He looked miserably at the blank piece of paper in front of him. It was even worse than it could have been, since he'd left the assignment paper at school; that, at least, had the question written on it. This had nothing but faint blue lines, in college rule.
"I don't know what to write," he moaned, head in his hands. Granted, an essay about how you plan to make your mark on the world is a pretty tall order for an eight year old. Still.
yourself together," I said, uncharitably, knowing exactly how he felt.
He blew his nose and sniffled. "Now: write the word ... tomato," I commanded.
"Tomato. Don't look at me like that; just write it."
He demurred, scribbling the word, and then looked up. "Why?"
it's no longer a blank empty page," I told him. "And whatever you
write? Is going to be more relevant and intelligent than the word tomato."
"That's true," he agreed, sucking his fang-like front teeth thoughtfully.
the next half hour, we worked on a mind map: we wrote his question in
the middle, and drew fractal-like arms radiating out from the center in
stream-of-consciousness. He grinned, thoroughly enjoying himself, and
retreated to the back room, where he developed drafts "Tomato 2,"
"Tomato 3," and "Tomato 4." I remembered what I liked about teaching writing.
I should follow my own advice more often.