Greg Heffley wishes he was Hussein Hussein.
Kids growing up are usually full of creative and crazy ideas that just seem to come out of nowhere. No matter the setting, they just seem to set their brain free to think and imagine whatever they want. Sometimes they are a super man flying through the aisles of target and other times they are maneuvering a spaceship in the back of their moms Honda. Whatever the case may be, They always find a way to put a spin on reality to make it more interesting. Sometimes I wonder, What if we put these young brains to use. What if we just had kids write our stories for us.
Of course I'm not advocating for child labor but just imagine young children putting their ideas on paper and what a goldmine that would be for the story writing business. As perfect as this seems we have to remember we are talking about kids. The same little humans who refuse to go to bed when asked and yank the family dogs tail for a thrill out of boredom. These excitement chasing tiny humans are not going to write a story when in the first place can’t even sit in a chair for 5 minutes. Now what if I told you some kids don't fit this mold. Hussein Hussein had the same expansive mind as a kid and probably even surpassed most of his peers in this regard.
“Sometimes they are a super man flying through the aisles of target and other times they are maneuvering a spaceship in the back of their moms Honda. Whatever the case may be, They always find a way to put a spin on reality to make it more interesting.”
Compared to his peers Hussein was just as fun an creative but Hussein was different then a lot of kids. Hussein liked to share some of these ideas and not keep them trapped inside of his mind. Hussein said “As a little kid I always thought outside the box. I was never the ordinary thinker or a person who did things traditionally. I showed that I always thought differently as a kid.” Part of what added to this way of thinking was his deep interest for superheroes. Some of his favorites were Iron Man, Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk. These creative interests evolved as most kids do when they learn to read. He started exploring fictional books and comics. These texts allowed him to quench his thirst for creative ideas while allowing him to build a base in literacy. As much as he liked Superhero comics and novels, he also really liked journalistic type fiction like Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries.
This was his inspiration to get into writing and story telling at such a young age. He had what most kids don't, a motor driving him to write. Hussein's motor was not grades or money based like most people later in life but his was a creative engine. As an elementary school kid he made comic books reflecting the inside of his creative thoughts. Hussein also got into journalistic type writing too just like protagonist Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid one of his favorite series of books. Some of this creative didn't mix well with some of the rigid structures of our world. Hussein tells me a story related to this. In third grade he once chose to write a story about superhero's instead of writing about a real life event. Hussein speaks on this idea saying “ I was never a really good non-fiction writer. I always had a tendency of adding a little bit of my own ‘spice’ to things.”
“My writing started off with getting to the store and looking for items my mom needed for the house. Then my imagination took me to a different place. My writing started off with getting to the store and looking for items my mom needed for the house.”
This whole adding “spice” to things is great for creative story writing but doesn't always find its way into the curriculum after elementary school. Formal writing began to dominate the majority of the work load and edged some of his interests out of the way. Hussein was never a huge fan of this new type of writing and he didn't have that same motor he had for sharing creativity. Hussein conformed to this new writing as best he could and would always take time to put his own spin on it if given the option. I asked him if he would ever consider getting a job writing for kids. He said he would consider it but its mostly a hobby for now. Me and Hussein met to reflect on his upbringing in literacy and talked on all of this. When I like to talk about literacy I think its important to bring up how someone established this literacy and what I like to call “pillars” and how they are the base for someone's literate abilities. Me and Hussein established that without his drive to read and write creatively as a kid he would not have evolved into the same literate person he is today. He doesn't get to creative write the same way he used to but without it he would be missing all that practice and experience.
Maybe if we inspired more kids to write the way Hussein did as a kid, we would have a whole generation of creative writers. Hussein's story says a lot about how import it is to diversify your mediums of litteracy and to let your mind take over sometime. That's my take on all this but I think its better said in one of Hussein's favorite quotes.
“If you’re good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can’t be wrong.”