If school teaches us how to use language to inform, persuade, and explain in order to communicate and connect, then a creative writing camp, I do declare, should show us how to use those skills alternatively as mechanisms of play, a key to unlock the vault of pleasure that bubbles inside each of us. In just one week, these kiddos harnessed the energy and the power of play to create a body of work that is both beyond-their-years smart and perfectly silly, one of the greatest accomplishments in creative writing.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
Two Truths and a Lie
– after “I Remember” by Joe Brainard
I remember when I went to Disney Land and I went on a ride called The Tower of Terror. I got on the ride and it went up really high. The windows in the ride were open when I got to the top, then it dropped us down.
I remember when I saw this show on TV, and they were putting liver inside sheep intestines. They baked it and then ate it. I thought it was gross.
I remember when I was eating dinner, and I was eating caterpillars. After I thought I ate it, it crawled back up my throat.
My Awesome Pet Turtle
Once upon a time, my mommy and daddy gave me a turtle for a present. It looked like a green shell that someone painted black lines on.
“Okay and thank you,” I said to my mom and dad. Me, my mom, and my dad smiled at my pet turtle.
Once, when I came home from school, I ran upstairs to my room, as usual. I changed into my play clothes, as usual. Then I checked my pet turtle and was going to tell him that his name was Flash! I’d been thinking about it all day. But when I opened my closet and saw my turtle, it was giant. I didn’t know turtles were giant.
It’s just a phase, I told myself. And it was. Then, the next afternoon, I was a little dirty, so I wanted to take a bath. So I went to my bathroom and started to fill up the tub. Then I turned off the tub and got in with my clothes on because I was just a little bit dirty.
Then my pet turtle came in with me. Again, I thought, “It’s just a phase,” but it wasn’t. Every time I took a bath, he crawled in with me, and that smelled. He smelled like a wet dog. So, finally, I decided to give him back to my parents.
“Okay,” they said, “but are you sure?”
“Positive,” I said. After that, I never got a pet again, and that turtle became a pet to a different girl.
At night, I can still hear the whimpering of his little voice when I left him.
– after “To You” by Kenneth Koch
She is as sweet as
She is bursting
like a starburst.
I love her like
a stuffed animal
I’ve had all my
I believe her
like my mom.
She is as cute
and as a cuddly
She is super
She is awesomely
She is a best
friend to have.
She is my BFF.
I love her
so much as
She is the
She and I
Anna Grace Theiss
Candy Pooping Dog
Your parents give you a candy pooping dog. Your room is a mess because the dog was pooping candy. Then your whole house is filled with candy. Then you have an idea: you should give the dog to the rodeo. Then, you start to miss him, so your parents take you to the rodeo. You live happily ever after.
- Here you go. Thank you. What is it? “Um, um, goo.” Okay. I’ll take it to my room and play with it.
- “Ahhh!” It’s so sticky and it’s alive. “Help, help.”
- “Knock, knock.” Come in. I’ll help you. Oh, no. Now I’m stuck! “Help, help.”
- “Knock, knock.” Come in. I’ll help. I have unglue and a container. “Squirt, squirt.” We’re all better. What about the alive goo? “Plop” goes the container. “Get him.” Yay!
The Mythical Flying Cat
One day, a girl’s mom got her a present. Inside was a cat, but it wasn’t any cat. It was a flying cat. At first, the girl loved it, but then one day the cat started flying all over the house. It knocked over the girl’s painting and the mom’s vase. And it was scratching everyone.
When the girl took the cat for a walk in the park, it started scratching everyone it saw. And it scratched the girl’s sister. She got mad at the girl. The girl’s mom came, and the girl told the mom everything—the painting, the vase, the scratching.
Then the mom said, “What do you want to do with the cat?”
The girl said, “I don’t know.”
Then the mom said, “How about we donate it?”
The girl said, “Yes,” then they donated it.
But the girl felt something blue in her heart. “Mom,” she said, “I miss the cat.”
“It is okay,” said her mom. “Everyone feels that way sometimes, and you will always have the cat in your heart.”
“Ahhhh!” said the girl. “The cat is in my heart?!”
“No,” said her mom. “I mean, you will always remember the cat.”
2 slices of bread
1 slice of tomato
2 slices of lettuce
A piece of beef
First, put two slices of bread on a plate.
Next, put the beef on the bread.
After that, put the tomato on the beef.
Then, put the two slices of lettuce on the tomato.
Then, put some ketchup on the lettuce.
Last, put the two slices of bread together.
Eat up and enjoy!
Yellow, yellow, the color
of yellow. My string cheese
is yellow and so is my
shirt. I like yellow. Do you
like yellow? I know
a joke: What’s brown-headed
and eats bananas? Oh, I know!
It’s my dad ha.
But he can’t
– after “I Remember” by Joe Brainard
- I remember I thought unicorns were real because I thought horses were unicorns.
- I remember when I saw a watermelon purse from a fancy store called Charming Charlie.
- I saw a rat outside in my backyard.
- My brother got scared of a bug. It was a beetle. They’re gross.
- I remember my brother wanted money from my dad. Someone had the same pants as my dad, and my brother stuck his hand in the person’s pocket. When he saw, he crashed into my dad.
- One time, I went to a store with swords. My cousin touched a sword. The store keeper said, “Don’t touch it again.” He kept on touching it. He got kicked out.
- I remember I met an actress from the movie Hunger Games.
- I was playing and my brother asked me, “Are you an alien yet?” I said yes as a joke, and my brother was screaming crazy! “Ahhhhhh!”
- I was playing at my friend’s house. We made grilled cheese. It was good! It was made with whole wheat bread and fresh cheese.
If I could invent my own sandwich, I would put candy in it, like gummy bears, candy canes, chocolate chips, and caramel. First, you melt the chocolate chips, then put the melted chocolate chips on bread. Then, you put on some gummy bears. After that, put on some caramel on the gummy bears. Then smash some candy canes. Put those on the caramel. Put on another piece of bread and you’re done.
Such a great
Make a state.
Make a country.
I hate it.
The Lake Unicorn
– after “Backyard Mermaid” by Matthea Harvey
I live in the lake. I catch fish to eat for my meals. I hunt for sea shells all day. I swim in the lake when I get hot. I sunbathe in the sun. I gallop all over the mushy sand. I live in a small sandcastle. I have a friend that is a crab. I swim with the turtles. I glow when it’s night. I have fins that make me swim faster. I love to hide in the coral.
Somewhere to float,
Somewhere to race.
Somewhere to be
Is all in space!
Shooting all around the world
In our gigantic rockets.
Looking for space food
In your teeny tiny pockets!
Bright shining stars
Glooming in the dark.
Just like lights
Bursting in the park.
Looking through telescopes
at Venus, Saturn, and Mars.
You also might see
The sparkles of the stars.
Nice soft squishy
little oft things
looking at me in a
Yummy soft food
is a mush
Pumpkins being picked
made into soft pie
small stuff smell and
soup-e-soft soup yum.
making me die, smells