Mostly we use poetry to inspire and jump start our Wild Writing classes over here at 27 Powers, but the other day I came across a letter my then 10-year-old Zoe wrote to her friends at school telling them why they should vote for her for student council. It captured everything I love about being a human being; these sometimes feeble, sometimes heroic attempts at love + living.
I tell my students that they will get so good at Wild Writing that they can use the back of a cereal box to write from, and write something beautiful. So why not the plea of a 10-year-old girl who wants to run for office?
“My name is Zoe Wagner and this is why you should pick me for student council…
1. I am not afraid to talk in front of the whole school.
2. I want to help everybody
3. You can trust me
4. I’ll work hard
5. I’ll make everything right”
This is my riff on it in class this week:
Why You Should Pick Me
1. I make an awesome cup of coffee
2. I don’t hog the blankets
3. I keep coconut, black sesame snacks in the freezer
4. My mother says I’m very beautiful when I cry
5. I’m learning to make a solid fire
6. I still listen to Joni and Neil
7. Cowboy boots are never the wrong choice
8. Lately I am drawn to difficult conversations
9. I carry my Grandmother’s kerchief
10. My Father left me a pair of his old reading glasses
11. My Mother and I threw two shivas a day when my Dad died
12. Each evening shiva turned into a cocktail party
13. I once dreamed that my cat and I french kissed. When I woke up I realized that I needed to become a vegetarian
14. I understand the complexity of loving someone and knowing you don’t belong together
15. I am learning how to say no
16. I drop a lot of balls these days.
17. I once dragged a fully decorated Christmas tree down the hall of our house and pushed it down the stairs of the basement – tinsel, balls and all – because I heard that the cantor of our temple was dropping his daughter off at our house any minute
18. One time I saw Neil Young on the beach and in an attempt to impress my little Sister I shouted, “Hey Neil!” and when he turned around I gave him a thumbs up and shouted, “Rock on baby!”
19. I know how to handle brussel sprouts
20. I’ll make everything right
Love it, and you. xo
i hate you
rock on, baby!
you and me and neil!
#4, #6, #7, #8.
<3 you xxoo
I loved this post. Like always, it opened me up to new ways of thinking about the stories we tell. And what prompts our stories. And how awesome story slices are.
This is such a fun example of something I can try for myself as a writing prompt. Thanks for sharing a bit of your teaching world with us! (AND a bit of yourself, too!)
this is an awesome prompt + you are awesome friend xx
I Love this! great prompt. By the way, I would totally pick YOU after reading this…xxoo
And I would pick you Steph. xx
I would totally pick you too! I love these riffs and Neil Young and cowboy boots and brussel sprouts (which I always thought were Brussels sprouts) the best I’ve ever eaten were in LA …and the cat! Love it!
L.A. L.A. L.A. one day we’ll be there together!
Loved reading this! Your posts always make me smile and feel tender. Thanks for sharing.
shannon – we’re going to be writing together soon!
1, 14, 18, 20. Amazing.
I love this!
vanessa, thank you! come write with us!
Well, for starters, I love women who are dedicated to learning how to say no…..love the stuff it takes to make a quick decision and push the decorated tree down the basement stairs…and think that when we can embrace complexity as you did in # 14, we are really coming into our own…..all of this list makes me want to move hundreds of miles closer to your house and you and write, write, write in your living room! And that note of Zoe’s…..soooo good, so little girl sweet, so trusting of the world and more importantly of herself!
Suzanna – I wish you were here, could just amble up the street and write with us. Let’s put something together for Colorado this year! Thank you for reading! xxx
That learning how to say NO thing can be really hard. Keep practicing. It gets so much easier. And not just to say ‘no’ for no’s sake. But to say no because if you say yes you’re going to end up resenting the hell out of someone or yourself. Boundaries become good connectors.
Thank you Laurie. Amazing that after all the classes I’ve taken with you via writers.com, I never googled you until now. Found your website, and to to make up for the ladies who unsubscribed to your newsletter, I opted in.
Thank you for all you do.
Peggy! Love seeing you here – yes – there’s a world over here at 27 Powers. Come by anytime! And love you for opting in – you dreamy girl! xxx
How beautiful and so very you. Love and miss you xoxo
kisses and thanks for reading little love xxx
I love “I’m not afraid to talk in front of the whole school” — there’s a sort of noble defiance I see in that. Yes, it looks like you could definitely make cowboy boots work in almost any context.
thanks Chris – – it’s such a simple line but it means so much.
I loved and appreciated this blog, “why pick me”. It was filled with heart felt honesty, sincerity, and a love of the things we do that we feel will be able to sell our “outside” world. Quite a beautiful statement about how you and Zoe believe in yourselves. It would be great if you could come to Boulder and do a workshop. I’ll offer up my home for all of us fans who would love to have you. Keep up the fantastic writing…you are my inspiration!
Gaye, I would love to come to Boulder and do a workshop! Chris has been talking about it too. I’ll get the ball rolling. Thank you so much for reading my blog. xx
Thank you ever so for you article.Much thanks again. Great.
Really appreciate you sharing this article. Much obliged.
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