Val Fox Writes

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New Placement New Fears

Posted by Val Fox on February 6, 2013 at 2:50 AM

We know that words can be powerful tools for getting our messages across to others. Whether spoken or written, the words we use will influence others one way or another. Words used by others will arouse us in ways we never imagined through news stories, letters, song lyrics, speeches or intimate conversations between two.


Today’s blog features some brief snippets of dialogue. They are based on the work I’ve done with youth for the past 16 years; the words in the dialogue highlight some of the questions and comments that the flies on my wall have been privy to – words between me and various adolescents that have shared my space and taught me so much. It also highlights material that will be expanded upon in my book, Wisdom From the Front Line (working title) to be published when it feels complete.


This blog is also February’s entry for the IWSG Blog hop. It is a group of writers that gathers on line once a month to offer information, thoughts and inspiration. For those who may be interested, I will post the link at the end of this blog. And now, welcome to the world in which I write, where words can be provocative and powerful.  How does your use of words affect your writing or your own daily life?  Please share your thoughts, and thanks for stopping by.




When we were little I watched my dad kick my mom in the stomach when she still had my brother inside her. I screamed until he stopped and she fell down in front of the stove. He was really mad.

It must have been really scary for you guys.

We ran through the snow to the neighbor’s house. They let us in and called the cops. Those cops threw my dad into the back of that cop van, and the ambulance took my mom to the hospital. They said we couldn’t see her and we had to come here instead. What’s going to happen now?

Well, tonight you’re going to hang your hat here where it's safe.... I'm sorry you can't be with your family tonight but tomorrow we’ll go together and I’ll help you find some answers, okay?


Do you want to bring your stuff and I’ll show you your room?

No. I want to go home!

I know you do...





Wow, you’ve got an interesting fashion style. But I wonder if those tall, black boots are the best choice for such a pretty dress.

I won’t wear them to school, just at home.

The dress too, okay? Only at home. I know you want to wear girls’ clothes but for school you need to dress like a boy, okay? Not everyone is comfortable seeing a boy wearing a dress and tights. Some get so offended or even afraid they will bully anyone they think is different.

But why?

Because different groups of people have different opinions about certain things. Different families, communities and cultures each have their own beliefs. That’s what makes us unique. We are all different.

Yeah, so.

So….wear your guy clothes for school and outings. And when you’re an adult YOU can decide what you want to wear when you go out. Is that okay for now?





June’s a tough time to stay inside, isn’t it?

Yeah. I just wanna be outside without all the hassle at school, you know? Those teachers don’t know what the f—k they’re talking about half the time.

If you gave a number to how tempted you feel – a number from one to ten with one being hardly tempted at all, and ten being ready to run now, what number would you pick? What number do you feel like today?

Ummmm…probably eight.

Does that mean you feel ready to AWOL?


Well, I have an idea. What if you and I disappeared tomorrow after school and went on our own AWOL, maybe just for a few hours.

What do you mean, ‘our own AWOL?’

Well, we could just grab our stuff and head out to wherever you want to go. If you had a chance to just disappear for a while where no one could bother you or ask anything of you, where would you want to go?

Some place where there’s lots of trees and no people. I’m sick of people telling me what to do. I just want to be out on my own, you know. It’s better that way, then I’m not having to listen to everybody telling me what to do or where I can go. You guys don’t know what my life is like. You just sit around having your stupid meetings. You don’t know nothing.

Well, you’re right about that. I don’t know what it’s been like for you...

But listen, what if we – just you and I – took a planned AWOL – where we disappear and go find some trees and a place to just hang out for a while. We could pack some food, pillows, blankets, put some gas in the van and “disappear.” We’d have to come home sometime in the evening though. But we could go enjoy some free time where you don’t have to do anything but kick back and enjoy the rest of the day. Does that sound like something you’d like to do?

Maybe...  You're weird.

Yeah, that's me.  Weird.  So we gonna do this, or what?

Tags:  different writing styles; writing dialogue; listening to others; kids in treatment; acceptance of others; strategies for working with teens; foster care; writing descriptive dialogue; realistic dialogue 













Categories: Children As Teachers

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Reply old baldy
11:02 AM on March 5, 2013 
A good example.
Reply Audrey Chin
4:40 AM on February 6, 2013 
HI Val, this is Audrey over from the Tribewriters' Community.
These exchanges are heartbreaking.
Thank you for sharing.


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This is the personal website of writer Val Fox from Alberta, Canada: soon-to-be published author; freelance writer/editor; ghost writer; animal and child advocate; amateur photographer and avid camper.  Welcome!


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