February 27, 2015
Show, Don’t Tell
Here’s a funny story. Usually moms (and sometimes dads) would call me to enroll their kids in our creative writing classes. But today’s featured young writer was the one who personally called me to join our writing class. As I was not used to kids calling me, I even asked her how old her child is! It was a first that a young eager writer called me and thankfully she was not the last.
In all the writing classes that I’ve joined here and abroad, the teacher would always say to “show, don’t just tell”, to always be specific and give details. This is why I enjoy reading pieces from our featured young writer today.
She shared that stories to her are like old friends—full of love, wonder, and magic. Here’s an excerpt from her short story that was included in our anthology, In Our Own Words.
by Sofia, 14
She sits by the window.
The thin glass scatters the sunlight as it shines onto her fine blonde locks. Her tiny fingers flip through, the soft green in her eyes shining brighter and brighter with every page.
The images flash through her mind as she tries to commit each picture to memory.
She takes her time, letting her eyes trace the woman’s graceful form in perfect pirouette, brittle but strong. The painted colors bleed off the page and come alive. They dance before her eyes.
The vibrant pinks and yellows of the gown draped across the woman’s body fit flawlessly down to the tiniest detail. The grand sheen of the perfectly polished marble floor, not a spot. And the light. The light shining into the room, casting shadows against the wall. The girl can almost see them. They move and jump and spin when she on the page does.
Another page. No picture this time. The girl takes in the words, breathes them in like oxygen. One more. She turns the page again. The same as the other, no pictures. But a last paragraph. She tries to slow down, letting the words sink in before it’s finished.
One more page. No words, no pictures. Blank.
A quick glance at the small pile of books lying unread at her feet. Ready to be opened, breathed, seen. The book makes its way out of her grasp and slips smoothly into a blank space on the Oakwood shelf, seeming to sigh with satisfaction. It is home.
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