Tuesday, March 17, 2015

First Line Scavenger Hunt!

I had so much fun yesterday exploring how creativity functions in our lives and in our writing. And we officially began our ANTHOLOGY PROJECT! Here is the link to the project overview in case you need it online...

Today, we are going to be meeting in the library to do an online scavenger hunt. And, since it is now today, we are here, meeting in the library. Right now. If you look up from your computers, you'll see me smiling that goofy, silly, overly happy Mr. Reynolds smile.

Ah! I see you looking up at me! Yup, hello! I am right here, looking back at you. Yes! Alright, now that we've looked at one another, shall we begin?

What's that? You really wish you had a huge loaf of garlic bread to eat right now, before we begin our scavenger hunt? I hear you. I empathize with you. I wish that very same thing, in fact. (And imagine if, next to that loaf of garlic bread, we had a massive glass of orange juice, and next to that glass of orange juice, we had a big stack of the latest middle grade novels published, and next to that stack of novels we had--okay, let's not get carried away.)

So, for TODAY, it is First Line Scavenger Hunt time!

As we think about the twenty ideas we created yesterday for our possible anthology pieces, let's see how other authors translate ideas into action. In other words, how do authors begin their pieces--whether poetry, essays, or short stories? Today, we'll explore a fabulous website called TEEN INK and read a variety of stories, essays, and poetry. Or, you can explore another very cool website called Stone Soup to read short fiction pieces. (Or, you can use both of these websites to find some very powerful lines.)

If you go with Teen Ink, at the top of the page, you'll see drop down menus to choose your genre (type of writing) and subject, such as Nonfiction--Love, or Poetry--Bullying, or Fiction--Sci-Fi, etc. Explore through the various genres and subjects, and find pieces that excite you.

As you read, keep a Word document (or a Google Doc) open in another window on your computer. Each time that you find a first line that absolutely floors you, or knocks your socks off, or makes your eyebrows climb to the ceiling (come back down, Eyebrows! We need you!) write that first line down on your document, then include the author and title.

Before we finish our class session today, aim for seven lines that move, shock, inspire, or touch you in some way. What we are looking for here is: possibility, modeling, motivation, and power. By finding lines that excite and wow us, we will be better able to craft our own as we begin work on the anthology.

Before leaving the library, e-mail me your document (or if it's a Google doc, share it with me) at: LReynolds@psharvard.org. OR, if e-mailing or sharing terrifies you like a terribly terrifying nightmare, then copy and paste your lines and publish them right in the "Comments" section below on this post.

In other words: be sure to share your lines with me in some way so that I can be moved and excited and wowed and so that my eyebrows can also climb to the--get back here Eyebrows!

Alright? Let's do it!


  1. 1. “A knife without a blade, a fruit without seeds, a garden without flowers…” A Life Without Charms by Jasmine11.
    2. “Their eyes tell silent stories.” Child Soldiers by Courtney C.
    3. “Time will reveal everything I want to know now.” Picture Street by Beau W.
    4. “Sometimes I think about the future and how it’s going to be, nut I’ll never forget the memories that became a part of me.” Memories by bkcrider92.
    5. “Have you ever written something just to fill up the pages?” The Earth is Flat, Deal with it by Emie.
    6. “I look back into my memories, like a stroll in the backyard garden, memories both bad and good, like weeds and lilies.” Memories from the backyard garden! By compassion.
    7. “I used to have a paper heart that I would wear upon my sleeve, but you ripped it off, crumpled it up, and made your choice to leave.” Paper & Plastic by Supernova7

    -Olivia Diodato

  2. 7 first lines powerful
    1"Wait, are you starting the story here?" She asked me. I nodded, unsure of what the answer would be. PrancingOhOne
    2 He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held, every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Kisil22
    3 I remember when I left. When I escaped. Just me, without anyone. Anonymous
    4 Everyone he passed on the street seemed afraid of him. They cowered in fear as he walked by. The man did not know why. PrototypeOrange,
    5After the clouds had darkened and the rain had outpoured, the furious lightning tore the sky and sent thunder echoing through thousands and thousands of miles. Anj16
    6“Do it.”
    Despite the quiet of the words, their utterance boils my soul in shame and regret. Tears burn my cheeks as they trace pathways to the soil below, telling of the fire that brought me to this moment. Kestrel135
    7The bombing was anticipated close to three years in advance. National delegates bantered back and forth, but the inevitability of the bombing had become apparent. JamesBIII
    Isaac noble

