Girls with Pens

22 May

The girls in our spring “Girls With Pens” workshops had been told they’d be writing, but they squealed with delight when I told them we’d be making up stories. Each week, they waited with bated breath until I gave them the next assignment and then they would scribble furiously until time was up. The only thing better than creating the work was sharing it. The girls constantly campaigned to be first.

During our six weeks together, we learned about the fundamentals of fiction, the beauty of metaphor and the power of the narrative voice. I got to read about “Fire Woman” and “The Perfect Girl” and a pig named Sir Bruce, who was obsessed with chocolate chips. I learned that the bumpiest thing in the world is “a cliff made out of high heels and super glue” and the stinkiest thing in the world is “a boy wearing unwashed socks for 100,000,000,000 days.”

After reading “The Witch’s Story” by poet Lawrence Raab, I asked the students to create their own villains. Writing from a wicked point of view, the girls explored their dark, powerful sides, creating fabulous characters such as “Green” and the “Weird Woman.” They then went “ego-tripping” with poet Nikki Giovanni, challenging themselves to create the most fantastic brag of all time.

The girls also wrote about their names, many exploring their feelings about them for the first time. Did you know the name “Nelley” smells like pumpkin and tastes like a cookie with vanilla, or that “Sierra” feels like an awesome spring shower?

I can’t wait for you to read the work produced in these workshops. The pieces are interesting, kooky, funny, weird and profound–just like this group of girls.

Carolyn Cohagan
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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Green

My name is Selina, but everyone calls me Green because I’m green. I live in the forest in a wooden house. Just now, I’m eating a little girl. It’s not my fault, it’s hers. She came in my little house. She was freezing and wet. I felt bad, but somehow she went into my belly. We were having so much fun, and it felt good being with someone because I’m always alone.

Elizabeth Cabrera

Poor Sir Bruce

Once upon a time, a pig named Sir Bruce found a jar filled with chocolate chips. His mom told him not to get in the jar because he would get stuck.

The pig said he was just going to lick one chocolate chip. The mom said, “Okay. But careful.”

The pig walked up to the jar. He licked one chocolate chip. “Mmmmm,” said the pig. Sir Bruce looked at his mom, and she was not even looking. The pig saw the biggest chocolate chip.

The pig, Sir Bruce, tried to find the biggest chocolate chip in the jar. He ate the biggest chocolate chip. He tried to get out, but he couldn’t get out. All night, he screamed, Help!

Eventually, his parents moved, and they forgot about Sir Bruce. Nobody went to help him. The little chocolate chips turned into mud. The pig couldn’t move. The pig thought his parents would come, but he died.

To be continued . . .

Ashley Fernandez

Sir Bruce’s Story

Once upon a time, there was a pig named Sir Bruce. Sir Bruce got out of bed in his two-story building and went to buy some groceries.

On his way to the market, he found himself with Butcher, a big and scary pig. After Butcher had been tripped by Sir Bruce, he said, “I’m gonna get you. Maybe today or maybe tomorrow, but I will get you.”

After Sir Bruce went for the groceries, he went back to his house and started to make breakfast and think about when Butcher was going to get him. Later that day, when Sir Bruce was going to bed, he got worried that he could not go to sleep.

When morning came, Sir Bruce woke up and did his morning routine, but he was still thinking about when Butcher was going to get him.

Sir Bruce ate breakfast and watched TV. He decided to go outside and plant.

To be continued . . .

Isabel Capetillo Hernandez

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The Truest Thing

The softest thing is a tree made of feathers with puppies on it.
The most difficult thing is climbing a mountain so high it’s in outer space and made of cookie batter.
The bumpiest thing is a cliff made of high heels and super glue.
The stickiest thing is super glue mixed with syrup on a puppy in a heat wave.
The noisiest thing is a cat that is very huffy and always pampered.
The funniest thing is a puppy riding an elephant riding a car.
The slowest thing is a panda riding a turtle going ten times slower than it should be.
The truest thing is nothing.

Ella King

Ego Tripping (Don’t Get Me Mad!)

– after Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego-Tripping” 

If you ever get me mad… Oh, no you didn’t!

