Dylan’s Homework

For some reason Dylan needed a one page commentary written about her by a parent for an English assignment. Of course she doesn’t say anything about this until the night before it’s due. So it’s not only a homework assignment, it’s a last minute homework assignment (nice flashback to high school). It feels like it fits in on this blog so I thought I’d post it.

Dylan and writing. I’m not really sure what I can say about Dylan and writing. My sense is that she’s a good writer. She’s always loved to read and talk about art and ideas. She’s articulate and thoughtful. When it matters to her, she’s a perfectionist. And when she cares, she can be very serious.

When she was four she was very serious about staging her own version of the Wizard of Oz. She was going to put it on at the Jump-Start theater where I’m a member of the company. She rehearsed along with the movie almost every day for a while. She even tried to organize rehearsals with the other kids at Montessori school but they wouldn’t cooperate. She complained that they, “weren’t serious enough.”

When she was 10, I helped her set up a blog. She posted things regularly for the better part of a year. I loved reading it – the stories about school and her obsession with J-Rock. Later, when I took up videoblogging so did Dylan. She was great at it. In fact, for a short time in the pre-YouTube world, she was Internet famous.

I’ve always loved that we’ve been able to share these little things. Last week for my birthday my family gave me 2 tickets to see the Flaming Lips in concert. Of course Dylan will go with me. We’ve always listened to many of the same bands (except for the time she was really into the Backstreet Boys). But something changed towards the end of middle school.

About the time she gave up videoblogging, Dylan also stopped sharing things she created with me. We still enjoy things like watching films together and talking about them but I never get to see the things she makes anymore. Photos, drawings and things that she writes – even simple essays for school – I get only brief glimpses if I’m lucky. The one exception was about a year ago when she forgot to erase some writing assignment from the flash drive she borrowed from me. A week or two later when I put it my computer I found a few precious documents. Here’s a bit from one that made me laugh out loud.

“I am not white!
Babe. You’re white.
But, but, I’m Italian! And I have some Mexican-
You’re white. Come on, you listen to The Shins, you have laptops upstairs and downstairs.
I do live on the Northeast side of town…
Yeah, and in a gated community. And you’re a vegetarian!
Well shit.”

It’s funny, it’s real, it’s self-aware and it makes an insightful observation about the interrelation between race and culture. So my sense is that Dylan is a great writer. I just wish we could share this like we used to.