photography by Larry Kuzniewski
On Saturday morning, Joisinga Noble greets other kids who are gathering in the lumber aisle of the Lowe’s home improvement store in Collierville. She dons a work apron and unwraps a package containing a diagram and several pieces of wood. Pulling out a nail, she grins. “I learned quickly never to hit the pink nail,” she jokes.
The 12-year-old will risk a bruised finger every now and then for the chance to build and create. Joisinga often transforms a block of wood into prize-worthy objects. For five years, she has been one of the most eager students at Lowe’s Build and Grow clinics for kids.
Joisinga shows off a pinewood car that won a design award at Collierville Baptist Church. Her rolling musical keyboard even boasts an MP3 player inside.
Her parents are continually surprised by her creativeness. “We wake up to find things she has made,” says mom MelissaAnne, who home schools her daughter in Collierville.
While other kids are busy on computer, Joisinga sews clothing, designs jewelry, and knows a French knot from a lazy daisy stitch. She preserves fruit, and creates songs for guitar and piano.
For a kid with so many interests, it’s a struggle to choose the project of the hour. But for now, Joisinga reserves most of her energy for writing. When she learned about the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program, she signed on. Participants commit to writing daily in the month of November. Working doggedly, Joisinga finished a 5,000-word manuscript in November 2010, which was published.
The Diary of Martha Mouse is the story of “a small mouse with a big life,” one that parallels her own. “It’s set in my house,” she says. “My parents were waiting for my birth when the Y2K computer bug was around. In one scene, the mouse waits for a computer to start smoking.”
In 2011, she entered NaNoMo again, turning in The Diary of Julia Mouse. The “squeak-quel” will be published next summer.
MelissaAnne is a former accountant and husband Bob works as a financial analyst at FedEx. “We try to teach her to be resourceful and think outside the box,” says MelissaAnne. With those open-ended invitations, Joisinga finds freedom to create.
Her unusual name was inspired by Romans 12: 12. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” The Nobles waited patiently for Joisinga, even longer for her sister. The family recently welcomed baby Jordanna to the family. Joisinga looks forward to introducing her sister to arts and crafts. She says it will be fun to help her discover her talents.