By Sarah E. Murphy
I recently visited my brother T.M. Murphy’s Monday morning session of The Just Write It Class in Falmouth Heights. Thankfully Covid-19 hasn’t cancelled the 2020 season of this long-standing summer tradition, now in its 25th year. Since he first started teaching in The Writers’ Shack, Ted has encouraged kids to follow their dreams and creative aspirations through writing and storytelling.
The rustic ambiance of the Shack, where we once hung out in our youth, lends itself to inspiration, and the exposed beams are now covered not only with tattered U2 posters, but the signatures of students past and present, and further evidence of their prolific work in Ted’s class. Additionally, the act of writing lends itself to social distancing, so with safety precautions in place, it’s been business as usual for these aspiring young writers. Classes are offered for ages 9-12; 12-15; and 16-19. Each two-hour session consists of group instruction through writing prompts, followed by free writes, enabling students to come away from each class with a rough draft, work-in-progress, or finished product. Students also get the chance to practice public speaking, as they share their work at the podium. After each reading, their classmates offer feedback, but there’s one rule: constructive criticism only. The supportive environment results in the forming of new and lasting friendships.
Ruthie is a rising sixth-grader at Morse Pond School in Falmouth. Like the rest of the Monday morning writers, she’s a returning student to the Just Write It Class.
“I like how we can meet with friends we made last year, and that even though there’s a pandemic going on, we’re still able to do this and have fun,” she said.
Lila agreed. “It’s nice to spend time with people who aren’t my family and to have something to do other than sitting at home.”
Will enjoys the structure of The Just Write It Class. “I can write freely and experiment with all my ideas,” he said.
Caitlin also appreciates having that creative freedom. “I like being able to write about whatever I want instead of being given an assignment,” she said. Witches is one of her favorite subjects, and one of her many stories hangs prominently in the Shack.
Max and Cullen have become fast friends and creative collaborators; they’re currently working on a story together.
“I wanted to take this class again because it lets me be more imaginative,” Cullen said. “I can write about whatever is in my mind.”
Max credited the teacher for setting the tone, which he believes contributes to the overall atmosphere. “I like how Ted has a certain sense of humor. He’s actually funny,” he said. “Having a teacher like that helps you make a certain connection, and it just makes you want to learn more.”
A few spaces are available for the final summer session of The Just Write It Class, for ages 9-12, beginning Wednesday, August 5 from 8:45-10:45 am. To register, contact Ted Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Instagram.