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?

Comments

  1. I wish I could be there! Please follow-up and tell us how it goes. I often give presentations to industry groups, sometimes to students, but not about writing. I am invited to talk about my day job in technology.

    • I’m glad it’s not about technology! Although, I’m sure we will talk about the tech tools that allow writers to do so much more in terms of publishing, for example. And yes, I will write about this visit. See you on your blog, Dan.

  2. Simply repeat what you have said in this post and conversation, questions, and curiosity will ensue. Good luck!

    • That seems simple and I wish you’re right. Although, you’ve a point since I’ve noticed that letting the door open with questions can trigger a lively conversation, much better than a one-woman show. Thank you, Patricia.

  3. In my talks given at libraries, I bring my husband. Inside my head, Inside my heart. As long as I am here, so is he. 🙂

  4. I’ve never been asked to talk about writing but I’m sure I bore my family and friends when I talk about it all the time! It really is a different world we inhabit isn’t it? I’m so new to this yet I feel I’ve lived in this ‘writer’s world’ all my life so it’s been absolutely wonderful for me to have found others here who think just like me! I hope your talk goes well Evelyne, I would certainly love to be there to hear it as I know I have so much to learn and your writing inspires me greatly. 🙂

  5. As always, Sherri, your kind words go to my heart. I don’t think you can bore people when you talk. Your blog is far from being boring. As for this event, the more I work around it, the more I believe that I will remain very open to the discussion. I also hope for a few kids who aren’t English native-speakers. It creates an instant bond and triggers an interesting discussion. Thank you again for your visit and encouragement.

    • I would say that it is you who are so kind Evelyne, thank you so much! I do look forward to hearing how this event went in every aspect.
      I also want to let you know that I’ve tagged you in a Meet My Main Character Blog Tour. If you want to take part, here are the details: http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2014/05/26/meet-my-main-character-blog-tour/ In any event, I’m glad to be able to share this tour with you.
      Hope you are having a lovely Memorial Day Weekend 🙂

      • Thank you so much, Sherri, for the invitation. This is really cool to be part of an event with other writers. I guess I should go to work then!

      • My pleasure Evelyne, you greatly inspire me in my writing and I so pleased that you are going to take up this invitation! I look forward very much to your post and to see who you will tag next… 😀

  6. Bev Broughton says:

    Evelyne: After reading this blog I am convinced that all you have to do to inspire is share your thoughts in this blog. The students will be swept away with your sensitivity and dedication to your craft…Q and A always stimulates conversation.
    Fondly,
    Bev

  7. Ah the teachers are always rigjht, and you gave me a great idea, Bev. Thank you so much for your visit and your comment that will definitely encourage me/

  8. I think it’s great that you’re going to a high school. Go forth and inspire them! As a student, I remember admiring my teachers who had passions. I believe that even the possibility of being a writer (or an artist) and tapping into creativity is a great gift to young people.

    • Always good to see you and talk with you, Jennifer, even if only through our blogs and comments.
      You’re right about passionate teachers and creativity being such an amazing source of human satisfaction. I owe one of my French teachers my love for words and art in general. We never forget the ones who told us that it was indeed a great idea to focus on art. Thanks to the comments I received I will hopefully have a meaningful dialogue with the students when we meet. Thanks again, Jennifer.

  9. That should be great fun Evelyne and so inspiring for them. I definitely think you should bring in your personal writing experience as it will bring it to life for them. In the past, I spent many hours in my day job with classes of children, teaching them how to use libraries and I always found it very rewarding. I’ve also accompanied authors on visits to schools. I no longer get to do that but it would be wonderful to talk to them about writing.

    • Nice to see you, Andrea. You’re right, it will be fun and interesting. I love being with teenagers as they are so curious and open minded. Before I go, I will read again every comment and make sure I take advantage of every tip. It will be a killer visit!

  10. ce post ( que je n’ai sans doute pas compris intégralement, hélas ), pose plein de questions , vraiment intéressant et touchant aussi. Euh… une version française, c’est possible ? S’il vous plaît ! L’expérience des rencontre avec les enfants et les juenes, quelque chose souvent comme un défi. Quand j’étais à la bibliothèque, j’ai aussi accueilli des enfants en grand retard scolaire et c’était passionnant…

    • Je suis si contente de vous voir ici! Sur mon blog, j’essaie d’écrire des billets différents en anglais et français. En français, davantage sur la culture américaine et des aspects des Etats Unis méconnus des français. En anglais, davantage sur mes travaux d’écriture puisque la majorité est en anglais. Mais votre demande me touche et peut-être devrais-je revoir mon format. Dans ce billet, je discute une visite à venir dans un lycée et comment je souhaiterais, plus qu’une présentation qui me mettrait trop en valeur, laisser la parole aux ados. Les encourager à écrire et à poursuivre toute activité artistique et aussi écouter leur besoin pour tel ou tel type d’histoire. Je n’ai pas traduit mot à mot mais cela vous donne une idée du sujet que j’aborde.
      Merci pour votre blog que j’aime vraiment beaucoup. A plus tard.

  11. I like how you build up to this:

    “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?”

    A good question esp in the postmodern day of nanosecond gratification the students have grown up in. What a wonderful opportunity rich with promise, E., to be able to share the gospel of the written word. Of course I appreciate this: “I find the search for higher quality very rewarding.”

    Talk about interruptions. My little guy came running into the office just now and won’t stop yapping LOL. Ok, I can’t hear myself anymore. Later.

    Diana

    • Nice to see you, Diana, after our team work experience for Mother’s Day. When asked to talk about writing, I always question my ability to do so. Yet, I know that children and teens need to be told that writing is not a waste of time and that working at making it better is as important as any other job. Thank you again, Diana, for your visit. See you on your blog.

  12. Sounds like fun! And like you say young people need to know that writing is profitable and fun and really very entertaining!
    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife@wordpress.com

  13. Thank you, Linda. Yes, it should be great. I’ll write more about it after the visit.
    See you on your blog.

  14. Hi Evelyne,
    Thanks for sending 3 “ingredients” for my serial story. I’m delighted to use them to kickoff “cookbook-2.” Throughout the week, and weekend I’ll ask everyone for feedback or votes for any new elements they’d like to see in the story.
    I just wanted to make sure you knew I am very happy to have your ingredients. 🙂
    Hugs,
    teagan

  15. Yes, I knew about it when I read your last post and saw that you were planning “Cookbook-2”
    I felt a little bad about it since I realized that you had maybe planned to stop at #1, but I am looking forward to seeing what you are up to.
    Cheers!

  16. Beautiful images and thoughts. I love your meditation on our ‘world that gives more importance to material possession than art’ I feel it is so ironic because art and ideas has the biggest potential to improve any issue! But hey!

    I enjoyed your post as always.

    PS So glad I figured out the comment box (I wasn’t clicking the right button last time!!)

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