Friday, February 10, 2006

i am not j.k. rowling, but i do know cursive

My aforementioned favorite kids, Annie Lefkowitz’s Cienega Elementary fourth graders, have met their match: Bonnie Turner’s Washington Elementary third graders. I drove down to Redondo Beach this morning to do a little show-and-tell as part of their creative writing unit and was quite smitten.

“Ms. Turner and I have been friends since we were your age,” I explained. “We used to pretend all kinds of things, which is the first step in writing. We played My Little Ponies, we played house, and sometimes we would talk with English accents to make people think we were from England.”

Yeah, we were weird kids.

I showed them my CalArts thesis notebook, which is packed with notes that eventually became The Commuters, along with numerous doodles of angels, owls and the word “NARRATIVE!” written in fancy fonts. I was careful to skip over the pages where I’d scrawled things like, “George, Eamon and Roxanne go to Griffith Park, then come home and have a threesome.” I swear, I don’t think of myself as writing blue, but apparently I’m dirtier than I thought.

Then it was Q&A time. They asked a lot of really good questions—Bonnie had prepped them well, and it was amazing how similar the discussion about process was to my weekly writing class. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that Step 1 (pose a question, problem or mystery) would still be plaguing them 20 years and two college degrees later. But since no one in my writing group has ever asked me who my favorite movie star is, here is a list of my favorite supplemental questions:

  • Did you write Harry Potter?
  • Do you know the person who wrote Harry Potter? Because you said you used to talk in an English accent, and everyone in Harry Potter talks with an English accent.
  • Do you like parks?
  • Do you like Green Day? Billy Joe got inspired to write “Jesus of Suburbia” when he was taking a walk.
  • Do you like Reggae?
  • Did you write your book in cursive?
  • The ghost that you said is in your other book, was it a real ghost?
  • How do they get the big pages to be little book pages, and put the spine on and stuff?
  • I have all the Little House on the Prairie books.


erin said...

You should have brought your My Little Pony collection.

Cheryl said...

There are 70 of them, so it would have been tough to bring the whole herd. But I do think it would have made me more popular.

Tracy Lynn said...

I have all the Little House books, too. And I have to admit, those are some damn fine questions. I especially like the reasoning about the one in which you speaking with an English accent connects you to Harry Potter, which I think shows a nice fluidity of thought.

Cheryl said...

I love Little House. I wore a bonnet all through kindergarten. It was a rough year...not unlike The Long Winter.

Bonnie Turner said...

I'm so excited that my tikes made it into your blog! I was hoping they would. That was a crack up. By the way, I made them spend at least 5 minutes "revising" today before they could tell me they were done. A couple actually spent more like 10 or 15. You must have been an inspiration.

Cheryl said...

That's awesome. Thanks so much for inviting me! I am now inspired to spend 10 to 15 minutes revising my own work.

jenny said...

You wore a bonnet? I thought you wore a roll on your head. Oh wait... that's just your rabbit.

Sounds like some cool kids. Did any of them ask you to do an English accent for them?

Cheryl said...

They did ask, and I denied them because I'm a cruel bitch.

Ms. Lefkowitz said...

Personally, I think that Annie Lefkowitz's 4th graders are still the best class you've ever met

Cheryl said...

I really shouldn't even try to compare really cute apples to really cute oranges. They're all great. I hope you caught my original post about your class:

Cheryl said...

Uh, that's my-favorite-kids.html