Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Project Novella...or Justina is Insane.

I promised myself that this year while in Shanghai, I would focus exclusively on my writing. Block out hours to write my next couple of novels. Accept no other commitments. My writer buddies made me practice saying NO. My volunteer-friends made me practice saying NO. My sister made me practice saying NO.
I practiced saying NO.
I really did.
But opportunity came up to be a writer-in-residence at an international school in Shanghai. What a great way to meet students! To meet teens who are living an expat life! To work with them on writing and using their words...
So...I said...yes.
But under these strict parameters, gleaned from my previous writer-in-residency experience:
  • I'd conduct one single session per month throughout the school year.
  • In these one single sessions, I'd teach roughly 100 students at once in the high-tech auditorium.
  • All of the students would be armed with their laptops.
  • And most importantly of all: every student would write their own novella, using a common prologue that we would write collaboratively.

So yesterday, I talked about my journey to becoming a writer, drawing inspiration from everyday life (and eavesdropping) for writing, harvesting their field trip next week to BEIJING. Here's what the teacher wrote:

Students in class were asking, "Can we write at home, or only at school?" When I told them that the novella was THEIRS because they were the AUTHOR and they could work on it whenever they wanted, they were thrilled! And when I asked who knew Mandarin well enough to "eavesdrop in Mandarin" during the Beijing Trip, a few usually shy students sat tall and proud with a grin on their face! It was beautiful.

I love how words empower teens! Their own words!

Anyway, I am now on my way back home to the states to speak at WLMA and cannot wait to be with my peeps: librarians and libray media specialists. Yay! Hamburgers, here I come!


Sarahbear9789 said...

That sounds like an amazing opportunity and super rad.
Peace out Sarah.

Beth Kephart said...

I have discovered that I am at my most productive when I step out into the world. I'm lousy at saying no as well. But I'm guessing you said yes to the right thing here.

Good luck with your travels!


Erin said...

Oh, how cool! Would you mind posting the prologue that you guys will be using here? Or you could email it to me....?

Anonymous said...

Oh, how cool! Congrats!

Have a safe trip home. :)

Justina said...

Thanks for your support, everyone!

Miss Erin, I'll send you the prologue when the kids have finished perfecting it!


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