Monday, June 25, 2007

story telling vs writing

In RC training today they asked us to reflect on our 'life-line' as a writer and create a time line of our attitude toward writing throughout our lives. As I sat and thought I realized that my writing life had two life-lines.

One started before I even started preschool, when I became a storyteller. I told stories to my dolls, the squirrels in the backyard, the ladybug on my arm, and any adult that would sit still enough to listen. I told my parents stories about the fairies in the backyard and the problems they were having with our golden retriever. My mind was constantly creating stories, developing characters, and finishing it all off with an exciting plot. In church I use to entertain myself by making up lives for the overly dressed up women sitting in front of me. My parents have boxes filled with my journals; pages of hard to read misspellings going back to when I was 6.

My other writing life-line is that of handwriting, spelling, grammar, and all the logistical nightmarish, school-oriented writing. I have always had terrible handwriting. I couldn't spell to save my life, and have never been able to pay attention to grammatical rules long enough to apply them to my writing.

Slowly high school, college, and a love of reading merged the two so that what i write is somewhat spelled correctly and somewhat grammatically correct some of the time. (Thank you for inventing computers.) To be a successful writer I had to learn all of those important rules. But to be a writer, I needed to love the process of story telling.

It makes me realize that we can pull stories out of kids that struggle to put pen to paper. Imaginations are full of stories and telling stories, even oral stories, is another form of writing. It's not always about how it looks, how its spelled, and its grammatical content. the most accurate writing produced by my first graders may not be the most well-written.

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