The love poem was an imposed quickwrite exercise, BUT the 12-year-old-author’s accompanying artwork spun around the oft-repeated words is her own visual poetry. Her symbolic visual elements betray the seemingly simple (cliche, even) way by which love was portrayed in words.
Are schools killing student creativity? Yes, some schools and some teachers are, according to one student’s rant comparing elementary and high school. As the piece was read as a prompt, the older workshop participants nodded – some indignantly, while others in passive acceptance. One of the younger participants, barely out of elementary school, appeared uninterested in the discussion, but his written quickwrite response says otherwise.
“I really love when I’m thinking outside the box. It makes me more expressive. But to know that fictions and imaginations will be massacred by reality is pain on the back. I just can’t imagine how cruel this is. The only way we could stop them is to speak-out, speak-out for the thoughts that are supposed to be free. I have problems about saying this — but maybe its just the way it is. But it doesn’t mean we should lose hope.”
While these young creatives recognize that maybe “the way it is” is a “pain in the back”, they definitely are not backing-out of trying to change it.
A color-prompt workshop quickwrite; exploring stream-of-consciousness.
A blinding white light flashes, washing out my face. Where am I? All I can remember is a group of people dressed in lab coats dragging me around in a stretcher. As I look at my arm, blood was gushing out of it. But I can’t feel pain. I turn to my side and see more blood. What the ?! is happening? As I stood up, deciding to explore the building, I discover tons of medical equipment – tubes and wires pouring out from bleeping machines. The place was so bright, white, clean, and busy. Yet inside me, I felt so blue. Everything about the place made me feel cold and gloomy. Everything, from the pale tired nurses to the lifeless scenery, seemed to scream depression. All I can see from left to right felt sad. What made me feel worse was the smell of death in the air. Why does this place even exist? To make people depressed and crazy out of their minds? ‘Cause that’s what this place looks like to me. I know I’m in a hospital, but doesn’t that mean doctors and nurses should tend to me since I’m obviously a patient here? I decided to go back where I came from. The next thing that happened shock the life out of me, literally. What I saw was a mangled body of a girl who looked like me, except for the enormous bullet hole on her arm. I felt sickness starting to grow from the pit of my stomach. But that was impossible, dead people don’t feel sick. And I am.
Life seems unfair
No one knows what will happen
No one can understand how you feel
Only those who can relate to your situation
Seeing them happy bring smiles on your lips
Even though they don’t know that you exist
Even though you can’t understand what they say
Even though they are just your dream
Encouraging words make you determined
Knowing that someone has the same feeling
Knowing that someone has the same goal
Knowing all that gives you hope
But, knowing that you’ll never be with them
Knowing that you will never meet them in the future
You believe that there is a possibility that you can be with them
You believe that you will meet them
Because you know that nothing is impossible
You know that you are persistent
You know that God has a better plan for you
And you believe that
Even though you’re just a fan
A 15-year old puts together images in this draft vignette, which initially started as a quick workshop activity on the color blue.
It’s cloudy, and the light breeze of winter is sweeping through the town. The chimes clink softly in the air and an aromatic scent of coffee greets her as she pushes the door open. She removes her ear muffs as she sits by the hazy glass window. Lately she felt unhappy after her moronic lover broke up with her in a 27 second phone call. Brewed Blues. That coffee shop had five people this morning. Two tables away from her sat an old man reading a newspaper with a cup of coffee in his hand.
Everything felt uncomfortable. Losing someone you were attached to for a long time is just so sad. Wow, perfect timing. Ideal weather, ideal place and ideal strangers to have around. In Brewed Blues, she found she fit with everyone, feeling down. Feeling gloomy, rejected, unhappy. She felt really awful; she was feeling blue. Another one’s crying by himself by the corner with his hands covering his whole red face. A conclusion came to her mind that the people around her might have something terrible going on with their lives. She thought she was one of them.
The place, Brewed Blues, played woeful music from the radio by the counter. She looked out the hazy window, saw a busy street, looked up and saw dull cloudy sky. “Someday, someone out there will take away the loneliness I’m feeling, and gladly put back the beam on my face.” She said smiling to herself as she watched the busy street. She sipped from her tea, got out of her chair and wore her ear muffs back.
Sharing raw creativity from very young story-tellers of the ACSS Summer 2013 Creative Writing Workshop.
–> One created a story about a pig who didn’t want to sleep because he always had nightmares of being eaten. He was always tired and sleepy; he couldn’t do anything. He daydreams of being in the mud all day.
–> One wrote about the adventures and mis-adventures of a lion who did not want to live in the “forest” anymore because people are polluting and destroying it. He meets several characters along the way. Would he end up in a farm? Would he end up in a zoo?
–> One created a story of a monkey and her two friends looking for the carnival because they heard it was fun there; it took them days and nights to reach it, but not to worry — they traveled via tent-on-camel, whose humps turn into seats and tables by day, and beds by night.
–> One drew and told a story about a happy rabbit who had friends and no problem, except for one: her long ears are itchy and her short arms couldn’t reach it. Hmmm, what could she possibly do?
–> One cleverly weaved stories of a turtle who was afraid of the dark and who interestingly had the same name as a clown fish who tended to be a bully, and a gentle angler fish who did not have any friends because he had sharp teeth.
Kids do come up with awesome story ideas! Don’t you think so, too?