Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: The Creativity Project Inspired Me to Play with Fiction #SOL18
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Slice of Life: The Creativity Project Inspired Me to Play with Fiction #SOL18

Yesterday, we sliced about a new book – The Creativity Project, edited by Colby Sharp.  Today, I decided to use one of the prompts from this book to inspire my slice of life.  I found the process of using these prompts fascinating as a writer.  This something I have never done before to inspire ideas – I always look to life for my topics. These prompts pushed me to sketch which I never do.  These prompts pushed me to think about writing fiction which I rarely do.  They pushed me to think about topics I had forgotten.  One prompt invited me to reopen an idea I had been playing with a couple of years ago.  Here is the prompt:

Here is my response – the beginning of a short fictional piece:

 “One more minute!” I yell.

“Michael, dinner is getting cold!” my mom’s voice lets me know she means business. “Now….”

I try to make my way out of the tire fort without taking my eyes off my book.  I need to find out if the aliens are going to invade the school before I go to dinner.  Just when the aliens are about to transform themselves into students so they can invade the school my foot catches the edge of a rock and I face plant into a huge puddle.

“Oh man!” I hurriedly shake the water off the pages, wipe the mud off and read the final paragraph in my book.  Whoa, that was a good ending.  I didn’t see that coming at all. I pause to replay the ending in my mind.

“What are you doing now?”  my mother pleads as she watches me head to over to the mudroom.

“Can we go to the library now?” I ask, knowing I am pressing my luck.

“Are you kidding me?  Dinner. Right. NOW!”  Mom insists trying to hide her smile.

“Wash your hands,” she reminds me.

I wipe my hands on my pants hoping she doesn’t notice and head over to the dinner table.  “Why can’t we go to the library tonight?  I have to get the next book in the series and find out what happens when the aliens invade the school.”

“For starters, the library is closed for the night… and we are eating dinner.”

“Can we go tomorrow?” I persist.

She nods her head yes and reminds me, “Don’t talk with your mouth full, Michael.”

 

The next morning, I wake up early, race through my chores, grab my book and head out to the car.  The library opens in fifteen minutes.  I want to get there when it opens so I can get the next book in the series.  Where is she?  “Mom.  Are you ready to go?  I’m ready!”

“Michael, I love your excitement for reading but there are other things that need to get done around this house.”

“I will help when we get home.  I proooooomise.” 

Mom gets in the car.   Finally, we are on our way.

We enter the parking lot and I can practically feel the next book in my hand.  I unclip my seatbelt, open the door and make my way to the front door before my mom has the car in park.

“Wait up.  I have your library card with me,” Mom yells running to catch up.

I can’t believe my eyes.  “WHAT???!!!  NO way!  How can they do this?  Is this legal?  We should call the police?” I shout.

Mom only catches the word police and worry immediately sinks in.  “What’s wrong?  Did you say police? Why do we need police?”

“Look!” I point to the sign posted on the front door.

“What am I going to do now?  I need to find out what happens with the aliens.  TODAY!!!  Can we go to another library?  Can we go to the bookstore?”

“Not today Michael.  We don’t know if the other libraries are closed or if the bookstore even has the book you are looking for.”

“But you promised me!” I plead.

“I promised I would take you to the library and I did.  You can get the next book in the series tomorrow at school.  You have other books you can read at home.”

“Tomorrow?”  She doesn’t understand that tomorrow is an eternity when you are ready for the next book in the series you are reading. 

I can barely contain myself when I get to school the next day.  I need to find the book and I need to find out what is going on with the library. I put my things away, sign up for lunch and make my way to the meeting area.  Morning meeting is just starting.  I know I shouldn’t interrupt but this is too important to wait.  My teacher would want to know.

“Did you hear about the library?” I interject.

“Michael, I want to hear about the library.  We will have time for sharing news at the end of meeting.” my teacher explains.

“This can’t wait!  It needs to be on the agenda!  Someone stole the library.”

A rush of energy surges through the group assembled on the rug.  Questions abound and my classmates break into conversation.  Ms. Sue knows there is no getting this train back in the station so she decides to go with it.

“The library is shut down. Closed. No longer open for business.  This means YOU!!  We cannot get books.”  I look each classmate directly in the eye to ensure they understand this is about them.

No one says a thing.  This is not the response I am expecting.

