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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Guest Writer–Student Olivia Nelson + “Passover Valentine’s Day”

From time to time, I will be sharing in the blog some of my students’ work.  Recently I gave my Everyday Creative Writing class at Georgia Southern this assignment:  “What do you want for Valentine’s Day?”  When Olivia read her piece, we all hooted with agreeing laughs and total understanding.

PASSOVER VALENTINE’S DAY

by Olivia Nelson

Every year Christmas seems to come before Thanksgiving.  All of the stores put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving is even around the corner and has time to arrive.  In a way this is frustrating and it appears as though Thanksgiving isn’t even given a chance to be recognized.  Nonetheless, while I may get frustrated at this sudden rush of Christmas cheer before I have time to think about fried turkey, I don’t seem to be as disappointed around Valentine’s Day.

This is simply for one reason: Cadbury Mini Eggs.

 

We all know that Easter follows Valentine’s Day.  Therefore just like the Christmas trees before the turkeys, it is Easter candy before the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate that everyone seems to have.  Personally, I don’t like these big oversized boxes of random and assorted chocolates.  To me, there is nothing better than Cadbury Mini Eggs.  Perhaps it is the fact that I only get to eat these scrumptious treats once a year, or perhaps it is that they are truly delightful in more ways than one. When I see a bag, I can hardly contain myself.  I often find myself wondering if I should buy a dozen of the small bags or maybe just six large bags.  Decisions, decisions.

The petite purple plastic bag that these treats come in is nothing short of touching.  Once that bag is opened and I put a mini egg into my watering mouth, my taste buds are forever thankful.  The quarter size egg has a slight crunch for its outer shell which turns out to be a flawless match for its delicious milk chocolate inside. In addition to the taste, they are strikingly attractive as well. They come in a bright turquoise, a beautiful soft yellow, a sweet pink, and a milky white.  I personally tend to go for the turquoise—for some reason these are the more enticing ones to me.  The crunch, the chocolate, the stunning colors, and the overall sweet taste of these little treats make me content with life, as well as brightening my world.  I can’t describe how much I am a sucker for a little purple bag of candy

I can’t say that I like Christmas trees before fried turkeys; however I do like Easter before Valentine’s Day and Mini Eggs before heart-shaped chocolates.  It is easy to assume and very safe to say that all I want this Valentine’s Day are . . . Cadbury Mini Eggs.

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Thanks, Olivia.

Now bloggers, I wonder . . . what’s your favorite holiday-related candy or treat?  Although I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, mine is fruitcake at Christmas.  Yes, I said it.  (And fyi I’m secure enough in my gastronomic tastes, that even though I KNOW some of you are laughing and making fun of me right now, that’s okay.  I’m not ALL that upset.)

My mom used to make this icebox version of fruitcake with gooey graham crackers and all those candied fruits and nuts (and, I think, Coca Cola).  One Christmas season years ago (I’ve never confessed this before),  I was really hungry and ate an entire Claxton Fruitcake log, just like a big candy bar.