On occasion, when the moon is in Taurus and forms a trine aspect to Pluto (or something like that), I can be convinced to leave my keyboard and give a presentation to real, live human beings. Usually, such a presentation takes one of the following forms:
How to be an Astronaut
Designed for small to large groups of middle-grade students, this is a fast-paced presentation with lots of audience participation. First, we’ll talk about “What you want to be when you grow up,” and why great-aunts and grandmas ask such annoying questions. Then, drawing from 50 Poisonous Questions, 50 Burning Questions, Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World, and Canadian Boys Who Rocked the World, we’ll talk about people who overcame obstacles, pursued their dreams, and achieved amazing things. Finally, we’ll look at the tips we can take from these over-achievers, and the ways we might work toward becoming writers, teachers, scientists… or astronauts.
How Non-Fiction Can Change the World
Ideal for small groups of middle-grade or high school students, this workshop will show kids the value of creative non-fiction, and inspire them to write their own. We’ll discuss the use of storytelling and narrative techniques in the non-fiction realm; ways to make facts fabulous though powerful word choices, images, and attention-grabbers; and how to weave our personal stories into information-based writing. The workshop includes lots of activities, idea-sharing, and participation.
How do people get inspired to pursue big dreams? How do we inspire others? And… just maybe… how can we inspire ourselves to write? This is the grown-up version of “How to be an Astronaut,” above. It’s designed for older students or adults, and offers practical advice on how to gather ideas, hone skills, and try new things. Other topics include: whether it’s better to be a Starbucks barista than a writer; how to embrace your inner suckiness; and new uses for eavesdropping.