The LEARN Writers Group





I’m learning a lot from the writing class I’m teaching. I’m learning not to panic because I’m pretty sure that children are like sharks, they can smell fear like sharks smell blood, and then really, you are done for.

I’m also learning that, unless I get real frickin’ creative, my LEARN book is going to more like a pamphlet.

I, Uh, Know Stuff

This may sound silly, but it strikes me at odd times. I mentioned Faust on Wednesday and they all just looked at me like I had grown a second head. No, strike that, I was probably on my third head by that point. Faust, however, is a fascinating subject if I do say so myself.

The questions they ask, the statements they make, take us in the wildest of directions. And I sort of love it. It reminded me of some of the cool discussions I had with Dee when she was this age.

Corralling Kids…Sort Of

I may be down to three kids, possibly a 4th returning this next Wednesday (oh Cade, of Roscoe and Greg fame, I haven’t forgotten you, I don’t think I ever could), and honestly, I cannot imagine how a teacher can manage to corral/manage/hold back et cetera a room full of kids.

Now granted, most of these kids have never had to sit still and raise their hands, but still, I was hard pressed to keep up with them. I adore you Jack, but damn kid, you are a handful!

An Argument for Better Grammar

As I worked my way around to looking at some of the things they had written, I could see we had some rules to discuss. “Okay, so you need to capitalize the first letter of a sentence. And whenever someone speaks, that’s a new paragraph. And I see that everything is underlined.”

“I like the way it looks when it is underlined.”

“Well, I can understand that, however, if you want others to read it, you need to follow some basic rules. Otherwise, it’s too hard for the reader and then they never make it to the end of your story. We want them to keep reading!”

Poor dear, she looked so sad.

There is No Original Ideas, Only YOUR Take on it

As I showed them how outlines work, Jack said to me, “You stole my idea!”

He pointed out the similarities in my story and I didn’t bother to mention that I had thought of a big part of the story around 18 years ago, long before he was even a twinkle in his father’s eye. Instead, I quoted from Elizabeth Gilbert’s interview with Marie Forleo in which she points out that, after 40,000 years of humanity there are no original ideas – there is only the story that we as an individual has not told.

So it can have the same parameters – space travel, alien worlds, even a world-killing virus – but the story itself will be completely different when it comes from another person.

There is Also GOOD News!

They all seem to love the class. Every single one of them has said it now in different variations…

“Your class is my favorite class.”

“I love your class.”

And so on.

And considering that my abilities to understand/have patience with/comprehend/tolerate children that are not mine are severely limited and ridiculously atrophied – this is really amazing feedback.

I like them too, and that strikes me as supercool.

Now if I can only get them to write about 100 pages each of fiction, poetry, non-fiction…whatever…we will have it made!

 


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