Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Like Indiana Jones... but with more screaming.

Son, in back of car yesterday afternoon, musing about school: Well, that part was boring.
Daughter: Don't include me.
Son: What?
Daughter: I'm not boring.
Son: No, not at all. You're not boring. You're a whole different adventure.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lost in Translation?

Two conversations with the kids yesterday proved enlightening.

Daughter was having another after school weep in the car. No amount of logic had worked to stem the flow.

Me: I'm not sure why you're crying, and I don't think you know anymore either.
Daughter: I know, but I can't stop yet.
Me: Oh, okay. We can wait.
Son: Have a little cry. It's good to let the pressure off.
Me: Yes, good idea. Sometimes I do that too.
Son: Well, not very often you don't.
Me: True. I don't cry often.
Son: Usually, you just shout Ow, or something.
Me: True.
Son: And sometimes, you just Grrr, like a dog.
Me: ---.
Daughter: [laughs]

Son: When will we go to France again?
Me: Depends on what happens in a couple of years. We may go spend some time that way, or go to New Zealand.
Son: To live?
Me: No, just to spend some time.
Son: Will we go to school there?
Me: Yes, for a short time.
Son: But we don't speak New Zealand!
Me: I speak "New Zealand" to you all the time.
Son: Only the mean stuff!
Me: What do you mean, only the mean stuff?
Son: We only know "Ai, ai, ai!" and "OY!"
Me, laughing: "Oy is short for Oyez. And I only say it when I want you to listen up.
Daughter, very loudly: OY! You do say that all the time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Won't Tell!

Son has liked a girl since kindergarten. Same one he insisted he had to buy Valentine's candy for because it's common knowledge that she likes him.

Son requested that we invite this girl, a fellow second grader, over for a play date. I was a little leery, but only because when he was in first grade I foiled a plot to invite two classmates over so Son could set conditions whereby they could kiss. But he assured me he had no ulterior motives, and Girl arrived.

Moms compared notes, and Girl has written that she hearts Son in her books, for going on three years now. We think it's cute, but have both reminded them that they are too young to marry.

Son was extremely solicitous throughout Girl's visit. He ran to fetch cushions because she "looked tired." He ran to fetch her a drink (milk or water? glass or plastic cup?) because, presumably, she looked thirsty too!

Play date was a smashing success. A day or two after, he asked if his sister could invite Girl to attend his own future birthday party (months away), presumably so his Guy friends wouldn't know he wanted her there.

So yesterday, driving home from school with a Guy friend of his in the car, I overhear this conversation from the back. Such lies!
Son: my sister had Girl over to play the other day. They got along really well.
Son's friend: Yikes.
Son: yeah, I know. I just stayed out of their way.
Son's friend: Yeah.
Son: It was surprising. They managed not to kill me.

I looked up in the rear vision mirror and met Son's eyes imploring me not to say anything to contradict him. And of course I wouldn't!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Critical Thinking

Daughter having a bad day at after school pickup, pitches a fit in the back of the car. Son, attempting to calm her down, makes nice and very complimentary comments about her photograph from teacher, which is a class photo of all of them in their Halloween costumes. Daughter is wearing, in the picture, a kimono.

Son: You look really great in this.
Daughter: NO, I DON'T.
Son: You really do!
Daughter: I don't WANT to be a chinese girl when I grow up.
Son. ---?
Daughter. I WANT to be a PONY!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's in COLOR

As in, my first story, now out on (Australian) newstands in Explore magazine. It's a two page spread, and has a really cute/cool illustration, as an added bonus. No article I've ever published looks this jazzy. I think we need to rethink the design of academic journals!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Son Shone this Week

4 things Son has said to me this week:

  • Sorry to wake you at 5.51, but...
  • Females are sooooo into chocolate.
  • All hail, the Great Mommy!
  • I'm dubious about that.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Post 101

No really; it's post number 101! I haven't done a writing update in a while, so here goes. Middle grade manuscript has dominated my writing landscape of late. I had finished chapter book format AND a sequel, so two 15K word manuscripts. The first of these had two fulls requested by agents, and one by editor, and all three responded positively... but did not pick up the ms. So I decided to send it to an editor for critique purposes, and got invaluable feedback. And decided that rather than try to revise the existing comic masterpiece to ... start over with an older voice and more layered story.

I tinkered with tone and (third person) voice for a while, and got comfortable with it. My beta reader (holla!) was loving it. So I wrote six chapters with many new plot elements and then paused to "get my story straight." Wonderful editor has given great feedback on The New Plot now, so I think it's just a matter of finishing the novel, which I'm finding a lot of time to work on at present (lucky, I know!).

In the interim, I met with a lovely agent at Agent's Day in St. Louis, who has graciously requested a full read when it's done, so I'm happy at the prospect and hope he likes it when it's all done. He really liked the tone and voice, so it's just a matter of making sure the plot satisfies as well, I think. Fingers crossed, anyway.

In other writing news: I have been contracted to write TWO pieces for the NATIONAL children's writer's newsletters. The first is completed and has gotten positive feedback from the editor. The second is nearly completed. I hope to contribute there regularly. It's a good mix of my academic background and my writing interests! And I got an email from the editor of KC Baby, asking if I'd like to do another piece for them for this summer, so I feel happy to be in a "stable" of writers for a regional mag.

In other news, I did get a lovely typed personal rejection from a picture book editor who urged me to send the ms elsewhere because 1) my "story telling talent was obvious" 2) "the story was really very good," and 3) he wasn't going to be able to afford to publish any new title this year, and possibly next. It is a mark of the unkillable optimism of a writer that I saw the positives in this letter, more so than the rejection!

Well, I'm hoping that this doesn't come off as (too much of a) brag fest, but I'm only wanting to say that I'm in my happy place, and that planets may yet align!

Do tell how your writing, creative or otherwise, is going!