I'm lucky enough to have grandchildren, so I have a built-in writers' workshop. And when the kids talk, I listen, and I often write it down. Here are a few I especially like.
Several years ago, I was driving the oldest grandboy, then 3, home from Vacation Bible School. In his hands he held two polished rocks that he rubbed together until they squeaked. "Listen," he said. "That's how frogs sound when they laugh." First of all, I was unaware of frog humor, and second, I'd never considered the sound they might make as they giggled among the lily pads. But he knew, and I was so glad he shared his knowledge with me.
Later that week, this same child told me that when Jesus died, he was buried in a petunia in a garden. "I think you mean in a tomb," I said. He looked at me earnestly and said, "Oh, no, Gigi, it was a petunia. That's what grows in gardens." I have to say, the image appeals to me.
My youngest grandson, who's 4, now has the title of resident wordsmith. Over the years, he's told me that:
- Crescent-shaped ice cubes are "moons of water."
- A tiny spit bubble is a "mouth tear."
- A mustache is, naturally, "a nose beard."
- Kix are "Cheerios with no holes."
They see it. They say it. And sometimes it's brilliant. Grown-up writers could take a lesson.