high school: it’s what you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to get over

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I hate to be one of those people who throws around the word "amazing," but that’s what today was for me. Speaking to students at Flanagan High School was an amazing experience. It was my first time speaking at a high school, other than when I returned to my own high school to speak to students in SWS at Wheatley. I speak at all sorts of events, fairs, festivals, book tours, and each time you try to tailor what you say so you’re relevant and can really connect with your audience. And it’s hard because I never really know exactly what I’m going to say. There are certain "schticks" you fall back on, certain points you always make, but no two talks are exactly alike.

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Today, among high school students, I felt alive. I felt what it was like to have to be somewhere. I remember being that kid in that chair, expecting the boring presentation. So what’d I do? Grabbed the microphone and said "masturbate" and "fuck." Works every time. But now in retrospect I feel really guilty about dropping the eff. It was inappropriate, and kinda slipped out, and I feel funny about it, so I learned my lesson. Next time I’ll say "eff." Believe it or not, though, I am a positive female role model. I know this because several students approached me after each talk (I spoke to two different groups) and let me know that they felt connected to me, felt inspired to live their lives differently, and I can’t think of anything more amazing than that.

IMG_0339 copy And then, there was food. GOOD FOOD. Not scary cafeteria food, but food prepared by the students, a taste of South Florida. And it was kick ass. So, thank you Flanagan High School for the welcome, for the posters, for the round of applause. I know we can’t choose what we remember, but I hope to always remember today. Thank you. Seriously.



  1. That was an awesome thing for you to do. I too remember being one of the kids in the seat, waiting for the presentation How incredible it would have been if they weren't all lame ass. And, frankly, though it could be inappropriate, a fucking f bomb never killed anyone, sheesh.

  2. Omggggg!!! Thankyou for coming to my school todayyy!! It was so amazing!! You were an amazing inspiration to me, being that I am an aspiring writer. The first thing I saw when I came to the website is my bright tie-dye shirt! Once again, Thankyou soooooooooo much for visiting Flanagan and we hope to have you back!!

  3. AHAHAHAHAHHA!! I read your post, cracked up, read it to hubby, and said basically the same thing as the first poster…she's in deep shit with that school now, they'll never invite her back. And then I read Sylvia's post…I hope she's the real deal, cause that's what it's all about isn't it :) Way to go!

  4. Hi there Stephanie my name is Janelle and i am in the 10th grade at Flanagan High School. I just wanted to thank you so much for your visit to our school I thought you were awesome. You made me realize a lot of things yesterday. I can relate to you in so many ways and it was funny when you were speaking about your dad and how he used to puff up his cheecks when you went for seconds at the dinner table beacuse my dad does the exact same thing so i really couldnt help but laugh and notice that i wasnt the only one that's happend to. :)well
    im looking foward to reading both of your books ive just gotten back home from barnes and noble and buying moose and soon enough ill b going back to go buy Straight up and dirty. Thank you for everything!!!

  5. You came to visit us at FHS, and you were awesome!! I was expecting it to be boring, but you are the best. You were so funny and nice. You are beautiful inside and out, and I feel so connected to you. You inspire me.

  6. heyy!! lmao my teacher was freaking out cus you sed the "the f word"…yah like we havent heard that before! but i bought your book!! (moose) i just wanted to sayy your the most un-boring speaker they've ever tied us down to a chair no watch. haha but really it was way better than i pictured it would be; having to listen to a boring author. but it wasnt like that at all. your young and fun and wayyyyy better than class, so i hope fhs lets you come back (probably not) but we could use more people like you to inspire young crazy kidds like me:). well bye

  7. Congratulations Stephanie – guaranteed you changed someone's opinion about themselves for the better and gave them the belief that they too can achieve.

  8. You were amazing! I'm a senior at Flanagan, and hearing you speak opened my eyes up to so much. I can't put it into enough words or thank you enough. And I can't wait to pick up your book :)
    Thank you!!!!!

  9. I wouldn't have thought that using swear words is such a big issue… whether you like it or not, they're also part of life. American schools sure are uptight.

  10. Well, it seems they did like the rest of your speech, so I hope that next time you'll use something more subtle to get their attention. Give the kids more credit!

  11. Sydney, if her agent (I'm assuming that is who scheduled the speech, unless Stephanie is schlepping for herself now) didn't give her the speaker guidelines, then the agent needs to apologize to the school. If Stephanie had the guidelines and chose to ignore them, then Stephanie needs to do so. She expressed her f-bomb regret here, but this isn't the only venue in which regret needs to be expressed.

    It's not an issue of whether the kids enjoyed it. It's an issue of whether or not Stephanie will be invited for future speaking gigs in that district and elsewhere. She clearly enjoyed it as much as the kids. Wouldn't it be great if she could come back every year or two?

    FROM STEPHANIE: I was requested to speak by the folks in Florida, and it was my publisher, not agent, who asked me if I wanted to go. And no, there were no speaker guidelines. I spoke with the people who invited me there, and apologized for swearing, and they said they thought it was good, that it woke the kids up and grabbed their attention. And that THEY couldn't do it, but I could, as a writer/speaker/guest I could be more casual and speak to them as if I'm one of them. So on this site is NOT the only place my apologies were expressed. I think I'm actually the only one who had a problem with it.

  12. Hello,

    Thanks so much for coming to my school! My class really enjoyed you coming!! You were amazing and I can't wait to get your book(s)!


  13. Very intelligent well written article. You must have put a fair amount of research in writing this.

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