Storyteller proves ‘writing is fun’

Register Reporter

Register/Anne Kazmierczak
Aliah Detweiler, from left, Isaiah Wicoff and Kendall Jay (not pictured) participated in a “Writing is Fun” workshop at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center Wednesday morning. Professional storyteller Priscilla Howe taught the class.

Lawrence storyteller Priscilla Howe entertained and educated three eager youngsters at a “Writing is Fun” workshop at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center Wednesday.
Howe presented Aliah Detweiler, 10, Isaiah Wicoff, 9, and 101⁄2 year-old Kendall Jay with tricks of the trade to get creative juices flowing. One tool was a “story box,” a box full of random objects the budding authors blindly selected, then had to write about, weaving the pieces together. Another was a “fortunately, unfortunately” shared story wherein each participant added a new line to the ever-growing tale.
The children each took turns in a story about a race car, where “Unfortunately, the engine broke and all four wheels popped,” but “fortunately, the pit crew was right there waiting with a giant pillow.”
A timed writing exercise featuring a small lizard pining to ride a roller coaster was also part of the morning.
The children all had an interest in writing before taking the workshop, they said, although Wicoff admitted, “My mom signed me up.”
Jay was thinking about his future when he enrolled. “I thought it would be interesting and I would learn from it so I would have a chance to win the Young Authors award next year, too.”
Jay’s story was one of almost 1,000 tales written for Allen County’s Young Authors celebration at the end of April this year. Only 118 of those authors were selected to participate in that weekend’s festivities; he was one of them.
Detweiler was looking ahead, too. “I wanted to express my writing experience,” she said. “I’m thinking about that being one of my jobs, maybe writing columns for a newspaper,” she said.
The kids shared topics they enjoy writing about at home.
Detweiler said, “My mom lives up here. I live in Oklahoma with my dad.” That long-distance commute each year gives Detweiler fodder for her budding skills. “I get on my computer and type. I write about my summer trips.”
Wicoff said he’s written about his dog Addy running away to a neighbor’s house. “My neighbor had a spa for dogs,” he explained.
All three felt the morning was worth their time. As the workshop wound down, Detweiler concluded, “Unfortunately, we don’t have any time left.”
The workshop was sponsored by the Sleeper Family Trust.