Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ain't It the Truth

My first writer-in-residency job with Writers In The Schools took place at Browning Elementary, off Northwood in the Houston Heights. 1991. I taught creative writing to three classes of third graders once a week. The school's population was predominantly Hispanic. Every week I hauled myself out of bed EARLY and crossed town armed with xeroxes of famous and not-so-famous poems to share with the students in hope that these writings might inspire them to write their own poems and/or stories.

During one of my visits to Miss Alcorn's class, a fire drill happened. You would have thought that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy AND the Grim Reaper had all arrived in the flesh for a pep rally. The kids could not contain their excitement over this break in their routine, and the whole point of the fire drill was to train them to exit the building while containing themselves.

As I navigated the pandemonium, walking behind the wiggly line of Ms. Alcorn's students, a boy named Gus turned to me and, as if he'd suddenly stumbled upon a treasure chest full of gold bricks, exclaimed "BUTTS ARE EVERYWHERE!"

In that moment, he became one of my favorite students ever.

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