Posts Tagged ‘imagination’


Summer Candy

August 13, 2012

During the summer I take a break from my writing practice and play with words instead. I edit. I study other authors. And I teach.


For five weeks, middle school kids sit with me to write. Boring? Not at all. In fact, the classes have tripled in size. A parent recently asked me how I engaged the kids without making it seem like school. At first, I answered, “candy”. Who doesn’t like a Tootsie Roll?


However, the real success of my classes comes from the kids. Giving them the space to be creative gives them freedom to explore. I find that kids come to my class nervous about perfecting conjugation and developing appropriate sentence structure. While I absolutely believe these things matter, they aren’t as important as one’s imagination.


When we sit on the deck and talk about voice, I ask the kids to become someone else. Sometimes, they are rock stars and actors, other times they become politicians or crocodile hunters, lavishly stereotyping their profiles. We role-play to create scenes. We develop texture by listening to new sounds and touching real dirt. By the end of the hour, the kids share their words, ask for more, and don’t want to leave. The creative process initiates the writing and lets it run.


Writers, like kids, need to step back from sentence structure and create. And maybe sneak a few Tootsie Rolls.


More Quotes

December 27, 2011

You can’t say, I won’t write today because that excuse will extend into several days, then several months, then… you are not a writer anymore, just someone who dreams about being a writer. –Dorothy C. Fontana



Imagination is more important than knowledge. –Albert Einstein


I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil. –Truman Capote




July 24, 2011

During the summer I teach writing workshops for a small group of middle school kids. Last year they were all girls. This year, all boys. We meet each Wednesday and play with words while eating chocolate. In honor of Harry Potter and his final adventure, we dedicated our most recent class to imagination.

After talking a bit about the series and what makes them great, I asked each of the boys to cast a spell. One created an enchantment to blow-up and freeze things (like sisters). Another stopped all tourists from coming to the mountain, so the locals could ski it themselves. A different boy created a spell that would make more pie. After all, the world could always use a little more pie.

Not only did JK Rowling deliver a masterful story, but she created a world igniting our creativity. Next time you sit and pull out your pen, polish your own Potter spell. Develop a mode of magical transportation. It will unlock your blocked mind. I often look to nature to get my imagination rolling. I’m sure JK Rowling did the same thing. Have you ever seen a bush in April? There’s your womping willow. Let your imagination create something spectacular or simply, more pie.

Imagine. It’s the best part of writing.