Tag Archives: writing

selective hearing boy….

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A year ago we inherited some “This End Up” furniture complete with a side table attachment for one of the chairs. The boy loves this attachment, which affords him the opportunity to eat food in front of the television, regardless what we say about the matter. Tuesday night was no different. After making himself a bowl of cereal he said to himself “Stand up. Place both hands firmly on either side of the bowl. Make sure bowl is level. Walk slowly…” Seated at the table next to him I said, “No. Back up and sit down at the kitchen table to eat”. Instead of following my pearls of wisdom he stutter stopped for a moment before he replied, “No. Communications array is down. Must continue moving forward.” And continued his slow walk out of the kitchen. I couldn’t help but laugh-not that he was disobeying me, but rather in how he phrased his answer before continuing on… “Slow and steady. Almost there. Nothing spilled yet….famous last words, I know. Success.” Once he made it all the way without spilling, his father, who happened to be seated in the living room asked, “What is that and why aren’t you eating it in the kitchen?” The boy straightened up and then smiled at his dad and said, “Um, Frosted Mini Wheat cereal” and then sat down and began eating.

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The boy has an essay due of Friday which if written well, could increase his odds at earning an additional scholarship for high school. Getting him to write a voluntary essay however, has been a war of wills. He sat down last week and wrote (in effect), “Let’s face it times are tough, my parents are broke, we need the money”.  “Um bay, you realize you can’t say that…” I said pointing at the Wordperfect document. “Okay, I’ll add that I want to study animals and become a writer…” he suggested.  “Buddy, you have to sell yourself a bit better and telling them ‘we’re broke’ doesn’t cut mustard. Everyone is broke. Talk instead about how you believe the education you’ve received so far has set you on a better path for high school and what you expect the high school education will do for you…” I swear, as I tried to explain, I watched his eyes gloss over and his mind drift off into the atmosphere. “What you don’t realize boy is I’ve been on the committee that picked out the winners of these essays the past seven years…I know what they are looking for….trust me.” Instead he said, “No, you just don’t believe in my writing ability” and walked out of the room.

Whether its a ploy on his part to get out of re-writing his essay or just trying to make me feel bad…one thing is very clear…he’s frustrating the heck out of me!

 

 

young authors….

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The boy has a creative mind. Yet his ability to translate his ideas to paper has always been a trouble spot for him. When the doll was younger, she wouldn’t go to bed unless her brother told her one of his “stories”. In an effort to help save those stories, I purchased a box recorder-hoping he would dictate his ideas onto tape, to transcribe later.  This took all the fun out of creating the story, he said. He preferred to keep them to himself. Every now and again he’ll tell me about the new “book” he’s working on.  Every character has a special ability or knows how to manipulate something to make them stronger. Each character is known for being different.

May 17, 2006: The boy’s class was working on a “Young Authors and Illustrators” paper. The local PBS station, in conjunction with Reading Rainbow television show, sponsors a contest each year for different age groups. The boy’s first grade teacher approached me after school one day and asked, “I know your husband does a lot or reading to the boy. I was wondering if he could be repeating anything your husband may have read to him.” Honestly I could not say. The reason for her concern was not so much because he’s “writing” a story, but rather, if this was truly just the boy’s idea, “I think we have next years’ winner. It’s that good…I think you’ll be blown away!” Without giving much away, Dylan let us in on the general plot line…A dragon, a griffon (I’m still trying to figure out what a griffon is), a rat and a boy named Eric on a trip to New York City. Until we had it read to us, we couldn’t comment for sure.

 The big night arrived when the boy would reveal his Young Author’s story to us. His teacher planned a nice dinner (pizza), entertainment (A local librarian storyteller) and a chance for all the kids to read their stories. The boy was the third student to read his story, but because he had written such a long “book” he and his teacher took turns reading every four or so pages.  In comparison to the other students, the boy’s book was 27 pages, while their books were closer to ten. His teacher was correct. We were blown away by his story telling skills. Now mind you, his imagination is always on, but he’s not always forth coming with what’s he’s thinking. As for comparisons to any other books his father has read to him, there are some similarities….the beginning location (the dragon’s cave), the problem facing the location (flood) and one character (rat). However the rat does things in the boy’s version completely different and how they solve a common problem is also different. So…we’re saying he borrowed from Dragon Riders, but wrote a companion piece to that book. Still, for a six year old, this is quite an impressive feat; if you ask me.

 The name of that story is “Redwing the Dragon” which we immediately packed away for safe keeping until he’s old enough to appreciate what he created. Since then, over the years, we’ve talked at length on how to flesh out characters first, create an outline of story ideas and then try to merge them all together.  So far, he’s kept all the ideas pretty much to himself. On occasion he’ll give me or his father some small insight for us to comment upon, but mostly they remain inside.

I hope someday he graces the world with his wonderful storytelling skills—not just off the top of his head. He told me the other day, his classmates enjoy when he gives them information about obscure things. That’s my encyclopedic minded child. Perhaps one day, through the help of a good teacher in high school (CCHS), he’ll allow the rest of the world to see what a great storyteller he can be.

Happy b-day bay!