Exploring and Encouraging a Healthy Life Marked with Joy

Archive for the ‘Guest Writers’ Category

Reblog: Happiness, According to One of My Students

In preparation for tomorrow’s keynote address at the Student Success in Writing Conference here in Savannah, I am reblogging these three pertinent posts. EnJoy!

 

In my English 1102 (Composition II) classes, we have been writing about happiness–based on the books we are reading (Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini), as well as our Gratitude Journals and Happiness Boxes (more on this fun and quirky strategy in a later JoyInciter post).

Here’s what Claire Torell, one of my students, wrote about happiness:

“Though happiness can appear in the stillness of the morning, or on walks in the cool breeze, happiness cannot hide when you create it for yourself.  I hunt it down in the wisps of grass that resemble an old woman’s swirl of hair.  I breathe it in with my morning coffee and feel its creamy texture in my lungs.  I absorb happiness from stucco walls and molded ceilings.  The bright paint chips and glow of rust help happiness flow through my blood.”

Isn’t that cool?  Terrific imagery.  And I love Claire’s assertion that happiness can’t hide if we create it for ourselves.  Yes, let’s do that–become makers/creators of happiness.

Thanks, Claire!

Happiness, According to One of My Students

In my English 1102 (Composition II) classes, we have been writing about happiness–based on the books we are reading (Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini), as well as our Gratitude Journals and Happiness Boxes (more on this fun and quirky strategy in a later JoyInciter post).

Here’s what Claire Torell, one of my students, wrote about happiness:

“Though happiness can appear in the stillness of the morning, or on walks in the cool breeze, happiness cannot hide when you create it for yourself.  I hunt it down in the wisps of grass that resemble an old woman’s swirl of hair.  I breathe it in with my morning coffee and feel its creamy texture in my lungs.  I absorb happiness from stucco walls and molded ceilings.  The bright paint chips and glow of rust help happiness flow through my blood.”

Isn’t that cool?  Terrific imagery.  And I love Claire’s assertion that happiness can’t hide if we create it for ourselves.  Yes, let’s do that–become makers/creators of happiness.

Thanks, Claire!

Dear Whitney,

On Tuesday of this week (messy wet weather in south Georgia), I finished my Everyday Creative Writing Class earlier than expected, leaving about twenty minutes of class time.  So instead of rushing on over to Chik-fil-A, I decided to have my (wonderful) students do a bit of impromptu in-class writing.  Looking out the window and seeing the light rain, I said, “Just write about the rain.”  Seeing glazed looks, I added, “Or write a brief note to Whitney.”  Still seeing glazed looks, I told them I was going to the bathroom and to get busy.

About ten minutes later, we shared.  (Btw, fellow teachers, I have the tradition of having the class applaud a student writer when her or his work is shared in class.  I love that simple gesture of appreciation.)

Most wrote about the rain, but  a few addressed Whitney.  (But come to think of it, both prompts were basically the same, I suppose.)  Here are a few rough first drafts.

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Whitney,

I’m not shocked that you passed away.  Yes, “I will always love you, ” but it’s no surprise that drugs and alcohol killed you.  I’m sure you just wanted to “dance with somebody” and that is why you used.  Obviously your “bodyguard” wasn’t strong enough to protect you this time.  In your process of “getting to happy” you looked at God, and he said, “I look to you.”  Now you’re experiencing “the greatest love of all.”  I hope heaven is fun.

Michaela

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Dear Whitney Houston,

A few years ago I heard the song “I Will Always Love you” on The Simpsons.  I didn’t know who sang the song, but I have remembered how it went ever since.  It’s one of the most beautifully passionate vocal performances I have ever heard.

I hope that singing was truly your passion and that you loved every second of it.  I know that you had a problem with drugs, but everyone makes mistakes.  I’m just sad that yours were your downfall.

You will be remembered.  If by no one else, by me.

Michael

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Dear Whitney,

I know this is bad timing but wtf happened?  You threw away more than your talent; you threw away your impact on the world.  You could have done so much more for women.  Been a great role model for generations.  But you decided to get high instead.  You’ve left nothing behind but some killer songs from the 90’s and a path of great pain and disaster.

I wanted to BE you.  I remember when you were the fairy godmother in the Cinderella movie with Brandi.  I sang those songs for years.  I still remember “There Can Be Miracles” from The Prince of Egypt.

What happened?  I hope your soul is safe and we can talk through this during eternity.

Lydia

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