Step into a child's point of view with this exercise

Image: a student writing, OSU narrative writing course. I took this photograph with my cell phone.

I spent a week as a student at Ohio State University taking a narrative inquiry writing class. It was rigorous and inspiring. We were given a list of articles from narrative authors, professors, and researchers in preparation for our week of writing. Here is an idea I found in my reading of these resources. I'm posting it to use with parents, only with a twist to write from the voice of themselves as a child.

Childhood memory

Write down a memory from the years before you were ten. It could relate to your first day at school, the death of a pet: anything you like, no matter how small, as long as it aroused deep feeling. Write freely, not letting the nib of your pen leave the page. Try and inhabit the child that you were at ten, and remember to use all your senses: the size of desks and chairs, the smell of a nappy, your first close look at Santa Claus, or the feeling of a bird's feathers.
Wait a day, then rewrite the episode in the first person from a point of view of someone else involved, such as a parent or schoolmate. They need not have played a major part in your first account. Get inside their head and stay there, remembering that a shift of viewpoint can alter the plot (an event which is important to one person may be insignificant to another).

Newman, J, Cusick E, & La Tourette, A. (Eds.). 2004. The writer's workbook. 2nd ed. London: Arnold.

July 15, 2010