Who needs money as a payoff?

One lost day of wages (vacation day taken)….-$80-120

Snacks and gas to drive to Peoria (an hour away)….-$20

The chance to teach 100 plus kids about being a playwright….priceless

….well maybe not priceless but at least worth the 120 bucks.

Today was the day! I taught four hour-long workshops on play-writing for kids (k-10th grade) for Cornstock theatre.

I was a hobbit of sorts, a misplaced author in a dank and dreary basement (the storage room for the theatre’s props).

Armed with my crude notes, nerves, paper and pens, I prepared to take on one of the greatest challenges of my life… teaching 30+ children……

I’d be lying if I said I was able to hold all of the children’s attention for the entire hour, but overall, the day went pretty well.

A quick introduction from myself and a lecture on the basics of play-writing and the kids were off….


The kids spent twenty minutes writing a short play. Noisy chaos ensured.

(Side note: I was surprised how many of the children, especially the older grades had little to no experience with creative writing, only a handful had ever written a play. If you are an artist, please take it upon yourself to educate our youth, it’s the only way they will be exposed to art….)

After they finished, the kids had the chance to act each others’ plays out.Acting 

And then it was light’s out.

Hopefully, this experience will inspire at least a few of them to take up this art! This was one of the best experiences of my life, hopefully I will have many more opportunities to teach our future.


8 comments on “Who needs money as a payoff?

  1. This is awesome! I love the idea of getting kids into writing! Now if only you could get them excited about washing my dishes… 🙂

  2. It sounds like you had a fabulous time! You know, I spend a lot of time thinking and analyzing specific topics. Reading this post has helped me to better realize how I went to pass the knowledge I’ve gained to others as well! It’s one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place!
    Personally, I prefer writing poetry out of anything else. I still agree that culture is something that every human deserves to become a part of! Huzzah!

  3. I taught adults and can’t imagine teaching kids. I have, however, tentatively volunteered to help out with athletic activities with them at a soon-to-open rec center. I like teaching them stuff like how to throw a ball, how to do a skateboarding move, how to throw a Frisbee, etc. To be honest, I offered b/c I’m interested in 1 of the ladies who will be involved w/ the place.
    You may like this paragraph from my 1st book, which comes after a discussion of my dad:
    As I was writing this, I had a sentimental urge to hear a Bob Seger song, as he was my dad’s favorite singer. I turned on the radio in hopes of hearing one, and sure enough the next song I heard was his “Running Against the Wind.” This extra space represents where the teardrop hit the page.

  4. This is a great post. And this is a sentence that burned into my brain as I read – ‘If you are an artist, please take it upon yourself to educate our youth, it’s the only way they will be exposed to art.’ Seems there are becoming fewer and fewer opportunies for people, young and old, to be exposed to and encouraged to develop their creative capacities. Hats off to you for stepping out like that to make a difference. I don’t think it can be underestimated how much these kinds of workshops can become the germ that sparks a young mind’s interest toward art of one kind or another.

  5. So, when you say you were a hobbit, you mean you were Bilbo running off with a backpack full of tools and some piece of paper you were told to sign as part of your “adventure”?:P That is the only image that comes to mind. Otherwise, I don’t see the reference. Oh, the underground locale perhaps?

    I think art–like many things–is all around us. We don’t need someone to bring it to the grocery store or mass produce it in a factory with slave labor only for it to go to waste or have side effects. So many things this modern world mass produces and remakes for a quick buck. But, the quick buck isn’t doing anything for anyone in the long run. And, that becomes everyone’s failing or sinking ship. Everyone who isn’t on top of the boat when it goes down are already dead.

    I question teaching art, too. Teaching how to plan/write a play is something unique. I hear of acting classes….but play writing? I remember writing little plays in school:P I did one for “Frog and Toad Are Friends”. I even made paper bag masks. But, it was a challenge working with two other guys and finding enough we agreed upon. I felt like my mother telling me how to do something right or not at all. I didn’t want to be my mother. But, that’s what I did. I felt I had to take over, do the work and then hate it later because my fellow actors didn’t perform as well as MOI!…sigh. I really was a stubborn dork. The harsh director. But, I did get a stellar review for my part in the 8th grade play. I also did the ticket and flyer designs.

    Getting back to the subject, I think everyone needs to find art their own way. Make it a choice and respect it. My experience with art in school has been disappointing. Not enough of my classmates respected it as a class. And, it didn’t get enough credit from the school board or whatever you call it in my book. Even the art school I looked into attending was horror story. I was so mad and disgusted. Just add another belly ache to my list.

    Nice use of the MasterCard ad:P

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s