Becca Wilhite Blog

August 26, 2014

Creative Writing Class

Filed under: lists,school,writing — becca @ 2:14 pm

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.

August 24, 2014

Blink, blink

Filed under: gratitude — becca @ 7:25 am

So summer happened, as I imagine it did for you. It was lovely and not particularly long.

Ireland in June. Everyone should try it. Take someone with you who is a confident driver. That was kind of important. Husband was a total pro. Fear not if you picture eating in Ireland to be a long string of meals starring overcooked meats. I managed to eat delicious, fantastic, meatless meals the whole 10 days. We wandered castles and countryside churches and enormous libraries and city streets mdd beautiful by history and architecture and time and cobblestones and modernity all within the same view. My skin was awesome (at the expense of my hair). Sometimes it rained. Mainly it sunned. It was coolish-warmish perfect. (Go, I’m saying.)

I read some books. Still sitting in my brain is “The Professor and the Madman” about the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary. With help from an insane (and brilliant) guy. Also “We Were Liars” which made me want to sit down with Ms. E. Lockhart and hug her and cry and listen to her wisdom. Hard stuff, interesting twistiness, spare writing.

A little bit of writing. That feels good. I love writing, remember? I’m starting to remember.

I finished my teaching license requirements, so I’m For Real now. That’s kind of awesome, I must say.

I climbed a mountain. The pretty one outside my kitchen window. It took nine hours and sixteen miles and my calfs were shredded the next day. I walked down stairs like this, “Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.” (I think that’s how many stairs I have.)

I spent time with people I love. Friends and relatives and lots and lots and lots of time with the family that lives in my house. I really like these people.

It was a good summer, and now we’re a week back to school. I rather like these people, too. I have great classes (well, they’re full of great kids, anyway – the greatness of the actual class might remain to be seen) and there’s LOTS for me to learn this year. I enjoy learning. This should be great.

Yesterday I took a walk and wore a long-sleeved shirt. When the clouds cleared off my mountain, I saw snow on it. Snow. Where two weeks ago I’d stood and gotten sunburned. Fall is in the air. A few trees are changing. This part never, ever lasts long enough around here. I’ll blink again and it will be deep winter. So I’m propping my eyes open, trying to soak it all up – not to blink it away.

Powered by WordPress