monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

4 minutes reading time (731 words)

Stories, Stories Everywhere

Hello out there! I'm just back from a morning at Lindsay Place High School in Pointe-Claire, on Montreal's West Island. I certainly hope I inspired the students (I told them about how I got into writing, how I get my ideas... and I read a bit from my books), but one thing's for sure: THE STUDENTS INSPIRED ME. 
I spoke to three grade eight classes and though there wasn't much timefor me to chat with them afterwards (they had to go to class), I heard some neat stories -- and had a chance to make some interesting observations. 
The first class I met were Mrs. Dalton's students. One guy in the class -- Chazz -- is a reading junkie. At one point during my presentation, I caught him reading. (Now, if he'd been reading one of my books, I might not have minded!!) Apparently, Chazz even reads during gym class. To be completely honest, I think it's a pretty wonderful condition!! What writer or librarian could disapprove of a young person who can't stop reading?!! Another student, Rebeccah, had a good story of her own. Yesterday, she and a friend got trapped in the school gym's garage. Apparently, it took a while for the gym teacher to figure out they were in there. I told Rebecca that story might make a good opening for a teen novel. A student named Victoria told me something interesting about her family: she has a two-year-old brother who was adopted from a troubled family. Thank goodness, the brother seems to be doing really well. A student named Kady sat quietly in the corner, but I could tell from her body language (in case you don't knwo it, I'm obsessed with body language) she was really interested in writing. 
Several of the students in the second class I spoke to (their teacher's name is Mrs. Hunter) had cool nicknames (which made think I should do a better job of giving my characters nicknames in my books). One guy whose blond hair matched perfectly with his sweater was named Eric, but his nickname is Rico. Then there was Veronica, who likes being called Vee. She told me she collects cows -- both live ones and stuffed ones. (In case you're wondering about her live cow collection, it turns out her dad owns a farm.) Also, a student named Erin had a cool haircut -- and she told me Kady (from Mrs. Dalton's class) had cut her hair. I thought that was a fun coincidence -- and it confirmed my sense that Kady has a strong artistic side. 
The last group "belonged" to Ms. Thauvette. (Can students belong to their teachers?) Though Ms. Thauvette warned me her students could sometimes be a little too talkative,  I found they were really focused. Cody, a young man who sat up front, told me he has a personal story about a difficult childhood experience he'd like to write -- and perhaps sell to The Globe & Mail newspaper's Facts & Arguments page. (I told the students The Globe & Mail runs a personal essay Monday through Fridays on the Facts & Arguments page, and I encouraged them to send their submissions there.) A student named Camille happened to be wearing a lime green sweatshirt  -- and when she stood up, I noticed how she was also wearing neon green leggings. (In case you're far away reading this -- the sky in Montreal today is thick with clouds, and so that burst of lime green felt like a treat!) Another student named Sanya told me she is diabetic and has to give herself insulin injections three times a day, including once at lunch. Luckily, Sanya has a friend Joy (whom I also met) who hangs out and provides support to Sanya when she gives herself her insulin shot at school. I hope you can tell from this entry how excited I was to meet so many interesting young people. Everyone -- every single one of us -- has a story. I think our job,  not just as writers, but as people, is to discover other people's stories. Before I sign off for today, I want to say a big thank-you to librarian Dayle Cushen who invited me to visit Lindsay Place. Thanks also to the students and their teachers: you guys have given me a new burst of energy to bring to my stories about teenagers!
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Comments

Guest
Guest - Cody mac isaac on Friday, 16 November 2007 20:43

w00t!!!!!!!!!!!!!monique is an awsome person to meet she is very inspiring~!~!`1 ;D

w00t!!!!!!!!!!!!!monique is an awsome person to meet she is very inspiring~!~!`1 ;D
Guest
Guest - Joy on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 01:44

thanks!! I would like to say thanks for coming in our class. You inspired me! You were right I was very interrested. I love body language now!!

thanks!! I would like to say thanks for coming in our class. You inspired me! You were right I was very interrested. I love body language now!!
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