Last week, as I drove to Warnbro Community High School on my first day as writer-in-residence, I was certainly going through all these as possibilities. I was also revving myself up to give all the students I’d meet that day my best energy. I’d be working with each class of Year 7s right through to Year 12 ATAR English students three or four times as the week progressed. With the help of wonderful librarians Kate and Jeanette I set up my laptop and connected to the digital projector. No technical disasters this time!
Writing is but one of many creative pursuits, and I make sure students know I don’t expect them all to be passionate writers and readers. Some might be into photography, dance, illustration, music or theatre; these are forms of creative expression they might be much more interested in. But what is often shared across all forms are our sources of inspiration, and I ask students to harness and channel theirs as they write during my workshops.I knew when the first students walked into the Warnbro Community Library last Monday morning that the week was going to be a joyful, creative one. Every day, in every class, I worked with engaged, open students and their teachers. The asked questions. They told me of their favourite books. They identified whythey loved those books. Then, when the students were heads-down writing, the librarians would bring me my favourite puzzle from the paper. And they did a lot of writing. They were excited to share their work. The puzzles were never finished. The students scribbled on and on beyond my attempts to halt their flow. And the librarians continued to make everything flow smoothly—there were cups of coffee, brought just at the right time, and little chats, and lovely lunches. And in between all that, these beautiful young people wove around and between us, reminding me why we have so much to hope for in this world. And as I left, there were cards, selfies, and signings. Thank you, Warnbro Community Library and High School!