Free-Writing Fun


Today I did something I waaaay don’t do enough: get out of the house!

I was invited to conduct a writing workshop with a group of students at Deer Lakes Middle School, somewhere out by Saxonburg…or Mars…or Gibsonia or something? I’m not really sure. But I took old back roads the whole way, it was sunny out, and I even saw a couple of deer. Score!

Before my workshop I first took part with five other people in a writing/communications career panel at an assembly of 160 6th graders. I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect, but the kids were very well behaved and quiet, whilst us adults talked about alien life in the adult world. The kids were either enthralled or, more likely, bored out of their skulls. Either way, we survived.

My favorite part of the assembly had to be when the panel facilitator asked us about the favorite things we’ve written. I told her about how much fun I had recently writing a story about Bigfoot, because, like any normal 41-year-old, I’m into Bigfoot. Then she asked the TV reporter next to me about the favorite thing she’s written, and she proceeds to talk about a piece she did on a firefighter who had been a 9/11 first responder. If she would’ve gone first, I probably would have changed my answer.

After the assembly, we went up to the school library where I got to work with around 30 or so 6th grade students. Funny, but I felt way more comfortable working with these 9- to 11-year-olds than I did sitting on that panel of “adults”. These were my people.

We had a great time doing some free-writing exercises, writing about things like time machines, secret doors, dinosaurs, Taylor Swift, and of course, Bigfoot. After we were done, I let them poke around on one of my favorite typewriters, which — and this never fails to completely floor me — they stared at with profound wonder and confusion. Most of them had never even seen a typewriter before, let alone touch one! What are we teaching these kids nowadays?

And so that’s how I spent my day, which, although it cut into nap time, was a pretty good way to pass a day. Besides, I can always take a nap some other time.

And there’s no time like the present. ~


Copyright © 2016 Valentine J. Brkich

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