We spend so much time closeted away in secluded isolation, locked into our own worlds like inmates of a virtual institution, that sometimes even seeing other real people seems slightly miraculous.
Going into schools, and meeting our readers, is even more like a dream come true, to find that the worlds we created have blossomed in other people's minds.
But every so often comes along an opportunity even better than this.
This time next week I will be in the Seychelles, with my wife, in the International School on Praslin.
|Students at the International School on Praslin, Seychelles|
I'll be teaching story-making and scriptwriting, and Helen will be conducting the music workshops.
The children, with our help, will devise the characters, theme, idea, story, for a half hour performance. They will write and rehearse the songs and, by the end of the fortnight will put on the show, which will possibly be filmed.
Our role is just to be facilitators; they are the creative geniuses who will come up with all the ideas, debate them, sift them, synthesise and develop them, eventually producing their own minor masterpiece.
It's the second time I have worked in an International School. The last time was four years ago in São Paulo, Brazil.
That time, there were two, much bigger schools and they worked me really hard. But, while there, I was able to meet my Brazilian publisher and some fans. That was terrific.
I got the idea for applying to International Schools from Alan Gibbons, who quite often does such gigs.
They regularly employ writers, either as part of the term time curriculum or during holidays sessions, to conduct workshops with the children.
For them, having real writers come all the way from the United Kingdom to their spot of the world is in itself exotic. You will be treated like Queens and Kings!
If you fancy such a trip yourself, to a remote part of the world, or even somewhere closer to home, the best place to start is to search online for international schools in an area which you would like to visit, and write to them.
There is no real clearinghouse or centralised network for them, although many teachers who work in such places spend their lives moving from one exotic city to another.
Especially as we're approaching the middle of another cold, dark winter!