Jolly Roger

Elective appeals to school’s creative writers

Andrea Giacomini, Reporter

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Dedicated to the pursuit of gripping stories and learning the most riveting ways to write them, new creative writing has been hard at work.

The class started with six word stories and haikus, then moved to flash fiction 100 word stories, finally migrating to longer monologues and novellas. Recently the students wrote and submitted 10 minute plays for a contest at the Marin Theater Company.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s opened up my thinking about teaching and writing. The students are so creative! They come up with great ideas and we have so much fun.” English teacher Mary Kitchens said.

In addition to the curriculum being new, it is also manageable.

“Most of the students get their writing done in class. The homework is to finish the in class assignments, for the students that need more time.” Kitchens said.

Students are choosing their first semester pieces, deciding the most interesting genre for them to express their creativity in a way that they enjoy.

In all the other English classes offered at the school, students learn to analyze, interpret and how to properly structure their writing, but not often to create something new or to tell a story. However in Creative Writing, the students through their work are exploring, creating and discovering themselves as young, possibly aspiring, writers.

“I have a few students who write every day because it’s their creative outlet; that’s been great to see.” Kitchens said.

The class has been extremely interactive and supportive. Students read aloud their work and share with the class, in order to receive positive feedback and constructive criticism. The students also performed each other’s monologues and plays for the class. This type of close review and associated environment in the classroom, is one Kitchens strove for.

“A great community of writers has formed,” Kitchens said.

Kitchens thinks that the course should remain an elective so that it continues to be exploratory. As an elective, the grading for the class is based on participation which allows students to experiment without the fear of a low grade.

“The only requirement is to generate material because everyone is trying stuff out. I provide suggestions and feedback, but it’s not like I’m grading essays. I’m just encouraging more creativity. That’s my business.” she said.

The hope is that this class will be an elective option for next year’s students, but it is dependent on student sign up. The class is not available second semester as Kitchens teaches a course recovery class.

“This class has been the perfect opportunity to grow my skills and it’s also really fun. It’s a really great environment and everyone is very supportive of each other,” Junior Nick Reulbach said.

Included are four examples of 100 word stories that were written by Creative Writing students.

Electric Rain

By Blake Nelson

The neon lights shining through the vespertine rain. It was almost as if their power had been charged by lightning. I ask the cabbie to pull over.

As I exit the cab I grab my umbrella, and begin wandering down out into the night.

The noise from the buildings resonates through the walls, the sound of music and talking, only a faint whisper in the rain.

The reflection of the neon warped by water in the street with all the little drops adding to it, one by one.

Only a few more blocks to enjoy my loneliness with the rain.

Havoc

By Bea Lazar

Dedicated to my Mother’s Havoc

My Havoc destroyed me. It lived in my house like a terrible, bloodthirsty monster. The Havoc itself consumed everything in its path, belching over every surface and gobbling up vital leg room like candy.

The kitchen floor was drowned in unmatched Tupperware lids, the sofa seats hidden by magazine scrapings, lonely socks, twisted hairclips, and dried Essie nail polish. This Havoc, occupying every possible cabinet, pocket, gutter, and jam jar, drenched me in the night with soft white shirts and stale toast.

It was twisted battle of forces, me against my merciless Havoc. My imminent loss was inevitable and inescapable.

The Ownership of Souls

By Elizabeth Wing

I found a soul on a park bench. It fits. I call it mine.  I’m replacing the alien smell with my sweat and pheromones.  It hurts to reinvent.   

Divorced tourists fall in love in Atlantis.  They build each other up with hypodermic needles, duct tape, screws.

They claim to be sunken cities ready for resurrection through adult coloring books, therapy circles, hypoallergenic diets.

They’re putting up condos in the Gobi.

I tried to leave this soul on a picnic table.  They chased me shrieking, You forgot something!

Me?

It’s yours, isn’t it?         

It hurts to reinvent.

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Elective appeals to school’s creative writers