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Another too-long hiatus between posts…my career in blogging will never get off the ground at this rate.
Today is occasion to jump start Tyespace, though, because today was one of my best volunteering experiences in recent memory. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I run a creative writing workshop at Lodestar Day Resource Center (LDRC). My very loose format has been to open up with a writing game or group activity, get the creative joints loose, then leave most the rest of class for freewriting, with the option to share aloud the last 5-10 minutes.

Most students like this format, and take advantage of the chance to share their work with others. Very supportive/laid-back environment. And some of these writers are approaching what I’ve seen in classmates’ work at ASU, so the work is encouraging and rewarding, too.

This week we had a decent-sized, ready-to-participate group, and the writing game I thought up really succeeded. Here’s how it worked:

  1. Write down any and every word that comes to mind. Three minutes. Go.
  2. Look back over the list, and pick out your 4-5 favorites.
  3. Read them aloud to the group, as the instructor writes them all on the board.
  4. Write a short story or poem, using at least two of the words in every sentence/line.

This is what we came up with…

Despite appearance, that is in fact my handwriting, and not the work of a seven-year-old child.

More after the jump.

The group’s resulting work ranged in theme. There were love-torn stories with lilacs. There was a mini-memoir of drug recovery. One student wrote a Space Balls-style comedy about an interstellar captain who wanted to throw his nagging wife into an asteroid field. We really ran the gamut this afternoon. Below is my effort:

The Swiffer survived clouds of dog hair, and Caroline smiled out of love for freckles. Her laughter flowed smoothly and dangerously like caramel over fire-flowers; a Siren’s call that could give faith to spelunkers.

Hers was a hazy cat happiness, the skies always magnificent and penciled-in. The dog shed its fur, the Swiffer swiffed, and Caroline, laughing smoothly and dangerously with a gremlin’s patience through a maze of space … her unwanted but necessary lover arriving for their permanent journey toward a false jamboree.

Tight on Hope, cashed on Time, a wedding veil lashes the wind as his purple Camaro drives away.

And also, this one-liner using seven of the words:

“Life is the silence of drinks,” said the Puppet, content to work without ambition.

Anyway. After two full hours of workshop, already well over our time limit, one of our writers convinced me to stay with the following joke: “I’ve got nothing else to do all day. It’s either this or get high–and I have asthma.”

I love this group. That joke earned them 10 more minutes, and a soft spot in my heart. But it wasn’t even the best thing they said to me this afternoon…

“This class is the bright spot of my week.”

Yesterday night was also noteworthy: Not so much heartening, like today was, but nonetheless epic.

White Denim at The Sail Inn, Tempe, AZ. (5/23/2011)

Went to see White Denim at The Sail Inn. Not a band I was familiar with, but had heard a lot of buzz about. Usually this isn’t how I select my concerts, but took a chance and went to the show with some new friends.

Not only did these guys destroy the stage for hours, but it was maybe the most natural I’ve ever felt at a concert. Exciting band, familiar venue, new friends. Good night.


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