It’s kind of unfair to say, after only a week in school, that I have the most brilliant students in the history of high school, but guys. I kid you not. I have them.
Today in Creative Writing, their journal prompt was this quote from Publilius Syrus (whoever that is) – “The pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body.” The scribbling lasted minutes and minutes, and when I finally broke them off from writing about it, I asked them if anyone had genius thoughts on the matter. Guess what. THEY DID. And they shared for a really long time (in High School Hours*). Then, when they’d said all the things they wanted to say (and some of them don’t want to say anything at all, and since it’s the first week of school, I accept that), I read them a line I’d written – detailing some of the kinds of Mind Pain we might recognize. Then I asked them to play Thesaurus with me, which is a game I made up and wrote into a work-in-progress novel. Pretty much this class of 40 excels at this game. Here is our list, written up on the whiteboard in old-school whiteboard marker because I’m not yet proficient at Smart Board-ish Technology.
The List of Mind Pain (in no particular order)
fear, terror, anticipation, worry, embarrassment, loneliness, isolation, desperation, regret, shame, awkwardness, disappointment, failure, anxiety, insecurity, distress, nostalgia, despair, rejection, melancholy, insult, grief, desire, longing, frustration, annihilation, pathetic-ness, oblivion, rage, insignificance, confusion, sorrow, remembrance, powerlessness, emptiness, jealousy, worthlessness, aggravation, yearning, confinement, helplessness, hopelessness, deprivation, broken-ness, agony, famished-ness, degradation, surrendering, bein crushed, misery, being lost, ruthlessness, deflation, resentment, defeat, betrayal, guilt, envy, apathy
I took a picture of the board, because it pleased me SO MUCH that I had such great response.
Now there’s a gorgeous symphony of clicking and clacking as they take their writing minutes by storm. Some write on paper, which I totally support – I keep telling them there’s a different piece of their brain engaged with the hand-writing business. I’m all over them engaging the Whole Brains. Some of them stare out the windows. I don’t stop them (yet). Some of them may be writing “I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY” over and over (but I kind of doubt it, today).
So maybe I can’t clock a thing like this, but I’m pretty sure my students are the most inspired writers in all the world.
* High School Hours are like Dog Years or something. A few moments can feel like a freaking eternity, is what I”m saying.