(For the T.S. Poetry Book Club (hosted by Lyla Lindquist) on Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, by L.L. Barkat. Read Lyla’s thoughts and find links to other book club participants here.)
I live with four family members, and all of them are male. I still don’t get why snowball fights are fun. Why do they love being pelted with icy globs? To me, it’s like being hunted.
But they have their great fun packing snowballs while I watch (from inside) and take pictures with the window between me and them. I heat water in the kettle and take out the marshmallows so that the hot cocoa will be ready when they come in, red-cheeked and happy.
That’s in winter. In the summer I work with my sons on the simple skills of catching and throwing a baseball. I tell them how to position the mitt. I remind them not to shut their eyes when the ball is coming at them. I show them that if they throw the ball with the right hand, they should step with the left foot (not the right, as they were doing).
Sometimes the progress seems slow. At the beginning of one summer, though, I went to the backyard for one of the first throwing and catching practices of the year. They were much better than I remembered; their skill level was even better than it was end of the previous summer!
Wondering what happened, I told my husband about it. “They got so much better at throwing all of a sudden! I haven’t even been working on it that long!”
Charles’s explanation came immediately. “It’s because of the snowball fights.”
Several years ago I heard of a writing class but wrung my hands and agonized because I couldn’t afford it. Just think what I could learn! Writing instructors would give me exercises! They would critique my assignments, and I would gain so much knowledge from their red-pencil marks! Plus, they promise that by the end of the course, I will have a completed manuscript ready to send!
The class is still offered, and I still can’t afford it. But that’s okay. For now, I think I’ll just go out and have a snowball fight.