Sometimes I Teach

A little over ten years ago I was employed in one of my favorite jobs to date- school library manager.

Through my position, I was able to encourage more young readers, and on occasion, worked on collaborative story creation with them.  We created shared worlds inspired by what they were learning in class, and after school, I led a small shared world writing workshop (as well as a kids’ NaNoWriMo and other book-connected events, but that’s a story for another time).

It’s the collaborative and shared writing times that I enjoy most.  Working with the group on a shared theme, or simply writing at the same time, modelling the practice of writing- including stumbling blocks and changing my mind (or is it the story leading me elsewhere?) gives me great joy, and sometimes leads to stronger writing.

In the last few years, I have been able to bring that love of writing to a new group of kids through after school workshops at our local school (my own pay-it-forward project, I never charge a fee for this group).  I dubbed the most recent incarnation “Stone Soup Storytellers”, and we created an All-School play with adapted folktales, including Stone Soup, of course.

Most recently, I brought back the theme of Stone Soup and adaptation for a POV workshop with our Uppers students (grade 4-6, some of whom happened to have originally worked on the Stone Soup adaptation), and with our school adaptation of Into the Woods coming up, we’ve been focusing on fairy tales as our inspiration.  With our Middles (grade 2-3) I simply chose randomizers- but since this is me, my writing took a bit of a folktale path.

I present below *my* stories- may they entertain and inspire your own words.

(Feel free to use the images and links in this post as inspiration and share your own tales in the comments!)

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There is a beautiful tradition at my son’s school involving the gift of a stone that everyone has held and put their loving thoughts into. This is my Stone, gifted to me after our production of Stone Soup Stranger. I carry it with me always, and I always shall.

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Words from the well…

And so I’m back…

Words have not been flowing so easily, yet the old well is full.  Perhaps a draught, a draft, a 17 year old vintage to slake our thirst…

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We are the music makers,

We are the dreamers of dreams

— Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Colors, costumes and castles– my life as a ceremony, a celebration.  Endless images imbued with the water– a fountain of fantasy, a seductive spring in a real realm- of myth and man, magic & meniality, marvels & mediocrity.  Two worlds as one, but broken by boundaries.  The sane & the sleeping, awake and dreaming, haunted by heaven– a heavy hell indeed.  Dreams draped in orchid organza and olive organdy, as empty as the o’s that they begin with, or the notes that rise from an organ–there, but not; full of feeling, but not tangible.  A story with no end, a journey with no bend– always new beginnings, always reaching that point that was beyond sight, beyond reach– never settling down at a destination– that is our destiny.  Simple Solutions Slip from our sight, from our fingers– difficult to grasp.  Stars soften to swirling snowflakes, descending as dancing dust particles, perhaps persons on another plane.  These pearls of poetry & prose, word building upon word, images form, dimensions unfold, kingdoms land at my feet– each gem raw & radiant, waiting to show their worth– some are cast aside, some forgotten.  Prizes for a princess, memories for a maid.  Colors muted as they struggle to shout their sagas; stones with stories silenced when there is sight, but no vision; beauty lies in details, seen and unseen.  Truth is subject to who, wealth, & whimsy- fact just is.  With all the whimsy of my world, there is winter in a walnut, streets in a seashell, gold in a grape, all true for a moment, for me, no more.  Moment means milenium, month, and microsecond, as time is relative as it relates to me– a manchild to mold, a parent to provide, a crone to chronicle all I cast off– a family given to me, though often not what I need, but there when I do.  Ah, solitude, not silent, but screaming– things to do, though still I sit.  Too much time tempts me, halts me, holds me– no longer the parent, but the paramour– presenting pleasantries a plenty, too many to pick from that I lose my place– where am I?  What to do?  The words don’t come as easily now, not for randomness.  Images return, organized stories wish to be heard.  Shall I listen, shall I look, shall I restrain them by writing them in a book?

Golden verse, flowing from a fountain pen,

Jeweled words, smooth, faceted, each stone letter placed in its own finding,

Finding its place in a piece,

Finding harmony in a whole

The color fades

Here

There

Only a hint of glimmer as stones drop from their settings,

Stars sleeping in the skies, blinking as the light of day dawns,

And the orb outshines her adornments

(c)  2000  Kerrie Colantonio (not yet McNay)