Writers in the Schools: Night WrITerS Workshop

When I walked upstairs to the private room that would be the workshop venue, I realized I had no idea what to expect, nor had I tried to come up with anything. It was six p.m. and the sun hung low but hadn’t quite started to set yet. It came through the gorgeous windows of Sparrow, Monica’s restaurant in Midtown. I immediately spotted a new friend and we chatted a little before grabbing a seat with two other writers, at least for the night. There were some participants really dressed up wearing nametags, many of whom worked for WITS (Writers in the Schools), a wonderful program that brings professional writers into the classroom. And I saw a couple of young people, what had to be teenage kids, looking a little nervous.

I sat down and had a glass of water just before a man named Outspoken Bean got up to speak. He was our MC for the evening, always with a smile on his face, his cheerful voice a delight to the ear. First we heard from a young poet named Bash, whose poetry still rings in my ear, in my mind. Then Bean read a seaside poem to us from his cell phone, and asked us to take out our little notebooks and write one of our own. “Lost at sea” was the topic, and we were to write ten lines, each with the corresponding number of words (ten words, then nine words, then eight words, etc., so that the last line would have one word).

In eight minutes, I wrote this:

A letter in a bottle lost without a single reader
It floats, it coasts, it rests, it waits patiently
Patience gone, the lone cylinder of glass gives
It gives its words, letter by letter
Serif, non serif, cursive, print, type
The sea drinks it all
Then pours it out
Every single word
Of love

We were then instructed to get together with small groups and make one poem from our individual works. It was a fascinating experience trying to dissect each one and figure out which lines went best with lines from the others. Five of us night writers wrote this:

There are moments when I wish I could be lost
First my two big feet
Then both awkward legs
My bruised knee
My freckled arms
The mole on my neck
The sea drinks it all then pours it out
I give myself over to its control
Chipped away by knowledge and wisdom
I press my ear against it
The sound is different
Just different enough
To comfort.

Another young poet, who goes by the name of Yung Giant, did a rap/poem hybrid to what I think was original music. He was magnificent, with a glowing positive energy that radiated. I can still hear the music he moved to, the chorus. I wondered about the talent in someone so young, so much more than I remember having. Hear more at Space City Slam on Sunday at three at Discovery Green, if you’re in town.

The workshop made me work, and think, and feel, and wonder. It was a great night.

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