Put Something in
Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.
I've been way up north to Thief River Falls and back, over the river and through the road construction, to interact with brilliant middle schoolers at a Young Authors Conference.
I said that I'd need a room where we could move around a little, interact, and do some writing, too. They gave me the music room. How perfect was that!
I sent a message to a friend: We might not technically be doing music, but we will have rhythm.
The rhythm of life comes out in our writing and art.
When they walked in, I gave them the journaling prompt: Write down your names. What describes who you are?
I'm sure I pushed them out of their comfort zone. I asked them to share their lists and other writing with the group. Many did. Some couldn't do it, but I did walk a little closer and ask them what they wrote about so they felt like they were sharing just with me. I had them get up and make a "Homework Machine" by making an action and a sound and interacting. It was to loosen them up a little and allow them to be silly and have fun.
Then, I handed out puzzle pieces and read another poem by Shel Silverstein called Picture Puzzle Piece.
Some kids described the puzzle piece. Others started stories. I encouraged dialogue. One girl wrote two poems about her puzzle piece. Middle School kids are brilliant. They're open and ready to create. Some have started to get self-conscious and close up already. I hope they fight through that. It's one of the reasons grown-ups think they're too old to learn something new. You're never too old. What you need is to leave your ego at the door, enter, and be ready to embrace your creativity with youthful enthusiasm.
Young people inspire me.
I hope they know that they are a unique piece in the puzzle of life.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Choose a puzzle piece and let its story take you away. Draw, write, sing, create from its possibilities, and yours.