So tonight we wrote the invitations to the closing party of the Belgrade American Corners Creative Writing Workshop. They were very beautiful, and we look forward to giving out two sets of awards: the “Best So Far Awards’ in the morning and the “Best of the Best” Award in the afternoon. The “What’s in my Head” and “What”s in My Heart” assignment went great with some of the teenagers. One of the burning questions came when I asked the students to tape the two pieces of paper according to how they should exist. Should the work about “What’s in my Head” be beside, below, or above “What’s in My Heart.” Since the question is too hard for me to answer, even for myself, I love asking other people what they think about it. Generally, all the students refused to put one above the other. They were willing to tape their two anatomies of their heart and head side by side, but they were firmly unwilling to put one above the other. Is it their age? Is it their culture? Are they right? Alas, I do not know. All I know is that there were not ambiguous about their unwillingness to make one subservient to the other.
This morning we had the author’s chair for the award winners; then we took another chair and had the Harry Potter chair with the sorting hat. This is all from two amazing websites that David showed us called HarryPotter wiki and Pottermore. On Pottermore, you can actually answer some interactive questions and be assigned a house. I was tempted to have the younger children do that and then write about what it meant to be accepted to their university house. I am still working on thinking about a Harry Potter assignment. Time will tell if it ever amounts to anything.
Tomorrow we also have a skype meeting and this will be my first skype meeting. All of you that are very practiced in skype meetings I wish you were with me now so that I could have your wisdom. There are four more Creative Writing Workshops in four cities, including a city that is very close to the Hungarian border. So Friday I will be leaving in the morning for one of the cities, though I will be back on Friday night in time for my weekend of wandering around the citadel, enjoying the Serbian endless appreciation of Rock and Roll and Jazz. I had a big argument with one of the students about the musical value of Bon Jovi. It seemed that we agreed on the greatness of Guns N’ Roses, AC-DC ,and Megadeath, but when he introduced the possibility of a musician appreciation of Bon Jovi, I suggested that he might as well add Kiss and give them all music lessons. I hope he is at the party. I liked his passion for Guns and Roses.
Tonight I will walk past this amazing building on the plazza that combines the architecture of Austrian-Hungarian work with Soviet themes. It shows two men holding up the earth. Now, as a lover of mythology, I hoped that I would be seeing Atlas, the Titan, and Hercules, the hero, sharing the terrible task as Soviet brothers. But I believe, from the hammer-like image those same figures are working lower in the sculptural messaging. Alas, today it holds a shop that sells designer bags. Off I go to sleep, but I will pass Atlas and Hercules, interpreted in the early 20th century by a genius who might not approve of the Marc Jacobs pocketbooks.
by Merrilee Cunningham, Writers in the Schools