Ghost, Writing

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April 24, 2008 by Tria

When I was a child, I loved watching TV programs such as “In Search Of…” and “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” Each one tantalized me with stories of impossibility. While I wasn’t entirely sure that I believed in, say, the Loch Ness Monster or ghosts, the very idea of these creatures ignited my imagination. In fact, I wrote an embarrassing number of unicorn poems when I was in junior high.

I find that many children share that fascination with the mysterious, carrying on the age-old tradition of swapping ghost stories at slumber parties or daring each other to summon Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror.

Recently, I decided to capitalize on this interest in improbable creatures by asking my students to write poems from the point of view of a being or creature that most people say does not exist. Students suggested a great list of possible subjects they could speak for, including ghosts, Bigfoot, mermaids, elves and La Llorona.

The idea of writing from another being’s point of view is intriguing; you must convincingly capture the voice and ideas of someone or something completely outside your normal range of experience. I emphasized to my students that these poems must be a way for these beings to help us humans understand their lives. These could be greatly detailed, such as descriptions of the lengths a rather annoyed Bigfoot must go in order to keep away odious humans that want to pester him, or simple, such as Margaret Atwood’s “This is a Photograph of Me,” written from the point of view of what seems to be a ghost.

Here is one student’s response to the assigment:

Martian

why must people be scared
why can’t they see me
maybe because I’m just made of sand
I will walk till I find out what’s wrong
the Mars Rover will someday be found
I will be known
I will be found
I will meet the people at last
they will know about me
I will meet the water the Earthlings have
I will not just be sand and dust
I will be water and life

by Caroline, 3rd grade

[“ghost” photo by Daniel Schwabe via flickr]

posted by Tria Wood, Writers in the Schools

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Writers in the Schools (WITS)


Writers in the Schools (WITS) is the #1 arts education organization in Texas. With 80 writers and educators on staff, WITS reaches over 23,000 students a year in classrooms, community centers, museums, parks, and hospitals.

The glory of WITS is best expressed by the students--in their own words -- so this blog features essays, stories, and poems that were created by K-12 students in our program. All material (c) Writers in the Schools 2007-2013. If you wish to republish this work, please credit both the organization and the author and link back to this site. This material may not be used in commercial ventures of any kind.

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