Monday, April 18, 2011

for the kids

I spent my weekend working on the anthology for my Writer in the Community English class.  Since I was the only person who could download a trial version of InDesign, I became the lead designer and editor.  I spent the past week and my entire weekend working on it.  My mind has been in a million places: gathering class rosters, formatting the text, pestering my classmates to send me their bios, and creating designs in Photoshop, just to name a few.

I'm still waiting for some final materials to be sent to me so I can include them in the book.  We were supposed to send it to the printers today, but we'll have to postpone it by a day.  Hopefully the anthology will be ready for the kids at the Writer in the Community Gala on April 28.

(Also, I need to plan Nikkei banquet which is on May 2.)

I had a pretty rough week and weekend as I worked as hard and efficiently as I could.  I did three band gigs, but I had to back out on going to the Nikkei bonfire (which I had been looking forward to ever since we proposed it at the beginning of the semester) and a food fest with Josh and Marilyn.

But in the end, I keep telling myself that it's for the kids.  My third graders have taught me so much about writing.  This English class with Aimee Bender (my favorite professor ever) and my experiences as a teacher have validated why I am a creative writing major. 

On top of it all, the anthology has a special place in my heart.  My class chose the title of the anthology based on the titles and stories of our students.  I suggested two titles from my class, one of which was a phrase from Ernesto's story about "The Shy Cafeteria Man."  He had hit writer's block when we were teaching the kids about revision so I gave him some pointers about where he could beef up his story.

His story was about a 25 year old man who worked at the school cafeteria, but all the kids made fun of him because he wasn't good at his job.  I asked him, "Why did the kids make fun of him?  Did he know how to cook?  Did he use bad ingredients?  Maybe he doesn't know how to use things in the kitchen like the microwave or a blender.  Or maybe something exploded in the kitchen and made his food taste nasty."

Apparently what I said stuck with him, and Ernesto included that phrase in his story.  It was ultimately chosen as the title after my class did several rounds of voting.  I can't wait to tell Ernesto about it when we visit the classes in a week!  He's a pretty shy kid with glasses, a new semi-mohawk haircut, and a thrilling imagination.


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