Meet Logan. Logan likes to read. He even likes to write his own stories. However, as a writer, Logan hits a fork in the path. Soon into a new idea, he doesn't know what to write next. The story sits incomplete. Like a hiker who neither goes left or right at the fork, but returns to his point of origin, Logan abandons his writing.
In some respects, Logan (like many adolescents) is being taught to abandon his writing.
This is significant because we are training generations of adolescents to write to someone else's agenda. Adolescents learn to depend on us not only for the idea but also where to take it. Significant evidence emerges on daily basis that we cheat our kids' ability to think for themselves.
In this episode of the podcast (a quick conferring session during class), Logan reminds me, "I do write sometimes, but I never finish anything....I know everything I'm supposed to write about then there is this pause and I just stop and think, 'what am I supposed to write about now?'"
On the positive side, Logan has set up the conditions of a reading and writing life for himself outside of school. He even recognizes the importance of support and encouragement. He talks to his friends about his writing. He remembers comments written to him on shared documents online.
And then something really curious (and telling occurs), Logan exhales.
It is the deep exhale we have all felt the moment we are about to say something honest and raw. Logan says he wrote something a few years ago but "its gone now."
A teacher had control of the student writing and deleted it.
Couple Logan's deep exhale with the symbolic act of an adult deleting an adolescent's writing. I think of Jo's pain at learning Amy tossed her manuscript into the roaring fireplace. Likewise, I couldn't fathom giving any of you control over my writing--to incinerate it at will.
I would sigh deeply too.