A couple of months back, I posted scans of the book I wrote back in first grade, saved from the ravages of time by the foresight of my mom. That was only one of three grade school stories my mom saved. The second one, written when I was in third grade, was called The Game.
The Game is another example where, as a kid, I really wanted to sound like I knew what I was talking about. A bunch of my friends liked baseball, so I decided to write a story about the sport. However, I was a football fan and didn’t even know what a shortstop was.
I guess I could have watched a baseball game at some point, but instead I dove head-first into my narrative with nothing more than second-hand knowledge and rules references from Peanuts comic strips. When you’re eight years old and writing a book, enthusiasm is everything.
This story went on display at my school library, which reminds me of how amazing teachers are. They receive these raw, unfinished projects all the time and have to celebrate them while also providing gentle criticism. Moreover, they need to be sincere in their praise, which must be pretty tough.
I’d say that parents have the same plight, but I don’t feel that with my kids. Anything they make, even if it’s just scribbles on a piece of paper, is something I want to put on display somewhere. The fact that they were passionate enough to do something artistic blinds me to everything else.