With my sixth-grader’s basketball season’s schedule, I’ve been spending some working hours hidden on the elementary school’s back staircase, working at a child’s desk so old it has an inkwell hole. I love this old schoolhouse; dating to the first World War, the schoolhouse is not only solidly built, but beautifully as well, with interior windows, pressed tin ceilings, and detailed woodwork. Schools are built like prisons now, with none of this school’s elegance. Carefully kept up, the schoolhouse isn’t shabby at all, but is comfortably well-used and loved.
The other day, a teacher stopped to talk and then showed me two books her students had written and illustrated which made me laugh out loud. The kids’ books were just so darn good. What the teacher had done was allow the children unfettered freedom. I’ve found unbinding myself from the expectations of peers and the social framework around myself very difficult at times. Think how hard that is: to dig deeply into the unknown terrain of creativity – and then know how joyous that is, too.
The teacher told me about one little girl who said, I am the author of my book.
How powerful that knowledge is. Whether that child becomes a novelist or a welder, I think of that statement like a candle that girl may hold before her, a single flame, burning brightly.
You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
– Marcus Aurelius