Still Writing…

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When AP testing will be done, finals over, high school graduation a memory, and summer vacation almost there, I will be visiting a local high school.

It will be so close to the end of the school year that I wished I could simply sit down with the kids, listen to their summer plans, ask them about the books they like, and the stories they would like to read.

In my perfect plot I would be a host.

But the school counselor and the AP English teacher have invited me to talk about writing.

It is not the first time I visit a school, a library, or a bookshop.

But in the past, my visit was linked to the recent publication of my novel, to a specific event, or in collaboration with other writers.

When I’ll go to that school I’ll be alone, and although I can bring copies of my book, the main purpose of my visit is to talk about the process of writing.

When you spend huge amounts of your time making up people, crafting twists and turns and ups and downs to create suspense, pondering one work over an other, don’t you think it’s a little weird to be invited to talk about this process?

Should I talk of the time I spent yesterday over chapter 21 of my new novel? Of the hard time I had to hush the racket playing in my head, so I could re-enter the world of my people? Of the fluttering inside me when I found my pace and ran to meet my main character’s expectations? Or of my disappointment when I had to click on Save because I had to pick up my son at school, while I would have loved to stay?

Who could be interested to know that?

Seriously, in a world that gives more importance to material possession than art, more power to the product than the journey to build it, more visibility to quick success than behind the scene labor, is it important to talk about writing?

But I’m invited and feel a greater responsibility than when I ask to come over.

In the same way considerate guests arrive with a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine when invited for dinner, I want to bring something special with me.

As I searched through my files and power presentations, I find that too much is about me, about my personal journey, and my work.

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I would like for the students to value words as exquisite and powerful artistic tools.

Words are what notes and instruments are to musicians, watercolors, oil, and brushes to visual artists, stone, glass, wood, and carving utensils to sculptors.

Our palette isn’t limitless but our possibilities infinite.

Like most writers did when they were teenagers, high school kids write to make sense of the complexity of their feelings and emotions, of their wounds and their moments of happiness, and also just for the fun of telling a story.

 

I would also like to be honest.

Writing, unlike some other jobs, is never perfect. This imperfection triggers moments of doubt. Is it worth of my time to sit for hours and write?

On the other hand, although most people but artists will find this strange, the richest aspect of writing, in my opinion, resides in its imperfection. I find the search for higher quality very rewarding.

When people find out that I write, some of them believe that writers are rich. I assume financially rich.

Some are such great and prolific writers that they sell lots of books and make money.

Many of us, however, will spend our lifetime without knowing this form of success.

Does it mean that we should stop writing?

Most writers have a day job and still write.

Not when we find the time to write but in the window of time that we’ve purposely designed for our writing.

 

I would also like more questions than answers.

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And I would really like to take a few people with me.

 

KCross for her upbeat attitude and marketing skills.

The Eye Dancers for his unique way to tie his writing to other forms of art.

Stella for her extensive writing and teaching expertise.

Mona for her work infused with poesy.

 

That would be a killer team.

In some ways, they will be there.

We write inspired by the authors who left their mark when we were young, and others when we became more sophisticated readers.

And we share our passion for words and stories, nourished by the passion of other writers.

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What or who do you bring with you when you visit children or teens and are asked to talk about writing?

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