In light of Tina’s sometime aversion to putting pencil to paper (unless she’s drawing), I choose my words carefully. Would she like to enter a story contest? The librarian says I can type it if all the ideas are hers.
Absolutely! She shows me two that are already underway. The one about a dog has some writing, courtesy of the neighbour girl who served as a scribe, and the one about a cat has some exciting illustrations. Tina’s proud of her surprise picture, and I think I see the influence of some of the excellent picture books she’s enjoyed.
Armed with supper and fuelled with enthusiasm, she talks while I type. Only infrequently does she ask me what I think happens next, to which I answer, “I don’t know.”
Not a problem. The story starts out as an archetypal “Animal Finds a Home” story, with strong elements of “The Ugly Duckling.” Add an ocean cruise, intense dialogue and splashes of humour–and Tina has her very own 737-word story.
Which brings me to remember once again that we’re all individuals. There’s a place, and it’s a prominent one, for doing what we’re told in school and completing assigned homework. But there’s also a place to put creativity on cruise sans control and let imagination run free.
I’m glad I get to be there for that part.