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.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Sorcerer's apprentices

We saw the latest Harry Potter movie last night.
Sitting in the theater, the three of us, just one teenager sitting between her parents, I couldn't help but think how much things have changed since the first movie.
When it was released in 2001, we took a car full of kids to see it. The youngest, the only one left at home to take last night, was only six at the time. Her older sister was 16, with a 14-year-old and 11-year-old between them. And, looking back, it seems like we took one or two others with us, as well.
It was an expensive evening. I do remember that. Admission for eight. Popcorn. Sodas. Junior mints...
But last night there was just the three of us. The "baby" is almost the same age as her oldest sister was when the first movie came out. We had dinner before, so no popcorn. No sodas. No Junior Mints.
In the film, the characters have grown up. Like my children. And their adventures, and experience have grown darker and less innocent. I guess that's what happens to all of us when we grown up.
I listened to the sniffles in the theater when Albus Dumbledore died on screen. I saw, from the corner of my eye, my daughter wipe away tears.
My husband's father died last month. We lost our partiarch, too. I wondered if that crossed his and my daughter's minds as we watched. I know I thought about it.
A lot has changed in the last 9 years.
Harry Potter isn't the only one trying to find his way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hello again

I am a boomerang blogger. Like a kid who goes off to school and then comes back home to figure out what comes next, I've been here before and have returned to familiar territory.

As a freelancer writer, staff writer and then Home and Garden editor at The Spokesman-Review, I created two blogs.
I loved writing Home Planet (2005) and Treasure Hunting (2004) but after a few years found myself feeling a little burned out. I let both blogs fade and finally stopped posting to either.

In the spring of 2008, I left the S-R to join the staff of a new publication as editor of Spokane Metro Magazine
Much of my time is spent away from my desk. I'm out and about talking to readers, taking part in community activities and dressing up for the social side of life in Spokane. Each week I see a lot of things I'd like to write about, but they don't always fit in my editor's column. Or, in the weekly Sunday morning essay I record for Spokane Public Radio.

Moving forward:
I finally admitted I wanted another page. Another voice. So, now, I'm blogging again.
It's good to be home.