Child’s Play

I was more nervous than I thought I’d be when Loura McRae, the owner of All God’s Children Child Enrichment Center, asked me to speak about my job to a group of children. First of all, there was the age range; 5-10 year olds. How was I supposed to get a 5 year old excited about writing when she can only spell a couple words? How was I supposed to convince a 10 year old at summer camp that writing is fun, and this isn’t like school?

I thought back to my beginnings…the age old question I’m always asked, “Lorna, when did you start writing?”

“Always,” I answer, “I wrote before I even knew how to hold a pen.”

I realized I wasn’t going to convince these kids of anything. My original plan was to go in and have them co-write a story with me. I’d start them off, and we’d all add events until we had a finished product. Then I stopped and thought…that is just a writing activity. Yes, I’d be asking them to use their imaginations, but on something I prompted. It was an assignment. That would never inspire them; it would have been a task with a beginning and end, and would never linger once I left the room. It would be about something I asked them to do instead of something they discovered on their own. I had a real shot to introduce these kids to expresssion, and had to be careful not to make a lesson of it.

I started by asking them their likes and dislikes…movies, books, video games, activities, and showed them how without writers who chase the things that run through their heads to write them down, we wouldn’t have any of it. I then asked them what they know about some place they’d never been…another city or country, and opened their eyes to how writing, voice, opinion, and personality connects us to the things we haven’t even experienced.

I let them know writing has no limits at all, and it isn’tabout a pen and paper or computer. It is about creating and experiencing, and making it so other people can too. It is communicating humanity. It’s art. Writers give legs to the lame, vision to the blind, and music to the deaf.

All I knew to do was share my passion with them, and that’s what I did. I started telling them about blogging about a hot air balloon ride on a magical morning, and how the words came when I simply imagined myself there again, letting the experience speak for me. They started telling me things they had seen and felt, and what they’d been reminded of in certain experiences. They were so excited, and they were writing to me already!

I then read them an unpublished manuscript of mine based on a fairy hunt I created to stop a friend’s daughter from crying after a bee sting. I explained how a fairy tale was born from just reflecting on something that really happened. I could see little light bulbs flashing on in their eyes…they were thinking up things like this of their own.

When I passed out journals I’d made for them, they couldn’t wait to fill them with the stories and ideas that were starting to generate. They loved that it was not to turn in and no one had to ever see it. The younger children were excited to learn they could even draw their stories, or simply tell them to anyone who’ll listen.

These kids were fired up when I left, and the warm reception I experienced at All God’s Children was definitely soup for my writer’s soul. It gave me a chance to remember the early days when I was writing just to get it out, because something was that exciting to me. That’s how it should always be. Writing isn’t sentences, grammar, or impressing people. It’s making connections with anything and everything outside the words that become the sweetest deliverence. Just connections…that’s it…child’s play.

The smiling faces at All God's Children with their journals!  They even let me photo-bomb :)

The smiling faces at All God’s Children with their journals! They even let me photo-bomb 🙂

Stay tuned for one of these children’s stories to be featured on this August!

Also contact Loura McRae at 828-515-0661 for more information on child care! She’s awesome!

Where is Asheville Kid Zone?

Weaver Park Asheville NC

Everyone with kids loves a place where they can take them (and you) for a little time out, away from the norm, to have “a little fun” and experience somewhere. Some parents are more desperate than others. I have met parents who are dying to get out of the house, and at least have some sort of an experience here and there. The struggles of motherhood are more than many can explain. Then there are those who are working parents, either or both mom and dad. They are looking for moments of time to balance off their lives and also spend quality time with their family. Then, you have those that have it all together, whether a full-time mom and family, or working 60 hours a week… they have a weekly plan that always works out perfectly. Ohhhh for that lot in life!!

Hop Ice Cream Asheville NC

Anyway, Asheville Kids zone for me has been in the North Asheville area for many years. I guess it started with Asheville Pizza having the game room and movies. Then the Hop Ice Cream Shop has always been a “must visit” destination for both kids and parents, and even pets. One of my favorite parks in the Asheville area for kids is Weaver Park, right next to Luella’s BBQ on the northside. Then you have that wooden playground right next to Ira B Jones elementary. Oh, and do not forget about Beaver Lake! But, the southside is picking up too. They have Fun Depot, which has been a great activity center for the whole family for many years. Then the Mountain Play Lodge has opened and it is a great spot for the children.

