Creative Writing

8 Mar

Lakeside pavilion, Forbidden Purple City, Hue, Vietnam

Perhaps a Safer Creative Writing Topic than the Vietnam War?

As part of our homeschooling topic on the Vietnam War, Z has been reading Chickenhawk. While not as “adult” as the current meaning of the title suggests, Bob Mason’s account of flying helicopters during the Vietnam War is, I suspect, a very accurate description of how soldiers lived and, more relevantly, spoke.

So I’m not sure what part of my brain was engaged when I suggested to Z that, when crafting his creative writing piece on the Vietnam War, he should be sure to include some dialogue to bring his characters out a little more.

Z had decided to write about US infantrymen (grunts) on patrol coming under fire. And, all kudos to him, the dialogue is really remarkably realistic.

It flows well. Nicely natural. Not overlong. Good pace. Good rhythm.

Yet utterly, comprehensively, eye-bleedingly obscene.

More Tarantino than Roger Melly. And really pretty good for a child of nine. If it weren’t for the obscenity, of course.

I said — well, Skyped — “Is this a challenge to see how much swearing you can get into one story?”

He Skyped back, “no, but they swore a LOT in chickenhawk so i am following their example.”

Which I couldn’t really fault. And it’s not as if he swears in conversation. Only prose.

Anywise, he is very proud of it. And, I think, as a piece of writing by someone his age who hates writing with a passion (although loves words) it’s really pretty good. So I’ll focus on something practical, like paragraphing, when we do the edit, and leave the swearing be.

Which leaves the writer, the mother and the educator in me battling it out on age-appropriate reading.

I gave him Chickenhawk mainly because Mason offers such a fantastic, passionate account of learning to fly a helicopter, theory, practice, combat flying, camaraderie, the works. There is even a map of the controls!

I thought the military-transport freak in Z would love it. It also seemed to offer an easy route into the American experience of combat, pairing nicely with the Cu Chi Tunnels (both the experience, and the book), and complementing the horrific stuff — Agent Orange, My Lai, the girl in the picture — which we saw in the War Remnants Museum.

I’ve probably got it wrong, again. Mind you, he’s seen Tarantino films. So why not Tarantino prose?

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7 Responses to “Creative Writing”

  1. Fern miller March 8, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    So do we get to read it? Xxx ps l love this blog Theodora it is as blogs is meant to be.

    • MummyT March 9, 2010 at 12:25 am #

      I will post it once the final touches have been made. Seems rather odd to rate a blog about travelling with a child PG, or adult content, but that’s Z for you. And me, I guess. Great to hear from you, btw xxx

    • MummyT March 9, 2010 at 12:48 am #

      The line which really got me was: “The bitches mortared the piss hole and it didn’t blow up!” Quite effective, I thought.

  2. Anne-Marie March 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    When do we get to read this piece of work?

  3. helen March 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    We all want to read this, hope we don’t have to wait till next Monday (schoolday). Tell Zac that his public is waiting. Lots of love Helen

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  1. Fun For Your Friday-or Saturday | Earnest Parenting - May 8, 2010

    […] presents Creative Writing « Travels with a Nine Year Old posted at Travels with a Nine Year Old, saying, “I am traveling the world, longterm, with my […]

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