I am blocked. Stuck in quicksand without a single clever thought. I had some ideas at one time. I really did. But watching old ideas float away does not do much for sparking new ones. At least it didn’t for me. In the aftermath of the Memorial Day flood, I found soaked stories and putrid smelling poems. Ideas scribbled in journals were illegible, and water oozed out of notebooks and folders. I assume that memory will fade, and I will break out of this writer’s block, but for now, the memory that keeps me going is one of giggling seven and eight year olds.
Every year, teaching at the Writers in the Schools/ Rice Literacy and Culture Creative Writing Camp is the highlight of my summer. This year it saved my sanity. I usually teach older kids, but this time I was assigned little guys. I was a bit concerned about working with such young kiddos, but there are definitely some advantages to working with kids this age. Here are a few.
- They laugh at my jokes and don’t roll their eyes.
- They are silly. And they don’t care.
- They ask questions like, “Why does glitter glitter?”
- Many seem to be experts on unicorns.
- They love everything they write and think that “wings” and “fins” rhyme.
- They know that writing is better when it’s done in neon green, and the margins are decorated with pink hearts.
- They totally get that if you sing while you write, you can conquer the world.
- They know that writing with a friend is the best. Especially when you giggle and illustrate your work.
- They are impressed with my sports knowledge and tell me.
- They smile. A lot. And cry. Just sometimes.
Most of all, those little guys remind me why I write and why I teach. Their creativity has not been buried under years of state mandated tests. They are filled with joy and wonder. And while I was with them, I was not worried about FEMA, insurance, or where I would live. They taught me what to do when things get too crazy. So for now, I will just take a neon green marker and write about unicorns that save the earth. And of course, I will decorate the margins with pink hearts.