Take your time over the rainy L.A. weekend with Paul Collins's riveting essay Vanishing Act, about the rise and heartbreaking fall of child prodigy novelist Barbara Follett. (Many thanks for FOTEV Katherine Taylor for sharing obsessions.)
The warning notice on her door the following year, though, marked a new project: young Barbara was attempting an entire novel. On some days the eight year old topped four thousand words. While her notes to her playmates and family overflowed with warmth, she was absolute in guarding her time to write. Neighboring children who didn’t understand were brusquely dismissed.
“You don’t understand why I have my work to do—because, at this particular time, you have none at all,” she snapped in a letter to a complaining playmate.
Four thousand words a day. Are my Novel III students paying attention?