Welcome teachers to a new year! We hope you’re feeling renewed after the winter break, ready to jump into this final half of the year with your writers.
Just like getting back to the gym after a long time away is awkward and exhausting, getting back to a regular writing practice is often a frustrating experience of fits and starts. This could be true for you; it’s most certainly for your students. To help shake off the dust on those daybooks and pens, we’ve compiled some strategies to get YOU and YOUR STUDENTS back to writing. Think of these like the Jazzercise class you sign up for on a whim in the second week of January. Is it something you’d do every week? Nah, probably not. But it’s just ridiculous enough to draw you back to exercising. Embrace the weird, and write on y’all!
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two Teenagers that really hated each other ever since they were born they were the greatest people alive, but they lived different lives they were tow different people Camron and Kendall every time they see each they mean mug each other not knowing they were twins. They did competitions and made it to torments they always faced against against each other they were hard workers they were the top teens in the states nobody could stand there raft it was unbreakable and unbearable they didn’t even try until they faced in an athletic competition on July 2020 7:23 they had to race against each other jumping climbing lifting throwing pushing grabbing doing everything in this to win $300,500 was awarded to who ever won the pushed and tried and tried until they gave up. They were going to be the chosen one….
Our town never had anything special about it, let alone a chosen one. But now we had two of them. A husband and wife. When they first came into the town no one thought anything of it despite the fact that we all had two new additions to the already huge homeowners association. Steven was your typical average American man. He was tall with light blue eyes and tanned skin, as if he had been a lifeguard and somehow managed to keep his tan throughout the winter. He always had a sort of glow around him that seemed to make his muscles and already chiseled jawline become more and more defined. Most people believed that this was just due to his optimistic outlook, but I knew better. His wife, Su-lin, was of Asian descent. She had silky black hair and stood a little below Steven’s eyes. Unlike Steven she gave off an aura of intensity that was unlike any politician or lawyer that I had ever seen. Me and my wife could only assume that she had a military background and she met Steven at the gym one day (very cliched but we couldn’t figure out how the two had met).
They moved into the house next to ours. Normal cars, normal clothes, completely normal. They invited the neighborhood over once they had everything completely moved in. Normal furniture, normal food, normal party. There wasn’t nothing out of the ordinary except for a large curved sword that hung in the living room just above the couch. Steven explained that blade was a falchion and that his dad had given it to him at a young age. “Just a family heirloom,” he said. They were both very personable and carried themselves with confidence and poise. There were many questions about where they came from and how they met. Nothing believable was revealed. “Oh we just came from our honeymoon!” “We met back in middle school in New York.” “We went to Copenhagen, it was wonderful!” Nothing out of the ordinary. At one point in the party I recall that one of our neighbors, Jessica, accidentally dropped a plate. I didn’t see her move but Su-lin was there in an instant.
“Woah, Su-lin! You’re fast girl!” said Jessica.
“It's really nothing. I just have fast reflexes. And just call me Su.” she responded coldly.
I didn’t think anything about it, i guess she had just been in the right place at the right time. That seemed to be the only thing out of the ordinary about them. Steven worked as a accountant and Su-lin was a journalist who worked for our towns newspaper. They were gone for the day and came home about the same time that I did every day.
One early morning, I saw Steven returning with his falchion clutched in his grasp. I knew something must’ve been up. Also i noticed that he seemed to be very sweaty and almost panting in the cool fall air. He wouldn’t have gone running with the sword so it only led me to believe that something suspicious was afoot. I met him and Su-lin on my way out to my car,
“Hey man. I saw you coming back from your run this morning. Why'd you have the sword with you?”
“Ah it was nothing, just wanted to chase a possum off of the trash cans.”
“Alright man, just watch your cans, those raccoons will get in them too.”
