Monday, May 21, 2012

Montreal Trip-Kahnawake Survival School

When I heard about my high school reunion in Montreal, like most broke authors with a new book, the question that occurred to me was how can I make this trip tax deductible.  I'd always wanted to do a signing in the Pointe Claire Chapters so I called Deb Aubin at that branch and she was amazing.  Within a couple of days the event was up on the Chapters Blog set for Mother's Day.  Then I began cold calling schools.    Oh so many librarians and teachers seemed so excited for a couple of emails.  And then they realized their funding was gone, there were track meets and exams and they were too busy. etc.etc.   The calls still achieved contact and I hope the teachers will buy copies of crush.candy.corpse for their libraries. And perhaps next year with fun fair money in hand, they will also think of hosting a visit.  One of my favourite schools committed immediately.  I love the name of it .  Here it is:
I survived Survival School.

This is a Mohawk High School.  And as you can see below the building is beautiful, new, bright and airy.Some of the students have attended a Mohawk Immersion program which means their English writing skills might not be at a regular level, whatever regular means.

The large windows allow plenty of light in.
I loved visiting with these kids.  But I will be honest.  They challenge me and keep me humble.  One young man questioned my intent when I asked them to create a "tent" with a recycled manuscript paper
and print their names on in large letters.  "Why don't you just ask us for our names?"

Gee I thought I was doing just that.  But I think the student wanted to just orally story tell even beginning with his name.

If they write out them out visibly for me, I have half a chance of pronouncing and/or remembering them.  Plus as I schemed, they were flipping the paper and reading drafts of my work.  I told him flat out I couldn't remember names.  He stared at me, emotionless, or did he think I was lame?  With names at author visits I tend to be.

I handed out feathers as a simile/metaphor creating exercise.  Students seemed to like letting them drift down not so much describing the colour and texture. Or thinking of any of the symbolism behind feathers.

I paired them off to create scripts.  They weren't keen to act them out.  Shy or did they need more
Hopefully the kids learned at least one thing.coaxing?

Sometimes you do your best and then just walk away, pondering.  Next visit for sure I'll come up with something that will magically turn them into writers.

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