It's official. I've spawned a little writer. My oldest daughter is undeniably in love with writing. I should have seen the signs, and now that I put them all together, it is akin to an air raid siren.
In first grade, when the kids were given penmanship books, she finished hers in the first two weeks of school. The teachers gave her a cursive book to work on. It was done by Christmas. In January, she started learning calligraphy. By the end of her first grade year she had completed all three of the penmanship books designed for a three-year curriculum in her multi-age classroom.
She steals pencils and pens. Every time we visit the dentist and they offer her a toy for being so good, she chooses a pencil. She begs her father for the logo-covered notebooks he brings home from conventions. The space under her bed is full of journals, some of which have her feelings and frustrations copied down in them and others are simply copies of letters and books she's read and doodles.
Three weeks ago she had a spectacular meltdown in the car. On I-5 between Salem, Oregon and Centralia, Washington (we're talking hours of driving) she picked a fight with her sister, screamed, threw things, sobbed, wailed, kicked her feet against the seat and the door, and generally had a tantrum. From experience, I know that there is nothing to do but keep the rest of us safe and allow this rage to spend itself. By the time we got home, she was spent and badly in need of some processing.
"While I make dinner, why don't you grab a journal and sit by the fireplace and just write?"
She didn't want to be alone, so she chose to sit in the family room near us and immerse herself in her writing. She hunched herself over a spiral notebook and scratched away for an hour.
After a hot shower and a backrub at bedtime, she fell into an exhausted sleep. As I settled into the couch with my evening cup of tea my eyes fell on the open notebook that lay on the couch next to me. I shouldn't. This is her private stuff. I should really just close it and put it in her bedroom.
Nope, not happening. I had to know what she was writing. How she managed to come down from her day of high emotions. As a fellow writer.
I saw the row of capital letters along the left margin. The title was "Bad Words I Know."
Well, that's one way to process a bad day.... I guess we all have our own method.