Portrait of a Ten-Year-Old Girl

This thoughtful article demonstrates how to use colorful details to keep a reader engaged enough to absorb statistics and trends. What could be just an amusing slice of a Canadian girl’s life of carpools, playdates, and self-invention becomes a launching point for social commentary. The author does refer to herself, but deliberately, selectively; to serve the story, not drown it out.

Saving this for the next time I teach “News Writing.”

imageThere are many things she is less into than she used to be, a list that includes pastels, soccer, and One Direction. Her pastels sit on a little table in a bag that looks like a makeup kit. “I used to love doing art,” says Caitlyn. But not anymore? She considers the question. “I don’t know why I said that. Maybe I am into art.” | These moments of introspection don’t happen often, and perhaps I project more meaning onto them than is there, sensing loss because I, in my middle age, know how fleeting this breathless moment is, even if Caitlyn doesn’t. After spending one afternoon with her, I go home and look up a poem about the passing of youth called “Spring and Fall: To a Young Child,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins: “Margaret, are you grieving / Over Goldengrove unleaving?” Caitlyn isn’t grieving yet. She is still mostly just a kid, unburdened and loud, oblivious and hilarious, packing more bubbly chatter into five minutes than most grown-ups do in a month. —TheWalrus.ca.