Well helllllloooo blog readers! You must be wondering what I've been up to (traveling and having way too much fun, but don't worry, also writing away!). I'm back with an impromptu blog about today's impromptu Zoom visit with an international group of homeschooled students and their teacher Dr. Michelle (Michelle Parrinello-Cason). Dr. Michelle is based in St. Louis, Missouri. A former college professor, Dr. Michelle teaches several homeschooling classes. The students I met today were mostly from the US (Florida, Nebraska and North Carolina), but there was also one from the UK! (That's me and Dr. Michelle in today's pic. Since I hadn't planned to write this blog entry, I didn't arrange in advance for permission to take the students' pics.)
Dr. Michelle and her students are reading my non-fiction book Why Humans Work and she got in touch to tell me the book is sparking excellent discussion (yay!) and that when I referred to autism, I called it a disease, when I should have called it a disorder. (I investigated, and Michelle is right. So we'll make the fix if there's another edition of the book.)
If you know me, you'll know I retired from teaching last May. Mostly, I'm still so busy I'm not missing the classroom -- until I get a chance to work with students and then I realize HOW HAVE I BEEN ABLE TO SURVIVE WITHOUT THEM?!!
I had agreed to chat with Dr. Michelle's class for ten minutes, but let's just say I KEPT THEM OVERTIME (haha). So I'm going to share a few highlights of this afternoon's Zoom. Dr. Michelle had given the group a cool assignment -- to write a personal narrative about an experience having to do with work. A student whom I'll call "E" told me about his piece. E, who is 14, and lives in Florida, wrote about running (I like that since I run too) and he told me his final line: "It is good to do hard things." YES YES and also YES. I told the class that that's exactly how writing feels to me -- hard, but oh so good to do!
There was also a student named Apple, who's 13 and lives in North Carolina. I don't know about you, but I LOVE the name Apple. Apple told me that both her mom and grandmother were teachers. "Like you," she said, "they both liked hanging out with kids."
And though I'm NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE FAVOURITES, I was delighted by a student named Cai, who's 14 and lives in the UK because Cai had so many great questions. Cai, I just realized I forgot to answer one of your questions! But don't worry, I'll do it now!! You asked if I write by hand or on the computer. I do both. That's why I pulled some of the journals off my shelf to show them to you. I write my morning journal entries by hand. I generally work on my books on the computer. But you know what? I believe that writing by hand can stimulate creativity. So I often work on my ideas by hand in a separate ideas/planning-my-stories notebook.
And guess what? Cai also writes every morning, "sometimes one page, sometimes six!" YAY, KAI! Kai wanted to know if I interviewed all the people I mention in Why Humans Work. That answer was YES. And how I get my inspiration for fictional stories -- I explained that many of my stories are rooted in real life, but the most important is that every single one of my stories comes from a deep place inside me. I need to really care about my subject and my characters if I am going to be spending months and even years in their company!
I'll end today's blog entry with a quote from Dr. Michelle. She told me that she often shares the following wisdom with her classes: "There's no such as a bad rough draft." LOVE IT.
Okay, that could be enough excitement for me for one day. I'm going back now to work on my latest book project. For a rough draft, it's definitely not bad!
Thanks to Dr. Michelle for getting in touch with me, and to your class. I so enjoyed your company today.
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