No, that's not my curly-haired son standing next to me in today's pic! That's Christophe, a lovely articulate student in Gayle Irwin's Journalism class at John Abbott College. Gayle invited me in today to talk to her students about my work both as a journalist and fiction writer... and it was SO much fun to be back in a college classroom!
Gayle had told me in advance that the students in her class are very keen, and that many are interested in pursuing careers in writing. So, I shouldn't have been surprised that they had many good questions. Carlie told us she is working on a manuscript and so far, she has "a bunch of characters." I told her that character-driven stories are my favourite. If she knows her characters well enough, her plot will come naturally. She just has to put her characters in interesting, challenging situations and let them respond in keeping with their characters.
There was a funny moment today, too, that made me laugh out loud. I was telling students that if, when they were little, they had a hobby they were passionate about (I explained that mine was writing) they should try to nurture that hobby as they grow older, and that perhaps it might turn into a career. "It's like watering your plant," I told the class. At that point, a student named Samia (correct me please if I've got your name wrong!) looked up at me with great interest. I felt sure I had changed her life -- that I had caused her to remember some long-forgotten hobby she could now pursue. Only then, Samia said, "You just reminded me that I have to water my parsley plant!"
So thanks to all of the students today for being so great -- and to Gayle for having me in and sharing these bright young people with me!
PS: Happy Hallowe'en! I wrote this blog entry in between handing out candy to trick-or-treaters!