Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Places We Never Expected to Go

by Lisa Bullard

WRT_TwinsOn-the-road Lisa is dif­fer­ent than Lisa-at-home. Trav­el­ing Lisa takes big­ger risks. She’s less respon­si­ble. She puts her­self in the way of more trou­ble.

You might almost call her my Evil Twin.

Some­thing hap­pens when I’ve moved out­side my com­fort zone. I per­ceive things in a fresh way. I feel a free­dom to be some­one oth­er than who I usu­al­ly am. My per­spec­tive and my rela­tion­ship to the world change with my sur­round­ings.

Writ­ing gives me this same chance to try on differ­ent parts of myself, but with­out the need to set aside bail mon­ey. So what if I’ve nev­er been a four­teen-year-old boy? A musi­cal genius? Home­com­ing queen? I can write my way inside any one of those char­ac­ters, any one of those facets of the human expe­ri­ence. When I am suc­cess­ful in doing so, it means I have man­aged to trav­el to an unex­plored part of myself — a part that, like my Evil Twin, expe­ri­ences the world in a very dif­fer­ent way.

Your stu­dents can explore the pow­er of an alter­nate out­look through a sim­ple “swap­ping view­points” writ­ing exer­cise. Give them a basic sto­ry conflict, such as a sce­nario where a “per­fect” old­er broth­er and a “screw-up” younger sis­ter have to work togeth­er to achieve a com­mon goal.

Ask stu­dents to immerse them­selves as ful­ly as they can into the con­scious­ness of the broth­er. Have them write for ten min­utes, telling the sto­ry from that character’s point of view. Then, ask them to swap and rewrite the exact same scene from the younger sister’s point of view. They’ll be sur­prised by the pos­si­bil­i­ties they dis­cov­er in the sto­ry, and in them­selves, by explor­ing these alter­nate view­points.

One of the beau­ties of writ­ing is that it can take us places we nev­er expect­ed to go — per­haps espe­cial­ly, places we nev­er knew exist­ed inside our­selves.

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