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Author: Beth Randall

Lucky’s Blog- 11/4/16

Prompt: We used the storytelling deck this morning and drew the word “recluse”.  So, we connected Lucky to recluse.

Students were given five minutes and this one had us giggling like fiends:

I wish I was like most dogs. I take that back, most dogs are stupid. But I wish I felt normal. Most dogs run up to people and love attention and I’m just a recluse. I ask Pam if there is anything wrong with me, she says it’s just a phase but then I bark in her face and say “God, Pam, it’s not a phase!” Most dogs spend their days begging their owners to take them out on a walk, I spend my days begging Pam to take me to Hot Topic. What’s wrong with me?

Lucky’s Blog- 10/28/16 Part 2

Prompt: We used the storytelling deck again and drew “car won’t start”. So, the prompt was to connect Lucky to that idea.

Students were given five minutes and we liked them all!  I’ll be posting them as I receive them. Here’s another:

Dang it! The car won’t start. PPPPAAAAAMMMMM! I bark. PAM! I bark again. Why won’t she come? Urg humans are so dumb…..SQUIRREL! There is a squirrel in our garden, it must die! I slowly exit the car and make my way toward the fuzzy beast. I move like a ninja up the stairs and start barking at the squirrel. It runs to the backyard. I go after him. BANG! I hit the fence. I hate that fence!

Lucky’s Blog 10/28/16

Prompt: We used the storytelling deck again and drew “car won’t start”. So, the prompt was to connect Lucky to that idea.

Students were given five minutes and we liked them all!  I’ll be posting them as I receive them. Here is the first:

They were supposed to be going to the park, but the car wouldn’t start. All the students were lounging on the seats, a couple of them petting Lucky’s ears while they chatted. They didn’t seem concerned.

They did not seem to understand the crisis occurring at that very moment. The car. Would not. Start. The car was needed, was vital to getting to the park. Did they just not get it? No car meant no walk. No walk meant no sniffing, no peeing on weird scents, no running around with flapping ears. Did the students not want to do this? What was wrong with them?

As the moments passed by, Lucky twitched with anxiety and began to whine.

“It’s okay, boy,” someone said. It was not. Every rumble created by the car’s attempts to start lifted Lucky with hope- until the sound faded away, and he was filled with terror. How could the students just sit there? Lucky climbed off the seat and began pacing on the floor of the car, turning in the cramped area and shoving people’s legs out of the way. He stuck his nose in Pam’s lap. Surely she knew the danger of not getting the car to start. Surely she fully comprehended the situation.

But Pam seemed only to be mildly frustrated, and slightly amused. What was this? Was he the only sane one in the car?

A rumble–then a responding VRRRR. Relieved, Lucky wagged his tail and jumped back up on his seat. He was glad everything had turned out well in the end, but he had found the humans’ response to such a serious affair extremely concerning. He would teach them. They must learn emergency procedures by heart, and understand that events with such immense repercussions could not be taken lightly.

Lucky Blog- 10/21/16

Prompt: We have a deck of story cards at Learning Outpost and we selected a character card at random today. The card read “waiter” so today’s prompt was to write about Lucky and a waiter, whatever that means to you.

Students were given three minutes and here’s one that made us all happy:

I can’t believe Pam is letting me come to a restaurant with her; that never happens! I get a lot of stares, but I just bark at them. We sit down and the waiter comes over to take our order. I bark at him telling him I want a squirrel done medium rare. He has a confused look on his face, so I repeat my order. Then he hesitantly says, “We don’t have squirrel. “

“What do you mean you don’t have squirrel?” I bark in his face.

Lucky’s Blog 10/7/16

Prompt: How would an alien describe Lucky?

Students were given three minutes and here’s one that made us giggle:

Gold. It is gold. Its knees are on backward. Its ears are…floopy. I’ve never used that word before. It is walking towards me? Hmmm, will it attack? It is walking faster. Do I call for backup? Hmmmm. Oh! It just wants a pat! An ear rub? What an interesting beast. I wonder if this is a Canis Lupus? I thought they were grey? And scary? I guess not… Hello golden happy wolf beast?

Lucky’s Blog- Exquisite Corpse Edition!

