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Writers bring experiences alive for VRMS students

FORT KENT, Maine — Authors from around the states of Maine and Vermont presented to seventh- and eighth-grade students Nov. 29 at Community High School/Valley Rivers Middle School.

Writers shared their inspiration and techniques with the young people, who then had a chance to put some of their writing skills into practice.

The authors who presented were:

Randy Spencer, Maine Master Guide, who has written novels about the four seasons through adventures that can only be had in Maine. One of his novels is “Where Cool Waters Flow and Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections of a Master Maine Fishing Guide.”

Jessica Potila, a reporter for the Fiddlehead Focus and St. John Valley Times.

Steve Meyers, cartoonist and illustrator.

Ellie M. Jalbert, a science-fiction author of “Storm of Ages: Nightmare” and “Storm of Ages: Metamorphosis” (Book 2).

Charles Laurier Dufour, who is a professor of psychology at the University of Maine at Orono and an award-winning photographer of fine arts.

Geraldine Becker, a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, along with publishing essays and creative writing in various journals and anthologies. Her first book of poems is “Glad Wilderness.”

Scott Wheeler of Derby, Vt., the publisher of Vermont’s Northland Journal. He hosts a weekly television show on NEK-TV called The Northeast Kingdom Voice and a weekly radio show on WJJZ Country called The Vermont Voice, and has written several regional history books.

Les Chanteurs Acadiens, a local group comprised of Charles Stewart, Roger Damboise and Don Levesque, who raise awareness of the unique lost Acadian culture and to celebrate it in song and stories.

Guests discussed their themes in their writing, how they became authors and some of the hurdles and triumphs involved, how they find their ideas for their writing, and what their biggest accomplishments are in terms of their writing to date.

Jalbert stated that growing up reading was an escape for her that created worlds and places she could never go to.

Meyers remarked, “Creativity needs practice — utilize it in your own way.”

“Spark your imagination using your own life,” Spencer told students.

Additionally, each presenter offered an activity incorporating their writing expertise with the students. Students wrote line poetry, made storyboards, sang about the Acadian culture, investigated news stories and history, configured a new word by way of portmanteau (blending two known words) with a cartoon figure, and wrote a science fiction short story.

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