With that, we parted ways for the day. Work was the same as usual. No big projects and the advertising agency that we had employed got our ads to us on time. I got home and storm clouds had started to form around the sky, blotting out the shining sun. I went inside, avoiding the rain by a millisecond. My wife, Thalia, had made us a fine dinner for our upcoming anniversary. Grilled chicken with grilled vegetables and rice. One of the best meals on the planet. We finished our dinner and spread out in front of the TV as the rain pelted down outside of the house. Around 11 o’clock I decided it was time for me to head to bed. I brushed my teeth and washed the grime of the day from my face and then headed to bed. The night was peaceful until about 2 o’clock in the morning. There was a thunderous series of knocks at my front door. I stumbled my way down the stairs and looked through the peephole. Steven and Su-lin were standing outside my door and they were soaking wet. The seemed to be looking behind them frequently and it also looked like they were encased in a golden light. I let them inside and Steven immediately said “Alright Quinn we need to talk.”
They pushed their way passed me and I could see that Steven was holding the falchion. I never noticed before but there were runes engraved on the blade itself and they were glowing a bright gold. Su-lin herself was enough to scare me. Her hair seemed to float about an inch from her shoulders and her eyes glowed a ghostly gold. As they moved passed me into my living room I looked past them to see what they were looking at. In the distance I could see a giant figure quickly moving towards my house. As it passed a street-light I got a good look at what it was. It vaguely resembled a human, if a human had been beaten every day so that they were covered in welts. The skin was bulbous and uneven and the face was barely recognizable atop its shoulders. The creature had a slouched posture but it didn’t stop it from towering over cars as it lumbered past them. It seemed to be carrying a full size oak tree and it sure didn’t look happy.
“Jesus Christ, what the hell is that?” I asked the soaking couple.
”Su-lin nonchalantly looked at me and said “Troll.”
“What is it doing in our neighborhood though? Wait first of all, who are you people and why do you have a glowing sword?”
They sat me down and told me about how they were a part of an old prophecy that explained that there would be two saviors to come and purge the world of an oncoming evil and how they had spent the most of their lives training and trying to be the best that they could be for the human race.
“But wait what if the troll gets into my house?”
“He can’t. Your threshold should protect you from it. The stronger your familial love, the stronger your threshold” said Steven.
“I-I don’t necessarily understand but alright. Let me get this straight. You two, are supposed to save the world. And your living normal lives in the suburbs?”
“Yeah pretty much.”
As soon as he said that, there was a deafening crash against my house. The troll had arrived.
“What do we do, what do we do, what d we do?” I repeated over and over.
“It’ll be ok I can take care of it by myself” said Su-lin.
She went out into the rain and i heard shouts from both Su-lin and the troll, mostly the troll.
There were many flashes of bright light as they fought and about an hour later Su-lin came back into the house, drenched again.
I stood looking at them in both awe and confusion, wondering what I had just witnessed.
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two. Ninety years ago, the Great Dragon which had infested the Three Countries for as long as anyone could remember was finally sealed away by a group of elite, powerful Magicks from every corner of the world. The only problem with their masterful spell was that it had to be renewed every ten years. Thus, each decade, the military took someone away to prolong the seal. No one knew what happened to those people, or what was required of them, we only knew that they never came back.
Living in Greendale, a small farming community, I never thought that anything like that would happen to one of our own. But on the 90th anniversary of the Great Dragon’s defeat, the King’s Guard came to our patch of hills. They rounded up bewildered farmers and families. And they presented a glass bead filled with smoke. As they smashed the bead against the rock, some among the crowd cried out in pure terror. Some innocent children were oblivious, and laughed as the bead’s dark contents crept into the throng of citizens. The smoke slid past our legs like a serpent, granting us its mercy with every cold pass against our feet. I shivered as it touched me and moved on, thankful for my own life for a moment but instantly fearful for someone else’s in the next.
The smoke stopped, and everyone held their breath. The wind ceased its brushing of the leaves, and a cloud blocked us from the sun’s strength. It had chosen a girl. Her name was Lila. She was nineteen years old, and had just married a boy named Thatcher. And now she was gone. She seemed frozen to the spot as darkness swirled around her in spirals, like a black, unforgiving cage. She didn’t try to run until one of the soldiers reached towards her. They must have expected it, as more of them were ready for her on the other side of the square. The smoke left her behind. I had never seen a choosing ceremony before, but I expected the it to disappear and leave us with our grief. It was not so kind.
