Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What is the Resemblance?

Larry is working on an anthology that you can buy here. While working on this project, he's had the chance to edit the work of many different men, either in the form of essays or in their answers to quizzes that have been published online. This morning he said he was working on something from one man who is the father of another contributor. Larry said that he could see the resemblance between the two of them in their writing. Both men, father and son, had similar narrative habits, similar quirks. They both arranged their thoughts in a similar pattern. Both made the same type of grammatical mistakes. They had a likeness on the page, despite the vast difference in education between the two of them.

I suppose that shouldn't have been surprising, but it shocked me. Of course, you can resemble your parents in so many ways, in looks and personality and in behavioral tics. I never, never thought that this likeness would extend to the written word, to creativity itself. What a humbling notion. My father never liked to write, but when he did, he was pretty good at it. My mother never wrote at all, and never wanted to--as far as I know. I have always assumed that my career choice set me apart. Perhaps not.

And I watch G, who is 7 now, and who writes on the computer almost every day. He obsesses over Diary of a Wimpy Kid and wants to write a book just like it, chapter by chapter. A year ago, he was writing endless chapter books about a boy and his stuffed dog, just like Calvin & Hobbes. Who is he taking after?

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