Already, I have been able to get into a rhythm with a specific group of students. They seem to have a lot of fun during the sessions. They have no dearth of observations or witty comments in regard to whatever might be going on throughout their days. To my surprise, I’ve been able to repurpose their poetic asides in my own writing during our time together. Some of these include phrases such as “my whole life is on your Snapchat story” or “you look like you slicked blood in your hair.” They might not be able to register the creativity in their language, but it is certainly present.
Through our discussions, I know that these students have the capacity of expressing themselves, no matter the form. I think that the responsibility lies on me to help them do so effectively. There are times when I know the students do not want to write, and I subsequently become frustrated in my inability to really transform our fun discussions into quality work.
Nonetheless, I have come to understand that writing does not have to be the ultimate product of an afternoon at Broad Ripple. My group and I have developed a system wherein they write for the first hour of the session and then go into the hallway to dance for the latter part. At first, I thought that this was just a way for them to avoid doing any writing. I wanted them to fully utilize the allotted time, listen to their peers during open mic, and submit something to read aloud. However, I’ve begun to appreciate the time they take in the hallways. They’re not merely dancing nonchalantly—their work is highly choreographed and exhaustive. They strive to ensure that the performance is in-sync and well-done. By the end of the session, their effort and passion are evident.
Thus, I no longer mind the transition from the writing to the dancing. The students are finding a creative outlet—albeit not the one that comes to mind when you hear “Butler Writers.” They have found a way to communicate to themselves and to their friends in a manner that a typical school day seldom offers. If I can manage to repurpose their passion for dancing into successful writing, I will certainly be ecstatic. For now, however, the dancing is fine with me.
Spencer Lough is a senior Economics major.