“So Sarah wants to be a writer, huh?” Dave said to Cherry as they tidied up the kitchen after dinner. “This is the first I’ve heard of it.”
Dinnertime was when the Carlsons shared what was on their minds, compared schedules, sometimes argued and fussed, sometimes laughed and cried—but always felt they kept in touch with one another in the process. And this Tuesday night Sarah surprised them all with her announcement that she’d decided to be a writer.
Sarah was all of 13 years old, the second child in a series of four, all girls. The family had accompanied Sarah on a handful of flights of fancy as she first decided she wanted to be a nurse (this following having her tonsils out), a teacher (during the year Miss Adams charmed the socks off the 2nd graders), a gardener (after the summer she spent with her Aunt Sophie in the fertile central valley of California) and now, a month into her 7th grade year, this bombshell.
“I know,” Cherry responded. “I don’t think she’s ever even kept a diary. She’s got three nearly empty ones up on her bookshelf. Starts it after somebody gives her one for Christmas or something, then drops it after a week or so.”
“So, what brought this on?” Dave asked, smiling at his wife in shared knowledge of their second daughter’s many, many interests.
“Remember at the first of this year she decided to take Journalism, because that’s the class that puts out the school newsletter and the yearbook? She figured that would be less work than the only alternative this semester.”
Cherry chuckled. “Classic Literature Appreciation. That’s the class Joe Morton started last year where the kids have to read half a dozen of the classics, discuss them, and write several mini-reports and one mega-report at the end of the year. And she thought that would be more work than Journalism. Funny….”
“Miss Boxer took the class out to the athletic field last week, kept them out there nearly an hour, and told them to let their eyes roam all around, see if anything caught their interest, and then decide on something they saw to write about. Sarah wrote about clouds.”
“Yeah, surprised me, too. I mean, think about an athletic field. Goal posts, boys out there, sports equipment lying around, trees, buildings, and there are nearly always squirrels out there, and mud puddles….” She shook her head. “Clouds; huh.” She followed that train of thought silently for a bit, until Dave broke into her musings.
“So,” he prompted, “she wrote about clouds?”
“Yeah, Dave, and I want you to see this thing she wrote. Really amazed me.”
They finished up in the kitchen and Cherry went to get this literary masterpiece to show to her husband.
Dave wiggled his broadening bottom into the now bottom-shaped indentation in his recliner, and read silently. When he was finished, he turned to Cherry who had settled comfortably on the sofa.
“Did you say this ‘amazed’ you? I’m totally flabbergasted,” Dave shook his head. “I had no idea she could write like this. Did you?”
“None,” Cherry looked bemused. “But I certainly understand now why she wants to be a writer. Look what Miss Boxer wrote on the paper. ‘Perfect; I wouldn’t change a word.’ And she’s right, Dave: I wouldn’t either. And there’s something else you haven’t heard yet. Miss Boxer just tossed the current editor of the school paper aside and put our daughter in the position.”
“Nope—and she’s also going to be writing the school’s weekly column for the Bright River Bugle. Can you believe it?”
“After reading this, I can,” Dave said, waving the piece of paper in the air. “She’s very good. Who knew?”
“Well, here’s the thing, Dave. Obviously she’s got talent, and imagination. With training, some coaching, I think she can learn some skills and hone her craft to become that writer she’s decided she wants to be; maybe destined to be.”
“Well, it’s early days yet,” Dave cautioned. “You know how flighty she can be.”
“But Dave, I learned something at Women’s Bible Study this morning. You know the scripture that talks about training a child in the way he should go?”
“The Amplified Bible says something like, ‘in keeping with his natural gift or bent’.” I think we need to watch her carefully, and help guide her that way.”
“Wow,” Dave said. “That’s exciting: our daughter, a writer….”
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