I do a lot of school visits -- plus I have three wonderful classes at Marianopolis College -- but some school visits just make me happy. That's how I felt yesterday when I worked with two groups of young people at Lindsay Place High School in Pointe-Claire.
In the morning, I worked with students enrolled in the school's Focus program -- that means they're taking what's called a work-oriented training path. Those are the Focus students in today's pic. They were lively, fun and smart. One of them told me, "My name is Eni -- like anything." Well, I whipped out my sheet of notepaper and jotted that one down. I am always on the lookout for names for my characters and I liked the way Eni put that. A student named Cooper had particularly good questions for me such as, "Do you write about your dreams?" The answer was YES YES YES. I think lots of people find that dreams are a source of inspiration. One of my friends, a therapist, says, "Follow your dreams." I told the students how for me, that means, paying attention to my dreams and writing about them in my journal.
Oh, the Focus students' teacher is Monique Thirlwell. She is next to me in the pic. (I don't often get to meet other Moniques and this one was a YOUNG one!). I have to say I teared up a little when, just as I was leaving at the end of the school day, the young Monique stopped me in the hallway and gave me a packet of notes her students had written to me. I was zooming off to Marianopolis, but I read the notes last night before bed... and well, what can I say?... except THANKS TO YOU GUYS for being such lovely, smart kids.
In the afternoon, I worked with Miss Jackson's Genesis students. Genesis is an alternative program at Lindsay. These students were wonderful too -- and did some beautiful writing. We talked about how memory fuels stories. A student named Brandon wrote about being bullied by a teacher when he was ten. You know what I was thinking? That I've never read a story like this before. Brandon, you should write it! It's an important subject. And a student named Nick gave me goosebumps (that happens when I read or hear an amazing story) about how an adult forced him to drink alcohol when he was ten. Here's the line that really gave me goosebumps: "If I couldn't drink like a man, I'd get hit like a man." Nick is a songwriter -- and he's using that material in one of his songs. Just want to tell you, Nick, that there's a real sense of triumph in being able to transform something painful into something beautiful. You have a gift for words -- and I hope you'll continue using it.
Okay, I guess now you can tell why it was such a happy day for me at Lindsay Place. Thanks to everyone I met, and especially to Miss Dunning, the school librarian, for inviting me and for being such wonderful company. I am definitely going to write about a library that has drawing tables and art supplies!