Friday, November 30, 2012


This week, we've been talking about story structures.  One structure that is integral to Western culture is the story of a journey.  Most often, these journeys not only involve a change in location but also a change in heart (often as the result of some sort of quest or mission). 

Since the holiday season is filled with travel, this week's challenge is to write about a journey, anything from a round-the-world adventure (as I know some of you have had!) to a quick trip to the grocery store. 

The goal is to use the literal journey as a metaphor for a figurative one.
  • A trip to the other side of the planet and back may teach you who you really are (a journey to find one's self).
  • A run to the grocery store may not only be about finding nourishment for your family's body but for its soul as well (comfort food, anyone?).
  • A visit to Grandma's over the holiday may remind you of your own days at your grandmother's house (a trip down memory lane).
Can't wait to read what you have to say!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Enjoy, Enjoy, ENJOY!

This week, it is my pleasure to say, "HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!"

We will not have class next week, but there will be a post here because...

It's Share a Pair of Stories time!

Beginning next week and continuing until I am out of stories, I will run the collected community stories at  Yay!  I hope you will tune in!

For our next class (Friday, November 30, 2012), we will work at undermining some of our cliches with new expressions, and I encourage you to use the sensory surroundings of the holiday season to come up with fresh similes and metaphors:
  • as happy as... (the cat in the turkey carcass)
  • as sad as... (the broken wishbone)
You get the picture.

I'll see you all again soon!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Playing Around: Those Rhymes!

The other week in class, we worked on ways to get unstuck in our writing.  Years ago I had a social studies assignment that completely unstuck my grandparents' memories.  We were asked to call the oldest coherent generation that we could and ask them about a jingle that they remembered from an old advertisement.

Now, we don't have to remember a jingle per se, but remembering the songs and rhymes of your childhood can unlock floods of memories.

Begin by dredging up a rhyme from your past:
  • How did you select "it?" Did you use "Eenie-meenie-mynie-moe" or "Ocka-bocka-soda-crocka?"
  • What did you say when you skipped rope?  "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear?"  "Cinderella, Dressed in Yella?"
  • How did you tease one another?  "I see London.  I see France?"  "Johnny and Mary sitting in a tree?"
Sometimes the song is enough to pull you into a moment right there, but if it isn't, dig further.
  • Who generally said the rhyme with you?
  • When did you use it?
  • Why did you resort to it?
 Once you are in the moment, be sure to bring us with you:
  • How does it sound and smell?
  • What are your feelings and how were they expressed in your body?
  • What were your interactions with your playmates?  How did their responses reveal their personalities?
After you are in the moment and are bringing us along, don't forget to continue to play.  Allow your sentences to mimic the jingle if you want.  Allow your rhythm to mimic your breathing.  Are you panting?  Use short staccato sentences.  Are you racing?  Give us a long, long sentence that leaves us rushing and gasping at the end.

I look forward to your responses!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Playing Around: Why? Why? Why? Why?

Do you remember those days when you were a child (or you had a child or were near a child) who was about four-years-old?

"Let's go to the store," you might say.


"Because we need food."


"Because people need to eat."


"Because if we don't we'll die."


You get the picture.  Sometimes the child just asks to be annoying, but many times they ask because the world is so new that they truly don't (or just partially don't) really understand.

After you write your story, ask yourself some of these questions.  Pretend that you are being interviewed by a four-year-old.  You may run into some answers that are less than obvious or some details that are obvious to you but not to others.