So, here I am — teaching pre-writing techniques to thirty freshmen. As usual, while they free-write, brainstorm, and cluster ideas at their computers, I’m doing the same. Ten minutes pass.
I wave my paper in the air. “All right, time’s up! Who wants to share?”
Stultifying silence ensues. Eyes drop to the floor. Throats clear. Well, at moments such as these, I am not above bribery.
“C’mon, everyone. Ten points to a daily grade?”
*rustle of hands *
As I mill around from one student to the next, they share everything: favorite books such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Favorite foods? Again, Mexican rules. And goals run the gamut — forensic pathology, criminal justice, pediatric nursing, marine biology, screenplay-writing.
But when I lead them into the next technique — brainstorming — they really start clicking the computer keys. So do I.
After they reel off their lists, so do I: the top ten items on my “bucket list”. In true David Letterman fashion, I present them in reverse order:
10. Bungee-jumping (Hey, not like I’m going to do it!)
8. Drifting above the clouds in a hot-air balloon (with a snootful of Dramamine)
7. Acting in a soap-opera sex scene
( Collective sharp intake of breath… gasping…. giggling, as all thirty students imagine…well…whatever it is college students imagine. At least they’re staying awake!)
6.Winning a million dollars on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (or at least enough to bank-roll items #5-2)
5. Possessing either a baby-grand piano or a Mac laptop (either one, a win-win)
4. Touring the world, stopping in Sweden for Christmas
3. Lolling, writing, and then lolling some more on a Port Aransas beach
2. Publishing By Her Daughter’s Hands while I’m still sound of mind
And (drum roll, swell of orchestra) number-one on my list….. as if it’s any big surprise?
1. Marrying my sweetheart somewhere between Medicare and long-term care.