Maybe it helps that I do believe that everything I do, and everywhere I am, I am meant to be doing or being in that specific moment in time.

There’s no such thing as no impact.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times I wish more people would take advantage of the free programs I’m doing at Downsview Library. It feels weird to be paid so much when only a handful of people show up for your program.

You almost wonder if the library will think, forget it! It’s not worth it. And yet it seems the library system doesn’t think in that way. They think more in terms of impact.

As long as even a few people are benefiting, really benefiting, they’re happy.

It almost feels like the library system is the biggest kept secret in the city.

But anyway, I just have to share something that happened this last week.

In my last post I talked about a shy girl who had reluctantly come to my public speaking workshop.

Well… I feel like I had a huge breakthrough with her! And with her counterpart, the outspoken boy.

And I realized that it can be really nice to have fewer kids in a session because then you can tailor the lesson to their needs more carefully.

Last spring I was chosen for the Toronto Library Sophie’s Studio workshop series. In developing the writing sessions for the kids at Downsview Public Library I built upon my experience there. This isn’t ‘school’. The workshops have to be fun enough that the kids want to come! They want to play mostly and learn secondly.

When I gave the children (5-8) time to do some writing in the last session, I realized that some of them were so young they lacked basic writing skills. So for this last Thursday’s session, I decided I’d take the writing ‘work’ out of the equation. I’d do the writing, and they’d simply do the story creating.

Basically I was the ‘secretary’ jotting down their story as they created it, guiding them through the process where I had to and in the process they’d learn organically what works in creating a story.

One of the creative exercises I’ve always used to show children story structure is creating a story about one of the kids in the group having a pair of magic mittens that when they put them on, they can make any wish they wish.

I went back to that premise with the two little boys that showed up. One was a very young boy and he had his little brother (about three years old) with him. His mom was in the background. Since nobody else had arrived at that point, I let the toddler stay and contribute to the story.

Within five minutes the outspoken boy arrived and I added him to the mix as one of the characters in the story. And then the girl I mentioned earlier, she arrived as well.

The six year old who began the story process, wanted to use his magic mittens to blow up the world. The girl said, “No, then everyone will die!” and so I added that to the story. We had conflict!!!

The younger boy and his three year old brother ended up becoming the antagonists of the story, and the other three worked at what they could do to stop him.

The outspoken boy may have been tired because he said his character kept falling asleep, which was funny, but not very dramatic.

Then another girl arrived and she too was added to the mix. Her job was to search a cave for magic potions.

The outspoken boy decided to wake up and use ‘picks’ to defuse a bomb that the six year old had created and the shy girl was poking the six year old with the magic mittens, who had turned himself invisible.

Oh it got heated!

And exciting!

All of them were shouting (even the shy girl) plot suggestions all in good fun!

And so we created a nifty little story that even had a sweet little resolution!

In the end, the shy girl got the magic mittens away from the six year old, wished that all of them would have their own pair of magic mittens and that the six year old and his little brother were sent to a planet of their own with their own magic mittens so that they could blow up their own world as often as they liked!

And later, when the same girl stood up to tell a story to the rest of us…well I felt very proud! Within three sessions she had come such a long way!