One Writer’s Journey

October 10, 2019

Inanimate Objects Tell It Like It Is

How do you take a step back from an emotional topic and give young readers the space they need to read and learn about it?  Linda Skeers recommends using an “unnatural narrator.”  Think inanimate object.

One of the topics that Skeers discusses are riots, specifically the Stonewall Riots.  Rob Sanders rights about the riots in a way that is suitable for young readers by showing everything from the perspective of a wall that stood where the riots took place.  You can read Linda’s post here.

What would the cobblestones on the St. Louis riverfront have witnessed?  Families arriving to leave again by wagon train.  Lewis and Clark. Floods.  Parades.  Possibly even the Dred Scott trials.

What about a rivet on the space shuttle?  I’m assuming there are rivets.  If not a rivet, a tile.  The construction of the shuttle. The first time the crew sees it. Pre-flight checks.  Launch.  Space.  Reentry.

Then there are belongings of famous people.  Abe Lincoln’s top hat.  I almost said Maria Tallchief’s toe shoes but toe shoes get disgusting so I’ll give that one a miss.  An explorer’s spy glass.  A musician’s violin.  Oooo.  I like that idea.    An inventor’s soldering iron.  The fresnel lens in a light house.  The Mona Lisa.

I think I would avoid trying to write from the perspective of an animal.  This came to me as I was contemplating an explorer’s horse.  As much as I adore horses, I think it would be a lot of “good forage,”  “Oh, no!  What’s that?”

I’m going to read a couple of the books that Linda recommended but I’m thinking this is form I might want to play with . . . ooooo, a printing press.  A river boat.  No, a keel boat.

Yeah, this is definitely a form that intrigues me.


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