Writing out the window

The Gist:

  • My students are writing what they see.

The Whole Story:

They sit in windows with journals and pens and pencils in hand. Many of them plug out the sounds of the building with iPods.

They appear to be daydreaming. Really, they’re completing an assignment.

At this moment, my class is scattered around the building – writing.

At the top of the period, we walked en masse to the end of the third floor hallway.

I pointed across the street to one of the lofts whose windows give their inhabitants a kind of zoo-like aire.

“Who used to live over there?”

“Elliptical Guy.”

“Yes, Elliptical Guy. For two years, I watched Elliptical Guy work out whenever he was home. No matter the time of day. I don’t think I ever saw him eat or sit on his couch.”

Small giggles.

“Eventually, I started wondering who he was. Why was he so adamantly exercising? Why did it seem like he was never losing any weight?”

The odd, “Me too.”

“Then I started wondering whether he was working out for himself or someone else. Was there a guy or a girl he was trying to win over? Finally, I had to make Elliptical Guy a story. I had to make him into someone real in my life. It made the constant checking up less creepy; it made him a part of a story I was writing and reading all the time.”

Now, take your journals. Find a window. Look out. Find someone or something that tells you a story. Write that story.

As I’ve written this, they’ve started to file back in.

It’s time to find out what they’ve read in the world.

One thought on “Writing out the window

  1. Ah, wonderful assignment! The internet is sometimes like that window for me. Many conversations online over the last twenty years have lead to meaningful reflections, writings, face to face meet-ups, and friendships.

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