Saturday, May 11, 2013

Notebook Girlz: Time

I recently read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.  I inhaled this book like I do the scent of the lilacs blooming on my favorite tree.  My book is now highlighted, marked up with notes in the margins, and dog earned with the many writing exercises I want to try with my group of girls.

This week I pulled out my poetry books.  I skipped over my Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein books and took out my favorite anthologies and my Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes books.  

I asked the girls to select a book and gave them 20 seconds to find a poem.  They wrote the first line or phrase in their notebook and then wrote freely from that sentence for ten minutes.  If they got stuck I told them not to dwell on it, but to keep their pen moving, rewrite the first sentence again so it becomes a repeating line.

This was a great warm up.  Some of the girls are not used to this type of challenge and it was a challenge depending on the poem they chose.  Others found it fun and asked when we could try it again.  

Writing in a group is a much different experience than writing alone.  Sharing their pieces with one another is an intimate experience.  I don’t recall ever publicly sharing my writing with my classmates when I was in school.  I only shared it with the teacher and it was returned with his or her thoughts and a grade.  These girls get feedback from not only me, but from their friends.  It is immediate and constructive.  

Notebook Girlz, our little writing group, is truly a weekly blessing.  

There is a time for everything,
for the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny,
for friend and frenemies.

There is a time for everything,
for school and homework,
for sports and art.

There is a time for everything,
going to the grocery store,
and picking up the flowers you bought.

You may not think there is 
time for everything,
to run from one
thing to the next.
Take a moment to relax
‘cause something always comes next.
                                                                          ~by Grace


Anonymous said...

I am reading this book "love anthony" and the author mentions "Writing Down the Bones" several times as being the book that convinced one character she could write. So funny that now you brought it up. I think it's a sign that I need to get a copy!

By the way, Allie saw this exercise (on IG maybe?) and said she wanted to try it!

Jessica said...

We had a little chat about it on Instagram. I asked her to tell me how she liked the exercise if she tries it......

This book has become a great reference tool for me in my own writing and in our writing group. After we do a warm up activity our brains feel more open to writing whatever piece they are working on. I hope you like it too!

Happy Mother's Day!

Karen said...

This just went on Keilee's 'list' for next week. I LOVE this idea. I will check into that book also. I know your girls just love the writing class. I would love for Kei to be a part of something like that. It seems like everyone I know is so busy with other things they don't have time to commit to a 'group' when I mention it. :/ Happy Mother's Day Jess!

Jessica said...

I love the aspect of small group learning but it can be a challenge. Over the years I have had disruptive kids in my art journaling classes, kids drop out, and my next post is about how our art journaling class is changing because the girls are not doing any writing -- which clearly changed the feeling of an art JOURNALING class! I try to roll with the challenges because the time together with friends is so important. We miss having a coop where we could get this interaction every week. You are lucky to have such a strong coop with so many girls Kei's age.

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