Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Where'd you go to high school?"

The high school question is popular in St. Louis because it reveals quite a bit of information. You can tell a lot about a person when you learn where he or she went to high school. High schools reveal information about geographical location, income level and religion. It’s so popular that I read that said St. Louisan and John Burroughs-alum John Hamm (star of Mad Men) slipped the question into a SNL skit when he hosted the show!

So, where’d YOU go to high school? What does that tell us about you?

Write a list of three-five things your high school says about you. You can also add the year if you like.

OK, here's my list:

Ft. Zumwalt class of 1977 (How cool was it to go to high school in the 70s? Very!)

1) Rural (at the time, more cows than people)

2)  Public school, no religious affiliation, (although the population was predominantly Catholic, my family wasn’t)

3)  Mostly blue collar working class (although my father had an MBA from Washington University)

4) Majority of graduates didn’t go to college (I did, although I recognized many types of intelligence among my friends who didn’t, and most of them make more money than I do!)

So you can see that I wasn’t quite typical. Many kids feel like outsiders, a common theme in coming-of-age stories, but I never did. I had wonderful friends and a great place to grow up that felt safe. So if I were a character, what would I be like? Why?

You can use this question to strengthen your writing. Think about that question next time you are creating a character, or writing about a real person. What was he or she like in high school, and what did that school say about the people who went there?

Write Soon,


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