Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Write on

The reason I started this blog is to fulfil one of my bucket list items: #16 Write more often. See, I love words. I love the way they are nuanced and there is (generally) a perfect word to fit every description or situation. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of work to formulate the perfect sentence; sometimes the perfect sentence is elusive. I love reading good writing and I aspire to write as well as possible. Prior to starting this little blog, I wasn't doing any writing at all. I knew there was something missing in my life and I was pretty certain that void had something to do with #16 not happening. I was happy with my life, but I could sense a gaping hole. I knew words were missing.

Often life gets in the way of the things we want to do. Since writing won't pay the bills for me at this point in time, I have to keep on keeping on. Actually, I get to do more than keep on. My day gig is pretty incredible; I get to teach writing. Granted I'm teaching writing to very reluctant writers, but every once in a while they surprise me. This morning I was wrapping up a talk about narrative writing and I noticed I had lulled my little muffins into a coma. In my defense it was only 8:00 a.m. At that point I had committed the cardinal sin of too much talk and not enough action.

So, I made them write. Instead of talking about writing, they wrote. I asked them to show me their morning. With words. I gave them four minutes (and counted them down on my fancy new interactive whiteboard that I can make moo, quack, or crow. Impressed? Don't be. See yesterday's post...) Next I had them show me a party (decidedly an unwise topic to ask for vivid description about since they don't think about their eighth birthday and ponies when I say the word "party." But, trust me, at this point, they were wide awake.)

Then, I asked for a time they were really nervous. At each moo, quack and crow they begged me for more time. When I challenged them to develop it further ("OK, now add a metaphor that isn't forced." "How about some dialogue. Make it authentic...") they pushed themselves. All of a sudden they were trying to outdo each other with suave and smooth metaphors that were perfectly placed.

Were they... ? No. Not...? Wait? Enjoying the craft of writing? What the....?

While there is the distinct possibility that moms put something in their eggs this morning, I'm thinking that there might be the possibility that for just a few moments I had twenty nine writers in my senior English class.

Today was a pretty good day.

What's on your bucket list?

(Images from here and here.)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love teacher stories! Little kids rarely have the thoughts or experience to write anything interesting, at least if English is their Second Language. So I will be lifted up by your great lesson vicariously!


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