The Day I Wrote an Exquisite Corpse With Teens

Write Around Portland called me in as a sub. They said it was because I had worked with youth before. I was flattered. I haven’t lead a writing workshop in about a year. I really like working with teenagers. They can be a little challenging at times but hey, you should meet some adults I know.

Age is such an odd perception. When I’m sitting down with them at a table, and we are talking about writing, and I’m supposed to be the adult facilitating the workshop a funny thing is going on in my head. It’s like a secret. On the outside I look old. To them I am old, I’m 15 almost 20 years older than them, but on the inside I feel the same age or sometimes younger. I feel nervous, I wonder if they are going to like me, I wonder if they’ll like my writing. If there is some kid that is really good I think, wow I wish I wrote something like that. It so strange to me. I always admit that I feel a little nervous, but then inside I think, oh was I not supposed to say that because I’m the adult, right, and I’m supposed to never be nervous or feel awkward?

One of the girls wanted to do the exquisite corpse writing exercise, and it took up a lot of the work shop time, but honestly I didn’t mind. I had mentioned to them if they wanted to do something other than what I suggested we could because ultimatly it’s their writing group, which is a goal of Write Around Portland; that at some point the people in the group don’t look at it like teacher and students, but they look at it as their own. When we were writing and passing the papers along and reading our exquisite corpses out loud that was when I felt comfortable. Which leads to all these questions I have about myself especially when I was reading a line like, “I taught him how to lick his own butt.” This is when I feel the most comfortable? You know, at some point it always comes back to some butt joke and something gross. But, like my friend said, “Yeah and it’s still funny.” Do we ever really age past 10 or 11? I mean really?

Every time I’m around a group of teens in that type of setting I think, I wish they were mine. I wish they were my kids cause they are so damn cool. So much potential. Such exciting people. Here’s our exquisite corpse:

Captain Roohosbin said he saw land ahead. The first mate peered over the side to see the horizon. He said, “it’s her-Moby Dick! Throw the harpoon! Fetch you bastard! Here Dick. Go get it. Fetch. Fetch.” I swear that is the dumbest dog ever. I will give it to my friend or I will bring it to school with me and train it to be the smartest dog ever seen. Wow. I mean, when i tell him to lick his butt he does it. When I say go to the bathroom, yeah he will do it but I forget to tell him where. Oh well, he can eat it clean. When I’m sleeping he will always start talking like humans talk. Last night I left the tv on and somehow he got to the adult channels and I woke up to him singing, “What What in the Butt” in his sleep. He dreamt about me in his mom’s bathing suit. It was fun. That was the best ride ever. Whoever thought of an underwater roller coaster? I have a ridiculous fear of roller coasters or any sort of amusement park. my uncle Dave forgot me there once. At the mall. He went home without me and I was still in the video game store. When I noticed I freaked! The first mate said, to the captain. It was something about seeing the land that brought back a flood of memories. “Think of the malls we could build! We’ll never leave a child there again.”

So as you can see- no sense but note the important factors of, two butt jokes a poo joke and yes the ever popular, a dig to your mom. I wish I had some of the other ones, sometimes they flow sometimes they don’t. I often take away great lessons from my kids. For example with my first group I learned how to Lean Like a Cholo-Elbows up side to side (We had a dance party on our last day, we still wrote but the last 30 minutes was a bit more…oh…freestyle creativity). And now I know why, when I said the lines, “What what in the Butt,” they started to scream with laughter. Because of course I had to google it. Don’t you just love the internet? I can just google what what in the butt and voila-

Yep. It’s still funny.


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