It's Poetry Friday! Irene at Live Your Poem has invited us to sit on her virtual coach, hang out, and talk poetry today.
|There's room for everyone at the Poetry Friday Party.
This couch at www.indulgy.com
I know many educators and their students don't just suffer from over-scheduled "free time" after school. With requirements such as the Common Core, state mandated testing, and adequate yearly progress, the school day itself can feel like racing on a treadmill.
That's why everyone loves special school days so much.
One year, I was poet in residence at an elementary school where everyone, EVERYone could talk of nothing but the upcoming Holiday Meal. You know, that mouth-watering day in November when the cafeteria serves turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. Just thinking about Holiday Meal was bliss-inducing. Why? It was barely better than a Swanson's TV dinner. But Holiday Meal only came once a year. It was a delicious break from the usual pizza, bagel and yogurt, or beef tacos.
|My most beloved Swanson meal had
a tiny chocolate cake. Mmmm.
My son loved it so much that one time, when I was room mom at my daughter's pre-school, I staged a toddler version Pajama Day. That was pretty freaking cute and awesome.
Writerly Friends, I have a Kill Your Darlings problem that is not awesome at all.
I wrote a Pajama Day poem for my MG novel-in-verse, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY. It is cute as all get-out. And I think it have to cut it.
I wrote "Pajama Day" for the manuscript's second iteration. I was trying a different concept -- a poetry *yearbook*-- by adding occasional poems to the Spoon River inspired manuscript. These covered the first day of school, Halloween, the Talent Show, Pajama Day, Valentine's Day.
Except THE LAST FIFTH GRADE eventually developed beyond the yearbook concept to an actual novel, complete with narrative arc. (Miss Hill's wacky fifth grade class must unite to stop the evil Board of Ed from demolishing their beloved school.)
Is "Pajama Day" still earning its place in the novel? Does it move the story forward or help develop the characters? Before I kill this darling, I'd love to get your feedback.
|Candy hearts pajama pants from Amazon.
By Jason Chen and Katie McCain
Oh, how we long for
the most relaxing
school day of the year.
On Pajama Day
our backpacks don’t feel
like they have extra gravity
from two tons of books.
They are jammed
with pillows and stuffed animals.
We skid down the hall
like penguins slipping on ice
because giant fuzzy slippers
and floor wax
are a dangerous combo.
roller skating elephants
and candy hearts cover the legs
of our fuzzy fleece pants.
For indoor recess
we get out our pillows
and write poems on the floor
when Mark starts to snore).
We love Pajama Day
|Read about Tarra, the roller skating elephant.
- It's about Pajama Day, one of the best days of the school year!
- The poem provides a breather after a series of serious, winter is dull, and "I'm feeling down" poems.
- The details are so yummy, I can feel my fuzzy fleece PJs calling to me.
- The poem marks a subtle transition in the love-hate friendship between Jason and Katie.
- Beta readers say the poem has elements of both character's voices.
- "Pajama Day" is the only poem in the novel written in two voices, so it doesn't quite fit.
- The poem doesn't move the main narrative forward.
- It may be a little TOO yummy.
- Pretty sure it's a darling.
What do you think, fellow writers? Please leave a comment with your advice.
There are more posts in the Kill Your Darlings craft series here:
- Word Nerd (Kill Your Darlings 1), in which spelling bee champ Shelly gets the ax.
- Book Phantoms (Kill Your Darlings 2), in which horse-obsessed Maddie gallops off into the distance
- Joe Gets Cut from the Team (Kill Your Darlings 3), self-explanatory
Next up in the Kill Your Darlings series, we have a guest blogger!
MG author Elisabeth Dahl (Genie Wishes) is stopping by next week. She cut a major storyline from her novel before it was published. Elisabeth will give us all the crafty dirt about killing her darling.