Saturday, September 22, 2007
Predictable Neuron Clusters
My twelve-year-old son has been invited, by special invitation, to attend the young authors conference in our town. He was nominated by teachers who have noted the excellence in his writing. Naturally, this makes me especially proud, but I must also admit to a healthy slice of vanity in the notion that my son shares my same particular interest.
Current brain research, though, tells me that this has nothing to do with him choosing my preference as any sort of tribute to me. People with a large cluster of neurons on the language center of the brain, I've been told, are likely to produce offspring with similiar neuron clusters. Hence we have writing dynasties like Anne and Christopher Rice, William F. and Christopher Buckley, Mary Higgins and Carol Clark. Lots more.
So while I like to think that much of my language ability comes from listening to my parents' excellent vocabularies and their perfect grammar (learned as a second language, mind you!), it is more likely that they gave me my strengths through biology. And that's fine; I'm happy with my fortuitous DNA mix, and I hope that my son will be, as well. He has his father's wicked sense of humor, too, which only enriches his writing.
Ian has shrugged about the invitation to the conference; he claims not to care one way or the other. But when I read the part of the note that said we should notify the school if he will not be attending so that another child can attend, he said, "Okay, fine. I'll do it." The fact is that under his apparent ennui is an emerging writer--someone who finds a part of his identity in his ability to express himself through words. Whether that is due to nature or nurture doesn't matter to me. I'll probably take a little credit either way. :)