Home Brew: Day 2
It’s a whirlwind of a day teaching four 90-minute long sessions to 5th, 6th, and 7th graders in McDowell County. All totaled, I see about 100 students. We talk about similes and the five senses, onomatopoeias and stanzas. We talk line breaks and free-writes. By the end of each session, each student ideally has two stories or poems started and a brainstorm of ideas for three more. They’ve also, at some point during the 90 minutes, shared at least one sentence of their own with the rest of the class.
Juan, 6th grade:
My favorite place is my home
in Veracruz, Mexico.
I miss the feel
of the warm torta.
Austin, 6th grade:
My favorite place is Candyland.
I picked this place because everything there is so sweet.
You can sit on a marshmallow and it feels like sitting on a cloud.
When asked where Candyland is, Austin replied that it is in his mind…“Bravo!” I told him, and asked the other students if they had special places in their minds that they like to fantasize about as well.
Their writing, though undeveloped and candid, is so wholly indicative of these communities where immigrant families mix with mountain folks. The land is still a part of them, despite the barrage of television and iPods and Coca-Cola that dominates much of their lives. They’re young enough still that, when I ask them to close their eyes and then give them their prompt for “My Favorite Place,” they can still conjure things vividly without worrying about embarrassment.
Tyler, 6th grade, whose handwriting skills are not fast enough for his mind, and so he speaks in a flurry of uncensored sentences:
“Can I write about the Blue Ridge Parkway? Can I? Because that is my favorite place. I like it. It’s so beautiful up there, you could stay there forever.”
Sarah, 6th grade, while gazing out the window:
“Sometimes, my grandma and I just sit on the porch and listen to the sounds of Nature. It feels so amazing. That wind. I love it.”
Cate, 6th grade:
I never want to get up from my bed.
The house is so cold.
My feet hate me for the cold.
When I stay under the sheets, it feels like boiling water being poured over me and I don’t mind.