One Saturday morning, with “Recess” playing in the background, I became a writer.
I began what would become a series of stories about a mouse named Macy. She was one of those really motherly type characters, in a blue, tattered dress and apron. She took in an orphan, Cindy, whose mother had died. She had bake sales and yard sales to raise money for St. Greene’s Mouse Hospital. She bought “cottage dolls” for neighborhood children. She had an undying love for her cat, Tabby. Macy the Mouse was quite the sweetheart, let me tell you.
I grew up with a lot of imagination. I’m sure I realized Macy the Mouse could never exist, but it was easy for me to pretend.
This past month, I tagged along with the BPP instructors to two local elementary schools to help with first grade poetry workshops. While many children had no problem being creative, some struggled.
Upon my suggestion of something silly, a few kids laughed and told me “that couldn’t happen” or “that’s not real!” They wanted to write about something real.
I pleaded with them, “But what if the elephant was a baker?” and “Why is the bee flying? Where is he going?”
Slowly, some let their minds wander a bit.
One little girl described brainstorming as literal brains falling from the sky.
There was a talking pig, a Batman eating “stinky cheese” that had been on the ground for 30 years, and a fish traveling to visit his parents at the bottom of the ocean and being stung by a jellyfish along the way, and a sun with a dislike for the moon.
Kids are always being taught the facts and the reality, which is important but can hinder creativity. With some prying, you can crack the imagination back open though.
Everybody has an imagination; we just have to stay open to letting it roam. If you’re someone who has trouble straying from the factual things in life, try a few creative exercises now and then. Close your eyes and draw something with your less dominant hand. What do you see? Can you think of a completely bizarre character, like Macy Mouse, or event and write a short poem or story?
-Audrey Sapunarich, Macy Mouse & the gang
Spring 2015 BPP Intern