“It’s a secret code,” said Calvin. “Girls are not like boys. If a boy wants to kill you, he says, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ If a girl wants to kill you, she says, ‘We need to talk.’ That’s the code.” (from Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-Made Catastrophes by Lenore Look)
When all you had was words November 22, 2010
I thought about it. It was hard to think up a way to talk about a person, when all you had was words to say it. (from Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff)
Twofer, with my apologies November 21, 2010
Sorry about not posting yesterday. It’s that time of the semester when paper deadlines are bearing down a little too rapidly, and all non-essential brain function ceases. Here’s two to make up for it.
“Oh, dear. I hate reading my old work. Look at this sentence. I’d never write it that way now.” He patted his lab coat pockets. “Red pen–does anyone have one?” (from The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan)
Ugh. This is the problem with rereading things you’ve written in the past. Last week I pulled out my Master’s thesis to reread a bit, looking for inspiration for a paper topic for one of my current classes (that would be one of the papers that has me being forgetful). It thought it was pretty decently written at the time, and had a bit of praise for it. But coming back to it these years later, I felt like this quote was my exact sentiment. I kept thinking, “Really? I couldn’t think of any way to say that better? Ugh.” And for a terrifying moment, I felt tempted to pull up the old document and start revising. And then I was restored to sanity and ran away as fast as humanly possible.
Once again, nothing like ADHD and a good fight to the death to make time fly. (from The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan)
Or a paper deadline. Just saying.
Making up November 19, 2010
That’s when I realized that making up with someone who was still mad at you was harder than putting together a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle with a blindfold on. (from Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff)
I wished there was a way to keep that in a bottle, that one moment of wonderful perfect, so I could open it up whenever I needed to get a good whiff. (from Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff)
When Benjamin was thirteen weeks old I went back to work for three weeks to finish out the school year before I quit to become a stay-at-home mom. I remember this one morning when I was incredibly late to work because I lingered for my one perfect moment. Jon was still dozing in bed behind me and I was laying on my side with my baby pressed up against me nursing. His little hand was stroking the soft curling hairs on the back of his little neck as he drank sleepily. After a while he rolled just slightly away and sighed a deep, satisfied baby sigh and just kept sleeping. I knew I should get up and get ready for work, but I just stayed in bed with my husband behind me and my baby in front of me, enjoying one moment of wonderful perfect. Every time I hear the song Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson I think of that moment. A line of the song says, “When the whole world fits inside of your arms, don’t really need to pay attention to the alarm. Wake up slow…mmm…wake up slow.”
This morning I picked up Umbrella Summer at the library and I started reading it during Benjamin’s nap this afternoon. I finished reading it about half an hour ago but I needed tissues and chocolate milk to get me through the last two chapters. Beautiful book. Highly recommend.
Let his thoughts return November 17, 2010
This idea filled him with fears and worries. But soon he let his thoughts return to the river, and as he lay there a whippoorwill began to sing on the opposite shore, darkness spread over the land, and Stuart dropped off to sleep. (from Stuart Little by E.B. White)
I have found a lot of little things to worry about today for some reason. But now I’m going to bed to read A River Runs Through It and drop off to sleep where it’s no worrying allowed. You know, both Stuart Little and Winnie the Pooh have made the connection between rivers and letting go of worries and fears. There must be something to the idea because those are two of the wisest creatures in literature.
Remember that November 16, 2010
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. (from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling)
I am happy to report that the critique of our children’s books went very well yesterday. Most of the comments we received were constructive and encouraging and it actually spurred me on to write more. I feel one huge step closer to my dream. But I post today’s quote as a reminder to myself, to really live everyday in the day that I’m in. Sometimes I feel frustrated by the limited time I have to devote to writing while raising my toddler. But I would rather write very little now and spend all of this wonderful time with Benjamin while I can than to be consumed with my goal and miss out on all the sweet, hilarious, cute, messy, cuddly things he does and says. I want Benjamin to be proud of me for working hard to achieve my dreams, sure. But I want him to remember me spending time with him, looking him in the eye, interpreting his toddler-speak, applauding his small and large achievements, singing his favorite songs, playing with his hair, rocking him when he’s tired.
I began reading A River Runs Through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean the other night because I needed something to read before I go back to library to restock and it was the only thing I could find on the shelf that appealed to me at the moment. I was touched by something in the author’s acknowledgments that really spoke to me this week in particular. I hope you don’t mind if I share it here. It is not exactly a children’s book, although Maclean wrote it because his children wanted him to write down the stories he told them when they were young. He says the following:
“For one thing, writing makes everything bigger and longer; all these stories are much longer than is needed to achieve one of the primary ends of telling children stories–namely, that of putting children to sleep. However, the stories do give evidence of retaining another of those purposes–that of letting children know what kind of people their parents are or think they are or hope they are.”