, Derry, New Hampshire


December 12, 2013

Column: Good writers are willing to take the plunge


After a bout of hand-wringing, hair-pulling and any number of stalling tactics, Hayden gets right to the point with this lead paragraph: “Freak the Mighty had a valuable lesson. The theme of the book was never doubt a disabled kid and what they can do.”

No dilly-dallying, no wasted words. Ok, Hayden, now prove your point.

“Kevin was small, physically disabled, and growing on the inside and not the outside. But Kevin was still so smart, he was a dictionary. He helped a learning-disabled kid and turned him into a smart kid. He stood up to mean people. Tricked a criminal to think he got sprayed in the face with a toxic spray, but still saved his friend. In the book it states, ‘Kevin, we know you have the answer because you always have the answer.’ Even Kevin’s teacher thought he was always correct.”

Later in his essay, Hayden writes, “Who knew two disabled kids could change the world around? They brought back a purse to a woman. Saved themselves. And told a gang to bug off.”

I love it when a student finds their writer’s voice, when they reject the notion that school writing must be the stodgy, constipated variety, the kind that no thoughtful reader wants to read.

Great job, Hayden. You took a swan dive off that high board. Next time, I’ll look forward to a one-and-a-half somersault in the pike position, with a twist.

John Edmondson is a teacher in Hampstead.

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