art / novel / writing

What have I started?

view from my desk

A couple of weeks ago, my son picked the book Waggit Forever to read. I read it out loud to him, usually three or four chapters at a time. He wanted me to read more, but my throat would wear out by then. One morning he woke me up with the book in his hand. “Mom! Please read!”

He was excited to find out the ending of the book, and then sad to realize that was it. Then we learned that Waggit Forever is the third of a series. So, of course, I got him the previous two books. We got through them in a few days. He shunned TV and the Wii for these books.

But now they’re done. Well, he figured he could write his own Waggit stories. We sat down and listed all the characters and took notes on possible story lines. My son decided four pages of notes would be a good start.

For a change of scene, I offered to take him to the coffee shop to work on it. I thought he would like the offer. He said yes. I thought he’d sit for an hour. He sat at a table in the coffee shop from about 12:50pm to 6:35pm. We wrote out pages of Waggit stories.

The next day, he said he’d have to make a map of the park Waggit and his friends lived in. He spent about 6 total hours to draw this map–three large pieces of drawing paper connected together. We cut tiny pieces of paper, each piece to represent a dog, and he moved them around, figuring out where they were going, and all the places were they had their adventures.

We emailed the author, Peter Howe, too. My son told him all his favorite scenes, asked if there would be a 4th book, and told him about the stories he was writing. And Peter Howe wrote back! He is writing another book and he thinks it is great my son is writing his own stories. He asked my son to share them when he was done.

Now, how’s that for a fan?

I’m amazed by my son’s commitment. Then I worry if I’ve doomed him to an obsession. Can you imagine inspiring someone to such a degree?

(Postscript: “Mom, Peter Howe wrote 258 pages. We’ve only written 40 something pages. We’ve got a lot more work to do!”)

14 thoughts on “What have I started?

  1. That’s pretty incredible. Recently my kids have been obsessed with Legos. All three playing together for hours at a time, without bickering, is pretty darn cool.

    I think your son is lucky to have such a creative, involved mother.

    • Anything that uses the imagination and stops bickering is awesome. If your kids like Legos, have they seen James May’s Lego house? They should!

  2. This is such a great anecdote. I love that in your transparent occasional preoccupation with your own work, you apparently made him curious enough to experiment — and experience the preoccupation himself. (Note careful avoidance of the word obsession.)

    My mother has always said I was a difficult kid to punish with isolation (not that I ever did much worth punishing, ahem). If she made me go to my room, I’d happily stay in there for hours — playing with toy cars and such, or reading. I think her and Dad’s only option may have been to send me to their room, a disappointingly toy- and book-free zone. Well, it had books and other stuff to read, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it. I wish I could report that I’d spend the time writing but I don’t think I ever did.

    Wonder how long it will be before we get to read about the kiddo’s first existential crisis of confidence. 🙂

    • My parents couldn’t send me to my room either. I was more than happy to go. As for my kiddo, he’s already had crisis of confidence. Nearly broke my heart.

    • Thank you, Squirrel. Most of the time I just feel like a crazed, hope I don’t scar him for life mother. But this project we’re still working on is fun for us both.

  3. What an encouraging story Marta- thanks for letting us in on it. It’s so exciting when our kids are excited. I also think that even if he moved on to something else besides writing, knowing what it feels like to be engaged, creative, and curious will hold him in good stead, no matter what he chooses to do.

  4. my daughter is writing a novel. it’s beautiful–at 11 she has a firmer sense of plot than me, and an elegant, clean style (also not like me!). But poor girl, what a life! i am a terrible career model.

    ah well, to write — to create at all — is to be curious and alive. so it is a good legacy.

    speaking of which: more love for your work at my little blog today. come and see!

    http://www.cheapbohemian.net/2010/07/poetry-thursday-how-rabbit-is-like.html

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