I've been enjoying a book called, "The Trickster's Hat" by Nick Bantock. It's miscellaneous art and writing projects that just get your creativity going. Most of them I do on my own just for fun, but every once in awhile one appeals to me to work on with the kids. The most recent writing one screamed for us to do together. It started with a phrase, "The horse felt obligated to express itself by..." The instructions were to complete the phrase and then write a sentence to go before it and one to go after. Following this, we had two more phrases with the same instructions: "She could not help herself, the date was waiting..." and "Elvira looked at her brother's fast-growing..." The final instruction was to string the three paragraphs together to make a story.
We did these independently and then one night, we read them one after another. It was amazing how all three of us not only came up with stories that worked and were creative, but entirely different. Here they are:
One time Elvira was riding her horse then the horse felt obligated to express itself by trying to speak to her, but she tried to get the horse to move instead of neying.
The horse wouldn't move. She was going to a date and the date waiting for her but the horse couldn't help her get there.
So Elvira walked back home and noticed how fast her brother grew compared to yesterday.
One day, Edward and Elvira were taking their morning walk, when they saw a horse on the hiking trail. Edward wanted to try riding it, but Elvira didn’t want to be late to dinner with her boyfriend. Eventually, Edward convinced her to let him ride, but Edward had no formal horse riding training so when he got on the horse, the horse felt obligated to express itself by kicking Edward off its back! Elvira looked at her brother’s fast-growing bruises but she could not help herself, the date was waiting and she didn’t want to be late. So she rudely left Edward there in the dirt to meet her date.
The smell of bacon wafted through the air, entering Elvira's room and drawing her out. She could not help herself, the date was waiting with the candied bacon wrapped around it and the crunchy almond within. She popped it in her mouth and continued toward the barn.
She wasn't sure why she wanted to go there, as the barn was never her favorite spot-- that distinction was saved for the chicken house. Once inside the barn, though, Elvira looked at her brother's fast growing cold and shivered with a hint of fear. While she had never really be afraid of horses, she also had never really been alone with one before.
She nervously moved closer, coaxing him to do the same with the promise of a sugar cube, but he wanted only power. The horse felt obligated to express itself by strongly placing his foot on top of Elvira's. It wasn't crushing, but she could tell that if she moved even a little, he would increase the pressure.