Wednesday I interrogated fourth graders at a local elementary school to see what they knew about writing.
I’d been asked by the fourth grade teacher to tell them why I became a writer and what it’s like to be a writer. I blamed Lois Lane.
They hadn’t a clue who Lois Lane was. I pulled an image from my thumb drive.
Lois Lane was the only female around who looked like she was having an adventure in her life! I decided to be a newspaper reporter like Lois, Superman’s girlfriend, who worked at The Daily Planet.
I encouraged the students to do what I did –pay attention in English class and learn where to put commas and periods and apostrophes.
Of course, I couldn’t ignore Nancy Drew. I saw adorable faces smiling back at me, almost swooning, when I said her name. Oh, yes, they knew about Nancy Drew.
I explained I had freelanced for years while rearing five children. Leaving home was not an option in those days, especially since we moved a great deal with my husband’s work.
I asked the class if they had ever seen a typewriter. Yes, they had. (Probably in a museum somewhere.) It felt like I was in an episode of “Twilight Zone” as I explained how I rolled paper into the typewriter and typed and retyped to correct errors, then sent out my unsolicited articles to editors by mailing my work in envelopes sporting real stamps from the post office.
Because I’ve embraced this new technology, I stood amazed at the words coming out of my mouth. At how much easier life is now, but also a twinge of sadness that these sweet children had missed so very much. Ah, the typewriter.
Relating about the time-lapse, waiting for editors to write back, which would take anywhere from weeks to months, I verbally rejoiced how quick I could now simply email an editor a copy of my book proposal.
I asked the class to name the continents. No problem at all. All seven of them popped out of their mouths. Then I asked the students to guess which continents I had been published on. North America, Australia and South Africa.
Then we spent time talking about dreaming and imagination, two of my favorite topics.
What fun it was to watch ideas swell in their heads, as they edited a sentence. You adults better get to writing your books, because these kids will be marketing theirs in about 10 years! Hurry!