Brave Writer Spotlight: Dahlia Winders
Yesterday, my daughter [Dahlia, pictured] and I finally finished transcribing her epic “Jot it Down” that she dictated into her iPod voice memos last year at age 8. I am sending it to you so you can get a sense of how freeing it was for her to be able to just talk into her recorder and tell her story without having to wait for me to type or write it as she said it. We have not done any editing, and in transcribing I often didn’t have correct punctuation or capitalization so I could just get it in the computer for her to begin editing. It has taken us a long time to type it, with her playing and pausing the recording for me as I typed. I am not very proficient at keyboarding! As we worked together, she started to notice that she overused certain words or phrases, and that part of her ideas of timeline were very boring to listen to (First she did this, then that, then etc.). I know that in hearing that for herself, she will make many changes that I would have suggested, but they are coming from her own noticing which is so much more valuable to her learning process.
She plans on continuing to edit and revise it, and she has done artwork for the cover. We will make a nice book out of it for her, and perhaps an ebook to share with family and friends as well.
I have also made myself a CD of her voice memos. I have three older children that have grown out of their child voices, and I know how much I will treasure being able to hear her 8 year old voice when she is older.
Dahlia’s story is eight chapters long and even includes an epilogue! Here is the first chapter, to give you a taste of her wonderful writing:
The Winter’s Head
by Dahlia Winders
Chapter 1: The Move
It was cold outside because it was winter. Anna didn’t like moving, but she knew she had to. Her mother called from outside, “Anna, it’s time.” She really didn’t want to. She loved her old house. But she knew she had to anyway. She got up, she put her jacket on, she put her boots on and she grabbed her stuff and she went outside. The car was already running. Her mom and dad were in the car just like she had expected.
She had an older brother, a younger brother and an older sister. They were on the road, and something felt wrong. They were going the wrong way; at least that’s what it felt like.
To Anna, it felt different, because it looked different. She’d gone to NY before to visit family, but it didn’t look the same. There were different buildings, different cars, different everything. It was weird to Anna, and she didn’t know what to do. Her mom and dad were up front. They were both listening to the radio while she was watching a movie. She looked up, still in confusion. She didn’t know what to do; how to tell. She wanted to tell her mom and dad, but she didn’t know how to tell them or if they’d understand or not.
Anna fell asleep that night. It was a long drive. It was about three days drive. They had to go by car, because they didn’t have enough money to go by plane or anything. So, she dreamt of angels – beautiful flying angels. She liked them so much, but then they stopped. It was weird. She woke up.
They were somewhere. She didn’t know where. It looked like Grandma Lou’s, but she didn’t think it was, but it could be. Because they might have taken a short cut, maybe that’s why it looked different. Maybe they took a shortcut. Then it clicked in her head. Then it might be have been a short cut…