Okay, so it's been a hot minute since I was last in a high school, sitting outside the principal's office. But that's where I was this morning.
I was at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School over in Tottenham, not far from the Compound, waiting for a student to come and escort me upstairs. I was thinking how strangely familiar it was: the sights and sounds of the office, and of the students coming in to hesitantly ask something of the office staff. A tardy slip; a broken padlock from a locker; a missing wallet.
I didn't have long to wait; two students came to get me. I'd been invited to speak to the Grade 12 'Writer's Craft' class about writing because I am, apparently, an 'expert'. That's not something I've ever thought about myself.
But there I was, at the front of Mrs. McCabe's class, nervous as hell, introducing myself and starting to talk about writing. About world-building and character building, and how to finish the first draft at all costs, and how to work with that first draft to (slowly) turn it into gold.
My nerves slowly faded away, and I think I connected with some students who showed genuine interest. Some others were, as I once was, just high school students waiting for lunch. I remember that feeling, too.
Hopefully, some of them found something useful in what I was talking about; I reinforced my points by giving a handout (with shameless self-promotion on the back, as suggested). If even one of those students pushes through and finishes their own creation because of something I said, then the day was a huge success!
Thanks again to Mrs. McCabe and the class! It was great meeting you all!