Where Lila once stood, the smoke swirled furiously, faster and faster until everyone had their attention on it. The soldiers seemed just as confused as we were, though they continued to detain Lila as she fought and screamed. The mass of black suddenly burst into the air and arched toward the center of the square. I couldn’t see what had happened at first, but then the townsfolk started to cower from where the smoke had landed, screaming and running. I didn’t see the demon until most of them had gone. There, as we watched, a man with glowing eyes began to swallow the smoke. His body was almost limp, his mouth being forced open by the rush of darkness into him. I recognized him as the young widower who ran the bakery. He seemed not himself, his eyes taken over by a gleaming yellow.
I hadn’t lived in Greendale for long. I was a traveller for most of my life, running from my parents since I knew how to walk. But when I came here, the people were quick to accept and trust me. They were good, and I had grown attached to them. I had found that the knowledge I’d gained could be useful to them, and often they came to me for advice. But with all that I had seen, I could never have imagined this.
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two brothers show up out of no where to our town and changed the way we see it. The brothers names were James and Clark they came to our town with a broke down beat up Volkswagen, looking for help they ended finding help at my dad’s auto shop “DAN’S” I was there doing homework helping my dad with his work when they showed up, my dad was in the back doing paperwork James and Clark walked in asking for help I was the only one there cause it was the coworkers lunch break.
“Hey cutie you own this shop,” James asked “yes of course cause that’s my name Dan and I own this place” I replied with subtle expression “mhmm…..sorry didn’t mean to assume it’s just that we been walking for miles just to find a auto shop and luckily we found yours on our way, so can you please help us” James said desperately. I look at Clark and wonder why he hasn’t talked or why he’s looking around a lot, but I don’t bring it up “you know what you seem like your in a rush let me go get my dad” “thank you” James said. “DADDDDD THERE’S SOMEONE HERE FOR HELP!” I look at them and say “he should be out in any minute I go back to the table and finish my homework, my dad comes out with piles of papers worrying “Jane I’m on my way its just a lot of worries bout the shutdown at city council about the schools being shut down cause of a major leaks and now we have no lawyer to help us out wit the issue I can’t hardly keep up this shop…GOD.”
My dad looks at James and Clark shocked because he just told all their problems to complete strangers “oh I’m sorry I didn’t mean to shout out all of my issues in my shop/town, anyways what’s your issue?” “um we had a broke down beat up Volkswagen a few miles back, but you said you had an issue at your city council with no mayor I assume” “you and your assuming” I said laughing, while James cracks simile “ yes actually, but that’s none of your worries” my dad said while getting his tools “yes, your right but my brother here use to be on the city council before we had to move for reasons unknown, so I think we may can help you with this if you can help us with our car” “ you known that may sound like a good idea but I still need to get paid how much you saying for this little deal?” “how bout you don’t pay me but we pay you bout 200 does that sound good?” James said while my dad thinking over the idea.
After a 5 seconds of thinking the idea over my dad said yes I thought it was a good idea thinking they can help my dad out and our town, and we just help them with our car, but then I thought about it and it sounded weird that they just wanted to help out our town and we just do a small favor for them. Also what was the reasons for them leaving their old life/town I was suspicious about them especially Clark because he didn’t talk, but just looked they were definitely different than the rest of us.
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two candidates that had a fighting chance. As far as towns go, ours was not significant by any stretch of the imagination. For as long as any of the elders can remember, our sleepy little village known on the edge of civilization had never made it in the Trials of the Arcstone. Often simply referred to as the Trials, this tournament tests those who compete through feats of strength, both athletic and arcane. Eventually, either through death or resignation, those who choose to participate are weeded out until only one remains. This champion becomes one of the Arcwardens, legendary defenders of the lands of Aebreon from those who would seek to destroy it.
