Friday, October 14, 2011

Writing Club Update

Recently it dawned on me that I’d not said much about the writing club at work. It isn’t because nothing is happening with the kids there; quite the contrary in fact. No, it’s just been one of those days weeks months of crazy busy-ness that just keeps me tipping the scales toward insanity.

Thank goodness. I’d hate to think what would happen if I toppled into the sane side of things: Colliding galaxies, super novae, and that goddamned green bean casserole showing up at yet another family gathering. Oh, wait…

This last week was a bit of a bust for me, simply because I was feeling like shit for a major part of it. I had to force myself to return to work on Thursday just so I wouldn’t miss a meeting. Plus the photographer was showing up that day and I hadn’t had the chance to change those plans.

Anyway, the kids are great, for the most part, although we need to have a nice little sit down and allow me to go over my expectations for the group in as far as behavior is concerned. Their behavior. There seems to be a slight problem of everyone talking at once and no one saying much of anything. When I’m suffering from a killer headache and can barely put two words together, having 10 sweet little darlings share their brain drivel with me and each other all at the same time, I tend to forget what I was trying to say to them and things just kind of get off track.

And by off track, I mean a complete and total derailing with cars flying everywhere, galaxies colliding with super novae in a flood of green bean casserole. And? And? Snacks! Holy crap! That was the first thing those little monsters wanted when they got there! Snacks! Jeeze…There was almost a revolt when I told them it would be another week before we got them.

So, let me kind of go back to the beginning because I can tell things are getting a little confusing. First week I had eight show up. Five girls and three boys! Boys! I was amazed and alarmed. And by alarmed… yeah, green bean casserole and all.

One of the boys has some amazing writing skills and I found out later that he has already won awards for said skills. Um… perhaps he should be leading the group…?

That first meeting went pretty well, of course, it was a bit rough around the edges, but we muddled through. Then came the next week and TWELVE MIDDLE SCHOOL CHILDREN APPEARED AT MY MEETING!!! Oh, and there were now six girls and six boys. Six. Boys. Oh, and most of the boys are in 6th grade, which means HOLY SHIT!

And by HOLY SHIT, I mean just kill me now in a vat of green bean casserole while I tumble through space colliding with galaxies and causing super novae. Sixth grade boys DO. NOT. SHUT. UP. Ever. No, really… They may never talk to their parents, but they’ll talk to each other until things bleed. Then there was the other eighth grade boy who nearly died… had he but met my gaze. The only reasons he’s still alive right now are because I need my job and I hate the thought of blood on all those books. And because he wouldn’t look me in the eye. What a turd. He’s smart as hell, but obnoxious as a Hellmart shopper.

This last group, when the photographer showed up, was considerably smaller, with only eight showing up again, but there was a conflict with another school group and, well, when you weigh the options and one of them is a grade, you go with the grade. Thank goodness. Ok, one kid was in afterschool detention FOR TALKING IN CLASS AGAIN. surprise.

Last week we did a short writing exercise and this time I joined in the fun. It was a flash fiction piece of suspense/horror and when I finished reading it, they all wanted to know what happened next.
“Whatever you want, but the story is over.”
“No, it’s more like a beginning,” they said.
“It could be, but it is complete as it is.”

That’s when I realized we needed to work on endings, so this week I gave them an ending prompt instead of a beginning one and wow… One girl blew us all out of the water with her writing. Best of all, when I refused to read he work (if you want it shared, you have to share it yourself) she decided to “pull ‘em up” and read it to the group.

It was awesome. Her descriptions were marvelous and because I had given her an ending, it clicked off. Nice and snappy. She used the words I’d given her and made them shine. I take no credit for that, it was all her work.

Next week, there may be snacks, and there may be more kids, and I’d better be prepared for both.

I think we’ll try the exquisite corpse poem. Of course, if those little darlings keep talking when they shouldn’t, there just might be a few extra corpses stashed among the shelves in the library. If anyone wants to find them, just look for the green bean casserole…

1 comment:

  1. To me the best writers are those who share their skills and knowledge. I think in helping others, we help ourselves. It is interesting about the whole ending thing but it makes sense that it is something we need to learn how to do as writers. When I used to run a teenage writing group the endings were always hilarious with twists and turns and things totally unrelated to the original plot. I think they thought endings had to be unexpected - like finding out who the murderer is in a crime novel. It was a lot of fun sorting things out. Enjoy!!


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