  3. E Block Lwiza AitDowd
    Lines 3-17-15
    Most Powerful Lines
    1) Sonnet: Deranged
    no words could compose
    the dark that scarred them, that blinded their souls
    they saw what we see, their eyes wouldn't close
    an end in chaos; in fire and coals – Golden Girl

    2) A Family of Two
    As the sun disappears, stillness blankets the city like a soft, dark curtain.
    - Amyclaire14

    3) Words Cannot Hurt Me
    Don't give the enemy their satisfaction,
    don't let their words destroy you.
    - Courtney_Green
    4) The Sun Will Come Out
    Overall, when the storm has passed, the sun really does come out in the end.
    - Kirsten S.
    5) Stranded
    I can just see the horizon.
    Through this thicket of trees.
    Yet I can’t tell if the sun is shining.
    I yearn so much to be free. – BobbyTheWriter

    6) Our Song
    I know when you say "that's our song" I know that your lying..... I can't stand it. It's like venom in my blood. I can't stand it. Not one bit. – Abigail H.
    7) Picture On The Wall
    But now you're just a face on the wall
    You used to mean everything to me
    I think about everything we had that's now useless in the past
    Every time I see your picture on the wall
    - Cheyenne

  4. “What we know doesn’t change us; it’s what we do to ourselves that changes us.”
    The Calamities of Beauty
    By Peggy Z., Brookly, NY

    “If you're down, and don't know what to say. A bright, beautiful smile, Can brighten your day”
    By bluemagnet22, Dearborn Hts, MI

    "Do you want the truth or something pretty?"
    Do You Want the Truth, or Something Beautiful?
    by sarah98, Holyoke, MA

    "Every morning I lie there sleeping, When my peace is destroyed by a god-awful beeping."
    Ode to the Alarm Clock
    By ~♪Gecko♫~, Lloydminster, Canada

    “’Is he gay?’ ‘I think so.’ ‘Yeah, I'm pretty sure.’ ‘Ask him.’ ‘Hey, are you–‘”
    Silent No More
    By Anonymous, Raynham, MA

    "Monday, they called her fat, stupid, ugly. But words are just words, so they thought"
    Just Words
    By IcingOnTheCupcake, Altamont, NY

  5. 1. My breath quickened as I strained to hear the teacher across the room.
    2. Sometimes he dreams as babies do – or at least, how he imagines they do.
    3. John Dominique once said, “You cannot kill truth. You cannot kill justice. You cannot kill what we are fighting for”
    4. America is not a melting pot Individual colors shine through Black and white brown and yellow racism and discrimination condensed to terms.
    5. Saw crows pecking round the hanging tree.
    6. My mum has always had bipolar disorder, just like I’ve always had blue eyes and freckles on my nose – except maybe the freckles were easier to come to terms with.
    7. It’s Los Angeles, 1947 – a city filled with crime where everyone has secrets.
    eli fishbein

  6. Vimbayi E-block Date: 3/17/15
    1. “We are twisted into thinking that skinny is the only beautiful.” The Calamities of Beauty by Peggy Z.
    2. “Time is a questionable thing. A living, breathing thing. Age is a questionable thing. A fast, slow thing.” a year in a month by ageofsherloc
    3. “I was busy writing a letter to Mommy. But I got distracted. Trying to figure out heaven's address.” I’m Sorry Daddy by Anonymous
    4. “You, sir, may be stronger taller wiser But that don't break my spine of steel. I will fight you, a tsunami of blood of life” Not a Pretty Girl by Katie T.
    5. “Several days, months, and years had passed Since the first signs of abuse had begun. But now, when she needed them most, Her children failed to even look after her. She had no reason left to hope.” Mother Earth by Divya123
    6. “I’m tired of wishing now. They never come true. What’s the point of asking, If it never comes through? But at 11:11, I still wished for you...” Making Wishes by BlondeLies
    7. “Red orange and yellow Licking at the whipping wind That pulls at her clothes Reaching to drag her down She wraps herself in fire Hoping the threat of The heat and scorch are enough To drive others away” Shield by LoloG


  7. 1.“The beating of my broken heart, now chained and locked away, I hear much louder, through the night, than words we never say.” The Meaning of Love By Kiana B., Alto, TX

