Magnetic poetry was the warming up exercise. ‘Think of it as getting the imagination flowing, just like stretching before a run or throwing the ball around close to a game,” I explained to the group of Grade 9 students, newly arrived in the studio for a creativity workshop I was leading. “Explore putting words together that surprise you, there is no right or wrong. Add to your friends lines, and let go of wondering if it makes sense.”
This group from Nisga Secondary was a part of Martha Swinn‘s Creative Writing group so it didn’t take long before they were leaving their chairs to post words onto the metal bed frame I had resting against the wall. Some giggled as they leaned over each other, others were quietly intent as they added their lines; everyone was thoroughly engaged in the process.
We moved outside for an exercise called, ‘Inside a Moment: being specific’ where the youth found a spot to engage all of their senses. ‘Write details; the smell of the lilacs, the touch of the cottonwood bark, look up at the patch of sky above the alder trees,” I invited before we moved back into the studio to take some of the words and create a collage on canvas from a wide range of materials I had available. Three hours disappeared and when the bus driver arrived to take the students back to Aiyansh we were all reluctant to end the afternoon. Martha asked me to put the frame in the garden and send a picture so I am now, several weeks later, responding to her request and revisiting that precious time with her students.
And so I chose one of the lines from this collection of evocative expressions to inspire my own response; after all we are all students in relationship with each other, continually learning and expanding.
Wild boy explore the translucent ocean and linger there
spread apart with reptilian instincts the tender openings
deep crevices dissolving scripts written for you
invite instead those liquid invitations you already know
speak deep words, change life.