Archive for July, 2009

Buried Under A Pile of Writing

July 21st, 2009 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

I bet you thought I’d disappeared.

And in a way I kind of did–vanished into a big pile of notebooks and typed pages and writing exercises and good things to read as I worked hard to finish the first draft of my second book (no, sorry, not going to tell you about it yet) and get it to my editor, but also to plan all kinds of activities for Creative Writing Camp at Little Shop of Stories, which I taught all last week.
Now, I’ve taught writing before: several classes to college freshmen and another great class of a bunch of grownuplady writers, too. Everyone was talented, everyone listened, everyone had things to say, and I enjoyed it all. But I don’t think ANY of the people I’ve taught before (no offense, out there), took to the writing exercises I gave them in the same way this bunch of awesome writers did. (There were 10 of them–the youngest one was 9 [Hi, Ruby!] and the rest of them were 10 and 11.) We did all kinds of things, and each time we worked on a new story, these kiddos all wanted more time to write, not less. We went to a coffeeshop to observe people and get character specifics. We traveled to different shops in Decatur, wrote down everything we could see, smell, hear, touch, taste, and then tried to get our friends to guess where we’d been after we got back and synthesized these details into descriptive paragraphs. We did some fun writing exercises with guest speakers Laurel Snyder and Jamie Allen, and spent one whole day on poetry, when wrote concrete poems, centos, poems with iambic pentameter, odes to someone we love, and haiku . . . not to mention all the crazy freewriting I made them do all the time to generate good material. It was a lot of writing! And they took to it like fish to clear, unpolluted, mineral-soaked, crisp, cool water!
On the last day these ten writers shared their best most fabulous poem in our first ever Little Shop of Stories Creative Writing Camp Poetry Reading, and I jotted down lines from each one, promising them I’d make my own cento out of their work, and post it here.

So, here it is, my poem for the fabulous writers I worked with last week. You girls (and guy) are terrific and I can’t wait to see how all your future writing projects turn out!

Ode to Laurie, Caroline, Julia, Logan, Ruby, Clara, Lara, Jenna, Ariana
and Sam
Fire is within everyone.
I see it here, not hidden, like the chance of rain,
but brilliant,
as when her light brown eyes
flare in my direction.
I am the de-bugger,
in this desk fit for one;
I shadow blue oceans of ink
spilling from their pens.
I watch their words fly up and
disappear into a cloud of sparrows.
In many rows is where the rose goes,
and among these rows my pride for them grows.
The graphite point of a pencil,
the twist of a coil of hair chewed in thought,
bits of notebook paper, torn,
a feeling of confidence, reading things over:
this is summer’s true taste.