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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Author's Celebration

Today, my Darling Daughter's class had their Author's Celebration.  They write lots of stories with writing prompts, illustrate the pages, and even have a Publishing Center in their classroom.  For those that like to write, this is a blessing - for those who struggle, it shows - on every page.

My oldest is still challenged with writing.  It's getting better the older he gets, but he needs lots of prompting, guidance, encouragement and attention.  My middle son absolutely loves to write and draw.  At night before bed, he prefers writing to reading.  He writes lengthy stories.  His spelling and penmanship leaves something to be desired, but the passion is there.  My Darling Daughter has it all together.  Great penmanship.  Great narrative. Great illustrations.  And when she reads her stories, she reads with such inflection, her story comes alive as she engages her listener.  As I thought about their different approaches to writing, I couldn't help but draw parallels in how we might write or live our life.  Or better yet, how we live our lives is our story and then how do we write it.  A little deep, I know.

Back to the kids.  The kids could write a story about anything, then there were also "formula" books like "How to Make a Turkey Sandwich" or a Step Book (first, second, third, then, last).  Some of the kids' freestyle writing was superior where others' the formula writing was best.  We live our lives much like this.  Some of us do great with the impromptu lifestyle, take things as they come, some order but mostly fluid - the story could go anywhere.  Some of us like the structured prompts like the Turkey Sandwich.  We know the outcome is a turkey sandwich, but how we get there looks different.  Yours has mustard, mine mayo; yours has cheese, mine is on rye.  Still a turkey sandwich, but we each approach it differently.

Layered over this approach is the outside influence we need to write our story.  Some might be like my oldest, needing lots of attention, prodding, encouragement, guidance ... the list goes on.  I wonder if those authors are ever confident of their story.  Or we might be like my Middle Son with great passion, but the message is hard to read.  Seldom do we have it all together - but when we do, it's breathtaking!

My favorite writing samples was the poetry.  And not just any kind of poetry, but highly structured poetry - which is funny, because I'm not highly structured (I'm probably a turkey sandwich kind of girl).  The kids wrote Haiku and Cinquain poems.  These require that you choose your words carefully - and I like that.  Words, both written and spoken, have a life beyond themselves.  And when you take the time to carefully craft your message, it shows. Each author had to think about what words he knew to describe his subject.  How many syllables, what kinds of words they chose (describing, action, etc.).  Their subject matter told the reader something about the author and how they viewed their subject, in very few words.  

I encourage you today to think about your message. Do you use highfalutin words or plain-Jane words?  What's your subject?   And which words are you choosing to live out?   

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