An attempt at ELL Fiction: Humidity

A word cloud, stats, thoughts and ideas below. Here is the story:

Hot, humid summer nights like this make me think of you. I think of you and that first summer. Everything was so new and exciting then. Everything was so pure and innocent. Well, it was mostly pure and almost innocent.

It was fresh. Anything was possible. We didn’t’ know what the future would hold and we didn’t really care. We enjoyed those summer nights as much as possible. We knew that in the fall things would be different. We knew that in a year things would be even more different. We knew that it wouldn’t last. It couldn’t last. We didn’t care. We knew that things would change. We didn’t care about that either.

I didn’t know that we would change so much. We were happy. I was happy. I was young, almost innocent and very happy. I guess I thought life would always be so easy, so fun, so fresh, so exciting.

Back then, we had our whole lives ahead of us. We didn’t’ know what the future would bring. We could have done anything we wanted to. Soon, we discovered what we thought we wanted to do. We also discovered who we wanted to do it with. And who we didn’t want to be with. We discovered who we didn’t need to be with.

When I smell the wet and fresh summer air on a night like tonight I think of you. I don’t feel regret or nostalgia. Mostly I just wonder. I wonder what you are doing. I wonder if you are happy. I wonder what you look like. I wonder if your smile still lights up the room. I wonder if I would know you if I saw you on the street. I wonder if you remember me. I wonder if you think about me and what you think about me. I wonder if you are married and who you are married to. I wonder what your life is like. I wonder about you, but I know I will never know.

Wordle: humidwonder

Total words: 335
Flesch Reading Ease : 86.9
Flesch Kincaid Grade Level: 3.19

I tried to write an open-ended but emotion inducing story without using many difficult words. I tried to use a lot of repitition in structures as well as in word choice. I tried to say as much as possible without saying a whole lot.

Lesson-wise, I was thinking that this might be a decent story for students to respond to. They could write what the other person is thinking, they could write/say their own interpretations about what really happened in this story and who the people were. There is also room for sharing about happy times and what makes or made us happy.

Language wise, words like everything, anything, possible, discovered and wonder were all used a few times. As were humid and innocent.

Some common but potentially new or confusing  expressions that jumped out at me:

“anything is (was) possible”
“back then”
“what the future (will) hold”
“as much as possible”
“it wouldn’t last”
“smile lights up a room”

Updates:

6 comments

  1. Vicky Loras

    Hi Mike!

    I loved the story and how you combined a Wordle with it, as well as pointing out the vocabulary and expressions needed for the students to learn.

    I admit it, I welled up a bit ; )

    Good stuff, Mike!
    Vicky

  2. Josette

    Thanks for the shout-out! I think this type of writing is contagious. After reading your post I realized how deep a writer can go emotionally without having to say too much. I know I’ve told you this already, but I felt like I needed to clarify. When I read the last paragraph my heart was racing. The way you repeated “wonder” in a sequence of simple sentences gave me the chance to go back in time and remember moments I’ve felt that way. The simplicity of those sentences awakened something that perhaps another structure would have inhibited. They punch right through you.

    Talking about sentence structures is perhaps a very geeky way to tell a writer how they affected a reader. I have no doubt you understand. :) I look forward to reading more of your fiction.

    Josette

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  5. Hana Tichá

    What a lovely story. And you spoiled it all by all the ELT notes :-D No, seriously; I think language learners should encounter literature on a regular basis. However, I’ve always found using literary works in classes quite tricky. In spite of that or that’s why I chose an authentic short story for my MA thesis and I dissected it from several angles. I must admit that the theoretical work was much easier than using the story in reality.
    I think your story is perfect for the classroom and I wish I came across more, free stuff (graded readers are not exactly cheap over here). At the moment I’m reading a gripping novel and I think how great it would be if I could share it with my students but like most of the stuff I read, it’s too difficult for them. But still while reading I keep thinking about ways of using bits and pieces, grading it, simplifying it, etc. Thanks for sharing this, Mike.

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