It never would have occurred to me to do copywork with my kids; at first glance, I’d have thought it was the very thing we’d been going out of our way to avoid.

Until I read about some of the benefits. And then read some more.

And suddenly it seemed to make a lot of sense.

I can’t say anybody was happy about the prospect. This was not any kind of fun. This looked suspiciously uninspired, as though it was something kids were made to do in actual schools (which Claudia now views as nothing but a petri dish of vaping liquid and coronavirus).

My first impulse had been to have them copy Phillip Larkin’s This Be The Verse and I’m not saying it’s not coming. But I went instead for our copy of A Velocity of Being, which is a collection of letters to young writers and readers from all sorts of interesting people.

I told Béla to go copy David Byrne’s letter, which he did cheerfully. Claudia was a bit less pleased with me and I told her to go pick whatever she wanted. She took A Velocity of Being and returned shortly, smiling. “I just opened it, and the first one I saw, completely clicked,” she said.


Still some spelling errors, but that’s one of the things that makes this a good daily practice. And I’m glad she felt in touch with something.

Béla had to take a break because of hand pain when writing his, and we’ve still not got a pencil grip that is solving that problem, but he is happy to read a letter from David Byrne.


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