For the second summer in a row now, I have had the distinct privilege to run a summer enrichment course on writing. Last summer, I hung out with 10 teenagers for two weeks as we wrote memoirs together. This summer, I again got to hang out with 10 teenagers, this time for 8 days, as we wrote anything our hearts desired.
We were even lucky enough to score a visit from a up and coming new author, JD Spero. Her novel Catcher’s Keeper is one of the coolest books I’ve read all year. She gave up a morning to hang with my enrichment class where she discussed her writing process, walked us through the process of outlining a novel and even got the kids working on show vs. tell. It was quite an experience.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about running this class though is the work produced. Take Morgan for example. Morgan was in my Honors English class all year. She was a very polite, quiet young lady all year. Your typical teenage writer – competent but not overly fond of writing. This all changed over the past 2 weeks. Morgan found poetry. There’s not a whole lot of time in the year for poetry writing and because this enrichment class is wide open, I like to bring in everything I can’t do over the year. Like the poem “How to Live” by Charles Webb. We read the poem, broke it down into categories and then we wrote our own. Below is Morgan’s poem. And it’s stunning.
For more information on what we did as a class feel free to browse our website.
How to Live
Eat anything you want, whether you gain a few pounds or not.
If stuffing yourself with chocolate truffles makes you happy,
Unwrap each delicacy and let your taste buds go wild.
You are valued more as a well rounded, kind person rather than your waistline.
Eat, eat, eat, if it makes you happy.
Walk along the beach as often as you can and feel each
grain of sand squishing between your toes with every step.
Feel the shocks of electrically charged emotions run through your body
when he holds your hand and smiles at you
as the sun fades into the salty ocean.
The blue water will reflect reds and pinks, the same colors on your face when
he kisses your cheek and calls you beautiful.
Learn that heartache is inevitable.
That special someone who made your stomach tingle on the beach,
and widened your smile
is not guaranteed to stay a part of your life.
When your heart feels broken, stuff yourself with more of those chocolate truffles,
that makes you happy.
Make time to listen to your mothers lessons in life.
She was the umbrella, shielding you from the tears of your
very first broken heart. She knows best.
Listen to your daddy when he says
that the boy you brought home is no good.
Chances are, he is probably right.
Create as much art as you can.
Leave your mark.
Take that paint brush and rub that canvas until all inspiration has run out
of your soul and you feel content.
Write all the words you could never say in figurative language down on some
tea scented parchment, and bind each page together with your
Love every ounce of yourself, from your head to your tip toes.
Ignore that blemish on your face, it does not define you neither does
that one strand of hair that is too stubborn to stay down.
Rejoice in your quirks and be proud that you are you.