On the 16th of May, Jaipuria had with it, someone who in her way, has embodied this quote
“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inextinguishable source of magic.” – J.K Rowling
She creates magic out of words. Kristina Lynn-Thornton, writer extraordinaire, was born in Oak Park, Illinois, USA. She joined us for a creative writing workshop over skype
She was the regional Head Teacher at GEOS Language Centre in Singapore, before she went on to co-author The Wee- Adventures of Shabu Shabu, an eight-parts children’s book series. Now, along with working on the remainder of the much successful series, she is an ‘English as a Second Language Teacher’ at the VGC International College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Along with all of these, she also pens down thought-provoking articles for the Taichung Voice and other journals.
The workshop started off with Kristina telling us about memorable experiences throughout her writing career, and how her books originated. She told us about a pet rabbit who kept tinkering around her cage, who was the idea behind the protagonist of her books, Shabu Shabu. She also told the enthralled audience about the time and patience it took for her book being published. She closed the first stage with telling us how she looked forward to the next event on the agenda, a question answer round.
The question-answer round included students asking Kristina thought-provoking questions; things ranging from emotions behind writing to reading books and speaking skills. Kristina answered all of them graciously. Excerpts:
How do you get rid of writer’s block?
Well, brilliant question. Writer’s block is something that happens to everyone, and it’s inevitable at times when you’re feeling down or just plain unproductive. I suggest you take some time out before sitting down again, this time with no disturbances at all, and write. As much as you can, whatever you can, for as long as you can. That works.
Do you think that a person can make a great writer even if he doesn’t feel emotions much?
Yes. There is different kinds of writing. One, where you write stories that absolutely need emotions, others where you write different stories, or simply opinionated articles. Everyone can write. And for those, who actually want to write novelettes and novels based on emotional characterisation even though they don’t feel them much themselves, third person writing is the way to go. You can be a scholar of human psychology and write in third person, what you think someone would feel, and embody the empathy in writing rather than yourself.
Next in line after the interactive question answer round where Kristina emphasised on being curious, and the children had their curiosity satisfied, was the stage where Kristina would tell them about getting published, essay writing, and being an influential writer in general. She talked about the importance of writing everyday, religiously, even if only for five minutes, about how you tell people about your writing, how it is important to follow up on school essays by writing more of them. She also pressed on reading being a hobby, as she believes that good readers become good writers, at which point most of the Jaipurian audience jumped from their seats, proving their already present enthusiasm for reading.
The session ended with valuable advice from our guest about college applications and framing them. As the call ended, everyone posed for a selfie with her. After that, as a heartfelt gesture, the students of Jaipuria left several handwritten messages for Kristina for taking out time to talk to us so patiently and going over all nuances of writing as a profession.We also all recorded lovely video messages for her to view as a show of gratitude from all of our students. The audience had people ranging from students from class 6 to 10 and some teachers, and all of us had something to take away from this session.