Earlier today a colleague forwarded one of those silly emails about a secretary who’s lost her cat. He added a note that he didn’t usually forward these, but he especially liked this one.
I’m grateful that he did — it’s hilarious! I reproduced it here, partly because I think there must be a reading activity and a writing activity in there somewhere. Go ahead and read it; I’ll wait. (It’s safe for school.)
Back? Tell me that wasn’t funny.
Let’s talk about a writing activity first. One of the toughest concepts for creative writing students to grasp is “show, don’t tell.” In what ways does this piece show without telling? Could students write something similar, an email exchange that has a subtext? You would probably have to rule out missing animals as a topic, but students would respond creatively to this. You might even set it up as a tandem assignment, taking care to avoid results like this.
A good reading activity lurks in this piece, too.
- How old is Shannon? How old is David? What makes you think this?
- Do these two have any kind of romantic history (or future)? What makes you think this?
- Why doesn’t Shannon ever seem to figure out what David is up to?
- Why doesn’t Shannon just create her own poster?
- Why doesn’t David just help Shannon out and give her the poster she asks for?
- What do you think will happen the next time Shannon needs to ask David for a favor? What will happen when David needs to ask Shannon for a favor? What makes you think this?
Critical reading, creative writing: the prompts are all around us. With a little imagination, we can take a break from those anthologies now and then.