When I get mad, I become a dark, scary figure walking on the street, terrorizing the city. When I get mad, I become Rose Wilson (with all those sharp gadgets)! So, sweetheart, don’t you ever mess with me because I will terrorize you! Don’t stare at me directly in the eyes when I’m mad because you will feel real pain in the neck. You will see the scariest thing you will ever see. So, watch out beautiful. Don’t even look at me when I’m mad because the universe will punish you! So, remember this! And don’t forget it because I will become your worst nightmare. And you might be next!

Diana Cruz Martinez

My Name

– after Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name”

My name is like the number ten. My name is the same in Spanish and English. It’s like a light blue. My name is like being scared of heights. It’s like being all the time happy or excited. It’s like having the best day ever or riding a roller coaster.

Samantha Mata

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Fire Girl

I am Fire Woman, and my name is Mrs. Firelocks. I love to fire children a lot, and I burn them with my hair. I turn them into fried coboble sticks and then I eat them. I have a dragon that helps me. It can burn water, so you better watch out. You better not cry because Fire Girl is coming to get you. If you want to know how I look, then you can come and see me. Moowhahahaha.

P.S. I like ice cream and don’t judge me.

P.P.S. Bum, bum, bum.

Da’Resiah Thomas

What Should I Do Next

– after Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego-Tripping”

When I cry, I make a new river.
When I am mad, I cause hurricanes.
When I am happy, I can create an island paradise.
When I am curious, I use a tornado to carry me across the world.
But when I am bored, I snap my fingers and they create lightning.
When I was eight years old, I got a mansion of my own.
And when I am in love, it can cause flowers to bloom in winter.
When I am jealous, I clap my hands and that person is gone.
I never have really known where they go.
But, on the other hand, I don’t care.
When I feel greedy, I can make people bow down to me.
And, who knows? If I get jealous, you might be next!

Serenity Vigil

My Name

– after Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name”

My name is like the Number Three. It’s really lame and really short.
It’s like stepping in mud and cleaning your room.
My name is like vomiting. Every time you say my name, it makes you sick.
But the worst part is: This is my name for my whole life. It’s really ugly.
Sometimes I feel beautiful like a rose.

Amy Zavala

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My Awesome Self!

– after Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego-Tripping”

My eyes are so light brown, they look like sand on the beach.
When I smile, everyone starts taking pics.
When I wink, everyone in the fifty states starts getting love eyes.
When I walk out the door, the limo knows where I am.
When I put on blush, my fans say, “You do not need makeup.”
When I talk, everyone thinks I’m singing.
When I was born, it was such a hit on the news and the radio.
When I clean up, I am called a mer-maid.
When it’s spring, they call me Flower.
But all the people who are reading this just know.
I am a beautiful and ready-to-fight woman.
I strike like a snake.
I’m as pretty as Marilyn Monroe.
I’m as hot as a ghost pepper.
I’m as shiny as a piece of gold.
I am a strong woman.

P.S. Always believe in yourself, especially if you are a girl.

Sierra Botello

My Name

– after Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name”

My name, my lovely name.
When I think about my name, I pronounce it and pronounce it all over again . . .
When I think about my name, I think, How does my name smell? My name smells like a fat, old pumpkin.
Sometimes I think about how my lovely names tastes. Sometimes I barely get to taste it and it tastes like a cookie with vanilla.
Or I think about how it sounds. I think it sounds like an alien pronouncing it.
When I think about my name, I think about how it feels and how it looks and I think it feels like sliding out of a bunch of pillows, and I think that my name looks like a slide when it’s written in cursive.
When I think about me, I think about how I cry and how I laugh hard. When I cry, it’s like a rainy day during a windy spring, and when I laugh hard, it’s like a big storm.

Nelley Castro

The Perfect Girl

– after Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego-Tripping”

I’m so perfect that my perfection out-perfects the word perfect. My hair is so important that I have to get $1,000 shampoos and conditioners sent from Paris to Hollywood. I’m so important and perfect that the queen of England bows before me whenever my name is mentioned. Or, if I want to visit, then I take my $400,000 gold jet to her castle. She has a private landing format just for me! For dinner, we dine on a feast just for two. We drink melted gold and eat the rarest food we can get. I wear a golden gown, and I’m the royal guest at the ball and Prince Nichols always says I look beautiful in diamonds and gold. We dance the night away, and I am not surprised at all when he says, “I love you.” I make the world tremble when I’m mad. I make the world bow to me and me alone, and let’s not forget I own South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. I’m working on North America right as we speak. If you think you’re better than me, I’ll sell you and make you work for me. So, the next time you think you can out-perfect me, come and visit sometime. I live at Hollywood at Perfect Drive on Perfect Perfection View (trust me you don’t want to mess with me). Ciao, ciao now.

