My ice bucket challenge, at long last

I kept getting harangued to undertake the ice bucket challenge. But it can be tough being a creative sort, because everyone so often expects you to turn it up a notch. Well, I did my best . . .

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A monster of a time at the Whistler Public Library

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This past week, my wife Marcie Nestman and I taught at the Write It, Read It Camp in Whistler, BC. We love Whistler and go there to escape the city all the time, so we thrilled to be able to go up during the summer and work with a keen group of young writers and readers. Other presenters during the week included Carrie Mac and Sarah Leach.

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I rolled out my famous monster-in-a-bottle workshop and Marcie followed up by delivering a workshop on building voices through character. I popped in at the end of Marcie’s workshop to hear all sorts of imaginatively peculiar voices emanating from the corners of the room. (Also, there were two girls dancing around like unicorns . . . not sure what that was about). In any case, there was no doubt that the students had an imaginative time.

Here are some of the work that Marcie helped the kids do during her voice workshop:

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And here are yet even MORE monsters in a bottle. I’ve posted a lot of them this year. But you know, they each seems so unique and imaginative . . . some of the creations are so fantastic!

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Many a magical journey . . .

My Summer at St. George’s Book Publisher’s camp has finally ended.

Whew!

It was such a joy to work with so many great kids—and counsellors. It’s always bittersweet to end such a camp. In one way, I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted and am just relieved to be done. In another way, it feels like I’ve just been pulled from sort of magical life support, so feel, as always, a little sad.

Here’s a few photos of the kids’ work from throughout the week, to celebrate all their hard work and achievements . . .

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A dash of Faerie Dust, a sprinkle of Heart’s Desire, and a Snarf Egg for good measure

Today, I rolled up my sleeves and undertook a magic potions class with my junior crew at the Summer at St George’s Book Publisher camp. This activity is a fantastic way to talk about the five senses and to encourage interesting description in a story.

The young magic-makers have to pick from a wide selection of ingredients and then mix them together, recording their observations all the while. I have a variety of exotic ingredients to choose from, including Blood of Basalisk, Faerie Dust, Pixie Juice, Egg of Snarf, Gnome Poop, Goblin Eyes, Dragon Tears, Heart’s Desire, Mummy Dust, and Troll Snot . . . just to name a few!

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Below are some of our potions in “action.”

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This particular potion involved a healthy dose of Pixie Juice and A LOT of Faerie Dust.

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I’m not sure what exactly happened with this potion, but a sprinkling of Envy’s Curse tends to make a brew do peculiar things.

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This potion, of course, is a love potion. It feature some grains from the Heart’s Desire bottle.

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This potion is so thick that the stir-stick (the feather from a winged horse) is standing straight up in it. Unfortunately, someone spilled all the Blood of Baskalisk . . . so that’s the dark river you see winding its way across the table cloth in the background.

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I believe that’s a Snarf Egg sinking to the bottom of this inky potion.

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It’s not cream soda . . . this potion is mostly Mummy Dust and Blood of Baskalisk.

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I’m not sure how this student managed to get neon blue . . . but it’s a very pretty potion.

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That’s a Goblin Eye floating to the top of this lime green concoction.

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This potion seems murky and mysterious . . . but it is actually for healing.

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Well . . . there are always one or two explosions in the magic potions workshop.

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This is a Goblin Eye stuck to the ceiling of our classroom. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how it ended up there. What I do know is that it is very high up and it isn’t coming down anytime soon. Someone’s in for surprise when the regular classes start again in September.

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Here are some of the final potions all lined up on the staging table. The next step is to distill them into miniature bottles. I’ll post those photos later!

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St. George and the Dragon . . . bottle-sized

Even though I’ve done this workshop SO many times this year, I haven’t tired of it yet. So, as part of my Summer at St. George’s book publishing camp, I decided to roll it out once again to help inspire my group of young authors.

In this activity, they imagine that their fictional characters have bought pet monsters from the “Magic Monster Shop.” The monsters come in a little bottle kit, and now it’s up to the character to hatch the little beastie. What will the characters end up with? Well, see if you can find any clues based on what you can see in the bottles . . .

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