I CAN’T WRITE;
I AIN’T NO WRITER!
I have a trick to keep boys occupied when they are sitting around, “. . . doin’ nuthin’ ’cause we’re bored.” I say, “How many of you would like to write a story?” They all think of it as a schoolroom assignment like doing a book report, and all you will hear are moans and groans.
Usually every one of them will complain that they don’t know how to write or the classic answer, “. . . I can’t write.” I prove them wrong and even teach them that they can never be bored if they will only use their minds.
I have one of those classic boom boxes that you can take anywhere (it runs on batteries), and you can talk into a microphone and record your words on a cassette tape. I start out by putting the boys (or adults) in a big circle. I start the tape and say into the mic, “It was a dark and stormy night,” and then I put it on pause.
I then tell them to take the mic and talk as long as they want and about anything they desire but keep it clean in thought and no curse words. I tell them that they can be anyone and do anything they desire with words. When each one is through I tell them to hit the pause button and pass the mic on to the next person. The next person does the same until the boom box has been passed all around the circle one time.
Some boys will be too shy to say anything and just pass it on to the next boy. After the first round rewind the tape and play it back to them. I guarantee there will be screams of laughter and you will be barely able to hear the tape. Tell them that it was only a practice to get them used to talking. Start the tape over, punch record and the boys will be eager to do it again.
This lets the boys know that being bored is of their own mind set and they don’t have to be that way ever again and writing can be just a matter of telling a story, made up or otherwise. A writer can go anywhere or do anything in his own mind or on paper. He can fly like Superman or travel to the moon if he wants. Try this trick the next time your group is “bored” around your campfire.
Oh, and if anyone (usually a bully-type) ‘kills’ the hero and thinks they have stopped or ruined the story in the middle of the circle, just tell the next person to ‘wake them up’ like it was all a dream and then proceed. This happened one time and the next boy was almost in tears because he thought he was going to lose his turn. The bully-type knew he had been beaten and finally settled in on the fun.