I taught last week at Maine Media. I taught writing, Finding Your Voice, to the YOs (the teenagers). The kids were gifted, eager and challenging. We worked on images, sensory details, discovering voice, rhythm and language. We used The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker to enliven our experience.
When sitting in the small room got to be too much, we went to local places and wrote there. We went to Seafolk Coffee and wrote about what we saw. We went to Owl & Turtle Bookstore. I had my usual delicious double espresso macchiato while the kids checked out the books. Lots of visits to 47 West Cafe. The kids love the books chosen by daughter Olivia. Theola makes a terrific turmeric, ginger coffee. Sara Cole-Pardun, an English teacher as Camden Hills High School joined us, and led the students through a bunch of (very good) prompts. We spent about an hour at the toy store, Planet, and visited two ice cream stands, River Ducks and Camden Cone.
The piece de resistance was a visit by Malcolm Brooks, a composer, documentary songwriter whose work can be heard on PBS NOVA and the History Channel. Malcolm arrived with one of his students, Khalid Taylor, a delightful gifted musician who was up for the week to work with Malcolm. Malcolm invited one of the YO students to tell a story. Malcolm wrote down her words which we were able to view on a big screen. The entire class participated in cutting the story down to lyrics for a song. And then, Malcolm and Khalid added music. And we all sang the song (me too). Great song, great experience.
Every Friday evening Maine Media concludes with a viewing of the student’s work. In our case, a reading. The YOs in my class started the evening’s events by reading from their work. Nine minutes was the limit, but they were each able to read a piece. The last piece was very funny. And the applause following their performance was loud and enthusiastic. The kids and the audience had a blast. Me too.
Thanks again to all of you in our Camden/Rockport community who helped make this week memorable.