A Definite Article


iStock_000012148387XSmallI was sitting, stumped by the blank Word doc that glared at me from my computer screen. No inspiration was coming for this week’s article. Every time I would think of something to write, I would look a back at my log of recent articles and find that I had written about that topic already.

All of the writing gurus advise “write what you know”. Okay. I’ll start there. What do I know this week?

I know a lot about Brachiosaurus because my husband and I just guided my daughter through the creation of a Brachiosaurus poster for school. For instance, did you know that Brachiosaurus ate the equivalent of 200 cabbages every day? Can you imagine what that would do to your digestive system? Talk about a weight loss diet. (Where else but here could I use that information?)

I could write about helping a child navigate the pitfalls of information on the web. One of our search return web sites had a picture of an Ultrasaurus labeled as a Brachiosaurus, and my daughter recognized the error right away. “Yes! Score one for learning not to trust everything you find on the web (or TV or newspaper), no matter how slick it looks or sounds.” We talked about some of the ways you evaluate a source of information.

I also made her list sources and photo credits because I am a stickler for acknowledging the people who did the work that you are building from. Citing your sources is sort of like saying “thank you”. It’s the courteous and right thing to do. There are other academic reasons, but that is the most important one, and she’s only eight. The rest will come in time.

All that aside, nothing seemed to be turning itself into an article. I was stuck. This time, staring at a screen of random thoughts.

I sighed. This was going to be one of those hard writing weeks.

I could hear Scooby Do on the TV in the living room with its concluding line “those meddling kids…” Not ten seconds after that line was delivered did my daughter come bounding into the bedroom.

“Mom, I need a brownie.”

“You, need a brownie? Well, I need an idea for my article,” I replied.

“Oh, I know how to write an article,” she stated confidently.

“You do? How?” I asked her

“T–H–E,” she giggled.

I paused a minute while my brain processed her answer and then smiled.

“Thank you. That’s perfect.”

And there you have this week’s article, perfectly delivered by an eight-year-old.

© 2015 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

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