Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Speaking in Dubai via North Carolina

The day before Independence Day, I got up early to speak to 300-500 students between the ages of 14-18. The talk started at 7:30 am...for me. 

Yes, the talk was not from around here, and the students were unseen. I was speaking to the community of GEMS Modern Academy in Dubaiby way of North Carolina, by way of Zoom. Since I was in NC on vacation, sharing a beach rental house with my family and two other families with whom we podded, I wanted to be quiet at that hour...so I sat on the front porch. It was the first keynote I have delivered a) outdoors and b) without shoes.

The podium.

I had been asked to speak about "your journey, Batman & Bill, and the concept of identity in a digital world." I don't know how well I covered the third topic, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was honored that it was part of a larger event: a 6-hour live stream fundraiser. The teen organizers of the event (some shown below) were helping fellow students who lack resources for distance learning. #educationuninterrupted

Thank you to Sheldon Dias and your colleagues for the invite and kind words.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Take me to the pilot

I teach creative writing camps (virtual only this year, of course). 

One of my challenges for every group every year: write as irresistible a first line as you can…about a pilot. I do this to encourage them to be as experimental as possible so their line seems different from the rest in some way, even though the topic is the same for all. 

This year, for the first time, a young writer did something so different that I didn’t see it coming. She didn’t write about a pilot flying, crashing, or making an announcement. 

She wrote about a pilot…airing. Yes, a TV pilot. 

The simplest twist can have a big impact…no crash required.