too. Chief of which was it is never too late to return to delayed dreams. You are fortunate indeed if you manage to marry your passion and purpose and manifest it into your working life, which I have done; blessed again if you manage to do it twice… watch this space.