And so my eight-year-old son, the voracious reader but painfully reluctant writer, has progressed from writing about building a treehouse in Maine with his dad, to a nonfiction report on the Iguanodon with its fearsome thumb spikes, to creating a fictional story about the adventures of Frog the Kitten and Sid the Skunk.
Now the focus is poetry. In class, they’ve read many examples of what poems can look and sound like. My son’s favorite collection is the latest Shel Silverstein, Everything On It. But enjoying poetry is not the problem—apparently. Continue reading
Thinking about writing—and my son. In a recent parent-teacher conference, one of his teachers suggested that my son is a perfectionist, and that’s why he’s so reticent to put words on the page. She told me how she sat down with him one day to brainstorm ideas. As they came up with idea after idea, she would occasionally say, “That’s a really good idea. Why don’t you write a story about that?” Each time, my son would say, “No, I don’t want to…” And his voice with trail off and fall into a sort of despondent monotone. It was like no idea was worthy enough, not inspiring enough for him to go through the effort of thinking about the words he would need to write his story. Continue reading
I saw a Word for Word staged reading of two stories from Peter Orner’s collection, Esther Stories, tonight in San Francisco. After the performance, Orner, the cast of actors, and the director fielded questions from the audience. Someone wanted to know how a story meant for reading is turned into a “play” and how it changes the performance process.
The answer is intriguing: Continue reading