Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It Runs in the Family...

Ethan has taken to writing.  Before bed.  When he wakes up in the middle of the night.  On the way to school.  He's on his second "book," the first one being scribbled into a tiny gift-bag sized note pad, the poorly glued-together pages falling out and taped back in--the story of a library book that comes to life in his bedroom.  While it does sound all magical and I'm so proud of his initiative, using either the words "story" or "book" is a bit of a stretch, in the most forgiving, we're talking about a 7 year old here, kind of way.  The plot was discernible only because he told me what it was about as I was trying to decipher it. His spelling is soupr kreeativ and long words are smooshed vertically along the margins.  Words are spaced strangely so that entire sentences looklikeonelongsentence, and then there are individual words that l  o  o  k   l  i  k   e th   i s.  And punctuation?  Just no.   I'm pretty sure they're not studying e.e. Cummings in school, so I guess he comes by it honestly.

And that's fantastic.  I caught him erasing the other day and gave him a little mini-lesson in shutting up the editor when you're writing.  Don't worry about spelling or punctuation (clearly, he's got no problem letting go of the conventions of grammar and usage at this point) and don't judge your ideas; just let them flow.  "I will mom; I just thought I could make a better 'd.'"  His streak of perfectionism is very selective.

Last night, he upped his game, digging up a larger, spiral notebook with a pop-art looking Darth Vader on the cover.  He found an orange velvet-covered pencil. Yeah, that's what I said.  A velvet-covered pencil.  He declared it his "story writing pencil,"  announced that he was starting his second book, and disappeared to the upstairs, where the reclusive writer started penning his next masterpiece.

Periodically he would come to the upstairs banister and announce to whomever was listening in the family room below (me, possibly the cats), "I just finished chapter (insert whichever chapter he'd completed here)!" "That's awesome, honey! Have fun!" I'd yell back and hear his feet march back to his room, thudding the few steps it takes to get to the carpet on his floor.  Ten minutes of quiet and then, again at the stairs, "Done with the next chapter!!"  "Great! Can't wait to read it when it's done!"

I expected him to come down within the hour, book completed, beaming with pride, as he did the first one.  But apparently this second offering is far more in depth and time-consuming than his debut.  Perhaps he was feeling pressure after the wild success of his first offering, which was very popular with everyone in his family room--even the cats lifted their lazy heads and sniffed at the pages before casting aloof, slightly annoyed eyes around the room and then going back to sleep.  So at bedtime, he was still crafting his book.  This morning, in the car on the way to school, he was still writing.  I snuck a tiny peek last night while he slept (before he woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom--and write down an idea) and this book seems to come complete with illustrations as well as several chapters of who knows what (I'm sure I'll get a plot summary before being asked to give a review).

I'm fairly certain that in a few days time, he'll be back to constructing Ninjagos out of Legos and engaging in epic light saber battles in his playroom. And he'll go back to counting the years until he can get a job at Apple or Facebook and will pester me to download another game app where someone's jumping subway cars or playing iPhone sized skee-ball  (ah, life in  Silicon Valley). But for right now, I'm going to relish the sight of my kid emulating me, pencil and notebook in hand, creating characters (all named Ethan, natch) and stories of heroes and bad guys and magical library books.


lonek8 said...

I always wrote stories as a kid - well, I wrote lots of beginnings to stories. The endings not so much. But I loved it, and I need to get back into it. I'd love my kids to get really into writing, but more than that I want them all to get super into reading so that a) I can share all the great books i have all ready for them to read (roald dahl! Artemis Fowl!), and b) they'll stop bugging me to do stuff. Mama don't DO. Mama READS

Sarah said...

Adorable!! Harry's spacing is the same way-- total headache for me b/c I want to lovingly admire every word, but some are indiscernible.

cicadalady said...