Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Family Style

I write. I love to write. I have loved to write since I was a child.

Now both my children write. Both my children write well.

Now, why would this be surprising, you ask? Well, for my oldest writing has not come easily. The incredible imagination and inspiration was always there but getting those words out in a harmonious fashion has been a long haul.

His speech therapy from age four consisted of lots of rhyming and poetry. And when I say lots, I mean one or two or three or even five rhymes a day. Created by us (as in he and I, but mainly he because it was no use me doing it, no help to him), until he was capable of creating by him. His therapist compared it to repairing a train track to comprehension and articulation, one that was damaged. You can see by his poem written at age seven that the track is pretty damn good now.

The next issue was writing. Hand writing. Due to his low muscle tone, and his obsession with perfection writing was a huge issue. Oh, and add in a preschool teacher who had told him he could not do it... hey presto! Instant meltdowns.

The wonderful former Principal and his grade one teachers started the slow journey to get past that one. And he did. By around grade five.

But in the past year or so, with the help of now utilising a laptop, his creative writing has blossomed. Incredibly. He now is so very articulate and talented that I no longer sit, brainstorm, push. I do not have to make him read his writing out loud to feel the rhythm of the words, he does this on his own. I do not have to tell him to not repeat and repeat the same phrases or words (yes, you can have echolalia in the written word), he knows not to by himself.  Now I read and go wow. And tell him to punctuate (in the excitement of a story spilling out this is his only sometimes forgotten rule).

My oldest has written a children's book for others on the autism spectrum. Simple, effective, positive and heartfelt. My oldest CAN write, by hell he CAN write.

My youngest. Well, when I was in primary school my parents were told by my teachers throughout, "MM is a truly gifted writer, you should be very proud and encourage this gift."
This fell by the wayside with High School and Uni (an economice degree? How the frig did I fall into that abyss?"), and the many awards rotted away in my cubby house.

I still have some of my pieces. My youngest leaves my supposed talent for dead. He hooks you in within the first second, and then the story sweeps you away into another realm. His style is polished, captivating, incredible.

For him it is in his blood. Never has he faced the demons my oldest has, it all was there, bubbling away, waiting to burst forth. His writing is amazing. We too brainstorm, but as equals. And I have learnt not to question why, as he always has a reason for taking a certain path. Mind you, it took me constantly being proved wrong in my doubt before I realised I needed to walk away and allow the brilliance to shine. The only small input I get now is again the punctuation reminder, though usually the response from Boy 2 is "Mu-um. It is only the rough draft!"

So, here we are. Three writers. And one amused Big Boy ("No way on earth did my genes have anything to do with this creative side they have!"). I wonder if the teachers truly believe the work is all theirs, because I must admit our writing style and rhythm, whilst different, is similar too. I can see how unique each is, but also note the close parallels. With Boy 1 it is understandable. The years of working together, of brainstorming, of reading, suggesting, helping when he was younger and the information did not flow fluently... of course you would expect my influence to have rubbed off. But all the teachers really need to do is look at the content, because those two boy brains come up with things I could not even dream of!

Boy 2, well whilst the effort was different I still was involved in the very young years. Our weekly sessions of bedtime storytelling where we each had seven nights to weave a verbal spell over the others would have influenced his thoughts on the way a story flows. And I... ah, whom I kidding. Boy 2 - it's genetic, but he is the improved version!

And they wonder why I call them the Augusten Burroughs and John Elder Robison of the next generation...


Suzi said...

Its amazing really, the power of genetics. Glad to hear they have your gift :)

Anonymous said...

Complex Post. This post helped me in my college assignment. Thnaks Alot

Leanne said...

Big thumbs up to writing!!

Melissa *Suger Coat It* said...

Naaaw. I loved this.

And first draft of your header, coming your way REAL soon. ;)