It was a lot longer than I’ve come to expect from one of her assignments—we’re still working on the concept that complete sentences aren’t a phenomenal waste of her time— and was printed in her best handwriting, which I rarely see.
“Hey, Janie? What’s this?”
“Oh! That’s my Shadow story—we had to write that adventure thing, remember? I told you about it.”
Uh . . . “The one with the woman hunting magic jewels?”
“To help the poor people with, yeah.” She frowned. “It’s in the wrong notebook.”
“Where is it supposed to be?”
“The math one.”
“You keep a writing assignment in your math notebook?”
She tsked at me. “It’s not an assignment anymore—I turned it in months ago. I’m just doing it by myself now.”
“In your math notebook?”
“After I’m done with math.” As I pondered the different interpretations of this sentence** and what parental response might be necessary, she tore out the story and turned to go.
“Wait—can I read it?”
I watched her watch me out of the corner of my eye—smiling when I smiled, leaning over to help when I couldn’t interpret a word,*** trying to figure out why I laughed where I laughed.
Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it?
“I really like this, kiddo.”
She grinned. “Thanks.”
“Can I share this with a few people?”
The grin got bigger. “On the blog?”
“If you’re okay with that.”
“Yes! I mean, only if you want to. Um . . . you can fix the spelling just this once. But nothing else.”
I present to you a transcribed passage from “Shadow and the Snake Ruby” by one Jane Wesson (©2011), with spelling corrected by request of the author (with best attempts footnoted), but the punctuation and syntax left in its original state (please note the ellipsis and the little em-dash at the end—I’m so proud^):
The door opened and the guard stepped out of the room in to a cave. The floor was filled with lava and the platform moved back!
Shadow was stuck on a cliff and grabbed the grappling hook^^ from her pocket and fired at another cliff and jumped.
Shadow shouted, “Catch me if you can fools!” When she landed there was a door and symbols.^^^ Shadow felt the door eventually,° it opened and she went in.
“Wow!” Shadow said. It was amazing! In the metal there was the . . . Snake Ruby!
Shadow grabbed the ruby but traps were set and fired! Shadow ran and ran. She took a knife and a twig from her pocket. Shadow cut the ruby and tied it to the twig and cast spell on the room.
A black light shone and the room changed to a cute room. Shadow pressed a button and a bed, lamp, closet with black dress, and servants appeared.
Shadow put on a dress and ate lunch. When she was done Shadow came to the door and looked out. The lava was gone in its place was a carpet and furniture. The guards were servants—it was amazing!
I fully admit to being biased—hard to avoid it. But I do know a storyteller when I read one.
* I don’t interfere too much—can’t even try when it’s French—but I do check her assignment book against what’s actually been done and make sure the answers she’s giving are for the questions she’s been asked.
** It wouldn’t surprise me at all that this kid would be done with math before math was done with her—she’s one of mine.
*** I’m not supposed to correct her spelling—teacher’s orders. I thought I was going to have an aneurysm at first, or break off a gritted tooth or two, but now I only ask her to correct the ones I can’t figure out on my own. I still get that throbbing vein in my forehead, but I do retain sight in both eyes now. Perhaps her fourth grade teacher will have mercy on me.
^ If you aren’t convinced that mathematical attitude (not aptitude, ’cause how would I know) proves maternity, this should do it. She’s not old enough to read most of the stuff I write—or particularly interested, to be honest—so it must be nature.
^^ Originally, grapoling huck