At the dining room table yesterday (our school room), he was working on some grammar worksheets. He would not read the instructions. He'd glance over the worksheet and read the questions and go at it. Ok. No big deal, he got them all right. Then he started on some reading comprehension and deduction worksheets. He glanced over the story and started answering questions and got them wrong.
I asked him if he read the instructions. He was honest, said he didn't. The teacher in me explained that the directions are important, those are how we know what to do. If the directions tell us to circle something and we cross it out, it might not be a big deal on a worksheet like this, but what would happen if we were cooking and the recipe told us to add sugar and we added salt?
He seemed to understand that, so I added: "I understand you don't want to follow all the rules, there are times you can be creative like when you're drawing or painting or writing a story, but there are even rules to creativity."
"When mommy writes a story, she can make up any story she wants, but when she writes it down she must spell the words right, make correct sentences, use the correct punctuation, all sorts of things. It cannot be sloppy, but the story, it is whatever story God puts in mommy's brain."
He said, "OH! So you mean that if you spell bad and are sloppy you won't get a book like this?"
The book he held up was my copy of Self-Editing For Fiction Writer's.
That's right son.
Then it hit me. I can write down whatever story God puts in my little brain. I can follow His directions or I can follow man's. It is my choice. I can do research and write a story for a particular publisher, following all of their rules, or I can write a story following God's rules.
That's where my natural rebellion lies. Typically dormant, sometimes I don't even know it's still there. But tell me to do something like write for a publisher that expects (add in your list) and I'm like a caged animal, pacing and growling. I'm ok with God's rules, though, most of the time. I guess the difference is that I know God has my best interest in mind and I'm safe and comfortable with Him being in charge. I am not comfortable with another human being in charge of my writing.
While there's no big epiphany here, no big lesson, I understand my rebellion a bit more as I watch my son's grow and become more like me.
I have no desire to write what the market demands or to write for the readers. My only desire is to write for Christ. So for me that means continuing on with my ghost story about three generations of bastard sons even though some influential people have told me it's a bad idea. I imagine some of those Hebrews marching around Jericho thought God had a bad idea there, eh?
My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn, igniting a fire of words
Michelle Pendergrass is a coffee-lover who lives in Knox, Indiana where she homeschools her son, Zane. She blogs at Just A Minute. When you visit, please note that her son is most definitely weaned and has been for some time now. Some names just stick.
©2006 Michelle L. Pendergrass - All Rights Reserved