On Thursdays after school at the rec center, Ms. Taylor gives students 20 minutes of quiet, solitary free-writing time. Last week, they were supposed to use the time to write a poem about things that made them happy. If they worked hard enough on their poems, Ms. Taylor would send them to the “Creativity Corner” section of the Los Angeles Times. Everyone would see them! How exciting!
Christopher, 9, liked seashells. Sometimes his dad took him to the beach and the seashells looked like they were shining. He bet they also shone at night. He wrote his poem and it almost took him the whole 20 minutes: “Seashells are shining. Seashells are like ocean waves. Seashells beam at night.”
Skylar, 8, loved her parakeets. She loved that she got to take them out of the cage once a week on Fridays, right before her mom gives her a bowl of ice cream. She loved that they are pretty even though they sure are loud! “Parakeets are loud,” Skylar wrote. “On Friday, I take them out. They are so pretty.”
Gabi, 9, thought long and hard and hard and long. She liked a lot of things. She liked her new puppy, Oscar. She liked Justin Bieber, but sometimes she listened to Black Sabbath. She really, really liked lemon pudding and her new earrings, but she liked pestilence and destruction and the pain of innocents much more. She wrote:
Red as Blood: The fire is red as blood. I watch the flames go up in the air as I taste the sadness of the people whose houses have burnt to the ground. I turn back, but all I hear is the bursting and explosion of flames
She turned it in to Ms. Taylor, who was so impressed; she said she was also going to show it to the local priest!
Tomorrow, Gabi would get to help Skylar take her parakeets out of the cage. But first, to the library, to look up “animal sacrifice.”