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You've spent the last lesson or two exploring what might come out for each student if their words had the power to make a real change in their worlds. Now we invite you to listen to Latashen describe how she helps her students transition from thinking about if their words have the power to creating the reflection or scene that will be the container or springboard for the larger story that they wish to tell.

When you work to evoke oral imaging, don’t short-change your own oral imaging to get things started.  Remember how Latashen imaged her own responses aloud in the previous sections.

If you give just one example before you turn it over to the writing circle, the exercise will fall dead.  If you give a collage of examples, they will begin to feel their way to their own.  

Now listen to how Latashen builds on this exercise,  as she prepares to write to get the word out and heal.

We like to compare it to a volleyball game, where people get into a rhythm of picking up on whatever is served their way.

Teaching the Page One Moment:

Finding the Reflection or Scene From Which Each Student's Story Will Unfold

1. Set up the idea of writing for the “Stranger/Reader” walking in on any moment of one’s life. (If you need a refresher, we invite you to reread Chapter I, Section C, and review the exercises and videos).


2. Explain that we will be working with two basic questions:

  • Where would you like the Stranger/Reader to meet you on your Imaginary Page One?

  • How will you be able to get that Stranger/Reader to care about what is happening particularly to you?


3. Model a small “build-your-own” menu of fertile Page One meetings, where you pick from a variety of different categories, like a "takeout counter" where you get to choose your base, your meat, your veggies, your dressing, etc.

In a variety of periods in a lifetime:

❖ One or two out of early childhood
❖ One or two out of young adolescence or coming-of-age
❖ One or two middle school or high school turning points

In a variety of tonal compositions:

❖ Joy/triumph

❖ Pain/loss

❖ Stillness/reverie

❖ High drama/packed with action

In a variety of narrative treatments:

❖ Chronological—moving forward

❖ From the voice of that moment

❖ From the voice of the one doing the remembering

❖ Jumping back and forth in time


4. Help each new student to play-act one or two openings, testing each one for

❖ Strength in engaging a Stranger/Reader in that chosen moment

❖ Dramatic offshoots that will allow it to move forward
❖ Possibilities in terms of each writer’s comfort zone

❖ Relationship to the larger story that each writer wishes to tell


5. Explain the nature of slowing down into the opening of one’s choice.

6. Make sure each new student leaves with a Page One plan of action.

If time allows, go quickly around the room a second time to review how each newcomer will structure their opening

Concepts to Be Introduced on Day One

  • The Stranger/Reader

  • The Imaginary Page One

  • Book Time

  • "There-ness" as opposed to "About-ness"

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