“So wait… have you seen how they…er… procreate?” the woman behind me asked.
“Yes,” O’Neill stated tactfully, a slight blush rising up his collar.
“Do you have pictures?” the teacher behind me prodded further, blushing a shade of scarlet that only a blonde could pull off, as the class stifled giggles. “I mean… how do they…”
“Yes, I have seen and photographed turtles in all parts of the life cycle. They… mate in the water,” he replied flipping through his slides. “I can show you more after class, if you’re curious.”
I shrunk down in my seat.
Michael Patrick O’Neill, an author with great integrity, was speaking at The Author’s Institute at Worcester State, sharing his books, life experience and writing process with a room full of teachers.
And this woman was asking him about how turtles… procreate.
He answered this question with the careful tact and humor of an experienced speaker. His books were beautiful, and his eye for photography brought his stories to life– but it was his sense of tact that won me over.
Who knew that turtles “do it” underwater?