Popcorn Love

Continuing with the Bobbie Brown reference.

Yesterday was the last day of the Designing a Writer Workshop ?. Jack Collom passed out some great information on grant writing, with examples of two of his grants. He also discussed the controversy around his SPAM poetry, which led to a larger discussion of art and censorship. I brought up the Critical Art Ensemble I wrote about last week. Other people in the class mentioned similar situations where artists and writers have been harrassed by law enforcment for anti-war or suspected terrorist ? activities.

One of my wonderful classmates, Robin Marin, led an awesome writing exercise (without even a hint of terroristic undertones) using popcorn. She brought in an air-popper and while the popcorn was popping she asked us to write down words describing what we were experiencing with our five senses: hearing, taste, touch, smell, and sight. Afterwards we were able to eat some popcorn and we did a free write using the words we come up with for your five senses.

Here’s what I wrote:

The pilgrims, so I’ve been told, landed on Plymouth Rock around this time of year. They were poor and hungry but not like the other poor and hungry Europeans who would later come to this continent and land on Ellis Island. The pilgrims were seeking religious freedom. They were protestants, I think anticipating the fall of Christianity by falling away from the true Church.

What the pilgrims found when they arrived here is debatable. But everyone agrees on popcorn. Popcorn! They probably didn’t eat theirs with butter, but I don’t know that for sure.

I learned all this from a film strip with white people dressed up in black suits, like pilgrims wore, and other white people painted red. The white people were talking and laughing. At the end they were shaking hands.

There weren’t any surprises but I was curious about it. Somewhere there was a kernel of truth, but slippery.

Today I went to my ESL tutoring. My student told me he wants to write a book, a book about his life. He said that he has written speeches and people have told him he should write a book. He told me some of his life, starting when he was 13 in Mexico. I had brought Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya for us to read together and I told him that I would start bringing writing exercises that I’ve learned in this weekend class.

I’m very excited to be working with him on this. Of course it will help his english, but it has the potential to mean so much more. It also means some more work for me because I need to plan our sessions out more. But the work I put into this I can make use of in other creative writing projects. Very exciting.

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