Hello again... you might think I'd be tired after teaching my own class this morning at Marianopolis College and then zipping off to LaSalle to work with Grades Three, Four, Five and Six students at St. Lawrence Academy's Senior Campus -- but instead, I'm ENERGIZED! That seems to be the effect young people have on me.

I met with two large groups of students, so that by the endof the day, I'd met just about every single student at the school! One of the things I talked about was how it's important for a writer to SHOW, NOT TELL! I explained how I knew one student sitting in the front row was eager to learn about writing -- at St. Lawrence, when someone raises his or her hand in a crowd, it's a sign he or she wants silence. Well, before it was even time for me to start, a Grade Three student named Sabrina raised her hand high up in the air. She wanted me to get to work! (That made me like her straightaway). I could tell another student was a little less focused. The telltale clue? He had stretched out a hunk of blue sticky tack and stuck it on his forehead! 

I also talked about how as an author I am constantly on the lookout for stories. Well, wouldn't you know it? -- a story walked right up to me. The story came in the form of a Grade Three student named Dante (after the famous Italian poet, of course!). "Wanna see my fake ID?" Dante asked me. (Rather an unusual question, don't you think, for a nine-year-old?) Dante's fake ID is a driver's license. Also, one of Dante's friends told me he and Dante are obsessed with Lego. Dante sometimes buys Lego stuff on e-Bay (using his mom's account). Maybe I'll have to work a guy like Dante into a future book!

Today again, I have lots of people to thank for helping to arrange my visit -- librarian Wendy Corner, vice-principal Miss Mitchell, and all the teachers who helped the students stay focused during my talks. Thanks also to the students who kept me company in the cafeteria while I ate my egg sandwich at lunchtime! And special thanks to all of you for the beautiful cards, the "Welcome Ms. Polak" banner, and the beautiful bouquet of flowers!!

Now I have a couple of questions I've promised to answer on today's blog entry. Amber wrote to ask me to describe my routine around the house. Well Amber, I'm afraid the answer isn't all that interesting, but here goes. I enjoy tidying up my house and cooking and hanging out the laundry -- that may be because I think a lot about my stories when I do those things. Last week I read that famous American author Joyce Carol Oates really enjoys vacuuming. Here's what she said about it: "I go into a very happy state of mind when I'm vacuuming. I think some of my male colleagues, like Philip Roth... are completely denied this pleasure." 

Alaina, a student at St. Lawrence, wanted to know how she could go about publishing her stories. Well Alaina, you could start by looking for writing contests you are eligible for. Perhaps your teacher or Miss Wendy, your librarian, could help you find some contests to enter. Also, once you have written your manuscript, you can send it to a publisher. A good idea is to go to the bookstore and check out the kids' section. Look for books aimed at the sort of readers you'd like to write for, too -- write down the names of the publishers of those books. You should probably start by sending your work to them. 

Well off I go... I need to do a little TIDYING UP, then I want to get back to my re-write of Junkyard Dog, one of my upcoming fall books. And I want to post a pic of me with Sabrina and Dante at St. Lawrence Academy's Senior Campus (I just posted the pic, but it came out too dark -- sorry about that. If one of you has a better pic, can you e-mail it to me and I'll post that instead?IMG_1443.jpg). I've already had several personal e-mails from St. Lawrence students... if you guys post your comments directly on this blog, other students will be able to read them, too, and I'll try to reply on the blog. Alaina, I'll read your worm story soon. Send me your e-mail address so I can write to you with my comments. 

Have a good rest of the day wherever you are. Hope no matter how busy your day is, there'll be a little time left for READING and WRITING!!