The Narrative Bug

16 Oct

BKS_l_BooksByTheFootLast night my ten-year old daughter caught the narrative bug. This was quite a surprise as my husband—the elementary school teacher—was always having to push her write anything. Isa is lucky (or unlucky and she will undoubtedly assert) to have a built in teacher at home who knows how to teach all the tricks for writing the essays needed to get you through school—or life, for that matter. The tricky part is that when it’s your dad telling you what to do, one tends to resist the help. And one also tends to whine a lot—or outright cry at times.

That was our story until last night when Isa decided to try her hand at narrative writing. Her dad gave her an old laptop and she went into her room for an hour and wrote. Now this kid has always been exposed to literature—in fact, she’s quite the book junkie. Case in point—just yesterday at school, she got to eat In-N-Out with the principal because she earned so many Accelerated Reader points (not sure if rewarding reading excellence with junk food is the right way to go, though.) Isa reads all kinds of stuff—Percy Jackson, Diary of Anne Frank, The Book Thief. She even pretends to read the New Yorker, but I know she’s really only looking at the cartoons. Her idea of a fun afternoon is to head to the library.

A book so good you can't put it down.

Her favorite thing to do.

Before bed last night, she brought the computer upstairs and asked if she could read her first couple of chapters—yes—chapters! Mind you, there were short chapters, but still. Not only that, her first paragraph hooked me right from the start. The voice of the protagonist—an eleven year old girl named Fiona Garcia (is that a great name, or what?) is so likable and funny that I can’t wait to find out what happens to her.

You’re probably thinking—get a grip, Jess—it’s just a story. It doesn’t mean Isa is going to be the next Pulitzer Prize winner in Literature (hey, you never know) or even become a published author. I guess the reason I’m so elated about Isa catching the writing bug is because I wish I had embraced writing more when I was young. To see such light come into her eyes when she talks about her story reminds me of my own childhood passion for creative writing. I remember often being told I was a good writer but as I lacked my own internal self-motivation, I allowed my writing bug to fly away. Now, over forty years later, I’ve managed to recapture that bug and although it’s often difficult, I think I’m managing to tame my it enough so that it won’t fly too far from home.

I’m more than happy to support Isa in all of her writing efforts. I will lovingly make suggestions and eagerly help with any editing requests. What I won’t do is tell her about the crushing self-doubt, fear of rejection or hitting that hard wall of writer’s block. I’ll let her discover these things on her own.

Where the magic happens.

Where the magic happens.

I’ll keep you posted on Fiona Garcia’s exploits. Or maybe Isa will. She just told me this morning that she wants to start a blog.

Oh Lord. Here we go.

5 Responses to “The Narrative Bug”

  1. Britton Swingler October 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    I am rarely more excited than when I hear of a child being bitten by the writing bug. Isa…yay, oh yay yay yay! I am kicking up my heels in celebration.

    It is my singular goal when teaching creative writing to children each week, to awaken in them the desire to put pen to paper; to erase their sad perceptions that writing is all misery and no joy. When this happens…and every year it does in a handful of them, my soul sings like it does now for Isa (and for you).

    Do I feel a mother/daughter story blog coming?

  2. Bonnie Gerstenfeld October 16, 2015 at 10:33 pm #



  3. Becky Green Aaronson October 17, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    This is wonderful! Go Isa! And yes, Fiona Garcia is an awesome name! She’s on fire already!

  4. Deborah Batterman October 19, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

    isn’t it a marvel — that seemingly overnight switch from something we resist and whine about to something that has us under its spell! Of course you could say that the ‘voice’ was already there, and the love of reading stories is the prelude to writing them. I see you beaming, Jessica, and I hope I’ll get to glimpse Isa’s work-in-progress.

  5. Liz November 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    how wonderful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: