So don't you like the title of today's blog entry, "Write like a lot"? It's a direct quote from one of the ninth grade students I worked with this morning at St. Thomas HIgh School in Poointe-Claire. This was my third of four days of writing workshops at the school, and the quote comes from Philippe in response to my question, "What do you think my first tip for you guys is?" Philippe was right -- my first tip is always to tell aspiring writers to WRITE, but I liked how Philippe put it -- and that's because he sounds like a teenager talking and not a fifty-four-year-old writer. And since I write for teens, I need to hear teenage voices in my head.
That's me at the left in today's pic. I'm with a student named Averie (she had some great ideas to share about school rules -- the topic of my upcoming book project). Next to Averie is the lovely Miss Murphy, next to her is the lovely librarian Mrs. Pye, and next to Mrs. Pye, is Matthew.
Miss Murphy and I have met before, but today, I had a chance to learn a little more about her teaching methods. It turns out she does meditation exercises with her students. Not only am I interested in incorporating some of those exercises in my own classroom, but it occurred to me that Miss Murphy would make a cool teacher to include in my new story. So thanks, Miss Murphy, for the inspiration!
I was telling the students how writers need to be curious -- and I have an example of how curiosity leads to interesting discoveries. I noticed a student named Madison was wearing a T-shirt with a chihuahua on it, so I asked her whether she has a chihuahua. Madison told me she has a Jack Russell Terrier (they look a little like chihuahuas). She also told me the T-shirt was a birthday present from her step-mom, and that her birthday was yesterday. See how much info I found out all my asking one small question!
At lunch, a lively group of students came to keep me company while I ate my egg salad sandwich. William, whom I had met last week, let me have a look at the horror story he's been writing. He's got some great names for his characters: Raith, Myst and Curce. He's also good at creating a creepy atmosphere. Averie (to my right in today's pic) took out her cellphone to show me a poem she's been working on. I made a couple of suggestions for tightening up the language, and I asked her permission to quote my favourite line: "All I know is that I crave you more than before." Beautiful work, Averie!
I experimented this afternoon with a new writing exercise (I invented it during my RUN this morning) -- I asked Mr. Katz's class to write about their relationship with writing by personifying writing. I got some interesting results. Hailie wrote: "She's the type of friend that I can rely on, yet I only seem to visit her when I'm bored." Joseph wrote: "I feel llike writing wants to be with me, but I don't want to be with writing."
Aaahh, the pleasure of reading creative, honest stuff. On days like this, I can't help thinking I have the best job in all the world! See you tomorrow, St. Thomas High!