We all have a back story. For some, it’s a little more linear than others. Events are preceded by the required set up and the narrative flows beautifully. For others, it’s a little more fleshed out. It’s character driven with little regard for the proposed and expected plot.
I’ve lived the latter. The details aren’t important. I’ve also experienced an interesting and varied childhood; met new and wonderful people throughout my life; went to university to become a teacher; met my husband and married him in an incredibly fun Vegas wedding with close family and friends looking on; honeymooned on an Alaskan cruise; toured through Canada; and gave birth to a beautiful, hilarious, cheeky, and charming son.
So I suppose I have a choice of letting the negative events define the arc of my life, or whether I just let them be my back story. I could base all future decisions on those negative events or I can take the positive life lessons and forge ahead accordingly.
I’ve chosen to forge ahead.
I’m getting to a point here. Bear with me. It’s something about teaching and writing. I assure you it’s brilliant. Wait for it…here it is:
So when I teach I have to recognise my children have a back story. For some 5 year olds it’s a short back story. For some, like mine, it’s quite extensive. It’s my job to recognise and acknowledge that my Kinder children come into Kindergarten with that back story. A new character or plot device could have been added to their life just that morning. It affects their interactions and ability to engage in learning and social constructs. Imagine the children who have special needs. They are already struggling with these concepts.
I’m learning that this is the same with writing. Every reader comes to the page with a back story. Every character has a back story. One would hope. If they don’t, put that book down! No really, put it down. It’s what we do to engage both character on the page, and reader holding the book. Like anyone, if we feel respected for who we are, we will stay engaged and responsive to the world around us. So how do we achieve this? I know how to help my Kinder children achieve this, but how do we do this with writing? I haven’t quite got an answer for that question yet. I’m getting there.
Sometimes I feel silly talking about writing and editing. I have no formal experience of either and I’m not published. It’s just something I love, and along with teaching, am very passionate about. I’ve gained insight into people through my own back story and from my years of teaching. I’ve gained insight into writing through those same experiences, as well as through reading A LOT. I’ve also gained wonderful insights into writing through conversations with some amazing authors and editors on social media.
I suppose this blog is a little ‘hats off to you’ – to the authors and editors who inspire me and help me learn and stay engaged and passionate about reading and writing. I’ll never stop saying ‘Thank You’.
So in conclusion, (I really need to learn how to write short posts), our back stories don’t have to be the same. We just need to acknowledge and respect the back story of others.