Friday, April 30, 2010

Arts Day at Timmins High

It starts with the whole school playing frozen tag when Oh Canada broadcasts over the intercom. The arts day presenters get introduced in the theatre room by an enthusiastic drama student. Then I head for the conference room and present, over the course of the day, to four grade 9 and 10 students, some gifted, some improv, some so bored with life that eyerolling is their only exercise. They can pretend they don't like it but I know they did. "You can't say you don't know, there are no wrong or right answers," I tell them. "You should say instead 'I need a moment to consider your question'" . In my mind I figure I've given them at least one lifeskill to use in the all important job interview.

It's amazing how alive some of their words can become with some coaching. The last group became way more willing to share their work once the cool kid decided he would read his romantic poem aloud in order to win a juice box. The Juice Box Writing Competition was on.
I do love working with this age group. Not a lot of warm fuzzies like with the younger groups, the rewards are much more subtle.

Making writing "Apeeling" at Clarksdale

How do you start a book? Where do you get your ideas? Bah! It's the flashing curser and nothing-happening moments that create the real problems in writing sometimes.
Here I demonstrate how I insert day to day real life in my stories. My grandmother used cucumber peels as a facial mask on her kids. My mother put them on our faces. I did on my kids, and then on my character Elizabeth in Bringing Up Beauty and now of course on volunteers in writing presentations. What does it look like, smell like, feel like...and click, click,click (pores closing under the cool sensation) sound like? Here I am at Clarksdale, getting a volunteer writer to peel the cucumber and another to describe the experience. Ahh writing!
Aww kids!