“He was like a stand up comic, real-down-to-Earth, approachable and friendly,“ explained Ms. Lerz, who led students and staff to see American writer Sherman Alexie at WestConn last week. “The one thing that really resonated with me is that if you want to be a good writer he said you have to be a ‘hoarder of ideas.’ Whenever a great idea comes to you, write it down immediately.”
Alexie is known for writing about his experiences as a Native American in his collection of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, his autobiographical novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, and his film Smoke Signals. Teachers and students, including some from Danbury High School, had the opportunity to ask him about his experiences as a writer and explore the writing process in general.
Ms. Ryan was thrilled to meet Alexie. “I have been a fan since the 90’s” she exclaimed. “I was proud of our students; they asked intelligent questions.”
Ariel Ligowski, a junior, found the experience refreshing. “We gathered in a conference room and we got to just banter with him one-on-one. It was incredible to meet someone who grew up poor on an Indian reservation and overcame all odds and is now an intelligent, successful millionaire. Talking with him was an awesome experience.”
Overall, BHS students found Alexie an approachable and interesting person to talk to. After book signing, the teachers and students left with not only some excellent wisdom to apply to their writing, but to their life as a whole.