THE PERSON OF THE WEEK, #8: My Kaohsiung American School writing students
My KAS writing students are 168 cm, 164 cm, 164 cm, 160 cm, 163 cm, 154 cm, 156 cm, 153 cm, 158 cm, and 150 cm tall. Their names are Vincent Fu, Brenda Su, Jane Yang, Jenny Chen, Derek Huang, Ellen Tsai, Rita Yen, Tiffany Yu, and Lynn Wu. I couldn’t draw all of them so I drew a picture of just one of them. His name is Vincent Fu. When we write in the room, I like to play music. So far we’ve written to Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Stars of Lid, Balmorhea, Loren Connors, Godspeed you Black Emperor, and The Books. Once we tried to write to Wolves in the Throne Room, but I quickly realized that was a bad idea and then we went back to something else. Anyway, every time we try to write to music, Vincent Fu begs me to play Bruno Mars, but I won’t. I just won’t. But this morning, I played “When I Was Your Man” for him really loudly in the classroom because he was the first person there, and it was just the two of us for a few minutes, but as the other students walked in they laughed at it, or couldn’t have cared less about it. I told Vincent I liked it though. Most of them are really good writers, but they are very quiet and feel shy about sharing it with me, with each other, with the world, so we figured it’d be a good idea to put them on twitter. You should read some of the observations they’ve been making. Today, Tiffany Yu wore her pink Chuck Taylors to class, so I had her model them and everyone practiced writing her shoes into existence. They’re pink and white and high topped, etc, they’d say. Tell me what I don’t know, I’d say. I wrote everything that is in my head, said Derek Huang. Then I said now write what is not in your head. You know, that sort of thing. We’re working on, as good writers, making the kinds of observations that no one else could possibly make, to see things in a way that others can’t. We’re practicing this by writing while staring at art. So far we’ve looked at Eugene Meatyard, Kelly Shimoda, Miaz Brothers, Andrew Tosiello, Graciela Iturbine, Diane Arbus, Cy Twombly, Magnus Bartas, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage. These artists are really freaking most of them out. And then I tell them it is good to be freaked out, to write and make art while being really freaked out. And so far we’ve read the writing of Mathias Svalina, and Alexander Starr Hamilton. Here are some things about each of them I want to tell you: Jenny Chen is really good at playing the piano, the flute, and the guitar. Rita Yen likes to play basketball, but she can’t even come close to dunking. She is rooting for the Heat. The NBA finals are on in the mornings when we’re in class, so Rita is a little bummed about that. Brenda Su observed that the woman in the Graciela Iturbine photograph was wearing a shirt with flowers on it that looked like birds, while she was wearing a shirt with birds on it that looked like flowers. Tiffany Yu has never been in the ocean even though she has lived her entire life on an island. Shelly the Sun is good at making faces. Ellen Tsai likes to draw dancers. She has the longest hair in the class. Linn Wu wants to be a stand up comedian, but she only knows poo jokes. Jane Yang writes her name on her notebook constantly. I think she’s written her name 100x on the cover. I suggested she become a graffiti tagger, but she doesn’t think her parents would like that suggestion. Derek Huang reads fantasy novels about people who cast spells and stuff like that. And I already told you about Vincent Fu. Because I’ve been writing a lot alongside these students this week, I feel a kinship to them. So for all these reasons and more, my Kaohsiung American School students are this week’s The Lovely Arc’s The Person of the Week.
Follow the KAS writing students on Twitter here.
Please submit your suggestions for next week’s The Lovely Arc’s The Person of the Week to me via email.