As I embrace a VERY brisk morning walk in Niagara Falls (34 degrees yet the wind chill boasts 24), I recall another time, another place, in Western New York. Crisp evenings downhill skiing at Kissing Bridge where stars sparkle like shards of glittering glass and snow crunches noisily, piercing the night’s stillness. Toes and fingers numb from the cold as I strive to make one more run, alongside the few hardy souls on the slope. Thoughts on steaming mugs of hot chocolate, flash briefly as I round the trail’s final curve. Lights from the lodge beckon me inside to thaw out and call it a night… If you are a downhill skier or lived for a time in snowy areas, you will know exactly what I mean. If you have not had the pleasure, the beauty of winter fills the senses of those who play in it, whatever form that may be.
Participating in a creative writer’s workshop, the first lesson focused on visualization, specifically active verbs and I would add precise vocabulary. Encouraging children to grow in their reading and writing vocabularies (words they can read and write quickly) gives freedom to say and write exactly what they mean – to communicate more concisely. And I would heartily advocate: edit, edit, edit – no matter the age.