Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Post that is not about ALS

The day before Sarah's second birthday party she hit the back of her head against the glass shelf at the Gymboree in Market Fair.  The accident resulted in a trip to the ER, where she received a few stitches.  Most of that experience was probably way more traumatic for me than her.  The next day, at her party, she regaled the guests (which were mostly grown-ups) about the story of her getting stitches. She told about falling off the stroller, the blood on her head, the drive to the ER, how she had to lie on her belly and be put in a papoose, and then how she got a lollipop.  I knew at that time that Sarah was going to be a writer.

Margaret Wise Brown, author of the most popular children's book Goodnight Moon, also wrote a book called Big Red Barn.  Though Goodnight Moon was quite a hit in our house when my kid's were little, it was Big Red Barn that was Sarah's favorite.  Sarah was a little over two years old, I was hugely pregnant with Gillian, and we would often sit in the glider in her bedroom.  We would read this book every night.  And when I say "we" I mean me, and also Sarah.  She was "reading" along with that book from a very early age.  But more important than her memorizing or "reading" the book, was the questioning that she did about the characters and the setting, how the book was put together, and why did this lady do the pictures and the words but some books there were two separate people who did that job.  Yes, she was a very precocious two year old.  Yes, she was a genius (aren't they all?).

Me:  "By the big red barn, in the great green field, there was a pink pig who was learning to squeal..."

S: Mama why is the pig pink?

Me:  Because that is what color they are.

S: I saw a pig and it wasn't pink.

Me:  What color was it?

S: Dirty.

Me:  Ok...  "There was a great big horse, and a very little horse."

S:  Is the little horse the baby horse?

Me:  Yes.

S:  Is that the horse's Mama?

Me:  I think so.

S:  Maybe it is the horse's uncle.  Like Uncle Monkey (Mikey).

Me:  Maybe.

S:  I want it to be the horse's uncle.

Me:  Ok..."And every barn is a weather vane of course, a golden flying horse"

S:  Mama I think the horse on the barn can really fly but only at night time when the farmer is sleeping.  Like the tooth fairy.

And so our book reading went.  {I don't remember if it was these exact words, but I remember the flying horse to be pretty accurate).  I knew at that time that Sarah was going to be a writer.

As she grew, and started to "write" her own stories, Sarah was not satisfied with just scribbling what she thought were words and drawing coinciding pictures.  Every time an adult or older child entered our home, she would insist that they staple together a book of paper and transcribe her words. Sometimes she would draw the pictures, sometimes she would get Grandma to do it, but mostly she liked having her little collection of her books on her shelf and she would often ask me to reread them to her.  I knew at that time that Sarah was going to be a writer.

The years flew by and many times I would walk into Sarah's room and find her in bed writing.  She would often ask me to buy her notebooks from the dollar store.  One time we were working together to "organize" her room, and I got a good look at her bookshelf.  And there among the Freddy the Hamster books, were her notebooks, filled with stories and poems, descriptions of settings, family trees, and story outlines.  I had never really kept track of how much she was writing.  I knew at that time that Sarah was going to be a writer.

Looking on Sarah's desk one evening I saw a gift bag filled with little slips of paper.  Teeny tiny slips of paper with teeny tiny words on them.  When I inquired about the bag, she revealed that each paper had a name on it.  A possible character for a future short story, novel, or play.
I knew at that time that Sarah WAS a writer.

Now she is in college.  Her writing has been published - short stories and poetry.  She has been blogging for years - some of it for just herself, some of it to share with others.  She is finding a community of writers within the walls of her new college community.  I am not sharing this on my blog to merely brag about my daughter (I confide that that is definitely part of it), but also to emphasize that I feel that it is imperative for people to do what they love.  We have a limited amount of time on this earth (okay this part is a little about ALS),  and why should we waste it doing things that don't make us happy.  I am THRILLED that Sarah is finding herself through her writing.  Make space on your bookshelves my friends.  She is on her way.

1 comment:

  1. That's what I did as a child, and voila! I'm a writer. Writing is a gift as much as it is a skill. I love this post, it is evident she's not the only writer in the family.