In the town of my origin, the closest anyone had ever come to becoming an Arcwarden was qualifying to compete in the first place. To us, the Arcwardens were nothing but myth and legend, a comforting thought in dark times or a story to keep children in line. No one ever suspected that two would be born in the same generation, both within the same town. As a child, I was always mystified by the heroic tales of Arcwardens, and aspired to one day become one. Having no aptitude for the arcane, I instead focused on the art of war. By the time I had grown enough to hold a sword, I had already studied the strategic aspects of combat vigorously. I was able to defeat adult members of the town militia long before I matched their age or size. I did not stop there however, and continued training every day, besting any foe or test set by the elders to deem me worthy to represent our humble village. I was hailed as the one who might stand a chance at winning the Trials. That is, until he showed up.
The stories of his arrival were nigh impossible to avoid. Apparently, a young man, barely of age just as I am, had mastered the arcane arts and sought to represent the village as well. The day I met him is not something I will soon forget. “Baelin, come quick!” My older sister poked her head around the corner, interrupting my training. “What now?” My training regiment was very strict, and was only ever interrupted for matters of utmost importance. “A young mage has appeared, and it seems like he wishes to represent the village as well!” I could barely stifle the laughter. The thought of someone rivaling my claim to the chance was preposterous.
Begrudgingly following her outside, I saw the crowd long before I ever saw the young mage. As I made my way, the crowd parted around me, eager to see how the meeting would unfold. Finally reaching the center, I saw my foe. A scrawny boy, around my age, greeted me. “You must be the one I’ve heard so much about,” I said with a smirk. “Why yes, and you must be the legendary Baelin, destined to win the Trials for this town?” he retorted cooly. “The name’s Edrous, and I wish to duel you. The winner shall be the one to go on and qualify for the Trials.” I was dumbfounded. This whelp thought he could take me in one on one combat? He must be a fool, or have a deathwish. Duels in this town were to the death, and were not to be taken lightly. “I accept your challenge. That is, if you’re prepared to die by my blade.” Surprisingly, he wasn’t phased in the slightest. With a sly grin, he looked me dead in the eye. “Well then? Bring it on.”
The crowd spread out to give us ample room for the duel. Gripping the pommel of my bastard sword, I began circling the mage. I examined his stance, searching for an opening. Finally, I spotted an opportunity. With all the grace and swiftness of the wind I flew at him, seeking to end the battle in a single strike. Expecting the sound of steel against flesh, I was filled with surprise as my blade came into contact with a force of equal strength. A barrier shimmered around the mage, absorbing the entire blow with ease. Now, he returned the blow. A blinding light emerged from his hand, crackling with raw power as it traveled towards me. I barely managed to bring my blade up in time to absorb the blow before the force connected with me. The majority of the power was blocked, but it still shoved me backwards as I dug my heels into the dirt. Regaining my composure, I reassessed my opponent. The barrier surrounding him was going to give me trouble, and I needed to find its weakness. This time, I struck out at him with a flurry of blows. A satisfying cracking sound greeted my ears. Each time the shield absorbed a blow, it would weaken for a moment. By continually striking, it had no opportunity to regain its strength. The mage looked at me with slight surprise. “Not bad, for a barbarian like yourself.”
Now that I had a better grasp of the nature of the shield, I had full confidence in my ability to close out the battle. I did not, however, account for the brazen nature of the mage. He had also been studying my movements and tactics, just as I had studied his. I once more closed in on him, ready to end the battle then and there. As I swung, I was shocked to find that the shield had been fully dispersed. My blade sunk deep into his shoulder. Blood splattered out from the wound, and I didn’t have time to wrench it from his body before he unleashed a blast of magic point blank into my face. I barely had time to process what had happened before I was knocked unconscious.
With a jolt, I awoke to find myself in a bed. Next to me lay the mage. No, he was not just “the mage.” Edrous had defeated me. Gazing at his shoulder, blood-stained bandages covered the grizzly wound. I looked at the doctor with guilt. “Is he..?” “No, he’s alive. Unconscious, but alive nonetheless. He expended a lot of energy in that final spell.” Suddenly, the memory of what happened flooded my mind. “That crazy fool,” I muttered under my breath. Before the doctor had a chance to reply, the door burst forth. One of the head elders approached me. “It seems we will have a slight change of plans,” he stated. “You both shall attend the Trials.”
