Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Pre-Drop Outs

Once again, I look at my purple poetry legal pad, and I am appalled--can I really not have written anything since Oct. 4?

Well, of course I've written something:  responses to student writing, blog posts, and more e-mails than I can count.  But no poems.

A few weeks ago, in this blog post, I read a poem written by Jeannine Hall Gailey, a poem which features Nancy Drew.  Throughout the years, I've been writing poems about fictional characters in their older ages (for example, see this blog post to see what happens to Scout of To Kill a Mockingbird).   What would happen to Nancy Drew in her later years?

A few years ago, I wrote a poem about Ebeneezer Scrooge as an adjunct professor--I thought I might send Nancy Drew back to the classroom.

This morning, I sat down to write, and the pieces snapped into place.  Nancy Drew wouldn't be teaching college.  She'd have had a teacher's certificate from pre-feminist days.  And they'd let her teach the kids that were headed to juvenile jails and drop out land--who cares about those kids?

I thought about a friend's experience teaching those kinds of kids.  She was allowed to do basically whatever she wanted, to abandon textbooks and to teach whatever came to her, so long as she kept the kids from hurting each other or the other children in the school.

I thought about Nancy Drew's friends, Bess and George--what happened to them?  Could they help Nancy Drew solve the mystery of how to reach these students?

Of course!  Bess has started a bakeshop and this generation of students, raised on cooking shows, eat up what she has to offer in the way of old-fashioned home-ec.  George, the tomboy, has gone on to become a marine biologist, so she leads field trips into various ecosystems.

Now I need to figure out how to end the poem.  I need to avoid doing what I often do--leaving the poem to percolate and never getting back to that ending.  I pledge to return to this poem tomorrow.

I shall now float through the challenges of the day, secure in the knowledge that I've written a poem and delighted in the knowledge that Nancy, Bess, and George have grown into good lives.

No comments: