Monday, October 19, 2009

Luis: Cooped Up

April, 2009

Luis and I continued meeting once a week to work on his journal writing. His spelling improved incrementally, but more importantly his courage at putting words to page increased — at least while I was sitting beside him in the school library. In the club meetings on his own, he'd cringe, "By myself I have to write something? Come on."

Step by step, row by row, I can only plant the seeds and hope for the right amount of rainfall and just enough sun.

"I think it's time to write about your character, Luis. Make a shopping list of things you know about Sir Andrew Aguecheek....You can find out those things by reading what he says about himself and by what other characters say about him. Got it?"

This is when Luis likes to lay his head down on the table and pretend to nap.

"Open your script and tell me something you know."

This is when Luis likes to growl in protest.

"One thing...tell me one thing about Andrew."

"Mmmm. He likes bear-baiting."

"Correct. Write that down." And he does.

We discover that Andrew is rich (he probably lives in a mansion), in love with Olivia, likes to dance, studies languages but can't really speak any other than English, that he's tall and handsome — at least both he and Sir Toby think so:

I pull some books off the shelves and we study pictures of mansions and discuss what his favorite rooms might be and how he might have them painted.

"And...and, Ms. Ryane...I am a great eater of beef!"

"That's right. What d'you think: McDonald's or In-N-Out?"

"Mmmm. In-N-Out."

"And fencing...I like swords, right?"

Luis makes a shopping list and is ready to write his Sir Andrew biography.

"Keep in mind, Luis, that you can also make things up about yourself if you think it might help your story and your acting."

"Hmmm." He mulls that over and nibbles almonds and cranberries, his regular writer's snack.

"Pencil up. Sit straight. Go for it."

He starts to write his story and has me look every so often.

"That's interesting that you live in Cooper Mansion with your horse named Cooper. Where did that come from?"

"I don't know. I just like that name."

He's writing...he's writing...he's getting it down.

My name is Sir Andrew Aguecheek and I live in a Mansion with very big bushes and the name of this big Mansion is the Cooper Mansion. I have a huge black ball room where I practice fencing and dancing. I like to think of my self as a handsome young man. I am also tall, rich, and I speak 4 different languages, well I think I do. I cook for my self. I like to make broiled chicken with some hot sauce and some red wine. After I like to read funny books and play music on the viol-de-gamboys. I like going on my black horse named Cooper to see lady Olivia. And my favorite thing is bear-baiting in a cage because I like to entertain people.
—Luis, 5th grade


  1. Some of us just need a little more encouragement than others. Lucky Luis to have found Mel and Shakespeare!

  2. And the opposite holds true...I found him,lucky me.

  3. oh my god i love him

  4. I know. I miss him. All I can say is check your TV listings; he's going to be on the set some day.


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