Monday, 14 November 2011


Trying to think of topics for my students to write with. Don't care for the word, though, preferring to-pick, as in let's generate things to pick from. A new CBC Writes prompt, for instance. I know the topic is obvious but for my purposes that's the challenge: to write it fresh.

I've long wanted to do something with luck, what happened to me a while ago, rolling a pair of 6s to get out of a jam on the backgammon table. It brings out the worst in people, either that or the best. Humility's good for us, right? I had my first-year class writing on luck a month or so ago. I forget why, but one guy put up his hand to remind us of his name, Chance.

In another class, 16 of us (including me) will each contribute a photograph, and a page or two of prose to go with it, to a class anthology called (Catching a) Glimpse. Also obvious but, again, a useful challenge to get at in fresh ways. I'm thinking of the photo of two sisters and me on the back step in Herbert taken, no doubt, by the third sister, the oldest, who was often cursed with the privilege, as she tells it, of babysitting the rest of us. (The anthology title comes from the common insistence around the writing table that you can't glimpse without catching one, usually out of the corner of you-know-what.)

As for the third class, while I'm at it here--they're in the middle, I hope, of an essay that begins here/now, when and wherever that might be, and wanders off.

These ideas, so simple written down, aren't easy for some students.


Brenda Schmidt said...

Look at you all! How cute! You looked 7 feet tall even then, and clearly up to no good!

Gerald Hill said...

Bought a suit the other day but still don't look as good.

Dave Buchanan said...

The word itself seems a pretty rich "topic," Ger. I think of "toe-pick" on a woman's skate; or the age-old question of whether to-pick or not to-pick [a scab? one's nose? Phil Kessel in the All Star game?]

Gerald Hill said...

Good to hear from you, Dave. I bet Kessel's an early pick this year.