I almost said no. I started to say no. I thought the correct answer was no.
And then, it wasn't.
"Do you have any more of the writing journals? I really like them."
Well, no. Those were our gift for the summer reading program, and now they are in deep storage somewhere. We will see them again next June, though. So that's something to look forward to.
"Oh, that's too bad. I want to be a writer someday, and I filled mine, and I really loved it and I wish I could have another one."
He's not more than eleven. And he wants to be a writer someday.
"I've written 53 books," he said. "My friend has illustrated a few for me."
I'm genuinely impressed.
He's that perfect mix of shy and serious and earnest that gets me every time.
And a touch of moxie...asking for a summer gift well past summer. Past when everyone else has packed them up and moved on to book reports and dioramas.
He's still writing. And he really loved our writing journal.
"You know, I still have a small supply of the writing scrapbooks. Would one of those work?"
So I'm off to the back to get my key to the closet, and then I remember we have extra pages in another closet, and on my way back from that I run into our staff writer on a lunch break, and with a bit of fast talking and a bit of begging, I convince him to come out and share a little about the writer's life as a professional-a pep talk, man to man, because don't you think this little boy would be inspired to know that men become great writers, too?
And yes, I rattle it all off to him as breathlessly as that run-on sentence would suggest.
So we go back out to the boy bearing gifts-- the scrapbook, with extra pages from two years ago, and the encouragement and tips from the real deal writer who talks to him as seriously as an agent would talk to his next client.
His mom takes notes on her smartphone. The boy looks up at our tall and serious staff writer with a little shock and awe. I look up in gratitude and perfect happiness that he is willing to come out and blow on a spark with me.
"Okay, so when you fill up these pages, I hope you'll come show me. I really want to see what you've written. And I have more pages where these came from. This is exactly how Dav Pilkey started, you know. He couldn't stop writing and drawing and annoyed his teachers and they told him to get serious. So he did, about his writing. And now, who hasn't heard of Captain Underpants?"
Of course this boy had heard of Captain Underpants.
And maybe someday, I'll hear about this boy.
I guess I know how it feels to want to be a writer someday.