Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beware hubris

The other night I asked Max to identify different animals, shapes and objects, and he'd repeatedly point correctly. Occasionally, he'd utter the corresponding word. "Du" for "duck." "Ball-ball" for "ball." "Brrrroom-brrrroom" for car. I'd cuddled and read and played with him for a while and grew increasingly impressed with his intelligence--as only a mother can do.

Proud, I had him show his father. He was marvelous again.

I hugged him and asked, "How did you get to be so smart?"

He smiled proudly. "My dada."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Journal: point of view

Sometimes, when I read a first person narrative, I'm reminded of my philosophy class in college.

It was the only class I ever fell asleep in. More than once I awoke with a jerk and realized I'd drooled on my notebook. But the class was so boring! All everyone did was talktalktalk about other people's thoughtsthoughtsthoughts. I needed some action.

Often, first person POV easily becomes too introspective. It's not fun to read about someone's thoughts all the time. Inject action!

Journal: Write a scene from first person point of view. Have your narrator observing something. Be sure to inject action and/or dialogue elements to prevent the scene from being blah. For fun, remember that first person POV can be biased.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring approaches

Daffodils make me so happy each year when they spring from the ground, and the little buds begin to show hints of color. Maybe it's because I remember Willy Wonka using the flower as a candy teacup in the original movie, or maybe it's because the first bit of color is like nature's surprise party. Either way, I love them.

So I wanted to share a bit of cheer with you. I spotted these outside our office and quickly snapped a picture.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Project Runway

I just watched this week's Project Runway. The challenge was a mommy and me combination. Seth Aron's combo totally rocked and I loved the jacket he designed.

Amy Sarubi was in the bottom three. She should have been. Even the little girl made a reference to the circus when she saw the outfits. But what I have a problem with is that the judges repeatedly told her that her color combination didn't work.


Click here to see Amy's color combination.

Then check out this outfit on the left from Tracy Reece's Fashion Week runway show at Bryant Park.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Journal: point of view

A good story consists of several elements: characterization, plot, setting, theme, and point of view. Over the next several weeks, the journal prompts will focus on one of these elements. Today, we'll begin with point of view.

I've provided a link to definitions for the following perspectives.

First person
Note: This perspective can be flawed. Imagine what happens when two siblings get in trouble and they each tell the story to their parents. Rarely does either story tell the truth untainted. First person tends to "color" the narrator in a way that is not exactly the way it is. These stories can have an "aha" moment at the end when the reader realizes the narrator has not been entirely truthful.

Second person
Note: This perspective is rarely done well. Please do not take this as a challenge. Leave this perspective to the Choose Your Own Adventure Novelists.

Third person limited
Note: This perspective is what happens when someone tells a story about what he or she sees happening, but is not privy to all the information. It is a common perspective.

Third person omniscient
Note: This perspective is all-knowing--but it can still leave things out for the reader.

Journal: Two people are in an elevator when the power goes out. Write the scene in at least two different perspectives. If you're super-cool, go ahead and try it with all of them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Help

I recently finished Kathryn Stockett's The Help.

A friend loaned me the book, and it sat, lonely, on my shelf for months. Once I picked it up and began reading, though, I hated turning off the light at night to go to bed. The story lived with me during the day and I heard the characters whispering to me. It's one of those books where I'd forget it was a book. While thinking of a character, I'd think to myself, she really ought to write a book about her life.

I was not surprised, then, when I heard that USA Today had named it the 2009 book of the year.

Some people don't like books or movies that win a lot of awards. They believe it means they're depressing. The Help has as much sadness and joy as real life. The balance is what I think makes it so believable and worthy of reading.

Not only is the book one that makes me want to live a better life and be true to the human race, but the story of the author also inspires.

The Help is Stockett's debut novel. More than 60 agents rejected her. She has since sold over one million copies in hardcover.

Yep, that's inspiring.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine for your taste buds

A lot of people don't have valentines. Everyone has a tummy, though.

I just read in Southern Living about a tasty treat that even I could cook.

1. Melt chocolate in the microwave.
2. Dip strawberries in chocolate.
3. Roll them in crushed pecans.

Three of my favorite things. I think I'm in love.

Journal: Write about a beloved food.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dr. Seuss

I love Dr. Seuss.

Long before Max was born, my Seuss stash grew. His playroom has these items in it now. It thrills me to get to share my love for the books with him.

Check out this link to the super cool pictures of a birthday party someone held for her son's second birthday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I had maybe three hours of sleep last night.

After we put Max to bed, we watched the final three episodes of this season's Dexter. Yep. Commercials for movies can give me nightmares, but somehow a show about a serial killer's life intrigues me. I know people who love scary movies, and they find Dexter too disturbing to watch.

Why can I handle it? Because Dexter only kills other killers. So, I feel safe. I know no one deserves to be murdered, but Dexter is the modern day Robin Hood. Sort of. With knives.

This season he was after another serial killer who was really scary. The "Trinity killer" carried out a series of a cycle of murders over thirty years. And people I love and even myself could be victims. It's terrifying to think of it.

Believe me, Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow both deserved the Golden Globes they won.

So...even though I watched Ugly Betty afterward to try to get my mind off of blood, it didn't work.

If you like to be scared, watch Dexter.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Journal: unpredictable emotions

A week or so ago, I wrote about taking Max on his first carousel ride with his twin birthday buddies.

Max was so not into it.

The above photo is exactly my memory of the ride--blurred, chaotic, and not anything like I expected it to turn out.

Journal: Write about an event in which your emotions were not what you expected them to be.

Monday, February 1, 2010

More snow!

This weekend, Max had a great time playing in the snow and helping to build Mr. Snowman. After the project was complete, we said, "Hey, Max, what do you think of the snowman?"

Max promptly knocked its head off.