By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer
Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a creative writing workshop at Lowcountry Montessori School for secondary students in the school’s immersion program.
Eleven young girls, ages 12-15, practiced writing techniques and exercises to develop their skills at descriptive writing. At the end of the workshop, I gave the students instructions to write a short story in 300 words or less. The only direction was to write about a boat with four passengers and an event that occurred while the boat passed under the Richard V. Woods Memorial swing bridge in downtown Beaufort. The stories were diverse yet consistently graphic of our beloved coastal home.
When I read the stories aloud after the 45-minute exercise, we all agreed that, given minimal direction, writers have the ability to create an infinite amount of situations and plots based on one constant. The invariable in this exercise was geographic location. Even though the stories were completely different, they were comparable in the description of the view surrounding the bridge.
These young girls expressed an impressive level of enthusiasm for writing. Thank you for an affirmation that creative minds yield open minds.
The Editor of The Island News, Pamela Brownstein, and I chose one short story to publish to congratulate an exceptional writer at Lowcountry Montessori School, Alex Clark.
Panic under a bridge
By Alex Clark
“I awoke one morning to see the beautiful colors in the sky. The oranges, reds and pinks filled my soul with comfort. I got up from my plush, comfortable bed and went outside to the helm. My sleep eyes wandered to the marsh where I saw my favorite bird, a Great Blue Heron. His soft, white chest feathers blew slightly into the breeze as he hunted for crabs in the soft, salty Lowcountry mud. I suddenly heard a rustle downstairs as my husband and two children awoke from their slumber. My nose was wonderfully aroused by the smell of coffee as my husband began to fry bacon.
My morning was finally starting to take action after my family and I ate breakfast. My husband, Sean, started to pull up the anchor while I got the sail ready, and my children, Autumn and Taylor, quietly played downstairs with our little dog, Tina. The wind gusted just enough to make us start moving. The breeze was chilly against my skin, but it kept our little boat moving just enough. We got closer and closer to our destination. All we had left to pass was a bridge.
The journey so far had been so much fun, and if we could just get passed the bridge, we’ll be there. As we neared the bridge, my heart began to beat harder and faster. My mind began to run with fear. The mast was too tall. But it was too late … we couldn’t turn around. I got on the radio and tried to stay calm as I called the bridge operator, but I wasn’t fast enough. My ears heard an awful crunch. It sounded terrible, like a thousand bones cracking at once. Panic struck, and I began to cry.
Then I woke up.
I awoke to those beautiful morning colors I knew so well. I was thankful that terrible dream was over, and I was safe in my relaxing little boat.”