Am just back from a visit to Beaconsfield High School where I spoke to two groups of students about the writing life. I should really be at the grocery store buying ingredients for tonight's supper, but I wanted to sit right down at the computer and jot down some of the fun stuff that happened today during my school visit.

I had lunch in the school cafeteria and some of the grade sevengirls I met before lunch were kind enough to let me join them at their table. In my talk to their class, I mentioned how I get some of my story ideas from listening in on people's conversations. Which is exactly what happened while I was sitting at their table! I learned that a group of seventh grade girls play a game they call Fantasy Boy Draft (the girls got the idea from a TV show called One Tree Hill). At the beginning of the year, each girl gets to pick a fantasy boyfriend -- mostly picked from boys at their school. The girls give the boys nicknames such as "Peewee" and "Skills." "Skills" gets his name because that is what he says every time he makes a basket when he plays b-ball. Pretty interesting, no? And wouldn't this kind of stuff fit in nicely to a novel for young adults?

You gotta be careful what you chat about when a writer is in the vicinity!!

In the afternoon group, we talked about how family secrets -- especially the ones your relatives don't want to share -- can make great stories. A boy named David told us a moving story about visiting his dad's family's graveyard in Italy. He asked his dad about a relative whose name was on the family tombstone and learned his dad had had a little brother who died when he was a small child. This story, too, felt to me like it had the makings of a short story or even a book. I told David that maybe he should get to work -- perhaps telling the story from his father's point of view.

So time to get those groceries! Many thanks to the people who helped organize my visits to BHS today: Mrs. Cochrane, Mrs. Laviolette and Mrs. Matties. (Hey someone from BHS -- can you write to me and correct the spelling for Mrs. Matties's name?... apparently I got it wrong. Let me know and I'll make the change ASAP!!) Hope your students learned as many interesting things as I DID!!