As Ben grows older, I keep noticing examples of real writing experiences that are a natural part of our lives. I say “real writing” because they’re ordinary, everyday types of writing, unassigned, and not artificially contrived for someone else’s purposes. They’re simple, meaningful, and for our own purposes.
For instance, during the past month, as Ben has been building a new bass guitar, he started posting descriptions and photos of the building process on a bass-building musician’s forum called Luthier’s Corner at TalkBass.com. This is a forum he has read through quite often in the past in order to get ideas from other builders’ designs and methods. I think it’s great that now he has a chance to share some of his own work with other builders or bass players and get feedback from them as they view his progress. I love this because it’s a truly meaningful way to exchange information in written form.
Another part of this process I’ve enjoyed is that sometimes he asks me to do a quick reading of what he’s written before he posts it to the forum. He asks if the descriptions are clear and make sense, or if I notice any small editing details that might need tending to before it goes public. I’m happy to do this, and it’s fun to see how his writing style has evolved over the years. He used to be a very hesitant writer who didn’t express himself much through writing, but now he seems quite comfortable and competent with it.
One of the best parts of the above experience is that now, any time I’m writing something that I might need help with, I ask Ben to look it over and give his input. Whether I’m writing a blog post, a formal letter, or a quick note to someone, I can ask him to read a section and tell me what he thinks. It really helps to have another person give this kind of feedback, and I’m glad that this can be a mutual experience for us.
There have been many other types of writing in our lives lately: texts, emails, job application forms, a resume, and notes to mentors requesting letters of recommendation. Each of these writing experiences has had its own form and function, its own meaningful reason for needing our attention. I’m glad we’ve been able to share these real writing experiences together.