These past few weeks we made the fun jump into creative writing. I am super excited to see their imagination unleashed as we take on the mystery surrounding Harris Burdick and his lost illustrations. We each got to select just one of the images to inspire a complete mystery story that works to follow a plot structure.
The year was 1953. The evening was dark and heavy, as if a winter coat had been thrown upon the Chicago landscape. Rain fell down in torrents so much so that cars drove slowly and carefully, and no one ventured outside unless it was of utmost importance. On the corner of 5th and Vine Street, a small man in a drenched overcoat frantically wiped his round glasses, trying to read the scribbled note in his hands. Searching frantically from building to building, at last the small man discovered the address he was looking for and stepped inside the brightly lit foyer.
Trudging up the three flights of steps the man with the spectacles stopped in front of the office door for 303. On the glass window was etched in large manuscript writing, “Wenders Publishing Company- Mr. Peter Wenders and Associates.” ‘This is my chance’ thought the man with the prominent nose and round glasses. ‘This is my chance to finally share my stories with the world.” Once inside the office, the man introduced himself to the receptionist as Harris Burdick and explained that he had an appointment. The receptionist led Mr. Burdick down a long hallway to the large oaken door that read, “Peter Wenders.” Inside an older man with a white beard smiled and introduced himself as Peter Wenders, children’s book publisher. Eager to get to finally show his work, Harris Burdick produced from beneath his raincoat a large brown portfolio. From within it, Harris Burdick produced fifteen beautifully illustrated pictures. Each picture bore a hand‐drawn charcoal image, a title, and the first line of a story. As Mr. Wenders reviewed the pictures his smile grew with every new image. In a manner, which did not hide his enthusiasm, Mr. Wenders firmly shook Mr. Burdick’s hand and begged to see the stories that accompanied these marvelous works of art. Excited to have a publishing deal, Mr. Burdick promised to return the next day with the fifteen stories and would then be able to talk business with Mr. Wenders. Because of the torrential downpour of rain, Harris Burdick asked to keep the images there with Wenders and promised to return the next day first thing in the morning.
As morning of the next day approached, Mr. Burdick did not show. By noon there was still no appearance of the man in the oval glasses nor were there stories to accompany the charcoal drawings which sat proudly on Peter Wender’s desk. By 2:00 pm Mr. Wenders approached his secretary to see if perhaps there were any messages from Mr. Burdick. There were none. And as the day faded into night and Mr. Harris Burdick did not show up, so it was with next day and the next and the next. Weeks passed, and then months. As the years went by the mystery of Harris Burdick remained. Whatever happened to that imaginary young man whose pictures were of such delight and intrigue? Why would a man who had fame and fortune at his fingertips vanish into the night? And what of his images, possessing a title and first introductory line? What were the heroic, amusing, creative, and scary stories that were meant to join these pictures? Therein lies the true mystery of Harris Burdick...
Read more at The Harris Burdick Website
Also, if you want a fun time lapse video of our Writer's Workshop in action, check it out!