A Vignette to Remember

It left me stunned. The vignette my daughter wrote for her high school literature class was about our family, and most of it centered on her 12-year-old brother. While the sentiment brought a tear to me eye, it was the quality of the writing that impressed me most. She expressed in one short piece an amazing grasp and appreciation for her chosen central character – her brother – whom she described perfectly. 

“He is willing to go where the world takes him,” she wrote. “He wears his heart on his sleeve, and I think that’s why all the girls love him.” 

Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” He’s correct when he implies how difficult it is to capture the essence of anything in just a few words, like my daughter did in her vignette. 

I’m not comparing my daughter’s writing ability to that of Twain’s, but reading that vignette the other night gave me great hope that our children are still learning how to write and how to effectively communicate. My AVMA communications colleagues and I are constantly frustrated by the poor quality of writing and editing we see today, especially since anyone can now call themselves a journalist thanks to the popularity of blogging and social media. 

I’m not convinced, however, that all hope is lost. Not after reading what a high school freshman just beginning to explore the wonderful world of writing blessed me with the other night.

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