Today was a tough day. The day after the US election. The day after the climatic cap of so much negativity, hostility, and virulence.
Like so many people, it was another day of work for me. And that meant I was doing my previously-scheduled day at a school as part of my four-week writer-in-residence program.
Today’s topic? World building.
It seemed a strange thing to talk about today, of all days.
The workshop was meant to start with an icebreaker in which the kids take a fun and humorous quiz called “What type of ruler would you be?”
I didn’t have the emotional temerity to lead it today. So I cancelled the quiz and instead started by talking about how, as a kid, escaping into fantasy worlds was an important part of my life. Whenever I felt stuck or confused by the world, or events around me, reading and writing gave me certain succour.
So, I told my students, “Build the world you want to live in. It’s your world. You can do what you want in it.”
That was the serious part. I still tried to inject some fun by bringing them my museum of magical artifacts to show them how they can use prop-building as another way to work on their projects. I tasked them with finding or building artifacts from their worlds. I guess you could call it homework (though I prefer the term “dreamwork”).
Here’s some of the photos I took of their brainstorming: maps, symbols, names, creatures . . . you name it.
They are building. And that is a positive thing.