Aliya Morales

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Sir Bruce’s Nightmare

Part I

Once upon a time, there was a blade of grass named Bruce, with two arms, two legs, and a fancy hat. He lived in the meadow. One day, the news came on the TV. It said that a tornado was coming from the north toward Bruce’s home and would hit in two hours and twenty minutes! Bruce packed all his things and grabbed a compass and left going south. When it was noon, out of nowhere, there was a tornado coming straight in his path! The tornado caught Bruce and put him in a skinny bottle. Bruce could not get out. Will Bruce ever get out?

Part II

“Help me,” screamed Bruce.

Then a gigantic monster came toward him.

“Hello,” said the monster. “What seems to be the trouble?”

“I can’t get out of this bottle,” screamed Bruce.

“I can grab a skinny stick and put it in the bottle so you can climb up,” said the monster.

“Great idea,” said Bruce, filled with hope.

In two minutes, he was free!

“Thank you, monster,” said Sir Bruce.

“You’re welcome,” said the monster.

Bruce and the monster became great friends. So, when you are in trouble, a friend will help you.

Jayleen Maldonado

My Name!

– after Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name”

My name is Adrianna.
My name smells like apples on a cinnamon stick.
My name tastes like summer on a hot day.
My name sounds like screaming on my birthday.
My name feels like hot coal.
My name looks like the roundness of a bouncy ball.
I am like a jewel on a cloudy day.
When I cry, it’s like a baby boy whining.
When I laugh hard, I shoot snot out my nose.

Adrianna Hodge

Sir Bruce

One day, Sir Bruce was walking down the street. A guy wanted to kill him because Sir Bruce had done something bad to him many years ago. So, when Sir Bruce saw the guy, he got scared because he did not want to die. But then the guy got him and put him in a jar. Sir Bruce did not eat for twenty years. The guy did not want to let go of Sir Bruce, but someone finally found him and got him out of the jar.

To be continued . . .

Destiney Sandoval

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My Name . . .

– after Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name”

My name smells like hot cocoa.
My name tastes like cookies and milk.
My name sounds like jingle bells.
My name feels like Christmas is coming.
My last name looks like something special.
I am like a butterfly.
When I cry, it’s like my heart is burning.
When I laugh hard, my face looks like a baboon’s butt.

Angela Prado

The Weird Woman

Hello. My name is Angela, and I was born in 1983 on October 31. But Angela is not my name anymore. My name is the Weird Woman now. They used to call me Angela when I was innocent, but now I’m not. I’m a killer now, and this is the story of why they call me Weird Woman.

Nine years ago, I had a family, but I hated them. The only people I loved were my parents. They were the only people I liked because everyone else in the family bullied me a lot.

One day, I got tired of the bullying, and I decided to protect myself. My sisters and I got into an argument, and we started calling each other names. I lost control, and we accidentally stabbed each other. I lost even more control, and I stabbed myself.

All of us went to the hospital. Since I hated everyone there, I escaped. Since that day, I’ve been eating people and killing people, and that’s why my name is Weird Woman.

Anahi Aguilar

The Jar

Once upon a time, the biggest whale named De’Resiah the Queen and her two kids, Ella and Jayleen, ate twenty pieces of seacake. Da’Resiah was playing but washed up onto the beach. Then three girls — Nicole, Angela, and Adrianna — came out and put Da’Resiah in a jar. But Adrianna and Angela felt bad and saved her.

P.S. Nicole died because she was evil.

Nicole Arellano

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Falling Off a Broom

The softest thing is a baby bear’s fur.
The most difficult thing is to face your fear.
The bumpiest thing is a cupcake with no frosting.
The stickiest thing is a super glue monster.
The noisiest thing is a horrible woman’s snoring.
The funniest thing is a witch falling off a broom.
The slowest thing is a brainless blind zombie.
The flattest thing is a squashed pancake.
The stinkiest thing is a giant’s fart.
The truest thing is a zombie apocalypse will kill you.

 Michel Santoyo

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