    2.“I sit on my bed, thumbing through the dog-eared black notebook that contains my soul in written form.” My Notebook By Lindsey M., Cameron, WI

    3.“Dear drugs and alcohol, You make the most successful men your slave.” Dear drugs and alcohol By Darkstar6265, Centennial, CO

    “Love is a wound fiercely and swiftly striking the unaware, spilling the red contents of the soul into the open and leaving an eternal scar.” Love is… By Sarah W., North Bend, OH


  8. Someone once said that whatever happens in the first 18 years of your life, that's what you'll be writing about for the rest of it. Do you agree with this?
    George Lucas, Filmmaker
    By James F., MA and Kate S., Swarthmore, PA

    All of us are trying to run at the same velocity for the same finish line. We're not trying to beat anybody in our own team, we're trying to get there, all 25 at the same time, trying to take the same synchronized step, just run to the end of the line, which is the end of the game, for a win, together.
    Pedro Martinez, Baseball Genius

    I think there are a lot of different people for a lot of reasons. You can’t really compare people. That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, because comparing yourself to someone else really stops you from being who you are.
    Singer Alicia Keys
    By Mary W., Briarcliff Manor, NY and Darina S., Warren,

    People have asked me about President Kennedy, in particular, because I knew him fairly well, and Bobby Kennedy. One thing that was sort of a hallmark of his, and of most great people, is curiosity. He wasn't just set on a program he had advocated during the campaign, he was curious about everything.
    John Glenn, Astronaut/Senator

    If you study history, even recent history, you'll find many people who were quite significant in their time but are completely forgotten now.
    Actor, Comedian, Author Steve Martin
    By Andrew S. & Shelli G., New Hyde Park, NY

  9. 1) They came here and saw us for what we are/a primitive race, righteous and violent
    By GoldenGirl, Sonnet: Deranged
    2) We were so very close,/Now you're not here at all.
    By bluemagnet22, You and Me
    3) Behind the masks of smiles we wear every day/Lies a brooding beast: a dark, spiral cabal.
    By JonahEadie, The Melancholy of Sunny Skies
    4) And cigarettes, and pills, and lies behind smiles,/All became part of a child so vile.
    By Josie_Hogan, That Vilei Child
    5) Still, they don’t question when/they just try to live through each day
    By Justin S., Soldiers
    6) Take me far away from love and tell me what it means
    By Kiana B., The Meaning of Love?
    7) "Hey this is me" /Is a dagger that's stabs me and dies
    By Austin D., Some Time To Be Alone

    -Gwyneth S

  10. Powerful First Lines
    1. Feeling the cold ground below his feet, the soft crunch of the delicate herbs, William began to make a potion in a desperate attempt to revive his beautiful wife, now ice cold to the touch, from the unforgiving grave. MMarco How to save a life.
    2.One of the most undermined problems in society is bullying. Kingvman How to keep schools safe.
    3. Bang! A body drops to the floor in front of me, dead.DRich96 Desperate Measures

    4. The basketball grazed my fingertips, returned to the dirty New York City concrete, and was again in my grasp. Iamawriter Sky Blue
    5. Betrayal was painful. That's what this was .Therightodream Kiril and I
    6. The sun is setting on the edge of the old Roman city, casting a soft golden glow over the simple houses and the uneven dirt roads.AmyClaire14 A Family Of Two
    7. Diary of Thomas Warren: July 27, 1864 I crouched behind the large willow that overlooked the woodland down the hill, and let my breath come in halting gasps.J.Octavian.R Making A River

    David Ramirez

  11. Devin Patel
    Door to Camelot
    I didn't really like myself, much worse I hated myself. By: Nickster
    Other Planet
    As I awake I notice that my mother is not in the house. I wonder why as my eyes fall on the calendar that we are forced to keep in our house. Of course, today is execution day By: trg20
    Guilty Stains
    Young Brown dashed to the crime scene as soon as he was called. By: MakenaB_mjbc99
    The Butterfly Killer
    Somehow, the bitter taste in his mouth never goes away, whether it’s his first month on the case or his fifteenth. By: oharlem
    The Mystery
    The igniting of the lights gave me a wonderful feel. Even though I knew what was going to happen to the one and only village that could be my home. By: Anniebow

  12. Could you see that I was unhappy? I don't think so; I hid it well. I was never interested in obvious grief. Just silent sorrow.

