Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Admission of guilt: Bribery of a minor

If you are 1) judgy or 2) have only one child or 3) are really into birthdays, you may not want to read on.

We just bought our child out of a sixth birthday party. I couldn’t handle the planning and preparation, nor could I wade through the 40-something children in kindergarten to figure out whom to invite. So we gave Hank a choice: a shopping spree at Toys R Us or a party. He took about .073 seconds to consider the options.

It was the best birthday ever. We went out to breakfast where he was allowed to order chocolate chip pancakes and hot chocolate and then immediately shuttled him to the store to channel the chocolate energy. The only think that makes me bitchier than a dose of Sudafed is being trapped in Toys R Us (the plastic! the neon! the electronic noises!) so I left to run errands while Scott patiently waded through aisles of toys with Hank and shopping consultant, Juliet. Hank made some great choices within the amount of money we gave him and even offered to buy his sister a game.

No invites, no gift bags, no kindergarten boys jacked up on cake and ice cream. I plan to offer this choice every year! If nothing else it’s good angst fodder for when he grows up and realizes he doesn’t have any birthday party photos.

But before you judge me for my child bribery, regard the joy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sleeping in Piles and Growing Up

I’ve become obsessed with a line from the Where the Wild Things Are movie and I can’t stop saying it in my head. It was a little after Max had arrived to the island; he and the wild things had been running around trashing the place and having a great time and then they stop and talk about all the fun stuff they’ll do and Max adds, “And we’ll all sleep together in a real pile!” And they do. And Max is happy.

This sentence, this sentiment really struck a chord with me.

I think the movie did an amazing job of echoing the sadness of growing up. There is terror in getting older—terror in family dynamics changing, friends changing, self changing. I can distinctly remember times in my own childhood when even just a minor shift in how things were would make me long for a way to freeze time. I wanted to be able to rewind life so that I could unravel what was becoming increasingly complex. There were many small moments in the film that seemed to shine a ray of light on those terrors, but for me nothing seemed to illuminate them as fully as the phrase: “And we’ll all sleep together in a real pile.”

Maybe if you had to pin down a formative moment of sadness in childhood, it might come when you get too big to lie/sleep on your parent. At some point it becomes either inappropriate or just plain uncomfortable and the one feeling of ultimate security is no longer available to you. That physical sense of disconnectedness changes you inside.

Tonight on the couch, my daughter was draped over me for so long that my legs fell totally asleep. I consciously felt my limbs go from tingles to pins-and-needles to complete numbness. I just rolled with it. I didn’t want to move her, didn’t want her to feel responsible for the growth that will, not long from now, make it impossible for her to lie in a pile on me.

Disconnection happens on many levels, but I think we feel it first on the physical.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Author Photo - Gas Me Up Next Time

Of course I waited until 8 hours before my author photo was due to the publisher to have them taken. It's not much, but it's all I could do with the raw materials I was given. Thanks to photographer Joan Kleen for her patience with me - given the choice between gum replacement surgery and a photo session, I'll take the dentist chair every time! Unless I can find a photographer who can give me gas in that little vanilla-scented nose cone before the shoot.

PS: I seem to have misplaced my eyes. If anyone finds them, could you send them to me? Thanks a million.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I love you, Story Siren!

This totally made my week! Check out the link here. I love Story Siren even more than Häagen-Dazs Carmel Cone ice cream - and that's saying something!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Muse and The Omen

After a particularly horrible week of work, I decided to run away. I called my Mom Thursday night to see if the cabin was open and left right after work on Friday to see how much I could get done on Book 2. Here’s a photo montage of my weekend of writing.

The Venue

The View

The Ambiance
The Muse

The Best Part

The Omen (found on the doorstep when I arrived)
Good or Bad?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Nine-Year-Old Takes On Politics

Today my daughter ran for fourth grade president and came out with a victory! Here's the winning speech she wrote last night:

Juliet’s Fourth Grade President Speech

Hello! As you know, my name is Juliet and I’d like to be your president. Why would I be a good president? First, I’m very organized – just look in my desk! Second, if anyone has ideas on how to improve the school, come right up to me anytime and tell me. I think good ideas come from everyone. Third, I’m not bossy. I would never tell anyone to do something without saying please unless it was urgent. Fourth, I try to be nice to everyone I meet. If you are having a problem with someone you can talk to me and I’ll help you. It’s not fun to be bullied, and trust me I have experienced bullying before and I will not, repeat not, ever bully anyone in the whole world. Fifth, I have some really good ideas for raising money for the Zoo Snooze so we can definitely go. Last, my little brother Hank, who is super cute and smart, REALLY wants me to be elected! (He made me write that.) Thanks for considering me for your Fourth Grade President!

Now she's power-hungry and climbing the ladder - at dinner she mentioned wanting to run for Student Council president so she could be president of the presidents... To what end, Juliet? To what end?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cheap Thrills

Here’s something I’ll never get used to: reading a blog and seeing my book cover on it! What a thrill. Thanks to Kelsey at Reading Keeps You Sane, Kate at The Neverending Shelf, and Sab at Crystal Reviews for featuring my new cover! We debut authors love love love you blog reviewers.