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two...They said they were from California, but their accents said Texas.
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two...Issa Washington and Darren Jackson! Two third graders with special powers.
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two...super silly cats. They both barked like a dog! They only wanted to be walked on leashes and fed dog treats. They wanted a dog treat. Since Kayla and AJ disapproved, the two silly cats wanted a friend to play tag with them. Then they found a magical unicorn. The unicorn had pink wings and a blue horn. The two silly cats asked for a ride when...they found a dog. They asked if they could turn themselves into a dog and they did.
The Green Bean:
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two...green beans. I had expected lemurs. These were no normal green beans, either. They were sentient. These green beans could feel like no other food before. They were cannibals. Funny word, cannibals. You always think of people, but no, green beans can be cannibals too. And it wasn't just green beans. It was black beans, pinto beans, navy beans. And if they found the canned aisle? Oh the beanmanity! So to have two of them, watching each other warily across the aisle--we all knew something was about to happen, but what? Then it happened...the ultimate bean was formed!
Our town had never had a 'chosen one' before. Which made things all the stranger when we suddenly had two...Three, if you count Lucretia-Louise Buchanan's piebald cut Clovis, who always heralded her coming the way the Baptist did Jesus's. But we didn't because as we counted that cut these words blazed overhead: In the dark of some night I will rise in your heart. Like the moon, all silver, and live in four sunset dreamings ablaze with sun's bright reflection. Your hair will be rivers of lights. Your fingers dripping with sparks. The rainbow will overflow your eyes where the furnace of starlight ignites all that's left of the shining I was. And though I am dead as the moon, as long as you live I shall bare all the light of the sky through your heart and live as the tide turning moon, throwing light, and that is enough. Then the words went away...That's the way of the world!
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones…? Or was there? Maybe there was a magical dictionary. “But didn’t he own a library,” said Vicci. The next day Vicci and Emily went to the library. And Emily said, “That’s my favorite book.” And she pulled it out. “There is a secret passage way,” said Vicci. Boom Boom Boom Boom!!! Emily said, “Maybe we shouldn’t go in there. Vicci said, “No way we are going in there.” To be continued…
The next day they went back to the library. And they couldn’t find the book. Emily said, “What should we do?” Vicci said, “Hey, what’s that shiny thing over there. They went back to the library. Boom boom boom. One minute later boom boom. “Oh no, what’s going to happen?” said Emily. “In the next 5 minutes, Lunar Jones’ spirit will be here,” said Vicci. They heard a thump thump down the hallways. It was Lunar Jones’ spirit looking right at them. There were red eyes. To be continued.
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones…because he was just a normal football player that wasn’t famous because he was really bad at it. But something changed!...He got 50 touch downs in one game and he became the best football player in the world. In 1984 he was still the best football player in the world. He went on the red carpet 55 times in one year!!!!!! One day… he had to retire because he was really old. The end.
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones…I do know much about Lunar Jones sooo I’m going to kind of come up with it. So Lunar Jones was a fake magician who got fired. He was not great so of course he got fired. He was such a fake. He was a nut job. Anyone who got fooled by him is terrible. He was so annoying…he got a new job as a “teacher”. He taught how to get food and cook. He got a well paying job and he turned out really nice and accidentally caught the building on fire. But he never got fired, they just made a new building. But he stole a diamond and got arrested. The diamond was at the rest room. 10 years later he got out. He was very nice now and he helped the homeless and he got a wife and 3 kids! But he got sick. To be continued.
