Happenings @ The Writers Center

"Believe in the essential fruits and vegetables
instead of tantrums.
Pay attention and shake it up, you lazy strawberry!
Everybody recognizes bananas.
Too many years and years
of electric marbles to choose from,
way too many zooming thoughts
about beloved flying birds
and shivering ravioli milkshakes.
I am passionate about talking about
important dreams presented by sleep.
Wake up – I think I will outlast
way too many quirky people.
Oh how wild winds find teeny-tiny treasures
with vibrant colors dying over fried eggs.
Poor me!

Looking and looking
for brave colors in a sea of little red sneakers.
Life is up and down, so be ready
for the beautiful signs of spring.
Something new in ocean sunsets –
with random kites flying –
seems to challenge the basic principles of wings.
The ultimate obscurity will dominate the people,
making the mood shocking.
We are fighting for our stories."

Was this written by a famous poet? No, a class of 8-10 year olds created it! Students in one of our summer writing workshops took phrases and words and put them together in ways that delighted them, creating a "found poem."

Meanwhile other students in a group of 11-13 year olds are taking elements of Grimm fairy tales and using them to create their own stories. Looking first at the Cinderella story (much darker in Grimm’s than Disney’s version), they analyze the characters (Why are the ugly stepsisters so quick to cut off their toes to fit in the slipper? Where is Cinderella’s father in all this?) and notice the universality of the plot elements. (Even J. K.Rowling’s orphan, Harry Potter, is aided by special helpers and magic, they note.) Then they act out some of their favorite scenes, play with the dialogue, and get lots of ideas and energy to apply to their own stories.

Finally a third group of students age 14 and up are developing their writing skills further through the heightened use of their senses and through greater awareness of plot, character and setting. Ironically, when the tornado hit Sleepy Hollow on July 12, the class was out on the balcony of the Writers’ Center watching the storm develop over the Hudson as part of a "setting" exercise. Even when the electricity went off, they were able to continue the class, writing furiously in the dim light.

Kate Gallagher and Bridget Bentley teach the youngest group. Jane Willis teaches the middle group, and Brenda Connor-Bey teaches the oldest students, and they all comment on the quality and imagination of the students. Please contact the Center at 332-5953 for details.

The classes are open to all and scholarships are available, thanks to a grant from the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns. Don’t hesitate to ask.

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