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Monday, October 19, 2009

It Hurts Really Badly

Alexander and I spent several hours Saturday and Sunday setting up the front yard for Halloween. Basically, we transformed it into a graveyard scene, adding one or two new elements to it and switching it up just a little bit from last year. (Pictures forthcoming)

As always, my son was right beside me, participating every step of the way in the creation of this annual masterpiece. He is such a hard worker it amazes me. I'd like to think it's something he gets from his old man.

Of course, there's something else I'm pretty sure he gets from me.

It's his use of adverbs and adjectives. At one point, when he was helping me hammer some boards into the rickety graveyard fence we were putting up, he caught one of his fingers under the business end of the hammer. Yee-owch!

As I was trying to console him and inspect the damage, he kept saying. "Oh, Dad, it hurts really badly." Lately, it's a phrase he often repeats when he is hurt beyond the normal fall and scrape that five year olds are prone to. And while it disturbs me when he is injured, I also find the way he says it so absolutely cute and adorable.

Then it strikes me. Cute as the statement is, he's falling into one of the traps I can sometimes fall into when writing. Tossing out adverbs and adjectives like there's a massive "going out of style" sale going on.

Of course, given that at five, my son is already demonstrating he'll soon be surpassing me in various abilities (as sons often do to their fathers as they get older), he'll likely be a better master of words than his old man. I'll still be saying things like "This pain hurts really badly" and he'll be suggesting I be more concise like "it smarts" or at least more creative like "the agony I am experiencing is unbearable."

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