Trusting Me With Her Words

Posted on by Sandell Morse

I’ve been helping my granddaughter with her mini college essays, two hundred words, two hundred and fifty words, honored that she has chosen to trust me with her words. I praise her strong sentences, her interesting approach to the prompt. She’s a good writer—a good student, and she’s easy to teach. All I need to say is, “Look at these two sentences. What repeats? Can you pare them down to one?” Or “This kind of jumbles. Take a piece of scrap paper, and write down your thoughts.”

We get to her final sentence. “Blah Blah College would give me the opportunity to blah, blah.” A repeat of the prompt. Exactly, what she has been taught. Why do schools and teachers make this so hard? Why do they wring the joy out of both writing and the kid?

“So, Nina,” I say. “This is what I used to call a red bow sentence. Nobody wrote red bow sentences for Ms. Morse. They tie up thought. You want to leave your reader feeling satisfied, yes, but also with a sense she is going someplace new. Give her some room to think. Since this essay is about you, why not begin with “I” instead of Blah Blah College?”

Back she goes to her piece of paper. Back to her computer. She comes up with a dynamite sentence. A dynamite ending.

“Fabulous,” I say.

“Grammy, you should teach again,” Nina says.

I am teaching, again. With her. And I could find no greater joy.

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