Thursday, July 2, 2009

Structure of Tom and Jerry

'Hello,' said an unknown number. It had to be a creative writing inquiry.
'Yes? Manjushree here.' I replied.
'We are a school. We were wondering if you could do a one day creative writing workshop for us?'

I fell for it. And planned an elaborate lecture on the structure of Sleeping beauty. Then I felt sorry for the boys, so I started thinking of Harry Potter. And wondered again at the amazingly repetitive patterns in which all best selling writers think.

The moment I entered the classroom, however, I realized that I had missed an important detail. Ninety percent of the kids were wearing chaddis, ribbons and pins with their kerchiefs tied on their frocks. In other words, they were mostly below seven. Creative writing workshop for under sevens? What on earth had I walked into? What kind of super ambitious school was this?

But I didn't have much time to rant. I had to get into the action. Without thinking, these are a few of the things I said:

All of you are creative writers. When you go back home and tell your moms what happened in school, it is not the truth. It is a story. It is a story in which you yourself are the hero or heroine.

It is this same impulse which drives adults to write novels. I wrote a novel in which I myself became the heroine. I wrote because I wanted people to notice me, to acknowledge me.

When I was a kid I used to lie a lot. I had to lie so that I could express the truth inside me. The truth was that I needed attention. So it is perfectly ok to lie, to get your mother's or father's attention. All children deserve attention.

Now tell me some lies. Make a story in which you are the central character and tell a lot of lies about yourself.'

I don't think the school will invite me again, but the kids and I had a gala time cooking up ridiculously far fetched stories. It was amazing how their innermost desires and fears were revealed in their imaginations.

And I wondered how they got the truth out of me.

4 comments:

JOY said...

i saw one good movie on HBO , but i saw half of it only. it had a very good dialogue between father and son.

the son told father he used to lie so he could avoid that reactive feeling on father's face. when father comes to know he says to his father, that what else he could except than hide and lying. father said his father used to have same face when he was young. Son says but you are my father and you are not supposed to behave the way your father behaved with you.

life is all same all about , at schools , at family, at work....
it is just matter of being what you are.

SUR NOTES said...

what an extraordinarily beautiful opening to the workshop!
damn the school if they dont call you back, the kids are not going to forget this for a long long time...(the parents might curse though...but thats a part of the game)

kalpana said...

Yes, I remember how you used to lie, holding your hands behind your back, looking up at me defiantly! You used to say,"God promise", and pinch your neck, only the pinch dint really pinch, and I'd know you were lying! It makes me smile now, but I used to feel exasperated then!
AAI

kalpana said...

Yes, I remember how you used to lie, holding your hands behind your back, looking up at me defiantly! You used to say,"God promise", and pinch your neck, only the pinch dint really pinch, and I'd know you were lying! It makes me smile now, but I used to feel exasperated then!
AAI