Sunday, January 7, 2007
Show, And Not Tell
I was reading on tips on blogging and one known blogger suggested that a writer must show and not tell to make writing interesting. Hmmm, this is something that doesn't happen overnight. What I can do to improve my writing is to just practice, practice, and practice. And when I am done with it, I will practice some more. Just like playing a guitar, you don't become an expert overnight.
Here is an interesting short story written by my daughter when she was a sophomore in high school:
I stared at the monstrous river that blocked my destination. The sun's rays beat down on my face as I squinted toward the other side. The rushing waters looked like it would sweep anything crossing its path down to oblivion. Tampico, the Shetland pony I was riding, neighed. Could I cross the river, and could Tampico make it through the rushing current? The river looked too brutal, so I decided it was not quite time to try just as yet. I turned around back towards my house.
Everyday in the summer, I would ride Tampico up and down the driveway of my house. Tampico was a white pony with a long, fluffy tail. He was very gentle, tame, and best of all, brave. And yet everyday, we would both face the same challenge of the surging river, daring us to cross its sparkling yet mysterious waters.
"Dinner" I heard my mom call out. I could feel my stomach churning and anticipating the delicious meals my mom always made. The river could wait another day...right now it was dinnertime.
The next day, the sun welcomed Tampico and me outside as I fed the pony some apples from my family's orchard. I could hear boats sailing through Lake Washington, which was just a mile away from my house. The dazzling surface of the lake blinded my eyes when the sun reflected off of it. I thought about the river. The weather looked a little bit gloomy and a few patches of clouds filled the sky, but the current was not as strong as it had been, so I thought it would be the best time to cross.
I mounted Tampico, and we slowly made our way out of the orchard towards the river's muddy edge. I glared at the river as if trying to read its mind...trying to find the exact moment when the river would be most vulnerable and easiest to cross. I did not mind the challenge, but I did not want little Tampico to drown. The stream looked serene and peaceful, rather than angry and full of revenge. I dug my heels into Tampico's side and nudged him to move forward. He looked up at me with longing eyes and asked if we could wait just one more day to cross, but I knew we had waited too long for this journey. It was time to cross the river. It would be the biggest challenge of our lives.
After seven years of staring at the furious river, which no kids in our neighborhood ever dared to cross, Tampico and I gracefully made our way across the stream. I breathed in a sigh of relief, and pride set in my mind as I held my head up high. I was the bravest kid in the neighborhood.
We were halfway across when, unexpectedly, the river started to take on a dark and gloomy shade. The water began to churn mysteriously, and haze settled around us. Fears built up inside me, and I could feel my heart beating more rapidly every second. We were no longer in the tranquil river we had first started to cross... it had switched personalities and turned into an enraged accumulation of fury. Splashing waves crashed against the riverbacks, and icy shards of rain began to fall.
"Neeeiiiggghhh!" Tampico cried out in fear. I could sense him struggling to keep his balance on the rocky bottom.
I gripped on to Tampico's neck with all my might. "Hold on Tampico! We can make it!" Just a little bit farther in the distance was the othe side of the river. If it would just calm down for a moment, we could make it.
But it was too late. Tampico lost his footing and we were both tossed around in the river. I couldn't see anything because the water clouded my eyes. I coughed and coughed trying to keep my head above the surface. I could hear Tampico panicking. The droplets of water boisteroulsy laughed at us as it splashed our faces and I could hear the rocks on the bottom giggling and tittering at us. They had all tricked us into crossing the deadly waters.
Suddenly, I felt a hand grab my wrist. I turned around only to see that it was my mom. "Stephanie, didn't I tell you not to play in the street?" she asked sternly.
"I wasn't playing in the street, mom, I was trying to cross the river!" I insisted, trying to grab Tampico. "Help Tampico! He's drowning!" I helplessly cried.
"You and your imagination, pick up that bicycle of yours...Tampico...whatever you call it, and go inside!"
I sighed and picked up Tampico. I knew I wouldn't stop trying to achieve my goal of crossing the river. Yes, the raging, taunting river may have only been 26th street, and Tampico may have only been a bike, but there's nothing wrong with a little imagination.