Teacher-Writer: Pete Planisek
“Ten years after the loss of his entire family to madness and death, Ernest Frankenstein finds himself compelled to return to the city of his birth, Geneva, in order to discover if his elder brother, Victor, might still be alive. Only Victor can provide the answers to questions, which have long plagued Ernest. The quest for answers will force Ernest to confront demons, both internal and external, from his past, which refuse to be at peace and which ultimately will endanger both he and his new family. Hunted across Europe their only hope may lie with a French spy, Ernest’s childhood friend, and a mysterious gypsy girl whose people believe that Ernest will lead humanity to its salvation or final destruction.
PHSC English teacher Pete Planisek not only wrote the book described above, he also maintains a podcast, blog, and online publishing company. While often teachers in the arts lose touch with the practice of creating because of the pressures of daily of teaching and (especially for English teachers) the time commitment of grading, he remains an active writer and arts advocate, a feat he described as “always a trade off.”
As a classroom benefit, Planisek said that maintaining his writing has allowed him to help students because, “You know what you struggle with creatively to give pointers.”
In addition, there are intrinsic benefits, “[Writing] helps me grow as a person- you have to put yourself in different worlds and situations, and writing connects you with other people who are interested in writing… It challenges you to not just hone your craft but hone your own humanity,” he said.
Some teachers within the district have begun to explore research in creative writing, which is true to the form of many non-fiction writers, especially those who write narratives, poems or longer works with a historical context. “With the Frankenstein novels I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching the: historical time periods, names, geography, political issues, etc. I usually really enjoy getting to go more in-depth and really work hard to make the settings and characters believable,” he explained, “I’m looking forward to going and visiting some of the locations I’ve been writing about.”
With his online publishing company in the beginning stages, Planisek is always looking for new works to add to his website. He would welcome teacher submissions.