Teachers gathered at the Denver Marriott for the CCIRA conference Thursday to hear many authors speak about writing and reading. Among them was Lester Laminack who gave a luncheon keynote entitled “Writing as a Pursuit of Passion”. Laminack defined passion as the “fuel that causes you to do something whether someone is watching or not”. He urged listeners to feel their writing, to taste, to touch, to smell, and to see it as well. With his humor, stories from his own personal experiences, and his signature bowtie, he captivated the audience with his inspiring speech.
Laminack referred to “trap door” moments during his speech. These moments are formed when one remembers something from the past and uses it to create a story. For example, Laminack wrote an entire book after he smelled cookies in a grocery store which triggered the childhood memory of baking cookies with his grandmother. Laminack shared that he keeps a small notebook with him at all times which he uses to jot down ideas, then transfers some to a larger notebook. One page is never related to the next as he includes any moments that resonate with him. He compared it to a kitchen drawer where someone might keep various objects they think they might need. Are you going to need that spring? Probably not. But you never know. Little of what goes into Laminack’s notebooks may actually make it into a book. When explaining the origin of an idea, Laminack stated, “Where does it come from? Whatever catches my attention in that moment.”
Laminack told his audience that young children naturally speak poetically, and suppressing these natural tendencies would take away their ability to think metaphorically. He encouraged teachers to give their students notebooks so they could record what catches their attention. He also instructed them to feed their students’ imaginations and souls through fiction. Laminack believes that reading and writing help children “to think, to examine, and to be passionate”.
He ended his speech with an inspirational bit of advice. “Embrace the good that is within each of you. Don’t look too deep. Search for peace in the great abundance.”