I'm just home from the last of my four writing workshops at St. Thomas High School -- and it was hard to say good-bye. The students did some amazing work and I have to admit they provided a ton of inspiration and input for the manuscript I am hoping to start this week. So, instead of saying good-bye, I asked them whether, once I've produced a few chapters of the new project, I could come back to the library some lunch time and test it out on them. I got the distinct impression my plan might work! YAY!
Because this was my second session with the students I worked with today, there was time for a writing exercise. If you know me, or if you read this blog, you will know that I am really interested in the connection between memory and writing. That's why I asked the students to explore a memory from when they were either five or ten years old. Many of them produced powerful pieces. One that stood out for me was Stephanie's memory of the death of her guinea pig Snoopy. Her piece was written in the present tense and she included the simple, but moving line, "I pet him one last time." When we were chatting afterwards, Stephanie told me that after Snoopy's death, she could not go into the computer room where his cage used to be. I told her that that was a detail she should definitely include as she continues to work on her piece.
Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you about today's pic! That's a drawing I spotted on a student named Cynthia's hand. Pretty amazing, don't you think? Cynthia told me she did the drawing during cooking class, just before English. Cynthia is one of the students who's been meeting up for lunch with me at the school library -- Cynthia, you've been a great inspiration this week. And I think you're an amazing artist too. Do you draw on paper and canvas also, or just on hands? ;) Anyway, I hope you'll come back for lunch in a few weeks when I've written some chapters to share with you guys.
I also told the students a few stories today -- one about the Holocaust, one about a talking bird. I explained how for me, it's as if all I have to do is cup my hands (today's theme seems to be HANDS!!) and stories come to me. I think if we are interested in stories and in people and in things, then stories come to us. It's up to writers -- young ones like the ones I've been working with at St. Thomas, and older ones like me -- to share those stories.
Speaking os sharing, special thanks to the teachers for sharing their students, and birthday wishes to Mr. Katz (who helped me refine one of today's exercises), and a shout-out to Mrs. Pye, the librarian at St. Thomas, for having me back and for sharing her library with all of us.
You are such an amazing and interesting person in general! I plan to apply the suggestions you gave me in my writing. I and many of my classmates can't wait to see you back in a couple of weeks with your first few chapters! We are absolutely ecstatic for the subject of the book. Thank you so much for visiting us
Hi Maude and Giordano! Did I tell you how much I enjoy getting comments on my blog?! Glad you had fun during my visit. I did too! Hope to see you guys again soon!