Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Lemon and Character Writing Exercise; What a Scent and Taste Can Bring to Young Writers or Observation of Characters They See; Here are Two San Pedro High School Pieces From Students Doing This Mind-Bending Tool That Opens Thought Waves to O000h, So Many Possibilities….

Try This Yourself and With Your Kids at Home;

Dear Readers: I always like to give kids weird exercises to stretch their brains and make them think outside the box – or even somewhere out there – in the universe. These two girls rose to the occasion with this fun exercise and it brought out their genuine writing abilities.

The lemon exercise was first. The writers tasted and smelled lemon and were asked to write whatever came to mind. The second exercise was to write about a character spotted at a local coffee house. I included samples of each exercise. Diana

The Lemon Exercise:

Bio: My name is Kelsi Johnson, 17. I grew up in San Pedro and plan to be an editor at a magazine while working on publishing short stories. I like things from hundreds of years ago.

Here is Kelsi’s story:

Lemons make me think of those men on the sides of the road who sell fruit to people. The sun is hot and they just stand there for hours, staring down corporate America driving by in their cars, off to pull a Madoff and buy three houses and a boat, while this man has to stand there and barely get by on selling fruit. I wonder what he thinks about us, if he's secretly filled with rage and would do anything to get into our positions. I would like to talk to the man, selling fruit. But I'm scared. I know that it's true- I don't even know how he feels. Maybe he loves selling produce. Maybe everyone should live his life for a day, stand in the hot Rialto sun and stare down corporate America. Sweat bullets and fill yourself with rage. This man, barely getting by, is probably 100 times happier than any of us. He knows, he sees, he understands. And he forgives.

The Character Exercise:
Bio: My full name is Lauren Myles Akiyama Watson. I'm a 17 year old self-taught artist. I was born in Tokyo, Japan, and spent a greater portion of my life living in Los Angeles, California. The environment is ideal for creative inspiration but the public schools are ghastly.  In my spare time, I hunt for odd musical instruments (and spend even less time playing them), eat with hysterical vigor, and write stories while firmly denying that they're autobiographical. Despite my terrible work ethic and severe insouciance, I like to imagine that one day I'll attend RISD (Rhode Island School of Design).
Here is Lauren’s short piece:
“Mustang didn't know that his left pocket was unturned, nor that he needed a 

pedicure. He was a conventional man's man, counting his receipts and checking

his blood pressure - oh wait, that’s an I-pod.

He scratched his hairy arms and snuffed out of his fluffy, fifty year-old

nostrils and wondered why Starbucks was such a popular place for pansy writing

clubs and sewing circles. The girls sitting adjacent to his table were clucking

about poems and giggling themselves senseless and - suddenly CRYING! Roy didn't

understand women too well. They were a strange luxury; organisms with one happy and a million mad..

He rubbed his neck in dismay and stared off at a distant wall, shook his head to

the music, basked in what little sun was magnified through the window. There was a silent symphony in whatever fragments that light bent through, and Roy liked to imagine he was piece of sun.

He carefully placed the receipts in order of date. On top of that, his wallet

that belonged to his father. On top of that, he placed his tiny account book that he loved for it's scent of old library books. Around all this, he tied a stout rubber

band. He crushed a leftover receipt between his thumb and forefinger until it

was gritty and thin near the middle. The sun dragged itself over the hill and

Roy sighed to shoo away the blubbering young woman’s gurgled sobs.