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones…Lunar Jones was just an average kid but with a story to tell. It was just the morning when Jones woke up 6:43 and when he walked into the kitchen for breakfast when he saw a llama. He said, “What the heck” then he rubbed his eye and he was seeing things. He went for a walk but then at that moment, it somehow turned night and in the forest then he heard something rustle in the bushes. When jumped at him a llama from Fortnite then he woke up drenched in sweat. He got dressed and went straight to the window and looked out and saw he was in the city he knew and loved. Then he got on Fortnite and biked over to Epic Game and went to the owner and said, “Hey! Can you please get rid of the llama map?” Then the owner said, “Lunar, I am your father…and also, I got donuts!” “Mmm” said Jones. “I’ll have a donut.” But they all had llama on them and Jones fainted. The end…or is it???....it is! Oh and hi!!!
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones but the power he had was friendship. He tried to share it with the world but the people of the world did not listen. He did not give up and kept trying to make peace and friendship but no one would listen. One day he walked into somebody. Her name was Ella. Ella wanted to share peace and friendship too but no one was listening to her. So they became friends and they shared peace and friendship with the world and it worked! And everyone lived peacefully and the world was awesome. The end.
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones or so they think. He didn’t mind. They didn’t know what seeked. He looked very mysterious to some…Lunar Jones’ perspective- just you wait and see what I have in store for you hm…hm…hm…so at night he went to put his plan into action. So he went to the town bank then he snuck in the locker and stole and dollars. And he was in jail for 10 years. That is the end of him. The end.
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones or so they think.. He didn’t mind but he had something they didn’t know about. He was Ronald McDonald. He made up Halloween! But he didn’t like what he made up. So he made up St. Patrick’s Day. He loved it so he made names for holidays. So he met a girl named Kellen. She was hanging out with boys but none of the boys would play with her. So he came to her and said, “You don’t have any friends too!” “I’m the girl. I do have a friend and his name is Ella and Alanna, Gillen and Caylin!
There was nothing magical about Lunar Jones…everyone thought he was a superhero. He said he was from the planet Uerano!!! But he was just from earth. And his parents died from a fire. So he became Indiana Jones.
On the 10-year anniversary of the National Day on Writing (an initiative of the National Council of Teachers of English), across the country in schools, libraries, homes, businesses, and even on sidewalks, folks will be finding creative ways to tell the world why they write. All of this gets shared out using the #WhyIWrite hashtag. Join Gate City Writes in celebrating the importance of writing in our daily lives.
HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?
Tell the world why you write in a post, picture, video or blog and then share using #WhyIWrite and #GateCityWrites.
2. GET YOUR STUDENTS WRITING!
Use this celebration as an excuse to play with words in your classroom. Check out www.gatecitywrites.com/blog for classroom activities you can use this month.
3. INVITE YOUR COMMUNITY TO WRITE!
Spread the word in your department and school about the National Day on Writing. Invite folks to write with your students and with communities around the Triad in Gate City Write’s Longest Story Ever. We’ll get you started, you write the rest.
“The goal is just to write—not necessarily to write well. Writing is hard for everyone; writing well is near impossible. But that’s the beauty of writing—that intense feeling of struggle when we’re putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard, is not exclusive to teachers. Our students feel it, too. And being able to have authentic conversations with students about the hardships of writing creates a more supportive writing culture in the classroom.”
Next month, on October 20, we’ll mark the National Day on Writing. Stay tuned for more information about a big ol’ GCW celebration that you’re invited to. But before that day, which will mostly be a celebration of student writing, we wanted to remind you, dear teachers, that you are writers too!
The quote above is from this article. Take a look and remind yourself that your writing matters for YOU. Writing in a notebook or on a blog or on Twitter or in Instagram/Facebook captions - doing these things every day as a reflective practice helps restore energy and balance.
For our GCW summer conference participants - go reread your OP and remember how you crafted something honest and beautiful, remember you could do that again, then go write some more! Next month we’ll celebrate student writers. For the rest of September we say, Teacher, go write!
Are you interested in a writing group? Do you need deadlines and accountability to finish the piece that’s been knocking around in your imagination? Want to write with other teachers who won’t judge you when grading got in the way of writing? Send GCW an email and we’ll get you in touch with other writers in the area! firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to get more regular updates from GCW? Find us on Facebook (Gate City Writes) and Twitter (@GateWrites) .