Yesterday, I wanted my 9 year old to get off the couch. She had the flatscreen tuned to TeenNick, a tall glass of milk, and a Little Debbie fudge brownie at her fingertips. If I let her, she would have sat there all afternoon. Homework would have gotten ignored, bickering with her sister over the remote would have ensued…and well, I wanted her to get off the couch.
So I said, “Come with me…I want to get your opinion on something I wrote today. I need to know if it’s realistic 9-year old talk.”
She rolled her eyes and stared at me.
“C’mon. Really,” I urged.
Reluctantly, she got off the couch. Grabbing her brownie, but leaving her milk behind, she followed me to the office where I opened up my document and began reading to her.
When I was finished, she said, “Yep. That’s pretty realistic. I could picture it all in my head.” She scampered off and headed to her own desk, a slanty artist’s table and said, “I’m gonna write, too.”
She took some printer paper from my office, folded it lengthwise and stapled, fashioning her own little book and then sauntered up to her desk wielding a pencil. I started on some edits.
“Mom!” she called. “How do you spell nowhere?”
I spelled it.
“And how about castle?”
Again, I spelled the word.
“And dresses?!” She called out. “It seems like there are too many S’s.”
“There aren’t. That’s how it’s spelled.” I am getting annoyed now. So much for trying to share a workspace with my 3rd grader.
“How’s your book coming?”
“Oh, well mine’s almost done,” she chirps.
Figures. I’m spelling every word that goes into her book.
“Yes, Kate? My story is about Cinderella on the Titanic.”
I roll my eyes. The kid’s been obsessed about the oceanliner since forever. “We’re learning about folktales at school right now. Did you know there are about 40 different versions of a Cinderella story?”
“I didn’t know that.” I am partially awed and annoyed.
“Well, now there’s 41 cause I added the Titanic version.”
“Mom! How do you spell marriage?”
I blow out a puff of air, an exaggerated sigh before praising her efforts then spell marriage.
“Well, my book’s done!” she announces. “How ’bout yours?”
And so I capture this exchange for several reasons:
1) My writing (and subsequent reading of) only inspired my daughter her to do the same on her own level. That’s a win.
2) Creativity is contagious. A little spark from someone else can create a fire within someone different.
3) Ideas and inspiration can be shared.
4) 3rd graders are decidedly less sophisticated than their adult counterparts when it comes to writing a story. And that’s probably the way it should be. However, life would be so much easier if authors just took a few pieces of paper, stapled them together, grabbed a pen, and began.
5) The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And what she creates may have some similar ingrediants, but it may result in an apple cobbler, pie, cake, bread, danish, applesauce, or just sliced with a schmear of peanut butter. No matter–it’s still her creation. And that’s what matters.
Happy Weekend, all! Write something delicious.