Where are some other great places to take the kids in the Asheville North Carolina area?

What To Do: Touring Asheville On A Rainy Day

Asheville is a great city to tour, especially if it is not raining! Of course, sometimes the rain is just wonderful, when we have that perfect Spring or Fall weather, just a few drops lightly misting and falling on us, birds chirping, music playing, and romance in the air. But that is rare. The usual result from rain is that we end up getting wet. We have all experienced it, and getting drenched is no fun at all.

We have put together a list of many places to go and things to do in the area if you ever find yourself in an Asheville downpour:

1. Biltmore Estate – a rainy day in Asheville is the perfect opportunity to spend a few hours on the Estate. You can tour the house, go to a wine tasting, and experience several other activities that are not outdoors. They are located in Historic Biltmore Village, which used to be part of the Estate.

2. Grove Arcade – located in the downtown area of Asheville, this place is the perfect spot to hide until the storm passes over. Shopping, restaurants, wine and more located inside of this historic building. 

asheville fun depot

3. Fun Depot – got kids? Or maybe you just want to act like a kid again, escape the rain, and enjoy plenty of indoor activities that they have to offer. They are located up the road from Biltmore Village.

4. Grove Park Inn – this resort located on the north side of town features restaurants, shopping and are always decorated and themed for the holidays. They are located in north Asheville, minutes from downtown.

5. East Asheville Bowling or West Asheville Bowling – there are two bowling alleys, one located on Patton Avenue in west Asheville, and the other on Kenilworth Rd in east Asheville, right off of Tunnel Rd.

6. Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria – located in downtown Asheville, they have pool tables and dart boards on the top level; plus pizza and lots of beer, of course.

7. Double Decker Bus – and right across the street from Barley’s is this landmark bus, which has an upper level that is a great spot on rainy days. Bring a chess table, get some coffee and cake, and listen to the raindrops on the roof in downtown Asheville

8. Bus and Van Tours – there are several fantastic buses and vans in the area that can take you on everything from a history tour, to a brewery crawl, to a bachelor party!

asheville brew beer bus

9.  Asheville Mall – of course the mall has lots of indoor shopping, fun, games and food for your enjoyment. They are located on Tunnel Road in east Asheville.

10. Asheville Pizza Brew & View – on the north side of town on Merrimon Avenue, this establishment is the perfect spot to spend a few hours, with lots of food, beer, movies and a game room.

11. Asheville Art Museum – this place is decked out with 20th and 21st Century American art, and is a one-of-a-kind museum that provides education and culture representative to a 24 county region. They are located in downtown Asheville.

12. Chuck-E-Cheese – this is a spot where the kids like to spend an hour or two playing video games, dancing with that giant mouse, and grabbing a quick bite to eat. Located in east Asheville, right off of Tunnel Road.

13. US Cellular Center – located in downtown Asheville, this venue holds many of the larger events in the community. Wonderful shows, concerts and performances every month.

14. The Orange Peel – the premier music venue in the area, located in downtown Asheville. There are always great shows happening here, and a great place to escape wet weather.

15. Riverview Station – located in the River Arts District, this building is full of artists and crafters who create beautiful handcrafted art, jewelry and more. Several of the shops are open on weekends too, and a great spot to spend a couple of hours indoors.

riverview station river arts district

16. Arts & Entertainment Options – there are several Performing Arts venues in the Asheville and WNC area to enjoy plays and skits from wonderful performers.

17. Mountain Play Lodge – a great place to take the kids and spend a couple of hours. Located in the south Asheville area.

18. Movie Theaters – there are several movie theaters in the area including the Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Asheville. In East Asheville on Tunnel Road there are 2 other commercial theaters to choose from. Cinebarre in west Asheville is also a discount movie theater that serves beer, wine and food. There is also the Biltmore Grande in south Asheville.

19. Thomas Wolfe Memorial – take a tour of this historic property, and learn about this home written about in the book Look Homeward, Angel.

20. Smith McDowell House Museum – this is Asheville’s 1st mansion, and the oldest surviving structure in the city limits, and listed on the National Registry.

21. Buy an umbrella and walk around Biltmore Village or Downtown Asheville. I know that the Mast General Store on Biltmore Ave has a nice supply of umbrellas waiting to be sold, and it is also a good spot to spend an hour browsing and shopping their big selection.

Do you have some more great ideas for touring Asheville in the rain? Comment and let us know below…