Hello, hello, it's me again (well, who else would it be? It's my blog after all!),
So I'm just back from the final day of this year's Young Authors' Conference in Montreal. Like yesterday, I worked with two groups of students. Today, my morning group had so many good questions that I didn't really get to do the speech I planned! Benjie S (there were two Benjies and they happened to be sitting next to each other) wanted to know, "What does a semi-colon do?" You know, Benjie, even my college students don't ask me stuff like that!! I explained that semi-colons can sometimes be used to replace conjuctions like "and" and "but" (usually in sentences that have more than one clause.) There is a semi-colon in my favourite writing rule: "Show; don't tell."
Amanda wanted to know whether I have to ask people's permission when I write about them (the answer is, it depends... often I change essential information such as a person's age or sex, though when I'm writing about a person who is still alive and I use their real name, I do ask for permission).
I also got to read some wonderful writing. A student named Lauren wrote a lovely short piece about her memory of her bird escaping from its cage. Her second line was, "My mom screamed." I thought that was a good example of a simple, but powerful sentence. Hannah wrote about the day of her grandfather's death: "My dad went into the kitchen where my grandmother was making coffee." This sad memory comes alive with the detail about Hannah's grandmother making coffee.
In today's picture, you'll see some of the students who attended my morning workshop. There wasn't time for the afternoon kids to pose for a picture. They were too busy writing! A lively young man named Matan told us his mom gets a lot of traffic tickets and his dad sometimes teases her that he sees the police even when they aren't really there! (I thought this could be the seed for a funny story.) When I said that I sometimes get good story ideas in the shower, a student named Leah (thanks, Leah, for writing to remind me of your name!) and Talya, a librarian who was there (thanks, Talya, for reminding me of your name, too!), told me something very exciting: they sell bath crayons at the pharmacy. SO I CAN START WRITING NOTES ON THE BATHROOM WALL. I AM SO GOING TO BUY MYSELF A SET OF BATH CRAYONS!!
So thanks again to Penny Fransblow, the wonderful children's librarian at the Jewish Public Library, for organizing this super fun event, to chairperson Shelley Mann, and to the teachers and parents for being so supportive of their kids, and especially to the kids for sharing their stories and their creativity with us. Here's to all of you!
I was one of your volunteers at this morning's workshop. I'm pleased to tell you that more than half of the "enthusiastic" students, with all the great questions, were from SSA. I was very proud of them.
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your talk and how you interacted with the "young authors". You encouraged and inspired them to perceive the world as writers, using all their senses.
Not an easy task in an hour and a half!
Thank you for the work you do!
Thank you for your inspiration today. My daughter (in your afternoon group) is all fired up now and writing quite a tale!
Hi Ann and Be, How wonderful to get comments from one of the volunteers and from a mom, too. You both have to give yourselves a lot of credit for helping to create such supportive environments for the young authors I met. Thanks so much for getting in touch.