Day 2 of Teachers Write! Camp & 1st Day of Summer Writing with Colleagues
Today, I did a quick write with two wonderful colleagues at my favorite coffeeshop, Star Lounge. Esther and I had the great idea of motivating ourselves and our colleagues to write during the summer, so we took our Teacher Writing Group on the road! We are meeting in coffeeshops in the city on handful of dates to write, inviting our colleagues to join us. Only one colleague was able to join us this first time, but I'm hopeful more will come after summer school draws to a close.
Unlike our school-based meetings, we don't have an agenda. This time we just showed up ready to write. I shared the virtual Writing Camp I joined, Kate Messner's Teachers Write! www.katemessner.com/teachers-write/ and they enjoyed using yesterday and today's prompts as motivation today. Here's my new work:
Race to Safety
Her stomach felt like it was about to burst. She looked at her brother, Danny, and could tell he was feeling the same thing.
“Race you,” he said, and then started running down the block.
“Nooo…” Aime said, but she couldn’t NOT join in, so she ran after him. “No fair, “ she shouted at his back.
Their parents just laughed as they kept up their walking pace behind them.
Some kid with a hoodie ran out of nowhere across their race path. Aime dodged out of his way without slowing down. Danny arrived at their front door a full six seconds before Aime did. “That was not fair,” she said, out of breath.
“I win!” he danced around his sister.
A second guy, wearing no shirt, with bright tattoos, came racing by, almost knocking Danny down, gun in hand, shouting, “Out the way!”
The dance is dead.
“Mijo, inside,” yells Aime’s Ma, rushing to her children.
“Mija, get inside!” yells Aime’s Pa, who has somehow managed to be immediately at the door.
They all run into the crowded little alcove as Pa takes out the keys. He’s shaken though, and the keys fall to the floor. Ma has to step back outside to provide some room for Danny to bend down, then hand the keys to dad. The inner door is finally opened, the family pushes through, Ma closes the door as three more shouting guys run past.
“Who are they chasing? Where are they headed? Are we safe?” wonders Aime, her heart still racing.
Reflection: We noticed we couldn't help but catch up and touch base with each other personally before, during, and after writing. Of course, we also talked about our writing and reflected on our process. In fact, the social aspect of our writing time served to deepen my learning as well as to motivate me to write more. Thinking about our students, we know they are social beings, too! They need time to check in socially and the social aspects we can weave into the writing process may even motivate and even improve their writing.
I was also thinking about what was challenging for me in turning an emotional memory into a fictional moment... it was the names of the characters that had be stuck and hesitating! I followed advice I'd given to students in the past: just leave a blank space or write an X there and come back to it later! But it did take a few minutes for me to recall that advice, which made me really empathize with specific students I called up in my mind. I named my characters something personal in the revision, as I couldn't remove myself too much from them. Hm.