Mr. Clint Lundgren’s IB Language and Literature 10 class is currently learning about the exciting world of creative writing. On April 26, the class welcomed a special visitor: GNS alumnae Gabbie Ciceri ’10, a published author of 16 books.
Gabbie and the students took part in a fun ‘hot writing' group activity, where a story prompt gets one person to begin writing what will become a group authored story. After a couple of minutes, the work is passed on to the next person who would add to the story and this continues until it is time for an ending.
“It was fun,” she said. ‘I think doing the hot write was a really good thing to do. Even if someone isn’t an author or a writer it’s good to express yourself. I was glad they felt comfortable writing their stories. Creative writing is supposed to be a safe space and they took advantage of it, which I thought was good.”
Mr. Lundgren was Gabbie’s creative writing teacher when she attended GNS and the two have kept in touch since she graduated. When he asked Gabbie to come to speak to his class, she was happy to do so.
“I think a lot of times there’s an emphasis on being a doctor or a lawyer—something with a discernible path, and we wanted to show you can follow a creative path and also be successful, so I was happy to do that,” she explained. “I would have loved to have an author come in when I was in school.”
After the hot writing activity, students had a chance to ask questions, and many were about Gabbie’s writing process and how she got started. Gabbie noted she’s been writing since she was eight and was first published when she was 24.
“Since I did my first creative writing project when I was eight, I knew I wanted to be an author,” she said, adding that she went to university for her undergrad and was planning to go to law school.
“I kept putting it off because I wanted to be a writer,” she said. “So, I took a year off to move to Europe and I gave myself a year to be a writer. I said if I can come home and support myself being a writer —I gave myself a financial threshold that was quite reasonable—then I don’t have to go to law school.”
Gabbie bet on herself and moved to Europe, where she was a food journalist in addition to being a writer. While there, she wrote two bestselling books, allowing her to pursue writing full time once she returned home.
Gabbie took a chance on her dreams, and her advice to GNS students would be to do the same thing.
“It’s not to say not to be pragmatic, but if you don’t give yourself a chance to do what you love I think you’ll regret it,” she said. “I know creative paths are difficult and there isn’t an x, y and z that you do then you’re guaranteed success. But, if you have a passion it’s better to do what you love than something you don’t love. Giving yourself the chance is something everyone should do.”