This Little Piggy

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A  few months ago I got up early (for me) – around 5:30 a.m. I’m definitely not a morning person. But I’ve heard and read so much about writers who have children getting all of their writing hours in before the kids are even awake. And so I thought I’d give it a try. I crept down the stairs, made the coffee, opened that screen, and was surprised by how easy it was to get going. I wrote a few solid pages before I heard the doors begin to creak open upstairs. I turned off the computer, already all caffeined-up and felt like I had it all.

And then later on that day, I reread what I had written during my early session and realized that I had completely messed up the timelines in my novel. The story I’m writing takes place during three different time periods. Basically, I had a character from the present day timeline calling to talk to her husband about something that she worried happened to a character from the middle timeline (the eighties). That was all I needed to convince myself that indeed I am really not a morning person. I am just not productive during those early hours. I’m not meant to drag myself out of bed that early to work on something creative. [Read more…]

Good Queen Bess

IMG_3262For our most recent Mother-Daughter book club, our eldest member on the daughter side -a bona fide third-grader – chose nonfiction. Thankfully, rather than Who is Taylor Swift? or Who Was Elvis Presley? (though this one may have been interesting)…she chose Who Was Queen Elizabeth? At our house, I ended up doing a lot of the reading aloud to my second-grader. This is not light material. Aside from being shunned by her own father and imprisoned by her sister, her cousin plotted to have her killed. So, it felt somewhat comforting to be together while I relayed these very gruesome, though very real facts. I think a lot of it went over her head, of course, but the basic idea that Queen Elizabeth I overcame many obstacles to become a strong and prosperous ruler came across. And, I loved reading lines like these aloud:

“The young girl who had been shunned by her father had grown to become one of England’s greatest rulers. She had lived in a world where men were thought to be smarter, wiser, and better in all ways than women.” [Read more…]

On Good vs. Evil in Sofia the First

I recently shared an article on Facebook by a local writing instructor who describes literary fiction as follows: “‘Literary fiction boils down to: ‘Stories that are not obvious conflicts between Good and Evil’ and/or ‘Stories With Unpredictable Endings.’” I liked this succinct description as I often struggle with how to explain literary versus genre fiction other than “it’s deeper, not as black and white…it’s hard to explain.” But this explanation is very suitable and I found myself thinking about it as I watched “Sofia the First” last night with my children before bed. It’s one of the few Disney Jr shows I don’t mind paying attention to: there’s always a clear conflict with a few obstacles thrown in the way, and a neat resolution reached by the end of the thirty minute show – definitely more genre then literary. But last night I listened to my kids talk about one of the characters (a friend of Cedric’s, the Sorcerer) who they described as “a little bit good and bad.” Even Cedric – who usually appears hellbent on stealing Sofia’s magical amulet so he can have power over the kingdom – always makes the right choice in the end; he can’t bring himself to go all the way with his evil intentions. Though he craves prestige and power, he is ultimately not willing to sell his soul for all of that. In this episode, his friend appears generally naughty, stirring up trouble with spells, but by the end, both magicians are working together, under the orders of Baileywick, the Castle Steward (a total archetypal martyr character), to save many members of the royal family from sailing into a large rock. [Read more…]