A copy of Rip The Page! Adventures in Creative Writing by Karen Benke arrived here in the fall (sidenote: we share a publisher in Trumpeter Books). After just a quick and inspired browse-through on my own, I knew it would be the perfect book for a little family project I had been dreaming up and hoping to put into action. Excitedly, I promptly ordered three more copies, a set of fresh Moleskines, and new pens (because new pens make any new writing project great)....and one cozy evening gathered around the fire, the Soule Family Writing Club was born.
Our Writing Club currently has four members (official membership cards required, of course), but no doubt it will grow as the writers and readers among us grow too. Meetings happen sporadically and often spontaenously in the evenings after the littlest ones have fallen asleep. They almost always are accompanied by popcorn and hot cocoa. (Just like new pens, these things bring out the best writing inspiration, you know.)
Writing inspiration is precisely what Rip the Page! provides for our little Writing Club. We've been using the book's ideas as prompts, taking turns selecting a prompt for each writing session. It's all very loose and there aren't a lot of rules, but for the most part, we spend the "club" time writing based on the chosen prompt, followed by sharing our words with each other.
Rip The Page! has been a wonderful companion for the Soule Family Writing Club - appropriate for the youngest members, inspirational still for the oldest, thoughtful, and most of all - fun. It isn't a How To write, but a Just Do It writing book, which I love about it. Alongside Karen's own encouraging words, she includes advice and exercises by prominent authors. Her lightness in tone throughout the prompts really leaves the door open for the ultimate freedom in writing - making it 'easy' and fun for all of us, wherever each of us may be in our relationship with writing.
I never am certain whether these things will fly with the kids, given the freedom they have in their days to opt out of any of it. But Writing Club is something that they (and we) want more of. I have been inspired, moved, surprised, and entertained by my three co-members with each piece that is read. Like a lot of creative endeavors embarked upon side-by-side - when parent and child are both creatively open and working - it allows us moments to see and know and love each other in real and personal ways that aren't always as easy to find in the day-to-day roles and living we do. Watching those I love most of all - whether writing be their particular 'passion' or not - dive on into creating and sharing their thoughts, feelings and words in writing is such a joy to behold.
Doing it alongside with them? Bliss.