    I want to see the beauty in people and help them find it in themselves.

  13. I hope I never forget, See it but never feel it, Their eyes tell silent stories, bubbles, The beating of my broken heart, they came here and saw us for what we are, Legs like weights ---These are the 7 lines i found and really liked.
    ~Brianna Schmoyer

  14. 1.She has cancer. It’s weird to write that down. My mother has cancer. She Has Cancer by Jane D
    2.Try to remember that kind of September when no one wept except the willow. Elfie Try to Remember
    3.Looking down the barrel of a gun is a strange feeling, but after staring into Death's dark face so many times, Jack had become accustomed to the tickles and prickles that run across your spine. Andy B. Death Has its Heart in the Right Place
    Nick Joe Lewis

  15. 1. Feeling the cold ground below hid feet, the soft crunch of the delicate herbs. (how to save a life) by MMarco.
    2. I sit and watch the clock, hood over my head, hands gently resting on the coolness of my desk. (panaphobia) by elizibethwaldie
    3. The first thing I remember was the blinding light. (15-22) by Allison w.
    4. Frageus heard a knock on the door and yanked it open, nearly pulling it off its hinges. (The Magician's Stone chp. 8.) by dizzywrite
    5. The raindrops tumbled out of the sky. It was unplanned. (hunger) by sassyunicorn
    6. I was reading a book when the book pulled me into a different universe and that’s just the beginning of the story. (readings not fun) by packer111
    7. The day I have feared and expected for so long has come. (fly free) by Rebecca O

  16. If you should find yourself lost in a book,
    Where certainly no one would think to look,
    Follow these tips to keep yourself safe,
    From witch, or from troll, or cold-blooded snake.

    By Karissa E.

    The beating of my broken heart, now chained and locked away,
    I hear much louder, through the night, than words we never say.

    By Kiana B

    I didn't really like myself, much worse I hated myself

    By Nickster, Kuala Terengganu

    Three Fords raced along the floor of the high-walled valley of snow and pines, their taillights like a splatter of crimson blood in an otherwise black-and-white movie.

    By JamesC

    I promised you a story, and it's a story that I'll tell.

    By fallinglikesnowx

    Have you ever wondered why your perfect plans are shattered?

    By CarrieAnn13

    The time has come
    I'm all alone
    Out of my cocoon
    What's done is done
    No going back
    Regretting it so soon

    By k.james

    Dwight Childers

  17. Riley Neville B block
    The eyeliner makes the dark circles less pronounced. The lip gloss hides the trembling. The ponytail conceals missing patches of hair. The Abercrombie sweater covers bruises. Perfect, By Kelsey H., State University, AR
    “It feels wrong, being back here,” Jeremy remarks, his tone casual, as though we are strangers on a subway car, discussing the weather. “You know, after everything.” Used To ,by KateKale, Farmington, NY
    July 1742- Run. That was the single thought that filled my head. I had to run, to keep moving, or else all would be lost. Diary of a Slave - the Capture, by Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom
    The basketball grazed my fingertips, returned to the dirty New York City concrete, and was again in my grasp. Sky Blue, By Iamawriter, Martinsville, NJ
    Betrayal was painful. Kiril and I, by TheRightToDream, Fort Frances, Canada
    The sun is setting on the edge of the old Roman city, casting a soft golden glow over the simple houses and the uneven dirt roads. A family of two, By Amyclaire14, Monticello, IL
    Bang! A body drops to the floor in front of me, dead. How many is that, three maybe four? Desperate Measures, By DRich96, Vernon, VT


  18. Carly James

    1.GALAX, By SerendipitousWonderland, East Brunswick, NJ: For among the stars

    2.I’M SORRY, DADDY, By Anonymous, Pittsfield, PA: I'm sorry, Daddy.

    3.JUST LIKE YOu,By KathleenE., Sewickley, PA Feet dangle inches above

    Tantalizingly taunting …:

    4.PERFECT, By Kelsey H., State University, AR: The eyeliner makes the dark circles less pronounced

    5.DEAL WITH IT, By KMCD8, Jay, NY: My brother is dead, my boyfriend is gone, and I have to deal with it.

    6. LOST AND FOUND, By Anonymous, Westport, CT: I liked being a mess. The desk that should have been clear so I could do my homework was always besieged with bowls of cereal and spoiled milk,
    7. COULD THIS BE LOVE, By g_yargo, Campbell, OH: Oh God....where to start? love, love, love.

