Journaling your way to a Villanelle

For this week’s Basic Creative Writing class I made DIY Journals out of scratch papers. I printed the cover, placing an image and the title: My Dance Journal for Ballet and Folk Dance students, My Visual Diary for Visual Arts Students, A Musician’s Journal for Music Students and I just placed an image for the Theater Arts students as I don’t want to box them as either actors or directors. Or maybe I just did not know the right term? Hehe


Inside, I wanted them to write technical terms and concepts. The first page was filled with techniques that they think they are good at (such as pirouette for the ballet students, shading for visual arts students, etc). On the next page, they were to list down techniques that they have yet to master. On the third page, they were to think of their habits, both good and bad, as an artist. On the fourth page, they were to write their goals and ambitions. On the last page, they were to write a one-page journal entry about their daily routines from 2-6 PM and during night rehearsals.

The purpose of the activity is to identify words, phrases and concepts that the students encounter or use almost every day. I need them to identify “refrains” in their daily routines. The refrains will be used in their villanelles. Aside from, of course, helping them put these thoughts (that haunt or bother while inspiring and motivating them at the same time) into writing.

Before they start on their first stanza, I paired them up. They were to share the pages of their journal with their partner. I need them to hear these repeating concepts and ideas out loud. I want them to hear themselves uttering them. Also, they needed to rest their fingers. They wrote for almost an hour. Then, we began working on their first stanza. Some almost drafted all six stanzas!

Before we began the entire activity, we read a couple of commonly-known villanelles to see its form.  I really want this class to be true to its name: Interrelated Courses. This year, we changed the term Elective Classes to Interrelated Courses. I think that as part of the change, we engaged  in more sketching/drawing activities, group activities and felt and rearranged words (physically, through cut-up technique). I’m trying my best to make them realize how our fields are interrelated.


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