James Dickey’s definition of a writer – “someone who is enormously taken by things anyone else would walk by”. The strong sense of writing comes from a desire to take hold of an experience and make something great out of it. According to Lucy Calkins in her book, The Essentials of Writing, a writer takes a moment, an image, a memory, a phrase, an idea and holds it in his/her hands and declares it a treasure. In order to tap into this writer’s energy you have to first understand what writing is all about. Writing doesn’t begin at a desktop…but rather with life experiences. The imagination of a child surpasses anything we as adults can conger up. They see fairies sitting among the flowers, birds dancing in a water puddle and even leaves blowing across the lawn on an autumn day as magical.
In our world today, children are having to grow up pretty fast in order to keep up. Individuality is a word spoken in shadows at tones far below the hearing ear. It’s about fitting in and following a self-proclaimed leader of the pack. But is that what we as parents really want for our children? No two children have the same existence. They are each “one of a kind”. That isn’t always rewarded these days. Nothing worthy comes easy. Every child has something to say…a voice that longs to be heard. They are looking for a way to communicate to others that their lives are vital and real to them. When I look at children I can’t avoid seeing them among a world of children whose faces, lives and stories emerge in such a way that it not only changes them but me as well.
I child who discovers their inner writer learns to question, observe, investigate and research that which is not known to them. When writing starts with the unknown it is more likely to develop into something significant. Children have a need to represent their own experiences. They write to communicate, plan, remember, announce, list, dream, make known, educate but, more than that they write holding their lives in their hands and making something valuable emerge.
Writing allows a child to turn chaos into something beautiful, capturing moments, uncovering and celebrating new patterns of existence. A child who masters his writing desires is both powerful and awesome.
That’s the beginning of an amazing journey into self and expression. Writing is not about brainstorming or topic listing as much as it is about discovering or remembering a time when writing was important to you and then conveying that experience to children.
Reading is fundamental, however writing is a birth right!