“Can you hear me?  NO BOOKS!  Summer is just around the corner.  No school.  No library.  NO BOOKS!  Do you get what I’m saying?”

<To Be Continued>

The Creativity Project truly has so many opportunities waiting for you in its pages.  (If you want to know more about it, check out this post.) You will see first-hand the prompts beloved authors created and how they responded to the prompts of fellow writers.  It is a wonderful example of collaboration and community for the pure joy of reading, writing, and response.  Linda Urban sums it up best in her author’s note, “The project isn’t called the Perfection Project or the Judgment Project or the Published Authors Can Do No Wrong Project.  It is the Creativity Project.  I stretched my creativity a little here, to try to finish a short story.  I’m going to call that a success.  Now, how about you?” (p. 181)

Now, how about YOU?  Give it a go, create, you won’t regret it!  Thank you, Colby Sharp for envisioning this space for all of us to remember the power of playing and connecting through creativity.

Clare

11 Comments
  • Kevin Hodgson
    Posted at 09:44h, 27 March Reply

    Huh.
    That’s my kind of book. And of course, Colby!
    Thanks for the suggestion and the story
    Kevin




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  • Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 11:30h, 27 March Reply

    Great start, Clare. The protagonist reminds me of one of my grandsons, who is never without a book. I need to know what happens next. Why is the library closed permanently? Why are the kids not more upset about it? What will Michael do now? Is he an activist? Will he inspire others? Can’t wait for the next part.




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  • Sarah E Parker
    Posted at 11:46h, 27 March Reply

    I’m excited for you to write more. I wonder what writing plans you are making for the summer. Can you carve out more time to write fiction. It is a wonderful journey. Your main character, your problem, the dialogue all work very well. I think the main character reminds me of the kind of boy I would have had if I had not had three girls. Great start.




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  • Erika Victor
    Posted at 11:52h, 27 March Reply

    I LOVE your story start! I can’t wait to really read this book and be inspired. What a great project!




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  • Tamara Jaimes
    Posted at 12:02h, 27 March Reply

    I know Michael! I think he’s in my class and I can’t wait to read more. Our copy of The Creativity Project arrived Sunday and yesterday we jumped right in with the first prompt. After they wrote and shared, I shared what Debbie Ridpath Ohi created for her response. They were so inspired! I would love to share your response when we get to this prompt, if that’s alright.




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  • Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 13:42h, 27 March Reply

    Wow! A great idea for a children’s book, Clare. You should go with it and continue to write the story. I love the way you used the prompt to write this mystery story. Love the reaction from the other kids – it is almost summer and no library – no reaction from them. And Michael is passionate – outraged! Maybe Michael will change their minds…

    I am ready for the next chapter tomorrow!




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  • Rose Cappelli
    Posted at 15:30h, 27 March Reply

    I think you have unearthed a new writing direction for yourself.. Your story was engaging and well-paced. I didn’t get sidetracked with dialogue or scene changes. You definitely need to keep going with this. Well done.




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  • Ashley Tice
    Posted at 18:59h, 27 March Reply

    I used to write fiction as a kid. A lot of times I would mimic my short fictional pieces off of other stories that I had heard or read on my own. My favorite part was always the illustrating.

    Now, 25 years later, I long to sit down and write a fictional piece. I have a couple of ideas in my head already, inspired by an interesting husband and a quirky family. In fact, one of my goals in life is to pen a novel.

    As a teacher, a wife, and a mother, I do not know how I will spare the time to reach this specific life goal, but a girl can dream, right?

    I will definitely look into this resource – thanks for sharing!




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  • Lisa Corbett
    Posted at 22:37h, 27 March Reply

    Love this story! I have felt like that with books in a series. I can’t imagine my library being closed, but I suppose this is happening all over the world. Hopefully Michael will be able to get his library to reopen.




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  • Glenda M. Funk
    Posted at 01:23h, 28 March Reply

    Colby and the prompt creator (I need to look in my book) will be proud, proud, proud of you. Your dialogue is wonderful, and I love the tension you create here. The idea of kids reading a book about a kid loving books excites me. Well done!




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  • Melanie Meehan
    Posted at 01:29h, 28 March Reply

    It’s on its way. We’re doing flash fiction for our summer writing academy and I think it will go along with that theme really well. CLARE, I love the beginning of your story! You aren’t just a nonfiction writer, and you CAN get ideas from prompts and pictures and not just real life.




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