Friday, 10 October 2014

Experience Rundle

"Start with structure."  
Will Ferguson quotation on creative writing.

October 10, 2014

This past week Ms. Kim's Grade 12 English Honours Class were blessed by a visit from Mr. Will Ferguson, Canadian author and recent winner of the Giller Prize.  Mr. Ferguson won the prestigious Giller Prize for his work on the novel "419" and on Wednesday, October 8th, it was exactly this book that he was discussing.  

Over the course of the hour long presentation and discussion, Mr. Ferguson discussed a range of topics including:
  • how avoiding a chemistry class may have been one of the most influential career moves he ever made
  • how a random trip and how long blond hair can define your future
  • how Charlie Chaplin changed has impacted his relationships and career 
  • what it's like to take critical feedback from a copywriter on a subject that is so dear to you
  • how the adolescent brain reads differently than adults
  • how a flash of empathy can change an the entire scope genre of your work
  • what happens when you invent a new car and try to pass it by people who love cars

It goes without saying that he really travelled a lot of territory during his time with us!  Among the most impressive elements of his presentation may have been the student questions and his responses to them.  From the pages of their dogeared books came detailed and insightful comments and queries.  Our senior students certainly demonstrated the ability to interpret text and critically think about its' contents. 

At one point during our conversation, a student asked about the writing process and what it's like to be a creative writer.  It was in this moment that Mr. Ferguson replied with a gem of wisdom which has haunted me like that song you just cannot get out of your head.  (now, by no means is this a direct quote, but I do hope I am doing justice to it).  On the topic of creativity and writing, Mr. Fergus simply stated:

"Start with structure."

This simple, yet perfect, statement started my wheels turning and had me reflecting on what Rundle does so well.  
I believe that Rundle College Society has been, and will continue to be what it is, because we have always started with structure.  We know that the simple things like having small class sizes, knowing your students as more than just learners  and having personalized celebrations are the cornerstones to building men and women of character and intelligence.  Examples of our deep commitment to the individual in our schools this week have been the Primary's Celebration of Learning, the Academy's IPP Meetings and 17th Avenue's Fine Arts Day.  

Each of the events start with the defined structure of our mission statement and core values and once this foundation is set we are able to get creative with elements that enhance the overall event.  Each event we host is true to this simple, yet very poetic formula... "Start with structure."

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Jason B. Rogers

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