Thursday, November 24, 2011


HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO THE GREAT SPIRIT IN ALL OF US.  These  outlines of turkeys were derived from my 2010 volunteer work with Bhutanese seniors at the Clarkston Community Center and then used with my creative writing class at the Georgia Tech Language Institute preceding the Thanksgiving holidays. (drawings by Hallelujah Truth)
Happy Thanksgiving Pilgrims! Hallelujah for the JOURNEY! I am so happy to be here with you all, seeing what we can declare about our OWN TRUTH! I believe in the power of each individual's creativity. I believe the ART each one of us  makes PULLS us FORWARD. Our own ART HEALS and CREATES MAGIC in our lives! Peter London, author of No More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist Within, declares, "The prime work of art is to join heaven and earth!"
JOINING HEAVEN AND EARTH IN CREATIVE WRITING CLASS.  This photo captures the magic moment as students move from the teacher given assignment into the "mystery" of themselves. (photos by Hallelujah Truth, aka Ruth Schowalter, Instructor of English as a Second Language at GT)

Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to jump into artmaking with my creative writing class. I wanted BIG THINGS to happen. Using construction and origami paper, pens, scissors, and glue, each student was asked to construct their own artistically rendered Thanksgiving turkey. To prevent complete and utter shutdowns (which occur when people who don't draw are asked to produce something from nothing), I provided some simple and fun drawings (above) as possible starting places.

After receiving the assignment and art making materials, the students paused. There were moments of inaction resulting in my worry that they might not move forward. Creative acts have their own timing and energy. Patience must be practiced to give each ARTIST the opportunity to determine his or her own direction.

After the moments of uncertainty passed, there was a flurry of activity. Pens and pencils were moving and paper began flying. I watched in awe as the students ascended into a whir of creativity!

After fifteen minutes had passed and the students were fully engaged in their creation of a Thanksgiving turkey, I talked to them about the writing part of this holiday assignment. I wanted them to practice writing from a different perspective and gave them three writing options:

OPTION 1: You are the GREAT TURKEY SPIRIT of THANKSGIVING. You are filled with beneficence and a sense of well-being! You want to express gratitude to all of humanity for the GOOD that people bring to this EARTH and one another.

OPTION 2: You are the TURKEY to be slaughtered for everyone's Thanksgiving dinner.  You want to express your feelings about being the food that feeds everyone on this day in the United States that we give THANKS. What are your last words before you die and your body nourishes the people who are giving THANKS?

OPTION 3: Your own idea written from the perspective of a TURKEY.

I have not seen the final results of this assignment yet. I asked students to post their artfully crafted turkey images and writing on the unique blog each one has developed for this creative writing class. I invite you to visit their blogs and see for yourself where this Thanksgiving holiday assignment has taken them on their creative journey!







CREATORS OF THE GREAT TURKEY SPIRIT! In this photo, two other blog writers are represented: A SMILE AFTER THE RAIN and MY MOTHER'S LAP.

THE REWARDS OF TEACHING CREATIVITY ARE MANY! Here I am in the middle of happy students! Thanks to Vanessa for taking this photo!

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS (excerpted from Peter London's book, No More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist Within

Suppose life is a journey, an endless, surprising odyssey in which we may move from naivete to wisdom, from self-consciousness and awkwardness to grace, and from superficial knowledge to profound wonder. The infinite menu of possibilities that life continuously displays before us may be viewed as an invitation to embark on this adventure through varied and unpredictable terrain. The artistic process is more than a collection of crafted things; it is more than the process of creating those things. It is the chance to encounter dimensions of our inner being and to discover deep, rewarding patterns of meaning.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:  Many thanks to my creative writing students for their willingness to embark on a creative adventure with me into the unknown terrains of their own creativity! Your gift of attention, action, and individual journey inspire me! Gracious thanks to fellow SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM, Karen Phillips, who in recent weeks has reminded me of Peter London's book, No More Secondhand Art!


  1. Love it! Just saw it this evening! The creative writing students must have had a great time working on this project :)

  2. I had a lot of fun in this assignment, somehow reminded me that we must never forget the children living within every one of us! I specially appreciate that you gave us the chance to embrace the American culture and shared with us many facts about the tradition. Thank you!! :)