One of the most powerful storytelling tools for kids, for teens, for humans, is to tap your own life experience. I just completed a writer-in-residence stint in Townsville, Far North Queensland. I worked with students from years two to nine over the course of a week and encouraged them to tap their own life experiences and then mash them with fiction. We began with an exercise called ‘I remember…’ (from John Marsden’s book, Everything I Know About Writing) and did five minutes of freewriting. The only rules were ‘Don’t Think. Just Write.’ This is what I jotted during one of the sessions…
I remember the house.
I remember its whiteness.
I remember the smell of the long red shagpile carpet.
I remember my cousins riding Daisy the dog around the living room.
I remember Daisy hating me, hearing that low growl from under the table as I ate.
I remember my nan and her poker machine.
I remember when my nan could walk.
I remember when she sat with me on the back step one cold night and we looked at the moon and she told me that my Pop was up there. I wasn’t sure if that meant he was an astronaut.
I remember the paintings in the back room. I wish they’d been saved.
I remember the lounge chair hanging out of the tree from where my dad had built a cubby as a kid.
I remember the giant pine tree, our fort, in her back yard and collecting pine cones.
I remember drawing our cartoon characters, Molong Mick & Jugglo Joe
I remember being alone a lot.
I remember going fast on my bike down Luke’s driveway.
I remember him crashing his mum’s car.
I remember wrecking the BMX track when we tried to make it better.
I remember Amb’s budgie dying and Michael freezing it and giving it
to her as a present, wrapped in foil.
I have decided to embark on a Creativity Project, inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Happiness Project’. My project will be an entire year dedicated to pushing my own creativity into new areas and facilitating the creative flow of other people. More on this soon…