Do You Have a Jetpack Yet?


Here’s a collaborative writing adventure for you, based on a method called exquisite corpse. I created this one for a TEDxTheWoodlands alumni gathering a couple weeks ago. It’s actually a variation of the version I made for my WordPlay workshop for kids, and the topic of travel via jetpack was the greatest generator of both visual and word art I’d ever encountered with my students.

Maybe they were inspired by the Sci-Fi nature of personalized jet-propulsion energy. Perhaps the fact that I led into the writing exercise describing the TED Talk about this guy and his jetpack invention  & then played Jill Sobule’s song, “If I Had a Jetpack,” was what uber-energized the children’s creativity. I’m not really sure, but I do know I’d never witnessed them as on-fire to draw and write and collaborate with one another as they were on Jetpack Day.

You can check out my previous post with some of writing and drawings HERE.


Get with one or more friends. Fill in the blank of the first line, then fold over the paper so that your filled-in line can’t be seen & pass the paper to the person next to you. The next person does the same. Keep filling in blanks, folding the paper, passing it on. You can fill in two lines at a time to make the process go faster, if you wish. The person who fills in the final blank/line of the page becomes the reader of that piece of collaboration. Go around the group and read aloud each page of Jetpack Wordy Adventure!



If I had a Jetpack my first long-distance travel destination would be __________.

The last place I’d want to accidentally land is __________.

If I could take someone else with me in a Jetpack tandem ride it would be __________.

The individual I’d never want to be strapped next to is __________.

In fact if I were stuck with her/him, I might just have to __________.

If I could time travel to the past with my Jetpack I’d go back to __________.

I’d hate to have technical difficulties & accidentally end up in __________.

If I could time travel to the future with my Jetpack I’d go to __________.

I’d be most afraid of discovering __________.

If I got lost Jetpacking I know ___________________________ would come to my rescue.

If I were injured in a Jetpack crash I’d hate to lose function of my __________.

If I were to die from my injuries the person who’d miss me most is __________.

I’d want to be remembered as the person who always __________.

But I’m afraid I might be remembered as the person who never __________.


About deniselanier

I am an educator & advocate, poet & performer, speaker & storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to transform & transport, create & connect. I was the shy, awkward girl who didn’t fit in, was often bullied, happiest with my nose in books, whose best friend was my dog. After being cast in a play in my teens I discovered a way to be comfortable in my own skin, bringing to life the words of a character. Costumed in make-believe I dared to be more of myself than I ever allowed off-stage; I claimed my voice. I spent most of my adult life teaching others to raise their own voices, through acting, creative writing, even slam poetry. When the diagnosis of MS intervened in my 30s I had to let go of acting, which is why most of my storytelling is now expressed through page and less “formal” interactions with stages. I devote much of my time to kids, teaching them to use words & imagination, developing authentic, resilient, remarkable voices. I endeavor to grow in my students the belief, the truth, that we are all artists & the change-makers in our own stories. My best friend still has fur & four legs. My mobility assistance dog is my constant companion, teaching assistant & muse to many. Luke is also chief partner in crime; I’m getting a reputation for stealing things. As inventor of a poetic form called klepto-collaborative, I pickpocket words & phrases from others, reshuffling & reshaping the puzzle-pieces into a colorful, storied mosaic of diverse voices. Taking something from every speaker at a conference in real-time, I craft a collective poem that highlights the messages of the day, repurposing ideas & refashioning stories, weaving them together in a manner that never loses the originality & spirit of the speakers’ themes. So while I may be a word thief, I figure being eco-conscious makes up for it. I’m available to facilitate wordy goodness in your community, school, workplace or play space. I like to think I have way of transforming annual meetings into something interactive, cooperative & memorable. Through my klepto-collaborative poems I aim to delight, to ignite conversation, and maybe even incite innovation. I earned an MFA from Florida International University, where I edited Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. I’m the founder of WordPlay, a poetry-in-the-schools project inspired by Dave Eggers. My poetry has appeared in Bloomsbury Review, Cake, Luna, Best American Poetry blog (a collaborative poem with the phenomenal Denise Duhamel), Wicked Good Life, and various anthologies. My non-fiction has appeared in the Miami Herald and my fiction has been nominated for Best New American Voices. &

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