The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Individuality through verbal expression.

Ainan, 12, has his own characteristic style of expression. At times he is markedly associative, in his writing, linking ideas sometimes logically, sometimes elusively. This creates stories unlike those written by anyone I know. At other times, however, he is pithy, in a memorable sort of way. For instance, on the 4th June, 2012, he remarked: “Yes is just distilled maybe. Yes is the part that doesn’t evaporate away.”

Now, these two sentences might sound poetic, but he had a serious point in there, too...he was stating his understanding that “maybe” contained an element of yes in it (and an element of no, too). He was counteracting my frustration that he wouldn’t give a yes or no answer to a question I had asked him (now forgotten). He did so in a mild though pedagogical manner, as if he sought, gently, to enlighten his father with what seemed obvious to him. It was also, of course, his way to win the “argument” of whether he should give a yes or no answer.

I enjoy talking to Ainan. He is resourceful in his argumentation, when it comes to debating a point – and somewhat unexpected in his means of expression. He is also decidedly determined to maintain his point, in the face of any counterargument. I think this is a strength, in that he will defend his ideas, in future and speak on their behalf.

I do wonder at his creative writing though. It takes a certain kind of open mind to appreciate the way he constructs sentences, thoughts and observations. His peculiar combination of logic and association, makes for an unusual and challenging read. There is also a lot of humour in his work – both plays on words, and absurdities in the situations his characters encounter. It is not at all like anyone else’s writing that I know of...not even mine.

Anyway, it is in this individuality of verbal expression that much of Ainan can be found. Those privileged enough to read his creative writing, encounter an elusive thinker, laughing at the world, and its ways. Those who hear his pithy remarks, sense the beginning of an aphorist. So there are two competing means of expression in him: the logically condensed and telling and the diffuse, associative and elusive. It is as if there are two different types of writer in him, fighting for the right to “speak up”. Perhaps there are. Perhaps the secret of Ainan is that he is a chimera of opposites, each tugging him in a different direction simultaneously. The net effect of all these differing intellectual and dispositional forces, is the young, somewhat enigmatic, Ainan himself.

The question is: will one of these multiple influences prevail? Or will they always commingle? Will the associative or the logical win out, in Ainan?

I shall watch his writing and heed his words in the years ahead, to see how he develops.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:07 PM 


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