Quote of the Day: A Poem by Shel Silverstein
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grown in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems swell, and then
The nighttime Whatifs strike again!
These Whatifs are worry Whatifs. What are your main Whatifs? Does it help to worry about them? This week, The Journaling Woman
wrote about frogs and worry. Something about leaving the worry to the frogs, which makes me smile, and feel less worried.
Over at Mystery Writing is Murder
, the guest blogger reminded us that using Whatifs in our writing is a good plot strategy. I was working with some Fourth Graders this week and talked to them about Whatifs in their stories.
Suppose you and your buddy are going camping. You get set up and realize that you’ve forgotten your matches. What are you going to do? That’s a problem, but Whatif a big storm blows in and collapses your tent?
“Ya,” one said, “and it traps you inside.”
“And,” another chimed in, “You hear a bear outside scratching around because he smells the food that is also trapped inside the tent with you.”
Now, you’ve got it!
I can’t wait to read that story! Even if they all write from that same brainstorming session, they will all come up with different stories.
Whatifs are worrisome in real life, but good in story plotting. Does that mean that the things that make us worry create interesting stories?
Top Reasons Why Visiting a Fourth Grade Class is Great:
1. They still love having parents show up, especially for mashed potato and turkey gravy day.
2. They are a caring bunch. I suspect it’s hard for them to write in a mean character.
3. They seem to still like school and have a love of learning.
4. When I read my Highlights contest entry to them, they applauded and told me I should be a winner.
5. When I told them that I had about 250 pages in a novel written, but wasn’t done yet, one boy said, “I’d read 600 pages!” (melt my heart)
6. And, I got my best “date” offer so far – “Oh, I wish you could stay for recess.” (Aww.)
Here’s a couple of Fourth Graders who look like they’re ready for a cold winter. That, or they’re auditioning for the sequel to Fargo.
Journaling Prompt: Make a list of your Whatifs – then throw them away! Or, describe a time when kids brought out the best in you.