Sunday, June 3, 2007

Last Days of School

As I write this, my kids’ last day of school is days away. While I begin to worry about how I’m going to find quiet time to write or how to keep them off the computers and Xbox, convince them to clean out the cat box and run the vacuum, I also start thinking about my own last days of school.

In elementary school, the last day meant Popsicle and bubble gum parties, and eating lunch on the lawn. I’d stuff my book bag to overflowing with art projects and workbooks, papers. At home I’d spend hours reading over my old papers. I loved the workbooks, because we never seemed to finish them during the school year. I finished them over the summer. The end of the school year also meant half empty composition books that had to be filled up.

High school was a bit different. I couldn’t wait for the last day to arrive, for all my finals to be finished. Summer vacation meant being carefree. Long walks, going to the library and writing until the wee hours.

What do you remember about your last days of school? Did your summer vacations live up to your expectations? Did it mean you’d not see some friends? Did it mean escaping the class bully, at least until the next term? Did you go away to camp? Start with your earliest memory of your last day of school and freewrite for ten minutes. What sights, sounds, smells, etc. do you remember? Do your freewrite again about high school or college. If you have children, write about their last days. Note the physical sensations you experience as you write. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised about what you remember.

For exercises on the craft of writing, please visit the sister site, CS Writing Workshop. What does the CS stand for? Loosely translated, it means "writing disease." Check it out!

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