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Showing posts from December, 2007

Dream Keepers Dreaming

On Monday night, I brought a fun exercise for the Dream Keepers. I gave them a version of the Best Possible Self exercise found in several psychology studies (Laura King, Sonja Lyubomirsky, et. al.): "Imagine yourself a year from now. You have worked hard. Everything has gone as well as possible. Tell me what your life looks like. What have you accomplished? What do you do with your days? What is new in your life?" This was not a new exercise to the group. We had done a variation of this more than a year ago.

The Dream Keepers looked like I'd asked them to eat brussels sprouts. Or write a novel in 30 days. Actually, when I shared with them my wild and crazy dream that we'd write a book together, they embraced it.
"No problem!" one shouted.
"Even if it's long? Like 200 pages?" I asked.
They shrugged, undaunted by the idea.

BUT THIS! Imagine their best possible future selves? Too hard, they whined.

I tried again. I invited the Dream Keepers to creat…

Word Play

A few weeks ago, I read Sanford Lyne's book, Writing Poetry from the Inside Out. He encourages word play--taking groups of four words and playing with them until you have a poem. I gave the Dream Keepers lists of words, they chose their word groups, and we went to work. Here is what they came up with:

by Maya Montgomery

In my life, I see darkness
and sunlight. When I see
sunlight I see beauty,
bees, and birds. When I
see darkness I see drunkenness,
Death, and loneliness.

Listen Up
by Elisha Branch

Even though we are all God's child
Young boys and girls are going wild.
No one is a star of fame
And we are all filled with shame.
Wise Buddha try to fill heads with knowledge
and make them imagine going to college.
Teaching the boys to be together, to grieve,
all they want to say is that their favorite player is thirty-three.
Trying to teach girls how to get up quick,
all they can say is that they'll survive on WIC.
Learn to stand up when you fall
and stop when your back is agains…

Holding Truth

The Dream Keepers have been reading short stories from the book Who Am I Without Him? by Sharon G. Flake. The books came to us as a gift from Venice Williams, the executive director of Seedfolks Youth Ministry. (THANK YOU!)

Last night, the girls chose titles from the book as a starting point for their writing. Story titles such as, "So I Ain't No Good Girl" and "The Ugly One" allowed the girls to create some edgy rants (my term to describe a spoken-word poem). With the permission of the girls, I've published three of the poems below. I wish you could have heard these poems spoken aloud. They rocked.

Gentle readers, be warned. None of these poems are pretty or nice. I think the girls meant to shock. I like that. As their writing teacher, I want them to be honest. I want their words to reflect what THEY experience, think, and envision. I do not want to censor or shape their ideas—spoken or written—so that their work will be more palatable. When writers have th…

Introducing the Newest Dream Keepers

Greetings Dream Keeper fans!

We have been busy writing these past months. The Dream Keepers spent a month working on their essays for a local Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay contest. I'll post those essays in January, once the judging is complete. We've also added three new dreamers. Here are the I AM poems of two of our new members.

I AM by Rachel Coney
I am a beautiful child of God
I have a nice smile.
I am short.
I am pretty.
I am goofy.
I am funny.
I am happy.
I am Rachel Coney.

I AM by Maya Montgomery
I am kind.
I am sweet
I am smart.
I am friendly.
I am tall.
I am skinny.
I am light brown.
I am athletic.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am an auntie.
I am a neice.
I am Maya Noel Montgomery.

Our third new member, Rebecca Coney, has not had time to write her I AM poem. She did participate in an exciting but difficult writing exercise last week. I have been reading the book, Writing Poetry from the inside out by Sanford Lyne. He encourages writers to use clusters of words as a starting point for poe…