Jason Reynolds May 26

Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is back this week with two writing challenges. One is playful, the other is more thoughtful.

The silly one is to write one of the songs you may (or may not) sing to yourself when in the shower. It doesn’t have to rhyme or have a hook, he points out. It’s just an exercise to get your hand to write out some of silly things that float through your head when you think (hope?) no one is listening. It’s a good way to get the creative juices flowing.

The second, more thoughtful one, is to imagine if your television remote control could manipulate the world around you. It sounds like a film plot — “Click,” a 2006 Adam Sandler movie, played with the idea — but it can be more serious that just fast-forwarding through your chores and homework.

It allows you to create a new world from the reality around you. What if you could mute racism, for example, or change the channel on violence? It doesn’t have to make everything perfect. You could replay unpleasant events so that you could try to get them right this time. (That’s “Groundhog Day.”) It could turn up the noise in your head or turn it down. You could make sunsets linger and make storms more powerful. You could make the cat bark and dog meow.

In short, it would let you create a world that looked like this one but isn’t. That’s the art of fiction: creating a new world from the one we live in.

As always, you can find all of Jason’s writing challenges on our Engage or Families pages.

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