Exquisite Corpse is a fun game invented by French Surrealists and can be used as either a writing exercise or for the visual arts. Essentially, one person writes a sentence and passes it off to the next person. This person writes a related sentence, folds down the paper so that only the sentence s/he has just written is visible and passes it on. Eventually, you get a story that may or may not make sense. This game has many variants but this is the one we’ve been playing with. And, of course, some dogs showed up.

Here are two canine-themed Exquisite Corpse exercises:

1.The dog at my front door was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.
2. He sniffed my hand as I held out a biscuit, pranced around once and swallowed the biscuit whole.
3.”Bad dog!” I cried. “You must chew the biscuits or you will choke.”
4. “I refuse to chew the biscuits,” said the dog and he trotted to the door.
5. “But you must, ” the old man cried, “My dog, you must eat these biscuits, I could find no others in the store!”
6.Still the dog refused and looked at the old man with sadness and as if all hope was gone.
7. Because all hope was gone, he knew it was never going to get better.
8. He sat down and quietly accepted his fate.

  1. There lay a dog under the table.
    2.It was a floopy dog that loved to guard the yard from the squirrels.
    3.Those dang squirrels were always trying to get in the yard, but it was okay because the dog was there to protect them.
    4. I couldn’t understand why the squirrels needed protection until Martha explained they were a rare Buffalo variety.
    5. “Buffalo squirrels?” I said to Martha. “I thought they were extinct.”
    6.”No, you heard wrong! Buffalo squirrels live a wonderful full life, ” said Martha angrily.
    7.”That,” she replied, her voice high and haughty, “is a myth, with no logic to back it up.”
    8. I looked at her with disbelief but still did not follow my gut; I regret that decision.

Lucky’s Blog 9/30/16

Prompt: The students told me a fun story about a friend singing a song to Lucky. So, we wondered: How might Lucky feel about having a song sung to him?

They were given three minutes and here is one we all liked:

I am bursting with joy. Charlie and I are running around each other. I like Charlie, he is small and reminds me of a squirrel but he is a dog not a squirrel so it’s okay. The man with Charlie is saying something and petting my head. Why do people always pet my head as opposed to my back? It must be the floopiness of my ears. He keeps saying my name, I think he’s talking to me or about me. It makes me happy. I really like meeting random people in the big grass tree place, they always floop my ears, but I’ve never had someone sing to me before.


Lucky’s Blog-9/23/16

Prompt: If Lucky and a squirrel had a conversation, how might it go?

Students were given three minutes and asked to include some dialogue. Here is an example we all enjoyed:

The deck is wet. That means the grass is wet. Is that food or pinecone? Pinecone. Paws cold. Must run. Is that a squirrel rustling in the tree? It is!
“I’m not trying to invade your house dog. I just live in this tree!”
Hmm maybe the squirrel was telling the truth? No!


Lucky’s Blog- 9/9/16

Prompt: What might a morning in the life of Lucky be like?

Students were given three minutes to write. Here is one example we all enjoyed:


Wake up. Sniff. Walk around. Humans are asleep. Water. Nap. Humans are awake. Breakfast. Nap. Relocate to couch. Nap. More humans arrive. Sniff. Know these humans, not mine. Some of my humans still missing. Nap. Walk around. Check food bowl. Empty. Nap. Water. Another human arrives. Familiar, still not mine, miss mine. Nap. Humans all move. Follow. Leave. Come back. Humans are making noise. Maybe. Not for me. Maybe. Nap. Look around. Humans are doing something. Nap.

Lucky’s Blog-Introduction

Writing, like any artistic endeavor, involves confronting what Julia Cameron describes as “our inner Censor” in her seminal book The Artist’s Way. To begin defusing this Censor, Cameron recommends an exercise called “morning pages”. Essentially, one writes for a set amount of time every morning, without stopping. On Friday mornings at The Learning Outpost, we use this method and some of its variants as part of our writing curriculum. This is how Lucky’s Blog was born.

Lucky, the beloved golden retriever of the house, is a natural subject for morning pages. You see him and when you defeat your inner Censor’s claim that a dog is somehow not acceptable subject matter, you write about him. Since we strive to foster a safe space for each other, you bravely read your words aloud and discover that you’ve created something fun and engaging when your peers respond positively. This is no small thing for a dog to do.

So, we write for three minutes every Friday about Lucky—what his day is like, what he might say to a squirrel, every week we respond to a different prompt.  These are not polished pieces but exercises in freeing our creativity and telling our inner Censor it is not needed today. We’d like to share some of our favorite moments with you.