Creativity Class Response 11: Sands of stories

I didn’t think as a journalism major I would forget being as fully wrapped up in a story as I was in class this week. Sure, I read, watch and otherwise consume stories all the time that are forms of journalism. But it’s always in a haste, with a specific purpose to find something, or just cluttered with technology and other elements. I love all the different things that modern journalism can do with storytelling, but sometimes taking it back to basics takes your brain somewhere that you forgot it could go.

That’s how I felt when Dr. Milbre Burch guest taught our Creativity class this week. She made us stop and disconnect and just listen to her tell a fantastical tale of a girl raised to be a man and the quests he went on. It wasn’t as if she was reading directly from a prompt, it was like a performance. Sometimes I forget how much can be conveyed in just voice inflection and body language. It was nice to zone out of school life for a few minutes and be transported to that childish wonder.

She had us create our own stories, too. At first, we were more telling the stories of our names and our partners would find something that struck them to share with the class. This showed how people’s creative minds work in different ways because how people approached their name stories showed a lot about how they felt about their name and what they wanted to show, as well as it showed what people found important or interesting when they shared out to the class.

While we were still fresh with that childish wonder, we got to play in the sand. Dr. Burch had set out sand trays with little scenes in them created from different random toys, figurines, blocks, etc. We had to tell a story from how they were already set up and from what we saw. Some people went directly to realistic or personal experience-inspired stories, while some of my classmates made up magical stories. Then we had to go to a tray and create our own story. We could use whatever toys we wanted and then we had to tell it to our classmates. It was a lot of fun just running around and not using facts to create a tale that was representative of what figurines we grabbed. But then we were challenged with only making a story with five items. That was harder for me because I felt like we were locked into an idea once we started identifying items to use.

Stories are parts of our everyday lives, even as we get older. Sometimes we need to be able to let ourselves lean into the creativity and craziness and not hold back from enjoying something made-up once in awhile.

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2 thoughts on “Creativity Class Response 11: Sands of stories

  1. That sense of childhood wonder you talked about is something precious to me. It’s probably at least part of the reason I went into theatre. I often think our world has evolved too far towards facts and figures and technical tools. Lawrence Ferlinghetti has a poem included in his poetry book, Coney Island of the Mind. The refrain is, “And I am continually awaiting a rebirth of wonder.” For me, at least, that sense of wonder is a potent stimulus for my creativity.

  2. And I want to mention that there’s some vivid and thought-provoking writing in this entry. I love the line “takes your brain somewhere that you forgot it could go.”

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