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.
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
– Fangirl_Abbigail, 12
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.
– Alexa, 15
A 13-year-old considers the reality of bullying…
It is reality
standing up for yourself means hitting back
Only cowards can say
violence is never the answer
fighting back means getting even
I don’t agree that
there is a better way to protect yourself other than to pick a fight
bruising someone’s face
is a better way of defending yourself than
that a bully has no feelings
It is false judgement
that you can stop being bullied by getting help from others
that to injure someone for your own sake is ok
it an option to confront a bully before attacking him
that the only way to stop bullying is by getting revenge
you can change a bully
To this day, it remains the same, unless someone decides to REVERSE it.
– Lena, 13
The Timeline of My Life
Haunted with horrors,
Filled with terrors
That’s my past.
With some silly inquiries
That’s also my past.
More mature decisions,
Adapting to transitions
That’s my present.
Changes in masks,
A different approach to tasks
That’s also my present.
A step into the horizon,
And something to put my hope on
Well, that’s my future.
– Joleigh, 14
To be heard
To be listened to
Where voice is out
Where voice can’t speak
No one will care to listen
No one will dare to appreciate
No one will hear my melody
So please hear me
My lips no longer have purpose
If nobody will listen
So my thoughts shall remain thoughts
And my voice will stay voiceless
– Ranzel, 12
Children who have attended any of my classes or workshops would tell you that grammar and spelling are the least of my concerns when they are writing drafts or doing 2-minute talks. Content always comes before form, I tell them. So we blabber, quick-write, free-write, list down, list around, make mind maps, think out loud, share in hushed whispers, blurt-out, draft. Draw and doodle, too, if they want.
When I ask them to write, a neatly-written grammatically-perfect single sentence (even if it’s compound-complex) is no match to a hodgepodge of ideas or a consciousness stream scribbled across a half or whole page. At least for me. Oftentimes, there’s bound to be more effective and affective thoughts in the latter. Because that is what we strive for. To squeeze out the words from our brains (and hearts, of course), let them flow through our arms, to hand holding pen or pencil. To drip-out if they don’t flow – onto paper, for eyes to see, for others to share, and then back through wherever vein or nerve it traveled through.
And then we go on, exploring.
Every now and then, a group of those scribbled lines take the form of neatly-written, (acceptably) grammatically-correct fluent narratives. Because later in the process, grammar and spelling and structure become a necessity (instead of a target) to ultimately fulfill the goal of sharing effective and affective word-thoughts. First drafts become second, or third, or fourth drafts. The initial jumble of words find their places among new versions and revisions. Ramblings and imaginings and feelings become writings.
Here are some of those, from a few brave souls who shared a few summer hours together in May 2014. They make me proud. – TesD