monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

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Meeting Characters -- and Inspiring Young Writers at Laurentian Regional High School

I'm just home from a day of writing workshops with Mrs. Vero's Sec IV students at Laurentian Regional High School in Lachute. I met a lot of CHARACTERS (yay, we writers love that!)... and hopefully I managed to inspire some young writers!

Here's a pic taken at the end of my second workshop. Meet Emily (Emily, I hope I got your name and the spelling right... if not, post a comment and I'll fix it ASAP!) and Jessy, two of the students I worked with, and their lovely teachers Mrs. Vero.

Here are a few highlights from today's visit. They'll also give you a sense of the CHARACTERS I was talking about.

A student named Tianna stole my heart -- I think because I could tell she was having fun before I even started my talk. Also she asked me, "Are you coming back next week?" And the answer is YES -- I'll be back next Tuesday to do the second part of my workshop with the same classes.

Now a student named Joe was, shall I say, less enthusiastic than Tianna. But I did feel him warming up -- and I look forward to seeing his writing next week.

When I showed the students the journal I write in every morning, a student named Ryan commented, "Like anything you need to practise." Right on, Ryan! Or maybe it's more accurate to say Write on!

It was when I was telling ths students that they need to make writing a habit, but that it doesn't matter if they write every day the way I do, or perhaps even just once a week... say every Sunday for the rest of their lives. That's when a student named Rebecca said, "That would make an incredible book." Wow, I use that example all the time, but I never thought of how it could be a real book. You're right, Rebecca. So get started this Sunday!

For my name collection (authors collect names for future characters), I met a student today named JUSTIS Cool name, cool spelling!

And Jessy (he's in today's pic) stayed after the second workshop to tell me, "I'm more of an artist. Do you think the techniques you talked about can be applied to art too?" YES YES YES. Whether you work with words or images, you need to practise a ton, you need to revise (redraw), and you need to study the work of other artists. And you need to be prepared for obstacles -- and then jump over them!!

Tianna gave me permission to share what she wrote when I asked the students to remember something important from when they were five years old. Here it is: "I can hear the sound of my heart pounding harder by the minute as I am trying to tell my mother I like males and females." Wow, Tianna, great detail (the heart pounding) and what an important subject -- a child of five already beginning to become aware of sexuality and attraction. That takes courage, Tianna -- you should write that story from the point of view of your  five-year-old self!

As I told all the students today, writing -- and living -- take COURAGE. I had the second group do an exercise I rarely experiment with -- I asked them to write about the most difficult thing they ever experienced. Something told me these kids could handle it. And they did. Now for homework, I want them to write about how they SURVIVED the difficult thing.

That's it for today's blog. I hope I gave you a lot to think about -- the way Mrs. Vero's kids gave me a lot to think about -- and feel. Thanks to Mrs. Vero for the invite, and to the kids for inspiring me. Hey, I should mention I was there as part of a new ELAN program called Artists Inspire. So thanks to them too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday, 04 December 2020

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