Sunday, October 25, 2009

Untended Children Will Be Given a Double Espresso And A Free Puppy.

Untended children can be cute but oh my. I thought this restaurant's bar had a funny solution.
Who would want to have their child given a double
espresso and at the very same time--a puppy? Chaos would reign.

One of our group, next year, will join the number of us with children. We're so happy for you, Jen! I'm at the top of the heap having two sons over forty, but it is not always a good place to be because of the regrets. It is awesome being close to young women now bringing up their children. I wish I had done some things differently: first and foremost I wish I had fed my children in a more healthy way. Hot dogs and hamburgers and pizza are easy choices but not healthy ones. Would I change either of my sons, despite the sometimes harrowing things being a parent has brought? No and I doubt most parents would. It's like that ancient Greek story about being offered the chance to change your own set of problems for somebody else's. Most of us wouldn't change our lives, if given the choice.

Here you see my son, Glenn, pretending he's an astronaut. He took his three and a half year old son, Theo, (who now insists he's four) to the Discovery Museum in
Sauselito. My husband, Jerry, joined them and took this wonderful picture. He is a wonderful, imp like creature, my son. This picture picks up that imp like quality wonderfully. He has a way with children. Before he had his own, he and his wife, Wendy, were with some friends and their children on a day of driving to one spot or another. Glenn was in the front seat of the car (not driving, which turned out to be providential). A little girl in the back asked him what the little dark spot on the back of the neck was. (I'm sure he must have a mole back there although that's not a insight gained through observation). He said it was his "On and Off Button." That of course precipitated a whole series of pushing the On and Off Button which in turn precipitated a whole number of whole body collapses by Glenn and a whole series of howls from the children seated in the back.

I would hate to have had anyone give Glenn a double
espresso and a free puppy at any age, but at age four? That was the age he went tearing through our house, grinning that imp like grin, totally naked, in plain view of a host of our friends. One of my friends still remembers that exhibition with a bit of shock. I thought it was hilarious. He hasn't lost that wonderful, imp like quality and I hope he never does.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Strange and Inexplicable Event Posts--Whenever!

My husband, Jerry, and I have been taking a trip down the Sierras starting in Tahoe, finally ending up in LA. As we were leaving Tahoe we couldn't get over the fall colors. I had left my camera at home but since I had my iPhone with me I started snapping pictures madly with it's amazing built in camera. Given we were driving at 60 miles an hour or so, all I could do was point out the passenger side window or through the windshield and snap the picture. Later, when perusing them at leisure on the iPhone, I came across this strange picture. I'm adding it to my Strange and Inexplicable Event Posts because of the strangeness and beauty of it and because it was totally a mystery. Once I put it on the computer and blew it up I solved the mystery.

It will become clear very soon that I took a picture out the passenger window of the side view mirror. What do you see?

Monday, October 5, 2009

How Much Detail?

I have been told that I don't put in enough detail into my stories. I have come to think that this is mostly true. I have been working on writing the last chapters for my middle grade/ Young Adult novel RUN!! and have run through them quickly, as is my typical approach. When I've gone back through them I've been dissatisfied with what I've read. I've finally come to understand that there isn't enough detail in the story to engage my attention.

Recently I had a critique on RUN!! that mentioned I had too much detail in the manuscript and that the detail slowed down a very important part of my manuscript--the first page. I went back and unhappily cut out the offending paragraph, only leaving what was absolutely necessary which I often found was in the story further on anyway. I'm now writing with more detail and enjoying it and it is difficult cutting it out. I am pulled more into the story as the writer and that, in turn, makes any further writing I do more true to the story. What my wonderful 4Corners writing friend pointed out was all too true, however, so I cut!

I used to write short stories and in those I found myself easily weaving in the necessary detail. Then I turned to writing for children. Writing for children is--contrary to a lot of people's beliefs--a lot more difficult than anyone could imagine. You can put in too much detail, as I just pointed out. You can leave out necessary detail to give the breath of life to a character. You have to think of your audience.

If you write for children, which child do you write for: the four year old, the eight year old, the twelve year old or the teen and how does that determine how much detail you bring into your story?