Posts Tagged ‘workshops’


mother daughter workshops

March 13, 2014

I teach a number of workshops with my writing partner and middle grade author extraordinaire, Lindsay Eland. Our favorite is the mother daughter class.

For two hours, Lindsay and I lead middle school girls and their moms through an adventure of writing and artistic expression. It’s a blast.

First, we introduce ourselves by creating opening pages in a journal. Then partners swap journals with each other and make a page for the other person. Moms generally paste pictures, phrases, and words like “beautiful, strong, and spirited” on their daughter’s pages. The girls post their own descriptions, often offering insight to their mom’s lives. In our last class, one girl cut out a picture of a yawning lion and said, “My mom is strong like a lion, but she yawns a lot.” I can relate.

The class continues with lots of laughter, animated conversation and personal convictions, ending far too soon. At the end, we ask the girls to share books that they’d like their moms to read and vice-versa. It’s an empowering exercise: one that I think more parents should try.

If you have kids, ask them what they think you ought to read. It might surprise you. I guarantee they’ll be excited that you asked and elated if you actually read them.



July 24, 2011

During the summer I teach writing workshops for a small group of middle school kids. Last year they were all girls. This year, all boys. We meet each Wednesday and play with words while eating chocolate. In honor of Harry Potter and his final adventure, we dedicated our most recent class to imagination.

After talking a bit about the series and what makes them great, I asked each of the boys to cast a spell. One created an enchantment to blow-up and freeze things (like sisters). Another stopped all tourists from coming to the mountain, so the locals could ski it themselves. A different boy created a spell that would make more pie. After all, the world could always use a little more pie.

Not only did JK Rowling deliver a masterful story, but she created a world igniting our creativity. Next time you sit and pull out your pen, polish your own Potter spell. Develop a mode of magical transportation. It will unlock your blocked mind. I often look to nature to get my imagination rolling. I’m sure JK Rowling did the same thing. Have you ever seen a bush in April? There’s your womping willow. Let your imagination create something spectacular or simply, more pie.

Imagine. It’s the best part of writing.