Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Readers Become Writers
Ask any writer and most will tell you they have been a reader all their life. I was. One of my favorite books as a nine-year-old was Lois Lenski's Strawberry Girl. The main character grew up in the country and so did I. We lived with my grandfather for several years after my parent's divorce. I rode the tractor with Grandpa to plow up potatoes. I hoed corn until sunset. I gathered the eggs from the hen house - they always pecked me! We drew water from an artisan well and pottied in an outhouse.
I watched my grandfather read every night by the light of a fire or a dim lamp bulb. He enjoyed paperback westerns. I read whatever I could get my hands on from the school library.
I didn't set out to be a writer. But, after I married, I wrote the dreaded Christmas letters, poems for party invitations, eventually homeowners newsletter articles and served as editor for several newsletters. In my 50s, I tackled writing for publication.
My fourteen-year-old twin granddaughters have been readers ever since their mother started Hooked on Phonics with them at the age of 3. They called when they were four to read to us. They recommend books for me to read like the Hunger Games. Won't comment on that. Both say they want to be writers.
This past year an assignment to write an essay resulted in a contest winner. Lina wrote an essay on my giving her my grandfather's violin when she outgrew the student violin she played at the time. Little did I realize how much that gift influenced her until I read her essay - and cried. I included it in one of my Rocky Mountain Senior articles with the editor's consent. Now the editor created a generational column that she assigns to me each quarter.
The teachers were blown away by Lina's essay and the fact it appeared in print. One suggested she enter it in the Scholastic Arts and Writers contest.Unfortunately it was the last day to submit. Lina hurried to add a few more words to meet the word count. She won second place regionally. I could use the essay as an example to teach the use of active verbs!
We never know how much we as writers influence children whether family or not. Encourage your children/grandchildren to read. Writing will follow.