Thanks for tuning in again. As promised here’s assignment No. 3 and a word of advice on helping your kids with their writing awesomeness. I remind you however that my advice comes with no guarantees. There’s a high probability that my kids are responsible for their own awesomeness…
So, No. 3 was an assignment for grade ten English. We’d been studying The Lady or the Tiger by Frank Stockton. It’s a great short story set in some barbaric fantasy world where justice is left to fate. In the story a commoner is tried for the crime of loving a princess. At his “trial” his fate (and guilt or innocence) is determined by two doors. Behind one door is a maiden and behind the other is a tiger. If the guy chooses the maiden they are married on the spot. If he chooses the tiger, well I think you can guess the logical consequences of that…
Anyway, the princess discovers who the maiden is and which door she’s behind. Now the maiden is a rival of the princess and the princess has a bit of a jealous streak to boot. Obviously she’s not too thrilled with either door. But she’s promised to signal her lover which door to choose and finds herself pondering whether she’d prefer her lover dead or married.
The catch is that the story ends just as the guy opens the door. And we, the readers, never get to know what’s behind the door.
Okay, back to me. For some reason I was away from school on the day our book report was assigned. It was a straight-up book report we were given but for some reason I thought we had to write our own ending to the story so that’s what I did.
I don’t remember how my ending went except that I really tried to capture the style of Mr. Stockton, the author. Aside from mimicking his style I figured I’d leave the reader hanging at the end as well.
There were some flaws in my assignment (not the least of which was doing the assignment wrong). For one I kept referring to a lion instead of a tiger. Despite the story’s imperfections I ended up getting the highest mark in the class. Guess I had a pretty understanding teacher –and maybe a really good reason for missing class the day the assignment was handed out?
I wish I could remember my teacher’s name because I’d love to thank him. If he’d failed me on that assignment I might not be writing today (or at least not writing with a whole lot of confidence). Lucky for Miss Emily and me he was an “outside the box” kinda guy.
So, encourage your kids to keep writing. When they’re younger, let them use “inspiration” from other sources. Encourage them to try on others’ writing styles –and remember that it’s okay for them to “write outside the lines” of your expectations. They just may surprise you with their awesomeness!