I’m in the throes of writing again. I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped. I might have taken pauses in between, but as one great writer said to me: even when you’re not at your desk, you’re never not writing. I think this is true, because sometimes my work follows me into the dream world and I wake up trying to grab hold of words and images before they get chased away by the busy round that comes with being the mom of a high school kid and one college aged young man.
I am feeling joyful about my boys these days. I mean, there was a time when I wondered if we would ever be all right again and here we are–it’s 2021. We went through a pandemic and my boys are noisy and cheerful and active when we get together. I suppose it’s to be expected. I have one ADHD child and one ADD child on the spectrum, but together they can get pretty rambunctious. Add one ADHD mom into the mix, and well…you can imagine what dinnertime can be like. Anyway, both of my sons are inveterate gamers (when not studying) and I find myself turning into the pestering parent who tells her sons to: ‘please read this book I lent you, it’s really good.’
One of my conversation staples is: ‘did you read the book I lent you?’
If they tell me they’ve read a few chapters, that makes me happy.
Recently, I started leading a writing workshop for youngsters 14-21 years old. It was one of those accidental moments where you propose a thing, one thing leads to another and before you know it, you’re on discord doing voice chat workshops. I sort of dragged my boys into participating and it’s turning out to be a really fun ride. I’ve been given permission to share eldest son’s piece from one of the exercises we did which was set in a shared world setting where humans and nonhumans are experiencing the effects of being exposed to toxic waste.
The Assignment: Write a short piece from the perspective of an animal in this world that’s been affected by toxic waste
Boss! Boss nice! Nice boss. I like boss.
“Go on, fetch boy.”
Toy fly! Wow wow wow! Catch toy. Catch toy!
“Git it boy! Git it!”
Toy land. Get toy get toy.
Smell. Smell? Weird smell. Must get smell.
Weird thing. Taste thing? Weird taste. Not nice.
“Where you at, boy?”
Not nice. Angry. Hungry.
“What’s wrong, boy?”
Not angry. Wait. Angry. Very angry. Not happy. Must eat food.
“Where you goin’, boy?”
Need eat, must eat. Where food?
Field has food. Eat food.
“Stop boy! Farmer Johnson’ll put you down if you dig up his crops!”
Stop drag. Boss. Need food. Boss stop. Bite boss.
“Augh! What the hell, boy!”
Boss angry, not happy. Boss not nice. Bite boss more.
“HEY! HEY! Stop that BOY!”
Hungry. Must bite. Crop food? Food? Crop. . . Boss?
-published with permission, J.J. Loenen, 2021-