Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
TITLE: Possible Impossibilites
By Marlene Bonney
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It was in the academic community where Clark excelled, having mounted daunting hurdles to claim his right to be accepted into its ranks . . .
“Mama, I don’t want to go to school,” the eight-year-old insisted, “it’s too hard.”
“Look, honey, you can trace over the dotted lines your teacher fixed for you and then you will make letters like the other kids.”
“Mama, I don’t want to read the book. I can’t do it,” Clarkson whined, “it’s too hard.”
“Can’t never did anything; yes, I know it’s hard for you, honey, but you CAN do it!”
“Mrs. Dauntry, your teenaged son has improved significantly over the past couple of years. You should be greatly encouraged! He will never be an athlete, but his gross motor skills get better and better. However, I must caution you. This dream he has of becoming a writer will never happen. The clasping muscles in his fingers are unable to respond to brain messaging. Instead, it would be best for you to keep him focused on things like swimming and reading now that his developmental delays are more on track, activities that are actually attainable.”
“You’re wrong, Doctor. Our son has a natural talent for oral storytelling and an avid imagination far superior to others his age. He has evidenced this from a toddler, and is remarkably talented. His teachers have all commented on this ability, and I will not tolerate ANYONE discouraging his God-given gift!”
Clark smiled at these memories as he dropped the parcel at the local post office, thankful for his mother’s tenacity and incredible optimism that kept him pursuing and improving. She was gone now, bless her heart, but was able to see his first book in print before the short illness took her life.
“All those cassette tapes my mother recorded of my stories gave me the inspiration I needed to learn early communication skills,” Clarkson often shared with his audiences of college freshmen, “so I am a prime example of the value of alternative learning methods.”
“Also, the necessity to educate yourself--through formal or independent study--on the technical and stylistic qualities of writing and on the ideals and intelligence of your audience, is imperative.”
“Professor, what do you think makes a writer great?”
“Their education and their insight; but most importantly, their dedication and persistence to the craft. In other words, they practice their writing every day and are enthusiastic readers themselves. This aids them to experience and understand grammar and style in their varied forms and become aware of which writing techniques are most effective.”
After the students departed for the day, Clarkson packed up his materials and sat down for a few moments to critique the session, which he played from the sophisticated recording system.
“Something is missing that I need to teach them,” he fretted, running things through his mind like the yarn passing through his mother's fingers as she knitted, “so the answer is for me to process the variables that have made me a successful writer . . . “
“I’ve got it! Dr. Elliot’s advice, the literature instructor I had back in high school. How he believed in men, even when I had doubts and fears about my abilities. He told me once that even if I had all the skill imaginable, I would be unable to interpret what I hadn’t first experienced or felt first. THAT’S what I need to impart to my students, as well.”
“Students, I want to leave you with some personal advice before this semester ends tomorrow, and it is this: All your experiences in life—past, present and future—are the most important tools you will need for becoming great writers. The positive ones as well as the negative, the things you yourselves have LIVED, are events that God has ordained for your learning and wisdom. They are also the ones that your readers will feel as you interpret them through your writing. And never forget that if you change one other life for the better through your writing, you have experienced the sweetest success ever, because you have touched and changed another life.”
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