When Daniel is Forced to Write....

Most people who know me know that my one big dream in life is to become a published author. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about story arc and character motivations and conflict resolution, and when I’m not being overwhelmed by other obligations in my life I spend a lot of time trying to make all those things work. My daughter Emily has often said that she wants to be an “author Mommy” just like me. (I sure hope her attempts pay better than mine do.....)

Daniel has never said anything about wanting to write, and he is not very creative with words. Give him a pile of sticks, some tin foil, and random trash found in the alleyway, and he’ll pull a MacGyver and make some incredible, strange creation out of it all. But give him a blank piece of paper and some spelling words to use in creating sentences and he all but breaks down.

“I can’t think of ANYTHING to write about ‘snow’,” he’ll say. “This is SO HARD!!!!”

Then I spend the next 20 minutes walking him through questions like, “Well, what are some things you can do with snow?”, “Who or what would be doing that with the snow?”, and “Where are they doing it?” You’d think he’d be able to do it on his own after a while, but I kind of have to walk him through EVERY SINGLE WORD.

Over the last two weeks, though, he’s brought home some real literary masterpieces. They’re so, um...original...that I decided I needed to share them with all of you.


The first one is called Rabbits, probably inspired by our recent acquisition of two baby bunnies, and this is what it says:

by Daniel McCleary

Rabbits can be cute at first but then they get nasty. I will tell you the rabbit life cycle. First the mom rabbit has a litter of baby rabbits. Then they grow hair then they grow buds of ears then they start pooping. Now, I will tell you about litter training. You know about the pooping. You get a trash bag and put it over the thing you pull out. Pull it completely out now and dump it in the trash bag. You will be able to do it in the bag for two months and then you’ll have to dump it out.”

That’s it. My favorite parts are about how the rabbits start out cute but then “get nasty,” and the awesome line of “You know about the pooping.” Yes. Yes I do.

This next one is called “Paper.”

by Daniel McCleary

Paper is something you can write on. It is smooth when you feel it. But construction paper is rouf [rough]. Construction paper is all sorts of different colors. But plain paper is white. i am writing on paper right now. It can give you paper cuts.”

He waxes eloquent about the paper. It reminds me of the torture of going through Melville describing just EXACTLY how white the whale is for 10 pages in Moby Dick. There’s only so much you can say about it, you know? I get the feeling when reading this that his teacher was saying, “What ELSE can you say about paper? Okay. Now what ELSE?” and he just kept stringing facts together until he came up blank after paper cuts.

I really, really, REALLY hope Daniel’s teacher keeps making him write. This stuff is gold.