Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Adventures in Parenting: What Time is the Right Time, for Star Wars?

The other day, Logan and I were in the basement and after some flipping around of TV channels, Logan said "That's just like Star Wars." I don't know exactly what was "just like Star Wars" about changing channels on the TV. Maybe it was something he saw that flashed by on the screen, who knows.

Then I wondered where Logan had come across Star Wars before. I've never really introduced him to Star Wars. It's not that I've tried to keep him away from Star Wars, but it's not something he's really had much exposure to. I have no problem with him enjoying Star Wars, I was quite the Star Wars nerd back in the day.

So for the past couple days now I've been wondering if it's the right time to introduce Logan to Star Wars. Some of you may have seen this before:

All joking aside, is now the right time to introduce Logan to Star Wars? He's four years old, and primarily, I'm worried about him getting scared and then getting turned off from the movies. I would obviously start with A New Hope. We'll save the prequels for another time, perhaps the next time we have a bonfire.

I don't think there's too much in A New Hope that will scare him. Sure there are a variety of aliens in the bar and there's the monster in the trash compactor in the Death Star, but I can't think of anything that's downright scary.

I think Empire with the wompa, the bounty hunters, Han Solo's torture, etc. will have to wait. Likewise, Jedi, with the rancor, sarlac, and other creatures. But I'm really tempted to sit down with him one of these days and watch A New Hope.

I think I'll play it on the safe side, though, and wait until he's at least five. But I don't know, what do you think?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Puzzle is Coming Together, a writing post

I’m still chugging along on my current writing project. As of this writing, I’m at 41,408 words, all hand written. I’m setting monthly goals, and so far have been able to make them. For the current writing project, it amounts to writing at least 400 words per day. Some days I make it, some days I don’t. Friday, I didn’t write anything, but have gone over my daily goal most other days this month.

Why am I writing it all out longhand? I don’t know if there’s one really good reason. It started that way, as most of my writing projects tend to. There was something that seemed to work about writing it all on blue paper, folded into quarters and carried around in a pocket or book bag. It made me really think about the story. And I didn’t have to rely on being able to get to the computer, which I don’t always have access to since we have one for the household.

I’m nearing the end of the story, and as things come together, I’m seeing that the picture I originally thought was there is very different from the picture I see now. I have lots of sections written in red pen that completely change some of the story that has come before it and will call for major rewrites later. This is where I’m kind of kicking myself in the butt, because if I had been typing this from the get go, I could easily put those notes in the proper places or even do a little revising now to make the process easier later. As it stands, I have a lot of rewriting and expansion to do during round two. But even that isn’t bothering me too much.

The original word count goal for the first draft was 80,000 words. But I’m thinking that it will really be more like 50,000 with a lot added in later. I know in On Writing Stephen King said that the second draft = first draft - 10%, but that never seems to be the way it works out for me. Usually the first draft is quick and dirty, I’m getting the story down so I don’t forget it and adding the details later.

After this first draft is done, I think I’ll be revisiting my NaNovel from 2009 and writing some short stories. It’s time to get serious about the writing life if I want to see my name in print (outside of when I was on someone’s payroll doing magazine work that is). I think I’m headed in the right direction, but only time will tell.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adventures in Parenting: I've Created a Monster

That's right, I've created a four-year-old, 42+ pound, snap happy monster. And this really, truly is all my fault. Let me 'splain.

Sometimes to get Logan's attention, or to try to get the point across that X needs to happen now, as in right now, I would snap my fingers. A typical exchange might go thusly:

Me: Logan, it's time for bed. Let's go brush your teeth.
Logan: No.
Me: Let's go now. *snap*


Me: Logan, what do you want for lunch?
Logan: ...
Me: *snap* Hey, Logan, what do you want for lunch?

Logan was fascinated with the finger snap, the simple application of pressure of the middle finger upon the thumb causing the middle finger to slam into the palm of the hand. He wanted to learn how do to it. At first he just tried to imitate, rubbing his first two fingers together. Then he asked how to do it, so I would show him how, first showing him with my hand and then putting his fingers in the right position and trying to explain so that a four-year-old would understand where the application of pressure should occur. After a week or two of showing him and him trying to get it on his own, one day we're sitting on the couch and he snapped his fingers.

I congratulated him on learning a new skill. That was a few days ago. Now, the boy is punctuating *snap* everything *snap* he says *snap* with a *snap*. He'll even be in bed snapping his fingers as I try to get him to go to sleep; the two of us in the dark, and his little fingers snapping away.

Needless to say, it's gotten old really quickly, and now I'm working on what so far seems to be the more difficult task of explaining to him that it's not necessary to snap his fingers about everything and that it's rude to snap his fingers in someone else's face. At least we haven't gotten any notes from his preschool teachers yet. And, it's made me seriously pause and consider before snapping my fingers when I'm trying to get his attention.