  19. Dartingacross the ice, trying to save the puck from going offsides, the hockey playermanages to stop it. Appreciate Women's Ice Hockey unknown

    The sound of something I missed all spring, summer and fall fills my ears. It is the first time I'm able to take my snowmobile out this winter, and the anticipation is killing me. Winter Wonderland
    By Amanda K., Ashland, WI
    In my mind, the definition of a hero is Lance Armstrong. He has accomplished so many things and inspired so many people. He survived a life-threatening disease, and has lived a very complete life, still giving so much to others. Cyclist, Lance Armstrong
    By Evan B., Gibsonia, PA
    Three Fords raced along the floor of the high-walled valley of snow and pines, their taillights like a splatter of crimson blood in an otherwise black-and-white movie. They roared over the dirt road, swerving dangerously every time they careened into the bushes on either side of the path whose crackling.
    Under the Floorboards
    By JamesC , Los Gatos, CA

    “Is he gay?”
    "I think so.”
    “Yeah, I'm pretty sure.”
    “Ask him.”
    “Hey, are you–”

    The last period bell cut off the cacophony of fresh gossip. My ears burned with embarrassment, and I walked away as quickly as possible, feeling clunky and awkward.
    Silent No More
    When you think ofenvironmental problems you probably think of pollution, but the poaching of wildanimals is one, too. Poaching has plagued environmentalists for years and,despite laws, this horrific crime has yet to be stopped. Poaching: Illegal Hunting
    We had been best friends ever since second grade. If we wanted to see each other allwe had to do was walk down the hall, and give our special knock. Mine was threeknocks and a whistle, Sylvee's was a swift kick to the foot of the door followedby "Claud, open up!" We went to the same school, shared the sameimaginary friend, and swore on Barbies that we would always be bestfriends. Friends for life?
    jack hunnewell

  20. "An eloquent and powerful narrative … First They Killed My Father

    A heart-warming story written beautifully by Sue Monk Kidd,The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

    “They always ask what his last words were” Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley

    At one point in Dead Man’s Hand, a middle grade mystery by Eddie Jones, amateur sleuth Nick Caden is explaining his detective work to another character. Dead Man's Hand by Eddie Jones
    As I began to read the description on the back of this book, I was really intrigued.Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

    One day, on her way to the mailbox Priscilla Pomeroy met a young boy who changed everything she thought she knew about the world the Almighty Lord created. The Blue Door by Christa Kinde

    So, maybe you're looking for a good book or you just stumbled onto my review. Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

    --Tommy Wacek

  21. “Jade Green and Jade White are snake-sisters. They were born a year apart from the flesh of their half-human, half-demon serpent mother, but they feel as close as if they had broken from her womb on one breath of air”. Jade Green & Jade White
    By Daphne Quynh-Nhu L., Makanda, IL
    “The man of fire fell against the ground, a crater formed from the impact”. The Phoenix and the Girl of Water: A super hero story
    By PrancingOhOne, Fullerton, CA
    Vladimir chopped steadily at the corn stalk.“Thunk, thunk, thunk.” The worn down handle of his poorly conditioned steel axe thunked onto the thick husk of the innumerable stalks in his father’s farm. The Codebreaker By Anonymous, Los Altos, CA

    Three Fords raced along the floor of the high-walled valley of snow and pines, their taillights like a splatter of crimson blood in an otherwise black-and-white movie.
    Under the Floorboards
    By JamesC, Los Gatos, C

    What if when you turned eighteen you discovered you had powers?
    Thomas Hart: The Beginning
    By Dylan.Burkhart,Evansville, IN

    Geniuses such as Socrates have always been around, but what makes a genius a genius?
    Darren Daniels must figure this out for himself.
    The Genius Factor
    By Brelaw67,Evansville, WI

    A story about one man's undying love for his wife, and the pain he goes through to be with her.
    Matchmaker's Mansion By Hope_Princess,Hebron, NH

    ~~~Clayton Hanlon~~~

  22. 6. Author: Karah J Name: Flame
    watch this flame pass
    from match to wick,
    gently stepping over the
    a great divide.

    7. Author: Alyssa D. Name: Hide and Seek
    As the numbers count down
    We scatter the ground,
    Searching for the best places to hide.