Hello, hello! I'm just back from the Jewish Public Library where I spoke about my book What World Is Left. And today was special because my mum, on whose life the novel is based, came along to the talk, along with my dad. It was quite a crowd -- there were over 400 students from Montreal areaschools. It was also special because today is Holocaust Memorial Day -- and the book is about my mum's experience as a teenager during the Holocaust.
I have to admit I got a little choked up when I was reading the part in my book where the narrator's father arrives from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. I think it was because as I was reading, I was imagining how my mum must have felt during those days. Writing and reading are both ways, I think, of opening our hearts to others.
I was really impressed by the students this morning -- they were super attentive even though there were so many of them! Also, many had great questions. A girl named Hannah asked if I planned to write other books about the Holocaust. I said I hoped to, but then I asked Hannah a question -- did she know any Holocaust survivors? (I got the feeling from her question that maybe she did.) And it turned out my hunch was right -- Hannah's grandmother survived the Holocaust. I really hope Hannah will interview her grandmother (be gentle when you do it, Hannah!), and that she will record her grandmother's words and perhaps turn them into a book one day, too!
I'm only home for a quick stop because I'm doing a writing workshop for students at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival this afternoon, and then I'm going to the official opening event for Blue Metropolis. Renowned author A.S. Byatt is going to be honoured. I'll bring my notepad and hopefully, I'll get lots of writing tips to share with you, dear blog-readers.
Thanks to Blue Met and to Penny Fransblow, head of the children's library at the Jewish Public Library; and to Eva Raby, library director, for inviting me to speak today. And thanks to the amazing teachers for getting the kids to be so well-behaved. And special thanks and a big hug to my mum and dad -- you guys are the best!
And oh, a nice coincidence -- one of the amazing teachers I met this morning was Judi Freedman, who teaches Grade Five at United Talmud Torah School's Snowdon campus -- well, I taught Judi when she was at Marianopolis 13 years ago. And then, another friend and teacher was also in the audience -- Hildie Shadley... and it turns out she taught Judi when Judi was in Grade Four. I don't know about you, but I love coincidences! Write to let me know if any interesting ones happen to you today!
P.S.: Back home again after doing a workshop for students at Blue Met. I worked with students from three schools, all keen young writers. One student from College Notre-Dame, Alexandra, said she feels all excited when she starts to write, but then after she's written two pages, she loses her excitement. "I don't think it's so good anymore," she said. I told Alexandra she sounds like a REAL WRITER. That's how we all feel about our FIRST DRAFTS. So, Alexandra, stick with it -- write, and re-write, and re-write some more. Next thing you know, you WILL like your work -- it just takes a lot of effort to get to the point. Off I go -- to do a little RE-WRITING before the end of the day!
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hmm lets see more mistakes areaschools,Renowned,notepad and i think honoured has no (u) hmm well you look busy always do you get brakes or time off from working or is it alot of hard work and Re-Writing? everybody needs a day off to relax and stuff
There is no K in renowned. But you got me worried so I had to check! Alas, even you, dear Amber, are not PERFECT!!!! (I was worried there for a bit!!)
You ask about breaks, well, I rarely take a break from writing. It's because I like it too much! But you are right, every once in a while, we all need to stop and relax. But in my case, it's not going to happen this week! Keep proofreading for me, okay? Best regards from me
I have more ideas 4 a book. How about u write books that r based on songs. I would surely read those books. ;D
Hello, my name is Yana from Jewish People's school, and during your speech at the Jewish Public Library today, you said that any students that didn't have time to ask questions there, could write it on your blog. I do hope I'm writing in the correct place.
My question is this,
I love writing, but I often end up with loop-holes or writer's block, and I just can't continue my idea. What sort of things do you usually do, or do you recommend doing, to continue a story?
Thank you, Yana.
Quick hello to Jessica and Yana! Jessica, that is a very good idea about writing books that are inspired by songs. At the moment, I'm kind of tied up with a few book ideas, SO WHY DON'T YOU DO IT YOURSELF?!!! One of my favourite writers, Sophie Kinsella (author of the Shopaholic series) says she wrote the kind of books she wanted to read. That sounds like YOU!
Yana, I think I have advice that might help you fight writer's block. There is only one thing to do: KEEP WRITING!! Even if all you have to say is, "I'm a terrible writer and I don't know what to write next".... just keep writing and eventually you'll get past your block. Try it and let me know if this technique helps.
Bedtime now. Thanks for being in touch!
Hey monique. My name is Sammy from Jewish People School. I just wanted to say thank you for appearing at the JPL. I had a great time hearing you speak
Hey Sammy, Thanks for your note and thanks for the wink! I need to start using those little yellow faces, too. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Hope you've got something good to read!