It is Tuesday, my turn to take one picture of my neighborhood. Over the summer I am part of a neighborhood photo group called the Kenny 365 (http://kenny365.org/). Each person has a day that they are responsible for a photography of the neighborhood. We are not professionals, well most of us are not, we just like our neighborhood and taking pictures. This picture is sent in and put on line for our community to enjoy. This group started a year ago and I have just joined them this last week. There is a years worth of pictures already on line so I started out early this morning thinking what can I take that is different.
I worried about it last night, I woke up thinking about it at 4:00 this morning. Also thinking this was suppose to be fun not stressful. Then it hit me this is just like writing you look for the little details, the slice of life, the things that you do not expect. It is watching for and sharing the little moments of my life or the life of my neighborhood or the moments that we can tell stories from.
Thinking about my writing lessons I headed down the block looking for the little things. Amazing what you find when you slow down. Tucked under a small tree was a beautiful bird bath and iron rabbit, across the block all the lilies were blooming and in the middle of the red ones there was just one yellow one popping out to greet me, the evergreen trees in the park were full of bright green pine cones and one neighbor has build a new small pathway leading to her patio – a perfect invitation into morning tea. I came home with 39 pictures needing only one. ( I also came home with almost as many ideas for writing little stories – there is a great story waiting to be written about the rabbit under the tree and why he is now made of metal, the one yellow lilly also has an interesting story to tell about being different and yet very much the same as her fellow flowers)
It is really just taking time to SEE the little things. The ideas for photos and writing are popping all over the place. It makes me wonder if I giving my students the time to see the little things. What would happen if my students walked the neighborhood with a camera? What would they see and write about? We talk about how writers observe the world around them but do we show them what that looks and feels like.
I know one way my class will experience how to generate writing ideas this fall. How will you show your students how writers generate ideas?