Kitchen Table Times

Everyday places often provide a backdrop for some of the significant moments of our lives.  This activity guides writers to recall moments that played a part in shaping who they have become.  Directions can be read aloud by a facilitator or used independently.

1. Brainstorm ideas: Think of yourself sitting at the kitchen table of your childhood home.  Take a few moments to recall conversations that took place there, including conversations that you may have had with yourself.  List 3-5 topics of conversations that you feel had an impact on a decision you made, or a direction you took in your life. (e.g.  buying your first car, explaining to your parents why you were late getting home, deciding to drop band lessons so you could play on the soccer team.

2. Select a topic:  Review your list and select the conversation that stands out for you today.  Consider which one offers details you can recall, how this conversation affected you and others, and things that make it stand out as memorable.  Circle your selection.

3. Develop your thoughts:  Close your eyes and take 1-2 minutes to see and hear yourself and the others who were present for this conversation.  What was being discussed? How did the conversation flow? Was someone lecturing, were there multiple voices speaking at once?  What was the volume and tone of the conversation? Next, no matter how rudimentary (this is not an art assignment!), draw a sketch of yourself and others who were gathered at the table for this conversation.  As in a comic strip, you can add word balloons for snatches of the conversation.

4. Write a draft:  Review the information you’ve gathered.  Consider how you might best capture this conversation.  Perhaps it’s a letter to your mom recalling this time and telling her how it affected you.  Perhaps a short story to entertain your peers. Maybe experiment with writing a poem that captures a strong emotion this conversation evoked.

5. Share your draft:  If you are comfortable sharing part or all of your writing, talk with a partner.  You may want to discuss how you made your decisions along the way, what helped you write, and perhaps ask your partner what questions they have about your piece after you’ve shared.