#EncourageAYoungWriterDay – April 10th, 2016.
As a writer in the public eye, I am often approached to read this piece or that. Most times, it is the young writer, the kid with a knack for entertaining who comes to me with arms outstretched and a downward glance just begging for a “professional” to read their work. Being asked to read a young writer’s work is among the most humbling of experiences for me. Behind the gesture is trust, fear, excitement, and hope.
Each work, each story has some back-story behind it. Imagination is influenced by personal experiences and it is those personal experiences that drive the writer to share their words. I have seen teachers struggle with the constraints placed upon what the school system deems “good writing”. For too many years, writing has been distilled into quantitative data points measured against the average. The idea that there is more to writing than grammar and spelling seems to have been lost in the quest for something to place into a graphing chart.
Currently on my desk is a phenomenal piece of word-art that is enhanced by the young author’s experience as a child-patient of the healthcare system. Afflicted with a condition that kept her in the hospital more than the classroom, her “skills” are nearly permanently deemed, well…”childlike”. But her imagination, her comparisons, her coping strategies, her dominance over the experience comes out in her passionate recollection of her years of medical care.
It is this work that will find its way into publication very soon to see what the reading public has to say about it. On its own, the work is a testament to how the school system failed her special needs, but in contrast, it is a work that shows her strength in overcoming the odds to continue living her life. Her words and her photos are like a window into her soul and I am humbled to have been allowed a look inside.