Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)
- TITLE: Future Literature in Progress
By Allen Stark
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Ever since my grandmother formed the skeleton of my reading and writing talent, writing has been my better world where my imagination is king. Teachers of reading and writing should offer this same self-creation to their students, hoping to make their lives richer and happier while giving them more alternatives.
I worked with the youth writer for over twenty years. A few years ago I found the literature the youth were writing was beginning to lose its youthful innocence. The poetry and stories I was getting seemed restricted somehow, and it lacked the happy, creative energy of youthful art. I wanted to find, if I could, a way for my students to get from their writing some of what they did from other activities that gave them pleasure, such as, music and sports.
I began to encourage them more toward being free, deep and extravagant in what they wrote, so they could find what was hidden in them that needed saying. I tried to get my students to understand and believe that writing is a grip on existence, an empowerment, and a way to listen to the inner truth of the self. If I could get them to do this, they would begin a life-long dialogue which would put them in touch with the funniest, the most imaginative, and the truest of their visions when writing their manuscripts. And they would be keeping great company with their own genius.
The poems and stories I began receiving were beautiful, imaginative, lyrical, funny, different, and touching. The students began to get in touch with feelings they had forgotten, and should have been dealing with all along. Their writing also reminded me of my own childhood and how much I had forgotten about it. The manuscripts were innocence, elation, and intelligence. They no longer had a sad quality to them. The things they wrote had a lovely music about them.
We all, especially the youthful writer, if we can get in touch with it, have a natural talent for imagination. All we have to do is discover our strong feelings, spontaneity, sensitivity, and carefree inventiveness.
Our youth learn to respect writing and to know it as a central aspect of life by living in a home where the family frequently writes, be it on notepaper or a computer word program. Families should be writing—things remembered, stories of love and laughter, and yes, even painful things that hopefully don't occur too often, the silly things that make the family uniquely different from all the rest; family stuff—important stuff.
What the creative minds of our children need are more opportunities to say what they can and need to say, sooner. That is why I developed the Future Literature In Progress (F.L.I.P.) program as a supplement to regular classroom programs.
Hundreds of thousands are today hacking away at the various limbs of discontent, while others attempt to strike at the root of the problem. Teaching to communicate at higher levels, in order to express our thoughts and feelings through writing, is a positive action and is a better way of getting at the root of the problem.
Those who teach have an awesome responsibility in the task of educating students, because the abilities to think precisely, learn successfully, communicate effectively, and to live responsibly depend heavily on the skillful use of language. Training must be provided that will enable the young writers of manuscripts to master language skills that will cause the agents and publishers to jump out of their seats when they pick up a manuscript being queried.
Without written and spoken communication we would not have some of the priceless treasures on our library shelves. In order for us to continue sharing to the next generation, and the next, we must be competent communicators writing the publishable manuscript.
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