I glowed. “What time will Father be home?” I asked. I could hardly wait to show him what I had accomplished. My mother said she hoped he would be home around 7. I spent the best part of that afternoon preparing for his arrival. First, I wrote the poem out in my finest flourish. Then I used colored crayons to draw an elaborate border around it. Then I waited. As 7 o’clock drew near, I confidently placed it right on my father’s plate on the dining-room table.
But my father did not return at 7. Seven-fifteen. Seven-thirty. I could hardly stand the suspense. I admired my father. He was head of Paramount Studios in Hollywood but he had begun his motion-picture career as a writer. He would be able to appreciate this wonderful poem of mine even more than my mother.
This evening it was almost 8 o’clock when my father burst in. He was an hour late for dinner. His mood seemed thunderous. He could not sit down but circled the long dining-room table with a drink in his hand, calling down terrible oaths on his employees.
“Imagine, we would have finished the picture tonight,” my father was shouting. “Instead that moron suddenly gets it into her beautiful empty, little head that she can’t play the last scene. So the whole company has to stand there at $1,000 a minute while this silly little blank walks off the set! And now I have to beg her to come back!”
He wheeled in his pacing, paused and glared at his plate. There was a suspenseful silence. “What is this?” He was reaching for my poem.
“Ben, a wonderful thing has happened,” my mother began. “Buddy has written his first poem! And it’s beautiful, absolutely amaz-- ”
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to decide for myself,” Father said.
I kept my face lowered to my plate as he read that poem. It was only ten lines. But it seemed to take hours. I could hear him dropping the poem back on the table. Now came the moment of decision.
“I think it’s lousy,” he said.
I couldn’t look up. My eyes were getting wet.
“Ben, sometimes I don’t understand you,” my mother was saying. “This is just a little boy. You’re not in your studio now. These are the first lines of poetry he’s ever written. He needs encouragement.”
“I don’t know why,” my father held his ground. “Isn’t there enough lousy poetry in the world already? No law says Buddy has to become a poet.”
I couldn’t stand it another second. I ran from the dining-room up to my room, threw myself on the bed and sobbed. When I had cried the worst of the disappointment out of me, I could hear my parents still quarreling over my first poem at the dinner table.
That may have been the end of the anecdote—but not of its significance for me. A few years later I took a second look at the first poem, and reluctantly I had to agree with my father’s harsh judgment. It was a pretty lousy poem. After a while, I worked up the courage to show him something new, a short story. My father thought it was overwritten but not hopeless. I was learning to rewrite. And my mother was learning that she could criticize me without crushing me. You might say we were all learning. I was going on 12.
As I worked my way into other books and plays and films, it became clearer and clearer to me how fortunate I had been. I had a mother who said, “Buddy, did you really write this? I think it’s wonderful!” and a father who shook his head no and drove me to tears with, “I think it’s lousy.” A writer—in fact every one of us in life—needs that mother force, the loving force from which all creation flows; and yet the mother force alone is incomplete, even misleading, finally destructive. It needs the balance of the force that cautions, “Watch. Listen. Review. Improve.”
Those conflicting but complementary voices of my childhood echo down through the years—wonderful…lousy…wonderful…lousy—like two opposing winds battering me. I try to steer my small boat so as not to turn over before either. Between the two poles of affirmation and doubt, both in the name of love, I try to follow my true course.
Choose the best answer to each of the following questions:
When the mother cried, “Buddy, you didn’t really write this beautiful, beautiful poem!”
she didn’t believe that her son had really written this beautiful poem
she was not sure whether her son had written this poem
she meant that an eight-or –nine-year-old boy could not have written such a wonderful poem
she wanted to let her son know she was amazed that he had written such a beautiful poem
That afternoon the author spent a great deal of time
rewriting his poem
drawing pictures around the poem
carefully copying and decorating the poem
Both a and b.
Which of the following statements is NOT true according to the text?
The author was confident that his father would like the poem better than his mother did.
The author’s father had once worked as a film script writer and was then working as a film director
The father returned home late and was very angry that evening
They did not finish the film because the movie star refused to play the last scene
We may infer from the context that the word “lousy” means
“my father held his ground” could best be replaced by
“my father was shouting loudly”
“my father was very angry.”
“my father refused to give in.”
All of the above.
On hearing his father’s judgment the author felt
all of the above.
Which of the following conclusions do you think the author might agree with?
a. This childhood event changed the author’s course of life.
b. This event made the author all the more determined the become a writer.
c. Looking back on the event in his childhood, the author sees it in a new light and comes to realize its great significance
d. From his “first poem” experience the author knew that he could never become a poet, so he started to work his way into stories, plays and films.
The author owes his success as a professional writer
to his own courage and confidence
more to his mother’s praise than to his father’s criticism
more to his father’s caution than to his mother’s encouragement
to both his mother’s warm encouragement and his father’s harsh judgement.
Quite a few figurative expressions are used in the story. Two of them that appear in the last paragraph: “ I try to steer my small boat…” and “I try to follow my true course” are both
Another good title for this passage might be
An Anecdote in My Childhood.
Two Conflicting but Complementary Voices
A scene to Remember
An Important Lesson.
“奔，一個奇妙的事情發生了，”我的母親就開始了。 “巴迪寫了他的第一首詩！它的美麗，絕對AMAZ - “