A few weeks ago, I went into Matthew's bedroom to say "Good night" and found my son hunched over his desk, distraught, with tears in his eyes. He looked up at me and asked, "Do you know how to write a sonnet?" Seems it was an assignment from his English teacher, and he hadn't the first idea where to start. (Funny how my kids think writing a couple of books makes me knowledgeable about all kinds of writing. Matthew's question was not the first of similar queries my children have thrown at me over the years. *ahem*) Anyway, I confessed to him that I wasn't even sure what a sonnet was (I mean, besides some kind of poem) - let alone how to write one. But I sat down with him to see if I could help. At that point I realized Matthew knew what a sonnet was, and what he needed to do. He simply was under pressure and felt despairing. All he needed from me was moral support and an idea, or two. So I thought for a minute, What does Matthew like? What topic would make a fun one for him to "sonnetize"? And then it came to me. The boy loves his X-Box, so why not write a sonnet about his adventures gaming? I ran the idea past him to gain his approval, helped him establish a basic outline to cover in the "story" of the sonnet, and we were off. It was quite fun to tag-team our ideas back and forth, as we searched for words which would rhyme and thoughts which would flow. And after about half an hour of brainstorming, writing, and re-writing, this is what we created:
Though I’m not yet a man, and we aren’t at war, I enter the battlefield every Saturday afternoon. To this life I live, I know there must be more, So I pursue it boldly in my living room. As the guns start firing, and my heart beats faster, I join with my comrades to commence an assault. Together we know we can unleash disaster, As we exploit our enemies’ every fault. When I turned the corner, I was shot in the head. My teammates got down and began firing back, I was glad for their presence, but afraid I was dead. Our “unleashed disaster” had gone off track. I waited for the inevitable “respawn” screen. Don’t worry about me, I’m just playing a video game.