Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Satori writers

I'm teaching creative writing at the Satori Camp this week. I love this part of the summer every year.
The kids range in age from Middle School to High School. It's always interesting to see them find their way in the class.
Each year I have them capture a memory on paper. We spend the week refining what they write. I ask them to make it personal and real. We look for passive tones and fluffy adjectives. I want them to learn to write narrative that pulls you in and makes the reader a part of the story.
Each morning they read aloud what they wrote the night before (or that morning on the way to class...)
Everyone in the class has a chance to critique. That way, we are all vulnerable.
So far, after just two morning sessions, I've already noticed changes. The shy boy at the back of the class has started to join in. He stopped me on the way out of the building today to talk about what he has in mind.
The outspoken girl who sits near the front read her piece. It was very good. But when it was time to make comments, her confidence flagged. She was a bit defensive. I get the feeling she's not used to having that kind of input from peers.
It was interesting to watch.
At the end of the week, the kids will go home. They won't remember me or the week they spent with me. But each year I am haunted by some of the stories they tell. Their words stay with me. And that's why, each year when I'm asked, I go back to do it again.

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