I don’t recall having any difficulties learning how to write. If fact, I don’t remember it being a highlight in my school career at all. It was just something that happened; I learned how to write. Reading on the other hand was amazing. I can remember, at age four, sitting with a small reader and trying to sound out the words. I persisted and I learned how to read. My Grannie Joan was very encouraging and used to show me words and read to me when I went to stay with her. By the time I started school, I was already quite a good reader and I never looked back.
My little Michael, has not had such a nondescript experience with learning how to write. The skill of writing is very hard for him and he struggles to form neat and legible letters and to string words together in a written sentence. His audio and comprehension skills are all there. They are in fact quite advanced for a 12 year old but his writing – it is just slow and messy and horrible. It looks like a spider rolled in ink and had a heart attack on the page.
Luckily for Michael, we live in a modern age and he can attend a remedial school that is helping him to translate his thoughts and ideas into a written form that makes sense. He will also be able to use a computer in the future to take notes and complete his school work. This is a very different experience from that of my father who also struggles to write. He went to a Catholic school where the Brothers were quite abusive if the children didn’t deliver neat and accurate work.
My father’s school stories inspired this 99-word flash fiction:
Who would have thought such beautiful, copperplate writing could be the root of such mental anguish? There was nothing externally visible in the hand-written document to indicate that each carefully formed letter had been created under the threat of severe physical punishment. The Brothers set high standards for their students and achieved them through beatings and fear.
This harsh treatment of young boys destroyed their confidence and resulted in a life-long resentment of the Church. I find it amazing, looking at this exacting and perfect piece of work, that no-one thought to questioned its production by a six-year-old boy.
This post was written for Irene Waters Learning to Write: Times Past challenge. You can join in the challenge here: https://irenewaters19.com/2018/02/01/learning-to-write-times-past/