Monday, June 28, 2010

Spilling Ink: Section 24

In Section 24 of Spilling Ink,  Anne Mazer celebrates the quirkiness of writers.  She explores how to use sometimes unpopular character traits to your advantage as a writer.  She says that every character trait is a double-edged sword, depending on how it is used. 

She asks young writers what faults they have that might serve them well as writers.  As I pondered this question, I thought about a conversation I had with Emily not too long ago.  Out of the blue, she said, "I like writing because I get to make my characters do things that I would want to do."  I knew instinctively what she meant.  She wasn't contemplating characters that jump out of helicopters or sing like rock stars.  She was probably thinking about creating a sassy character, one who questions authority, or strategically straddles the line between right and wrong.  You see, she is her mother's daughter-- not only are we chronic pleasers, we are also rule followers. 

I don't consider rule-following and people-pleasing faults, exactly, but I do think that writing is a great way for Emily to explore different personality traits, to sort of "try them on for size" as she grows up and works to figure her own style and personality.  It is a harmless way to break a rule or talk back to a grown up without getting into trouble.  Maybe if we were able to entice more students to write and work through issues on paper, then we'd have less behavior problems.... I know that's quite a stretch, but I'm just saying....

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