The following is a piece that I wrote for an exercise in which you write for a whole page and don’t use any periods. Though obviously it does not follow the rules of SAE, I think exercises like this, in which you ask students to use language creatively and break the rules with purpose, have their place in the classroom. In published writing, there are grammatical “errors.” Language is much more fluid than we give it credit for, and recognizing that in the classroom may lead, I believe, to an infusion of life into boring material. For this exercise in particular, it could spark a discussion about sentence length and what that does to the tone of a piece of writing. Creative writing should be language play!
The teacher is wearing the same sweater today that she wore last Tuesday, the one made up of colors only otherwise used for sidewalk chalk interweaved in an intricate pattern of mush, the one that makes her look like an overgrown infant with a dry erase pen awkwardly dangling in her weak hand, the one I wish she wouldn’t wear, which I remember because Tuesday was the day that the bus was ten minutes late, perhaps from picking up someone in a wheelchair, stopping to lower the front end of the bus and fold out the handicap ramp—beep, beep, beep, beep—causing passengers to roll their eyes with irritation and sigh heavily so everyone around them could hear because now they were late for their dentist appointments and important lunch meetings, all except for hunched woman who sat alone in the second to the last row, not bothered by the delay, and knitted a child’s hat with huge wooden needles and pastel-colored yarn that faded from blue to pink to green to purple back to blue seamlessly and gracefully without hesitation or remorse knowing that change happens and there’s nothing we can do about it because worrying and sighing and rolling our eyes does not make the bus go any faster, or the colors of the yarn change any slower, or the teacher’s clothes become more flattering, and it doesn’t made a difference because, in the end, the passenger’s teeth will not fall out because of a missed dentist appointment and the teacher’s sweater doesn’t keep me from learning calculus.