Recently our two granddaughters spent the afternoon with their grandmother for what is known in our family as “Gramma Day.” It’s a casual weekly get together time after school with “just the girls,” as the girls themselves like to remind me. Their afternoon with my wife, Betty Ann, almost always concludes with a meal that the girls enjoy at our house before Grampa, that’s me, takes them home in time to get ready for school the next day.
Morgan the Writer
Morgan, as a seven year-old first grader, loves to read and just lately has discovered the art and satisfaction of writing stories. This particular day she was walking around the house with her little spiral notebook and had it sitting near her plate as we all ate supper. As I was about to leave the table and begin clearing plates, Morgan said, “Grampy, can you sit with me? I want to write another story.”
Just how much my granddaughter has ever paid attention to the fact that I too love words and stories, I cannot say for sure. But all that mattered when Morgan asked me to sit with her is that my answer needed to be yes and it needed to be right then. And there we sat, at the dining room table, notebook out, pencil in hand and one little thinker with the eraser on her cheek and staring at the ceiling waiting for the words to come.
One word to another
I knew this stance, this feeling, instantly. And as one word and then another came I watched her facial features change as her eyes lit up and her pencil found the paper. There is a kind of certainty, of absoluteness, in watching young writers press their words upon a page with so much force that dents in the page that follows. And for Morgan on this day the story was about her life and world, of family and home and their dog named Bella.
And what was my role and what did I have to offer? Mainly presence, encouragement and most importantly to stay out of the way as the writer shaped her words and the story took its shape. Every few moments Morgan had the word and not the spelling. I watched her pause, sometimes caring to correct and sometimes not. Been there, done that,” I said only to myself. Knowing that nuggets of inspiration travel at the speed of light and as quickly disappear, I watched, silently, as Morgan harnessed all that came from a place that any writer knows and from feel, to think, Morgan got it down on paper.
That’s how pages fill and spill onto the next. Age doesn’t matter. “My story’s going to be two pages long this time, Grampa,” she said. And so it was to the very last sentence and conclusion, in big bold letters that read, “The end.”
Text and images by K. Lee